As familiar as Starbucks was, there were still certain challenges to overcome. Ordering was the easiest part, and I am thankful Jesse knew some Spanish words I didn’t, thanks to sweet Juanita at our local Chick-fil-a who had graciously allowed Jesse to practice with her. Apparently I get horribly timid when exhausted, so Jesse dutifully stepped up and asked for instructions on connecting to the Wi-Fi and entering the restrooms. I was so grateful for a traveling partner at the moment since all I wanted to do was hide from all the humans and take a nice, long nap.
I have heard how obnoxious American tourists are, but have always thought the accounts were exaggerated. As we sipped our lattes con hielo and plotted out the trek to our apartment (our host was allowing us to drop off our bags before check-in), a rather large group of English tourists stumbled in. They sat at the table directly across from us, and I immediately wished them gone. They were loud, obnoxious, messy, and took up way more space than necessary. I found their presence overbearing and intrusive. It was like they wanted everyone in the world to hear every. single. thing. they. were. saying. “Hello, I am English! Please listen to me speak! All eyes fixate upon me, please and thank you!” When they finally did leave, they left a pile of rubbish and spilled drinks at their table. I have no idea if this is typical of English tourists, but if Americans are even half as annoying as their British cousins were [to me], the reports are well-earned.
After quietly cleaning up our mess, we headed back down the mostly deserted Las Ramblas, eager to shed our backpacks at our much longed for apartment. Thanks to the Wi-Fi, we felt like we were getting our bearings and got a boost in confidence. We were able to find the street but could not find the correct number or door. Jesse called our hostess and she said she’d be right down. We waited. And we waited. And we waited. But after 40+ minutes, still nothing. I was begin to feel mildly anxious at this point and concerned we had been scammed. The locals must have picked up on my distress, because the employees at the gourmet pizza shop came over and asked if we needed help and what we were trying to find. Reading all the tales of pickpocketing and scams in Barcelona had scared us stiff, so we were quick to decline their offers of assistance and moved further away.
After about 10 more minutes, thinking we may have missed something, we started wandering again. A bit further down the alley, we discovered a street with an almost identical name (Carrer dels Escudellers vs Carrer d’Escudellers Blancs) and learned that Google Maps had incorrectly interpreted the address and sent us to the wrong street. With that knowledge, we were able to quickly find the correctly numbered janky building and Jesse made another phone call. A few minutes later, a head popped out and we were escorted up a creepy maze of stairs and hallways before entering into a tiny apartment. Our host, Ibilola, was very nice and our apartment, though simple and small, was clean.
The short 1/2 mile stroll from Starbucks to the apartment had somehow taken 1.5 hours, so we didn’t arrive until after our check-in time. Rather than pushing on, far too exhausted to enjoy ourselves, we decided to embrace a different part of the local culture and participate in the traditional afternoon siesta (or migdiada, as we are in Catalunya, not España). Maybe it was the jet lag speaking, but that was my favorite part of the trip so far.
As a special bonus, here’s a video Jesse shot on his phone of us walking up to the apartment (at a different time of the day). I am a little sad that we didn’t include the outside door, but oh well. Next time. 😉