Better late than never, as they say... ;-)azrhey
and I got up at some ungodly hour in order to catch the bus at 7:00. Seems like we took off a bit late, and missed the city bus going downtown, so I called up a cab. This, in Toulouse, is always an adventure in randomness. In a metropolitan area of half a million inhabitants, at 6:43 in the morning, on a Sunday, of New Year's Eve, no less, there's probably four cabs in town, I would estimate. No such thing as hailing a cab here, if you see one (and really, you never do except at the airport and the very few cab areas), it's already busy. The driver was, accordingly to our rather high level of urgency, the slowest and most indecisive you can imagine. But I must not be in the right head-space for this place, because once we arrived, the bus driver wasn't even there and we really only left at something like 7:20.
Upon departing, the driver promptly took a wrong turn, right in Toulouse, but managed to do a quick recovery. This was better than what he managed when he took another wrong turn in Barcelona itself, oh well. Arrived at Plaça de Catalunya a bit after noon, just in time for some quick luncheon on the plaça.
We walked up the Passeig de Gràcia to head to the Sagrada Familia basilic, seeing crazy houses
and the Weirdo Museum
on the way. One will quickly notice that there is not much carpet in Barcelona: I suspect the architects smoked all of it, sometimes around the beginning of the 20th century, the carpeting never fully recovering after even a century.
The Sagrada Familia is quite impressive. You're probably not considering how impressive it is, but I assure you, it is quite the building. Amazingly huge. I'm not really a religious person, but I'm fairly sure god talked to me there. What he said was "you should get yourself a wider angle lens". Okay, that might not have been god, but still, wow, it's incredibly big. Now, if only they could freakin' finish it so I could take a decent picture (once I get a wider lens, of course!)...
We then took the metro toward the beach. Buying the tickets was a bit funny, because the automated ticket vending machine used one of the classic Mac "alert" sounds. Okay, haha, but it wasn't just at the end when it tells you to get your tickets, no, it's when you press any button
! Toot. Toot. Toot toot. Toot. Toot. And there was a newspaper stand right beside it, the guy working it has nerves of steel, let me tell you! The metro itself is kind of cool, on rails. The first one we took was pretty modern and had fully connected cars, rather neat. The second one was pretty old and was a bit like taking the old TER train, just underground.
Then, the Barceloneta, the most famous of Barcelona's beaches. I had this plan of taking my shoes and socks off, roll up my pants and walk a bit in the sea, but I decided against, mainly because I had no towel. The water was surprisingly warm, though, I could totally have done it (the Crotch Threshold, though, might have been quite difficult!).
We walked along the promenade, toward the Cap de Barcelona
and the Ciutat Vella
. From there, we walked into the labyrinthine Barri Gòtic
, where we found strange things, such as a empty Dunkin Donuts box (proof
!) and a restaurant held by a Québecois, called "Quebec" or something similar (being a wordplay on "what to drink?"), unfortunately a bit too expensive.
A beer and some walking later, we reached La Rambla
, on a search for dinner. We found the Museu de l'Eròtica
instead. After that, walking some more demonstrated that there was indeed a lot
of people in town that night, and they were filling the restaurants. But we found
the Dunkin Donuts!
We eventually managed to get a table in a not-so-cheap restaurant, having crazy sangria and steak. We bought some sketchy Spanish sparkling wine from an equally sketchy street vendor, then headed up to the Plaça de Catalunya for the stroke of midnight. I popped the cork of our bottle high in the sky, a German girl gave us streamers, we cheered with a group of English, and there was rejoicing. I dropped a quick call to a favourite person, then we headed down La Rambla again, where the celebrations kept going.
After a while, there was some sitting in a café, having some beer, where it was getting clearer to me that I didn't drink quite as much as I once did. Whee! Another lesson was that when embarking on this kind of trip, one should take a roll of toilet paper with him. Also, to withdraw more money before festivities kick off (and ATMs are dried up).
Eventually, we went back to bus stop, where the bus showed up after some more confusion and lateness. I was sleeping soundly through the whole thing, but azrhey
tells me the driver got lost again so badly that he stopped to get his GPS device from the holds. Why he was keeping that in the holds rather than with him is up to your imagination...
While I didn't dare bring my DSLR there, some others did, including this guy, who took some nice photos
that give a good idea of the mood. He had been to the NYE party at Times Square the year before, and says "the night was definitely wild compared to NYC and was a nerve-steeling sight to see".