August 21, 2008

I have a home!

My first bar in Gracia, in what I think is Plaza del Sol.

Just one of MANY quaint streets here in my new neighborhood.

Decorations for the Festa de Gracia – butterflies!

Well, well, well here I am in the neighborhood of Gracia. MY new neighborhood. I couldn't find an internet cafe where I could plug my computer into and found a company that has wireless BUT they do not service Macs so I wandered and wandered until I found a most adorable plaza and a guy typing on a laptop at a table at a bar. Outside! I asked if they had Wifi and this cafe does, he gave me the password and I am in! Despite having to breathe in the smoke from the table next to me, it is worth it to be a) outside b) online and c) drinking a beer. I think this might be my regular spot!

So, I didn’t wake up until 12:30 today which I was oh so happy about considering I was up for so long yesterday (seriously, it might have been one of the longest days of my life) and then after going to bed at 10pm, ended up being wide awake at 2am until 4:30 or as some of you may know because you got emails from me. I figured staring at my Mac might help make my eyes drowsy; which it did.

After a great night’s sleep and sitting on my suitcase to get it closed again, I checked out my hostal, told the kind woman who worked there that I would be taking off for my apartment in Gracia and said “gracias para un buen noche primer en Barcelona” (thank you for a great first night in Barcelona). I had 40 minutes to kill before coming to Gracia to meet my new flatmate, Andrea (a 30 year old German girl), who would be coming home from work to let me into the flat. To take some time and to wake me up, I sat at an outdoor café and attempted to order an iced coffee. Either they don’t sell iced coffee in Barcelona or I haven’t figured out how to order it yet as this was my second time trying to order it and second time ending up drinking hot coffee. But oh, was it good.

From there I got in my first taxi here and ended up at the correct destination; each time I use Spanish and have the other person understand what I am saying I do a little victory dance in my head. See guys? My Spanish podcast of the past 7 months paid off!

I lugged my heavy suitcase up four flights of stairs (Matt, you know how heavy that is considering you are the only one aside from the workers at Aer Lingus and my taxi driver who have lifted it), which was no small feat and I have considered it my exercise for the day, and now here I am in my new flat! It is a great space and my room isn’t as claustrophobically small as the other flat I looked at yesterday. It’s a tad loud (which Andrea had warned me about but I told her I have lived in midtown Manhattan so I would be okay) but other than that I love it (aside from the fact that there is no internet access). I am all unpacked and the only issue I had was that I blew the fuse plugging in my DreamMachine to the adaptor my parents gave me and now it is dead (those who have lived with me know that I have had that little clock radio since the 5th grade...Mom & Dad, don't feel bad. I think it was time for the DM to go). The location is incredible; right in the center of Gracia.

This afternoon I walked around and used Spanish and bought bath towels and an apple.

Gracia is a part of Barcelona that actually used to be its own town within the city. It has lots of little squares and side streets that connect to each other in a grid formation with great shops and restaurants at each turn. The buildings are of course amazing with their attention to detail on the railings and facades. In fact, just looking out of my bedroom window I see a turquoise floral relief pattern on a light coral concrete (I’ll send pictures later). Gracia just makes me happy walking around and I hope this is something that doesn’t wear off. There is lots of exploring to do! Tonight, as I mentioned is the last day of the Festival and I am definitely going to check out the fire throwing and concerts that will be right outside my door.

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