I loved Barcelona immediately. I’m not sure exactly what it was about the city that I liked so much (as Kathleen would say, it just gave me “good vibes”), but after the first day it had jumped to the top of my list of favorite cities I’ve visited.
After checking into our hostel, we wandered around in some nearby stores. I was expecting to have to whip out my small stock of Spanish phrases, but almost everyone we ran into spoke a good bit of English. One lady who owned a store chattered rapidly to us in Spanglish, her meaning made clear by her enthusiastic gesturing. Everyone warned us to keep our purses close and watch out for pickpockets, but thankfully we were careful and saw no evidence of them for our whole stay.
One of the main destinations in Barcelona is Las Ramblas, a street lined with shops and stalls. On one side of it we found a great market with stands laden with fruit, candy, meat, fish, and even things like cow tongues and livers. We got gelato, then, as was beginning to be our habit, went back to the hostel to nap.
When we got going again we tried to find a place that a friend had recommended. We searched for a while, then sent Michelle and Becca into this random casino to ask for directions. Morgan and I peeked in the window to see if they had found someone to ask and started cracking up. The casino worker was wearing a ridiculous colonial outfit complete with a wig and painted white face. He came out to point the way and found us laughing hysterically on the stairs. We tried to play it off like we weren’t laughing at him, but he gave us a doleful look that suggested he knew how absurd he looked.
Still laughing, and wondering why a casino would be colonial themed, we followed his directions. We didn’t have any luck, so we headed back to the hostel. The guy that worked at the front desk was playing guitar in the lobby area and invited us to come along with a group to a club, and we decided to go for a little bit.
Nightlife in Barcelona runs a few hours later than in the states, and certainly much later than in London, where most pubs close at 11. People in Barcelona start arriving at the club around 1 in the morning, so it was pretty empty when we got there. When it did fill in more and people started dancing, I realized how different it was from American clubs.
The music was really oldschool, and instead of grinding everyone was just moving around a lot. Some girls were doing something like the mashed potato, while an older lady behind me jerked her arms and legs around in time with the music. Every guy there looked like the awkward guys at clubs that are really into dancing and don’t notice that everyone behind them is making fun of them. It was awesome.
A guy from New Zealand that had come with us from the hostel was doing a kind of back and forth shrug step move. Apparently clubs are the same where he’s from because he seemed surprised when I told him American clubs are way different. I wish our clubs were more like that, though. You could dance however you wanted and know that you wouldn’t stand out at all. We didn’t stay too long, but I was very glad that I experienced it.