Barcelona: Romantic Comedies Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Getting Lost in Foreign Countries

Today, we made port in Barcelona, and after sleeping an hour over our alarm and grabbing breakfast from the buffet, Kelsey and I purchased another shuttle ticket to take us into the center of town. Once there, we found a tourist map, and made it our mission to navigate all the way to Parca de Guella, despite the distance and the fact that the map did not have all of the street names written down and was pretty difficult to navigate.

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To condense a long story, we wandered about Barcelona in search of the elusive park for a good four hours. Now, for the uncondensed story, highlighting some major stops. We ducked into a HUGE open food market, “St. Josep, La Bouqueria,” first. This was probably my favorite part of the day. The market was filled with stall after stall of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit juices of all combinations and kinds, meats, fish, chocolates, candies, delicious homemade foods of all sorts—it was incredible! And it just went on and on and on. Kelsey and I each treated ourself to some of the fresh juices—I got an amazingly delicious Mango-Coconut juice, and then left pledging to come back to the market for lunch.

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So many gummies! I freaked out.

As we continued our journey to the park, we passed a number of other Barcelonian places, including the strange architecture of the Casa Battle and the Sagrada Familia. The whole city Is filled with random, really weird, buildings. As I said, the walk was very long, but luckily it was beautiful outside today (albeit incredibly windy. Suffice to say, I really regretted wearing a flow-y skirt.)

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Check out that street performer. He’s ahead of his time. Get it?

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, we did get lost a fair amount (though, not as much as I expected us to!) Unfortunately, all of the films I’ve seen (Mary Kate and Ashley movies, specifically) gave me a really warped idea of what to expect when lost. In such movies, two girls get lost in a foreign country, helplessly looking at a map, and the first people they run into are two very attractive men who are roughly their age and who speak fluent English in a great accent, right before offering to let the girls hop on the back of their Vespa so they might drive them to their destination.

They looked so much older and more glamorous when I was younger…

In reality, when you are lost in a foreign country (Barcelona, Spain), the people that help you first are the Spanish-speaking Korean café owners and their fast talking Spanish costumers, none of whom speak English. Thankfully, they were all eager to help. The next to help you along your way is a man on a moped wearing a neon green vest (also helpful). Next a man in a full neon-green suit, the old man he was speaking with, and the old Spanish lady with a tiny lapdog in a sweater. Everyone speaks perfect Spanish, talks very fast on top of each other, debate out loud the best route to take, and ultimately tell you (in Spanish) “It’s too difficult to walk. Try the bus!” But again, thankfully, they are all eager to help.

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Something we saw while lost. Apparently all Europeans love “Grease.” We’ve now heard songs played in bars/shops/restaurants in Switzerland, Florence, Rome, Marseilles, and Barcelona. We’ve created our own version for vacation, “You’re the sun that I want! (You are the sun I want.) Hoo-oo-oo, Sunny!”

As you approach your destination, the final citizens to help you are a taxi driver, two nine year old boys that actually do speak a little English, and finally, a shopkeeper who is going to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles later this summer. …We talked to a lot of people.

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Finally, though, we ended up figuring out how to take this really backwards way, up a narrow staircase running alongside a thick cement wall to finally see the entrance of the park. The good news is, though, it was definitely worth it.

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We could see an incredible panoramic view of Barcelona—including a great view all the way out to the ocean (about to where we started walking, in fact.) We explored the park for a while, listening to the musicians playing guitar, taking pictures, and admiring the view, before heading out in search of a taxi who could take us half-way back (at least to the part that was much easier to navigate.)

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On the way to the taxi, I saw a tabby cat roaming around in the bushes. As I was getting out my phone to take a picture, it ran right up to me and started rubbing against my leg. So I pet it. A lot. It was adorable. I didn’t care. No amount of potential disease can keep me from petting an adorable cat. I pulled out my hand sanitiser, though, afterwards, just in case.

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We took the taxi (much less expensive in Barcelona than in Rome) back to a familiar area, and then navigated our way back to the market. This time around, we only had to ask one shop owner for directions. My faith in humanity goes up every time I get lost, though. Everyone I have encountered is so willing to help.

One back in the market, Kelsey and I both got a little crazy. My self-control was way down after six hours of walking, and I ended up spending a good amount of money there. But it was so good! I got a delicious chicken empanada for lunch, another juice (kiwi-coconut-banana), and for dessert, I bought one of the Pithaya halves because it was probably the prettiest/coolest fruit I have ever seen.

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Also, to finish off our crazy shopping, I spent a good 15 Euros on buying a huge selection of different little chocolate treats and some freshly mixed trail mix. Totally worth it. Best chocolates I’ve had in a while. I was just being my own Valentine a month late. I needed some extra sugar after all that walking too!

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Back on the cruise ship, we pretty much collapsed in bed. I couldn’t really feel my legs. Oh well. Around an hour later we very reluctantly woke from our nap to head back to the theatre to watch a Flamenco dance performance. I’m really glad we ended up going. The traditional dancing was awesome and the costumes were beautiful.

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Afterwards, we had dinner. As I was still quite full from my trail mix and chocolate, I ordered the ricotta-spinach ravoli for a starter and got a small salad and fruit as entrée/dessert. Though they were artfully arranged, I don’t feel a great need to put up pictures. When we got back to room, we found that housekeeping had some fun–arranging some of our clothes we left lying around into fun shapes. Mine became a butterfly, and Kelsey’s, an anchor!

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Also. We found this picture below, taken from last night’s dinner. A definite keeper. But I’m not buying it. So I took a picture of it instead.

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I’m gonna go pass out now.

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1 Response to Barcelona: Romantic Comedies Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Getting Lost in Foreign Countries

  1. I think I’ve just had a virtual sugar rush by proxy! The market looks and sounds wonderful – I’ve never been there, and will definitely look for it next time we’re in Barcelona. My most vivid memory (aside from all the beautiful Gaudi architecture) is seeing an English translation of the menu in a fish restaurant: large prawns, medium prawns, large medium prawns, small medium prawns, small prawns, etc… They were all delicious. 😉

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