Friday to Monday (Nov 10 to Nov 13)

November 13, 2006 at 9:07 pm 2 comments

The weekend started in high gear on Friday night. Quico, a waiter at the cafe we go to all the time, invited us to happy hour at a wine bar in our neighbourhood. We met him at 6:30 at the cafe and walked to the bar. It was a great night where we learned more about Quico and him of us. We had cava and jamon and great conversation. I tried to follow as well as I could and I did manage to get a lot out of it. The whole night was in castellano. At the end of the night, Quico grabbed the bill and would have none of our protests to pay part of it. This myth that the spanish/catalans are cold is so wrong. Read about more of their generosity at the end of this post.

Saturday morning we had to get over to the airport to meet Christine. She was arriving (or so we thought) at 9:55 from Canada via Frankfurt. The 9:55 Lufthansa flight arrived and there was no sign of Christine. We waited until we thought all the passengers had been through and Alex went over to the Lufthansa desk to see if she had missed the flight. Well, of course they couldn’t give out that information. There was another flight at 11:30 from Frankfurt and we waited for that one. Out she came. I was a bit worried because she didn’t have our address but everything worked out ok.

We dropped off her luggage and headed off to Raval for lunch at a restaurant across from Jackie and Sebastien’s place. Of course they joined us in a fine indian meal. Both of them were a bit slow since they had been out the night before but I must say they sure picked up quickly. We walked down to where most of the action was. Raval was having it’s fiesta weekend so there was a lot going on. Live jazz was playing and it was quite good.

We managed to get some tickets for museums so we had to decide where to go. As you can see it was a group effort.

Isa and Jackie looked to see what our options were and finally came up with a plan.

We started walking towards CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) and I was taking photos as we walked. I came across this grafitti which I thought was quite moving.

This was another photo I took while walking. It was a behind the scenes view of the apartments. I found it funny with the white arrows pointing down and the black ones pointing up,

After viewing the photography exhibit we went into the square for a coffee. Everyone was getting tired by this point so after our coffee we started to make our way home

We got up late on Sunday morning and walked down towards Placa Catalunya. Christine was getting hungry so we were going to have some hot dogs at this place in the old city. By the time we got there we found it was closed. Geee, what other place can we go to….so off to Wushu’s we went. Had a great meal and chat with Bradley and Paula.

We left Wushu’s at around 3:30 and walked towards the water. We had free entrance to Museu Maritim Barcelona so we slowly made our way towards it. I have wanted to go there since we arrived in Barcelona and I was finally going to go. The museum itself is in the royal shipyards which were designed as an area in which ships were to be constructed, repaired and maintained, as well as to serve the war fleet of the Crown of Aragon. It was a location at which the galleys were built. It ceased to be a military facility in the year 1745 so you can imagine how old these buildings are. They had many different types of boats on display

and an amazing historical representation of the region’s maritime past. Note the massive arches and space. This is where they built ships. I was amazed.

Some of the boats were very old and extremely well preserved.

Highlights of the museum’s resources include its collections of model ships, nautical instruments, ex-votos, maritime paintings, figureheads, cartography (an extraordinary feature in many respects), the schooner Santa Eulàlia, a historical vessel from 1918 and the replica of the royal galley of Juan de Austria. This is a full blown gally and it is huge. This was the back of it. You can see the oars protruding from the sides.

xxx

You get a better view of the oars from the front.

At the end of the tour was a display of pirate history in the Mediterraenean.

We pretty well called it a day after this visit.

Monday morning Alex and I got up early. Alex to head off to work and I to get to the gym. When I wooke up I realized one of my caps had come loose. I always get extremely anxious when this happens and this morning was no excepetion. I was stressing so I went to the gym and pushed some weights. It helped but I was still preoccupied. I didn’t know whether I should wait until it fell out or get to a dentist before it fell out. Alex called and said she would be home early to go to the market to pick up some groceries and Christine and I went to the cafe for coffee. Kiko was working so I asked him about a dentist. He pointed across the street to the dental school and mentioned that the professors had an office on the first floor. He said to tell them that the cafe sent us. Alex walked by on her way home so we went over to see but they were closed until 4:30. Anyhow, we all went to the market and for sushi and at 4:30 Alex and I went to the dentists. I have to say once more that the people here are amazing. The receptionist had us sit for a bit and then called us into one of the dental rooms. I guess the decision to have it fixed now had been made. Anyhow, two dentists fixed my tooth and said if it happens again to just come back. They didn’t even charge me. Here I just show up out of nowhere with a problem and they took me in without an appointment, fixed me up and didn’t charge. Amazing.

I always maintain that the catalans and castillans are warm and considerate people and actions like this prove my point.

Entry filed under: Alan's Blog, Barcelona, Blog, Day to Day, Friends, Graffiti, History, Museu Maritim, Random, Spain, Website, Wushu.

Interim Post Girona

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dana  |  November 14, 2006 at 3:28 am

    I found everyone that I met while in Spain was incredibly friendly and helpful. I’m also finding the same thing here in El Paso and wonder if it is related to some sort of Hispanic cultural quality. My Mom is visiting me right now and commented today about how nice, friendly and helpful everyone she has met here has been.

    Reply
  • 2. Alex  |  November 14, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    The frustrating thing for Alan and I is that we have to fight against the perceptions other foreigners have of Spanish people. The subject came up in Alan´s Spanish class once and 99% of his class found the local people to be unfriendly, rude and cold. They were surprised at Alan for swearing the opposite was true. They then compromised by saying maybe Spanish people are nice but the Catalans are cold and rude. Again, all the Catalans we have met are wonderful. The friendliest and chattiest guy at the archives is from Valencia.

    A friend who has travelled the world many times over during the past 40 years swears it has to do with how you treat others and how respectful you are of their culture. He´s never had a problem anywhere he´s been in the world.

    It makes me sad when I go to travel forums on the internet and find lots of brits & americans bashing the local people of barcelona as rude & unfriendly.

    Having met many people from spanish america here and in Toronto, I too wonder about the existence of a ¨hispanic friendliness¨. All I know is that it has made me want to continue to study spanish and travel more through this country…

    Reply

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