Barcelona, Day 1

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We enjoyed our mini-vacation to Spain last year so much that we decided to take another 5 day trip. And there was more of Spain to see, so we picked Barcelona.

This vacation started off with a logistics glitch, very rare for us. Our KLM plane from Dulles to Amsterdam was delayed, which would have caused us to miss our connecting flight. The KLM counter was chaotic when we got there, and we mostly watched in amusement as we had arrived plenty early and we couldn’t change the flight issue. Ellen flat out refused to move from the counter to another line to be rebooked. Luckily, the supervisor agreed.

A young man took over as our agent, and he initially had us on a 2pm, instead of 10:30am, flight from Amsterdam to Paris. But he went away and then asked if we’d like to get to Barcelona sooner. Kinda a dumb question, right? So he went away again, this time for maybe 1/2 an hour. Upon his return, he had moved us to a later flight from Dulles to Paris, but then an earlier flight from Paris to Barcelona. So the net of it was, we’d get to Barcelona about 2 hours later than the original reservations instead of more than 3.

We had a drink at Harry’s next door to KLM’s counter, as they asked us to wait to check our luggage. Once that was done, we went to our gate. We were also armed with 2 $10 coupons for food. So KLM and Air France did a reasonable job of fixing the problem.

We had a lot of time at Dulles, but made the best of it. We like the 10pm flight from Dulles to Paris (taking it again in July), because you can get right on and sleep. We had paid extra for bulkhead seats with more legroom, but they unfortunately also were narrower. We made it through the flight, but Ellen wasn’t happy. She vowed that it will be economy comfort or better from now on.

We had about 1.5 hours in Paris, just enough to take a bus between terminals and get a bottle of water. The short flight from Paris to Barcelona was uneventful.

We took an airport bus into Barcelona. It cost just €5.30 each and was perfect. It left us just a 10 minute walk to our hotel. We are staying at the UP Suites, an apartment-type hotel on Valencia Street. Featuring a kitchen, dishwasher and washing machine, it feels like our place instead of a hotel. Ellen booked this to make it easier when Passover starts on Friday.

We barely set our things down before heading to a grocery store. We love the experience, and at the travel convention in DC, we just recently heard Samantha Brown recommend grocery stores as a cylindrical flash card lesson in your new country. We bought things for breakfast and a little more.

For dinner, I picked a tapas restaurant out of Frommers. First challenge was finding a place that was open before 8:30pm. We know that’s how Spaniards live, but it’s hard when traveling for a few days and adjusting to the time change to move our dinner time so much. We went to Tapas,24. It was a bit of a walk, and there was a little wait, but we got a table outside. We couldn’t understand anything on the menu, but when given an English menu, all was fine. We had a number of dishes, potatoes with aoli, fried anchovies, lamb kabob, beef stew among them. It was delicious, reasonably priced, and left us full but not stuffed.

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We took a leisurely walk back to the hotel, stumbling upon the building pictured above. Tomorrow we will begin our sightseeing in earnest, but we made it here, have our bearings and are ready for the experience.

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