Well, if you’ve been waiting with baited breath… you can relax, we’ve arrived here safe and sound :). In some ways it feels like we’ve been here for ages and in others, well, not so much. Like when I try to stammer through some broken Spanish to order food or ask people if they speak English. Sigh, next week I start some intensive 4 hours per day Spanish classes, none to soon I think.
We rented out a nice little flat, key word being little, to stay in until we find a more permanent address. We’re situated in the center of the old town, or Ciutat Vella for the Catalan speakers out there, just off the square (placa) in front of the Catedral de Barcelona, a smaller scale Gaudi masterpiece. It’s about a 10 minute walk to anything in the old town so very convenient. After sleeping off the jetlag our first day here, which involved sleeping for 16 hours almost straight through, we missed Sunday almost entirely. Not much to miss though as the Spanish still uphold the “Holy Day”. It’s hard to do much here on Sunday other than eat out. It’s both quaint and annoying. I’m sure we’ll come to appreciate this slower pace of life…or not.
The past two days have been spent scouring ads for apartments. We saw a few yesterday… some very nice ones in poor locations (ie: not safe) and some mostly nice ones in better locations. The weirdest part is that all three lack proper ovens. They each had an electric hob (stove) and a microwave grill. Yes, that’s right, a microwave that can grill. I hope I never learn what that entails but the market is more competitive than we anticipated so I may have to give up baking while I’m here. A sad reality.
Reducing my cooking might not be so bad now that we’ve learned how to eat properly in Barcelona. Most bars and cafes offer a “menu d’el dia” at lunch time which is a three course meal, plus a beverage, for 8-12 euro. Since it’s civilised in Europe the beverage can be beer, wine, water or soda and it often comes with coffee too. Yesterday I had a lovely fresh salad, a roasted chicken leg served with potatoes and grilled peppers plus an “agua con gas” and a coffee in place of desert for 9.50 euro. This also explains why the Spaniards don’t eat dinner until well past 9pm.
Stepping away to wander the windy streets of the old town some more and check out another apartment. Will post some photos of our wee little flat once the drying rack full of clothes stops taking up about 80% of the available floor space.