Barcelona, Madrid
October 2nd - October 8th


Having arrived in Barcelona I had my first taste of the Spanish heat... God damn is it ever hot in Spain. I thought Italia was warm, but spain is hot, even at night. There was no avoiding it... i simply had to go straight to the Beach and swim in the mediterainian. Which was beyond fantastic! The beaches are incredible (all topless;)) and the water is warm, with awesome waves crashing over the perfect sand. From the beach the main street in Barcelona goes into downtown, past the Monument to Columbus, which was a great help when navigating the city. I stayed in a pretty nice hostel (Barcelona Mar) in an area called La Raval, it is here that I met Seiki a fellow traveller from Japan... KANPAI SEIKI!!!! we wandered the city for a good number of hours in the following days. La Raval is about 5-10 minutes walk from the main street in downtown Barcelona, La Rambla.

La Rambla is full of street performers, markets, restaurants and a thousand new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes... you can buy live animals on the side of the raod, some as pets, others, well you can guess. The main square at the top of LaRambla is called Plaza Catalunya and is alive at all hours of the day or night. the young people of Spain can party longer into the night than anyone anywhere else in europe. This is certainly due to the lifestlye in Spain.

this is as good a place as any to send a HUGE shout out to Alex. A friend of Chris' and certainly a friend of mine. Thanks for showing me about the city of Barcelona, you made it so much better. I will certainly have fond memories of Gracia (sp?) and the BLack Sheep, still one of the coolest bars ive seen.

Ciesta! The way things go in Spain is as such: you eat breakfast, and then go about your day. The principal meal of the day is eaten around 15h00, and believe me it is a FEAST. After this it is customary to have Ciesta, which is about 2 hours of chilling out, many people sleep for a few hours in the afternoon. during this time all the shops (except bars and resaurants) are closed as the empployees enjoy Ciesta! everything opens again between 17h00 and 18h00, and stays open much later into the night than they do in Canada. Super isnt usually till 22h00 and in my experiences is alot smaller since it precedes a long night of Fiesta! With a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon and a solid meal so late in the day, the people of Spain are ready to PARTY ALL NIGHT. I have yet to witness a bar or club in Madrid actually close.

In Barcelona I saw many of the crazy creations of Spains infamously insane architect: Godi. The Garden city, while never fully completed, is really something else. Several of his buildings are about the city, but Gouell(sp?) park is full of crazy buldings, cavelike structures, crooked collumns, and the world's longest park bench. All developend by Godi.

Well, on a less awesome note... All the warnings from fellow travellers that I have heard in practically every hostel in every country has proven true. Spain, despite being a beuatiful, amazing, wonderful country, does have its fair share of thieves. In Barcelona I was pickpocketed, and in at some point between Barcelona and Madrid my precious Pentax k1000 was "liberated" from the dark prison that is my backpack :(

...whatever, shit happens and I wont let it get me down

I still have a digital camera and am leaving Spain with most of the pictures i took on film still safe in my bag. I have only fond memories of Spain which is down right amazing! And I hope some poor starving bastard gets a few good meals from hawking my camera.

Now for one hell of a long train ride... I leave today, the 8th of October, and hope to be in Budapest by the time the 10th rolls around.

--martin

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