Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good things come to an end, Part II.

On our last morning in Barcelona, the beginning of the last day of our great European adventure, Ms. D and I decided we had one last "tourist attraction" in us. We decided to pay the 16.50Euros to go inside the Casa Batllo. It really was incredibly cool to see. I guess it's hard to imagine what it was like with all the furniture in there and people living their every day lives. But I think it had to have been pretty wonderful! The whole thing is so organic, every wall swooped and curved, and really, there isn't a straight line to be found. Add that to Gaudi's devotion to building in good air circulation (the doors all had grates so air could flow from room to room) and you've basically got my perfect space.

We wandered a bit, did a last round of shopping (D finally found herself an extremely flattering new coat), and sat down to another fantastic tapas meal at the restaurant we had started at the night we arrived. It was so good we had said we'd love to get to try it again, and we were all pretty pleased that we managed to make it happen. After lunch CF headed back to the apartment for a nap, he left me with the map he had been holding and reading all week and told me to be careful. I really had wanted to do a bunch of Christmas shopping, but everything I encountered had been made in India and therefore didn't make a great gift from my current travels, so I didn't feel like it was worth the Euros. So instead of shopping I just took myself for one last walk. Sometimes I still can't believe that a little girl from Davis can find herself strolling through unfamiliar European neighborhoods. The sun was starting to go down, I spotted the Arc de Triomf and realized I was closer to home than I was to a convenient metro stop. So I settled on walking home with all the other people of the city, I still love that I can slip into so many people's worlds, just for a moment.

The day we had arrived here the odd little man who checked us in had told us about the "Magic Fountain" that danced to music. He said so many tourists were there snapping flash photos of it you could barely see it, but he also said a whole lot of other things that we weren't quite sure what to make of. That was Sunday night, and we're pretty sure the music show only happens on the weekends. We read up some info in our books and CF, D and I decided to head back out on one last adventure. We took the metro back to very close to where we had been the day before and then took a different line to the other side of Montjuic. We came out onto a scene unlike any we had witnessed in this city all week. There were hoards of tour buses, and tons of people all around. Up on the hill behind the fountain was the National Museum, and it was lit up rather brilliantly. One thing D and I had been bothered by all week was the lack of good lighting of monuments and sights at night. But here we were finally presented with fantastic lighting and a lovely evening setting in the city. We went all the way up the museum and back. There were people all over, everyone keeping an eye on the fountain. But alas, we had the time wrong, I guess it was still on the summer season schedule for some reason. It was going to be another hour before the darn thing would dance! We laughed it off, knowing we had to get home and pack. Some last hurrah!

We went back to the metro and heard a train pulling in. D and I ran and told CF to hurry up. We just made it! What fun! Until one stop later we realized that we had jumped onto a train going the wrong direction! Too funny. We had another good laugh and rode to the next stop after that where we were actually able to transfer straight to a line that would get us pretty close to home. As we walked from one line to the other (transfers can be quite a ways apart in Barcelona metro stops) we walked past one of the most talented street musicians I had heard on the trip. CF turned and looked at me and gave me a funny smile. Later I would think to ask what the smile was for, and it turns out he was thinking exactly what I had been thinking. In a strange little way I was happy for the metro mistake, that way we got to hear the music.

Back at home I sat down to work on catching up with this blog, the others prepped our leftovers to eat. Everything we had was just what we hadn't finished over the past couple days, but it was yet another great meal. We drank a bottle of red wine between the four of us with dinner, and us three younger travel buddies decided we hadn't quite had enough so CF graciously went out and found us one last bottle of cava. I made sure to round up the photos from the digital cameras in the group. It was fun to look back over the past couple weeks. I seem to be stuck on my arty landscape shots so I love seeing everyone else's people shots. Even the bad ones of me making a silly face with my camera pressed to my eye. PZ was online back at home and he asked if CF was finishing off bottles of liquor since it was the last night of our trip. I told him it was ended much more mellow than that. I guess it wasn't a huge last hurrah, but I think it fit the three of us very well. We were all satisfied with our travel experience, with our friendships, and with quiet company one last night (before the next trip, of course).

It was midnight, but I felt wide awake. I had to get up at 5am to get ready for the airport, but since I was clear headed now I decided to pack. I unzipped the pop-up expansion on my suitcase just to make the job easier. I hadn't really collected a lot of physical objects on this journey. Around 1am I finally laid down, and I got four beautiful hours of sleep.

We all got up early, actually had time for some coffee and finished off yesterday's croissants, and we headed out on to the still dark street to flag down a cab. It wasn't too hard to find one. As we drove to the airport I noticed bits and pieces of the city that I had seen during the week but hadn't really realized how they all fit together. The sun was raising, but a huge moon was still visible in the semi-cloudy sky. On a hillside just outside of the city we saw a beautiful looking cemetery with flat, glossy surfaces of some kind reflecting the light and sparkling. It's amazing, we had spent what had felt like more than enough time here but there really is always more to see.

We got the airport, failed miserably at finding any decent food to grab for the plane, parted ways with D and her mom (I saw them boarding their Amsterdam bound flight) and just a little bit later we boarded our flight and the journey home began.

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