waking up on my overnight bus to barcelona to the spanish language version of mark antony's "i need to know" cemented the fact that i had finally made it to spain to meet up with my friend - pretty much my first official "plan" of this entire trip. it was actually kind of surreal that i was finally meeting up with someone i actually know on purpose, after almost a month of hanging out with strange recent college grads. it was also probably slightly more surreal considering it was barely 5 am, i had no idea where i was, and i was running on what very little sleep i was able to achieve sitting up with a stranger's large behind placed on my right thigh.

first photo in barcelona, however, not necessarily the first fully conscious photo.

crosswalk warning i likely read and fully comprehended circa 5 am.

somehow, and i'll never know how especially since i don't speak much spanish other than what i've learned from taco bell commercials, i made it to the metro and figured out how to get to the hostel we had booked for our first two nights in barcelona. a couple of emails and a nap in a hammock later, and i was ready to explore the city until my friend arrived later that evening.

view from the top of arenas.

sagrada familia. plus some accent marks i can't figure out how to make on this computer.

you see a giant wooden lobster, you take a photo. simple as that.

barcelona cathedral.

not to be a total debbie, but i think i can honestly say i prefer france to spain. i'm sure that sounds incredibly elitist and not to mention ridiculous, but it was something i thought to myself since it's the first time i've ever had the chance to witness the stark contrast back-to-back. i don't know, maybe i'm slightly more comfortable in france since i at least speak a schoolgirl version of the language, but also it could be because spain is... well, a little dirtier.

maybe that's not the right word. actually, maybe it's the perfect word considering everyday removing my shoes after walking around i was relieved from the temporary horror of having developed sandal tan lines by the realization that it was a merely a layer of dirt altering my skin tone. what i really mean though is there's a certain grit that comes with spanish culture. instead of drinking fine wine and eating escargot with tiny, beautiful forks especially for eating this exact product, it's more like eat some little crusty breads with strange looking meats and drink a gallon of sangria. instead of being wooed by a poetic sounding language coming from a man who could be in the pages of vogue, it's more like "eyyyy guapa" from that random smelly guy on las ramblas. see what i mean? i don't mean to say dirty as a bad thing. it's just different. and not necessarily in the same way that word is used by your parents to describe something "special."
also, i've decided spain hates me, and i'm pretty sure my friend can vouch for me on this one. not only did i manage bug bites the size of golf balls after only my first night, i also somehow managed to develop a severe case of heat rash. BRIGHT red and only on my ankles, which meant i was sequestered into my Jesus look-a-like pants for most of the trip. i'm sure you can guess the affect that had on any potential spanish lovers...

another huge difference between barcelona and some of the other cities i've visited recently is the list of "must do's" in the area. based on the recommendations i received from friends as well as my now personal experience, i'd say this city is mostly about the nightlife and the food versus culture and monuments. don't get me wrong, there are sights to see in barcelona that are certainly worth seeing, but after awhile it's kind of like "okay, i get it gaudi was a genius," and you just want to eat some tapas, drink some sangria, and lie on the beach. which is precisely what we did.

just a couple of barceloneta beach bunnies.

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