It’s appropriate, I think, to read the previous entry to understand that it was the breakthrough. It, the process of writing, such a powerful tool. The moment I closed the lid to my laptop a weight was lifted and now I float with so much more ease. Being in Spain helps. The moment I stepped onto the Barcelona streets I could immediately sense a different energy than in all my time in France. The people here are more laid back and friendly and willing to work out communication barriers (of course I can meet them part way since I hablo espanol un poco). The traffic is not nearly as homicidal. The fear that the French put into me about thieves and pickpockets has me paranoid and hypersensitive, but I have sensed no such vibe even in the busyness of Las Rambles. There are plenty of other more clueless victims walking the streets with much nicer things to steal anyway.
Barcelona is an ancient city with immense, historic, architecturally astounding buildings serving as everyday apartments and businesses. The pillars, statues, and spires had me photo crazy around every corner. The vast heights of stone and brick walls bisected by tiny streets off the main thoroughfares made it feel like you were walking down dark alleys at each turn. Soon, the character of these side streets made them the more appealing routes. The Mercat St. Josep was a delightful and bright expression of a fine street market. Reminiscent of Seattle’s Pike Street, though much less linear. And with a larger variety of dead animals, heads and hooves still affixed. A lift to the top of the Monument a Colom afforded circumnavigatable views of the entire city. (Yeah, I made that word up in honor of the big shot they built this crazy, skinny, tall structure (that you’d be crazy to put a lift in) to, even though he didn’t end up circumnavigating anything). I must admit though, even to those sensitive to what Columbus symbolizes in terms of the disintegration (to put it lightly) of the natives of the Americas, the dude had some major balls to jump in a ship and take such an unknown voyage. Maybe not quite Shakleton sized balls, but… that just struck me while I was standing there overlooking Port Vell.
Another big shot in Barcelona is the eccentric architect Antoni Gaudí. He’s dead now too, but they’re still building his masterpiece and what is Barcelona’s most famous building, La Sagrada Familia. Construction began in 1882 and is expect to be complete by 2020. I might come back then because the 5 massive cranes and colossal scaffolding kept distracting me. I kept waiting to see a cable snap and drop tons of cement and stone onto an unsuspecting, rubber necking, camera wielding, passport toting, penny pinching touron (tourist/moron) below. No, it wasn’t me ‘cuz I kept my distance. There were other highlights in Barcelona too, but I’m in Madrid now. The pre-partying Halloweeners in the hostel have finally left and I might be able to sleep for a few hours before they stumble back in. I had my knife confiscated getting on the train today (which is so lame because it was my favorite camping knife) so I won’t be able to give them the kind of Halloween scare that would shut them up for the rest of the night. That’s what I get for cheaping out on a hostel, but I’ve still managed to spend 100 euros in 24 hours. It’s actually a really decent joint, Mucho Madrid. They provide big fuzzy blankets. I can hear mine now…