April 5

Our train’s departure was set for 10:30 so we were able to take our time waking up, showering and packing for Barcelona. We took the metro over to the Atocha Station and got to our train with no trouble at all. The high-speed train was incredible. It had speeds that reached just short of 300 km/hr. (about 186 miles an hour). The train was very enjoyable except there were about four kids within four rows of us that were making a lot of noise.

We pulled into Barcelona’s train station a little past 1:30. We caught a taxi to our beautiful hotel near the coast called the Hotel Fira Palace. Our room is huge and complete with a mini-fridge and high definition television. We got unpacked pretty quick and decided to start exploring. We took the metro to the Plaza de Catalunya (the city’s main plaza) and started down a mile long pedestrian walkway called Las Ramblas. It was so cool. There were street vendors, musicians and entertainers everywhere. Las Ramblas finished by the water at Port Vuell.

We didn’t see any good restaurants that particularly struck our interest so we decided to cut through a neighborhood and see if there were any right on the Mediterranean. We stopped at a delicious restaurant called Restaurante de Salamanca. My parents had a vegetable paella and I had a steak that was about the size of two of my heads. It was out of this world. I didn’t realize how hungry I was; I ate the entire thing.

After we finished, we walked back toward the center of the city. There were men setup everywhere selling fake Prada, Burberry, etc. bags that actually looked very real. We were wondering why they had a rope tied to all four corners of their blanket that they had lying on the street. Then we saw two cops pull up and we figured out quick. The men yanked the chord and hoisted the bag over their shoulders and scattered. It was funny to watch all of them scatter.

We walked back into a gothic part of town and stumbled on the Cathedral. It was a gothic Cathedral that is very dark and cold but it was so beautiful. The ceilings were so impressive. After we went through the Cathedral, we stopped at some stores as we made our way back to the metro. After we got back to the hotel, we hung out until it was time for our 10:00 reservation at a restaurant a block away from the Hotel called Las Rias de Galicia.

I got a little brave and decided to order blindly without knowing anything about my dish; It was monkfish with shrimp and clams. I really enjoyed it but was jealous of the huge filet of Veal that Dad had. We enjoyed some wine and talked for a while before we headed back to the hotel. I went to bed shortly after we got back.

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