Hello from Barcelona, Spain!
August 29, 2008
We finally arrived in Barcelona yesterday morning after an arduous, overnight journey on four different flights. In hindsight, it was quite a trek; connecting in Chicago, then to Washington DC, to London Heathrow then switching in the middle of the night to London Gatwick to catch a 7:00AM flight to Barcelona. We spent the night in the Gatwick airport, on a sofa outside a shuttered Starbucks, reading our travel books and watching bad 80's movies on the iPod (Top Gun).
Killing time at the Gatwick Airport
Even the suspicious by nature immigrations official in the UK asked, "Why wouldn't you just fly to Spain?" He seemed geniunely curious, to which I could only reply, "I don't know". Thinking on my feet and determined to stay out of Guantanamo, I added, "We're flying on miles, and United doesn't fly to Spain." He seemed to be satisfied, and I suppose that he too appreciates how hard it can be to fly for free. Fact is, London is a perfect jumping off point as there are numerous, inexpensive flights to just about anywhere leaving all day from Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton. EasyJet's London - Barcelona flight was $80.
Jessica's "Virtual Suki" traveling companion
Anyway, we finally arrived and were greeted by warm weather, clear skies and impossibly slow baggage service. We got into our hotel around noon. We're staying at the Hotel Arts, built for the Olympics in 1992 to house athletes, but went unused as it wasn't completed on time. The hotel is nice, and its right on the beach. We toasted our arrival with a bottle of cava, then went for a walk down the beach and lunch along the water. The travel, the lack of sleep and the champagne led up to an epic nap.
The Hotel Arts and some giant art piece from Frank Gehry
First dip in the Mediterranean
Thursday night we met up with Julie, Nicole, Lauren and Kerri for dinner and to our amazement went to a few bars and a club. The club was a smokey, crowded and full of colorful characters. We had a good time and hit the hotel back around 3:30AM.
At the Arena nightclub, a smoker's paradise
Barcelona sunset, day one