9 May 2010 – Arriving in Barcelona, Exploring La Rambla

Our Delta flight arrived in Barcelona a little late because of volcanic ash delays, and we couldn’t find the Tauck guy for quite a while, but finally we saw him.  He gathered up another couple and a mother-son combination and headed for Le Meridien Hotel. When we arrived, we were told that checkout time was noon,

Shawerma with real sliced lamb

and that we should come back at 2:00 PM.  Teresa and I headed across the main promenade, called La Rambla, for lunch and had delicious Shawerma at the Pita Inn.  It was made with real sliced lamb, not the beef or ground meat we get in San Diego.

La Rambla had all sorts of buskers in fantastic costumes.  Two ingenious transformers, a separated body and head, two beautiful

A Las Ramblas creature

angels (she tapped me on my head when I gave her a coin),  and a 3-box shell game (He gave me a 50-euro note to get me started.  I didn’t bite.).  I tried to get my Garmin GPS navigator (Miss Nüvi) to find satellites, and it didn’t work for the longest time, until I went into a wide open square.  Using it for walking is not that easy, but when it does work, it leaves a green track so you can see where you have been walking.

I needed to get some Euros, and I couldn’t get the first machine I tried to work, so I went to an exchange booth with $100 in one hand and a debit card in the other.  I indicated that I wanted to know which would give me the better deal.  The guy started off with, “Well, to be honest…”, and I figured I was in trouble.  What I think he said was that the rate would be the same but there would be an additional 10% charge for using the card instead of giving him cash.  So cash it was.

Two Barcelona Angels

Teresa and napped until about 5:00 PM and then headed down to meet our tourgroup at 6:15.  They were a nice bunch of people.  We learned that the airport had been closed yesterday an hour after we landed because of a new volcano dust cloud, and that two

One of the many sights on La Ramblas

couples were still missing, with no word from one of them.  I’m sure glad we didn’t know that yesterday, before we arrived.  Our guide for the week is Patricia Hunting, who seems quite pleasant.

For a mixer, we were given the job of finding another couple so we could give them their “whisper” units we’ll be using all week.

Our first dinner

We had dinner with Casey and his mother, Anne, and Barry and Kathleen.  He’s a physicist, and an interesting person with whom to discuss cosmology.  She worked at Los Alamos, too, in the security department.  Casey’s mother is a financial adviser and so is her daughter.  Casey is working towards a Master’s degree and work in sports psychology.  We had a good time at dinner and the wine flowed freely.  The dessert was amazing.  It was described as Catalan crème caramel, chocolate jelly, & lemon sherbert.  I was sherbet floating on liquid custard with a rich chocolate “glob” at the bottom.  It was perhaps the best dessert I have ever had.  Or maybe it was the wine.  As a matter of fact, the wine flowed so freely I abandoned my plan to shower that evening because of our early start, and went straight to bed.

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2 Responses to 9 May 2010 – Arriving in Barcelona, Exploring La Rambla

  1. Jennifer says:

    What’s a “whisper unit?” Spanish food is delicious but I’m a sucker for some good shawarma too! More photos!

    • jfistere says:

      It’s the brand name of an audio system in which the guide speaks into a mike, and everyone hears it in their earpiece. The concept has been in use in museums for years, and it is becoming more popular for outdoor groups. Much better than crowding in to hear a guide shouting, but not loud enough. Plus you get to wander around a little and you don’t miss anything. More pictures coming.

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