When we last left our hero (me), she was eating a whole bag of Spanish Bugles. Don’t do this. They don’t taste very good, and they don’t help you feel very good the next day. Still, I managed to get some serious sightseeing done that Sunday, starting with a trip to La Sagrada Familia.
Most people I talked to before the trip raved about the awesomeness of this church, and I agree with them. It was the most impressive thing I saw in Barcelona, so I’m glad we prioritized it. Nicole and I decided to shell out the extra euros for the elevator to the top, which was both worth the money and terrifying.
The view from the top was amazing, but then you had to climb back down to the bottom. I forget how high up we were – the elevator guy told us in meters, which didn’t mean much to me anyway – but it was high enough to scare the crap out of the both of us. The first half of the descent included windows, so you could lean out and take pictures, but the second half was a never-ending, dark spiral staircase (with no railing/pillar in the center, so you could theoretically fall through the hole in the middle to your death). Unpleasant.
Both of us were shaky when we emerged, so we went to the nearest place with recognizable food – McDonalds. Don’t judge. We made up for it later, with gelato in Las Ramblas and tapas (including mussels – yum!) on the water in Barceloneta.
Monday began with a visit to La Boqueria, the market just off Las Ramblas. I got some fresh fruit to eat, plus some raspberry juice. You can get pretty much any fruit you want as a juice in Barcelona, fresh-squeezed and awesome.
Monday also included the first sight of the beach – where, fun fact, you’re not required to wear clothes – along with the first trip to the baller conference hotel.
Nicole had to work that afternoon, so I hung out on my own. I went for a run and then a swim in the Mediterranean. (I floated on my back for the first time ever, which probably only worked because the water is extra salty there.) I headed over to the area near the old cathedral in search of The Four Cats, the restaurant where Picasso first showed his work. I ran into some of the Australians on the street and we got a drink together there.
My day ended with my first pedicure, which was kind of a disaster. The pedicurist did not speak much English, nor had she ever seen a runner’s feet. She eyed my toenail that has fallen off a number of times with disgust, even though I think it is finally coming back in normally. She kept muttering, “Very, very dry. Very dry.” Since my return to the states, I’ve purchased a tub of super-intense moisturizer so I can someday get a pedicure shame-free. (It was relaxing, and my feet looked nice all week!)
I went to bed early that night, because the conference – the whole reason for this trip – began the folloiwng day. To be continued, tomorrow.