19.04.2016 - 20.04.2016 22 °C
When we last checked in, we were about to pack our bags and book a taxi to the airport. Spoiler alert - we made it to Barcelona. But what fun we had along the way!
Firstly we played the game called "how many taxi companies in Seville can leave me on hold". Eventually someone answered - and they answered in English. Unexpected win. Then she asked if Sevilla was in Jordan - uh oh. After a quick geography lesson and repeated confirmation that we were both referring to the same place, she advised that she could not confirm the availability of a taxi. So that was a waste of a phone call.
Next number we tried was answered in Spanish, and I thought we were making progress until she started reading me numbers and I couldn't understand why. She put someone else on the phone who told me it was the number that I should call, which confused me as I had thought I was completing the booking process already. Feeling befuddled and linguistically incompetent, I called the magical mystery number and got through to someone who seemed to understand my basic Spanish and didn't ask me any tricky questions. We repeated the key information - Amate station, airport, 4am, Alison, and that was that. Taxi booked. I hoped.
At that point, our hosts Rocio, Kike and Rocio's mother returned home. Simon and I both needed a beer at that stage and we offered to take our hosts out. Instead, they offered for us all to stay in and have dinner together. No arguments from us - we went to the closest mercado and returned with cold beer to compliment the spread laid on for us: salmorejo, chorizo, chickpeas & spinach, and homemade bread. Salmorejo is an Andalucian specialty - a cold puree of tomato, olive oil, and garlic topped with boiled egg, croutons and pancetta. Simon was in his happy place again. I was happy enough until he kept singing his new favourite song about salmorejo repeatedly.
Anyway - it was one of those absolutely wonderful, warm and fuzzy kind of nights where you find yourself just really enjoying life. Armed with our varied language skills (and with Google translate as emergency back-up) we talked about Spanish history, the Andalucian lisp, Spanish politics, CSI, the Spanish Inquisition, the education system and everything that should be fixed in the world. Excellent conversation, made for a fairly late night. Which was followed by a stupidly early morning.
This morning I found myself standing at the Amate metro station at 3.45am, hoping like anything that a taxi would arrive. When it turned up at 3.58am and the man jumped out and said "Alison?", I wanted to hug him but opted for a more restrained greeting instead.
Huzzah - off to the airport, and we even arrived there 15 minutes ahead of schedule. But then the automatic doors wouldn't open! The third set of doors proved to be the winners and the next four hours or so was a haze of check-in/security/board/fly/sleep/land with fanfare/disembark/collect baggage. Phew.
Now there's not actually much that's convenient to do in Barcelona when you're trundling a suitcase along, so we stayed at the airport and utilised the free wifi there to plan our attack on the city and try to work out the most sensible way into the city. Harder than I anticipated, especially when functioning on about two hours of sleep. We triumphed over the unhelpful information centre staff and the vast quantity of confusing public transport information by getting on the cheapest bus that took us the furthest into the city. Take THAT, expensive tourist bus!
Lunch was a menu del dia that completely lacked any customer service, but was supplemented with Ruleta de Suerte so we didn't complain. A walk through wind and pollen got us to our next Airbnb location - 5 minutes from Sagrada Familia and oh-so-conveniently located beside a Mexican restaurant. Another lot of welcoming hosts - this Airbnb thing has been a wonderful way to travel so far.
Time for a beverage - guava margarita and a michelada. Michelada was the name for the hot sauce + beer combination, which we have now tried and probably do not need to try again. Next time someone complains about me putting thickener in their drinks I will offer hot sauce as the alternative and see what happens then.
The Gaudi bonanza started this afternoon with a visit to Casa Batllo - have a quick Google and you'll see what all the fuss is about. A most 'inusual' house with flowing lines and a mix of function, light and colour. I wouldn't mind living there but all the tourists would probably drive me mad after one day. As we were leaving the venue was being used for some official ceremony that involved much shaking of hands and posing for photos with people wearing Chinese-Spanish flag lapel pins. Hmm.
We finished off the day with tacos back at 'our' new favourite Mexican restaurant and congratulated ourselves thoroughly on a) making it to Barcelona and b) staying awake past 7pm. Team Buccas wins again!