Hola from Espana (insert squiggly n)

Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
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Trip End Aug 15, 2012

Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Saturday, July 28, 2012

We are officially in Spain, as of yesterday late morning.  After bidding adieu to Collioure, we crossed borders and made a quick side trip to Figueres, Spain, where the Salvador Dali Museum is housed.  It was wacky, inventive, and memorable.  Dali actually designed the museum, so you can imagine that each room and display is totally unique.  Took tons of pictures, ate some delicious tapas and cidre for lunch, and then made the drive into Barcelona.  First, Mark and I made a pact that we were not going to fight over directions/driving/anything car-related.  It's stressful enough to drive in European cities, and us bickering over it does not help.  Not that we've ever done that before...
We actually had pretty good directions from our GPS to get us to a parking garage near our bed and breakfast, and made it in without killing anyone on a Vespa, because they drive like maniacal idiots.  After parking and sweating off about 10 lbs. in the 90 degree heat unloading our suitcases, we checked in.  Our extremely gracious hosts, David and Ana, have renovated a gorgeous apartment with 5 bedrooms into a b&b about a year ago. 
After a quick tour and some recommendations, we set off to drop off our car at a much cheaper parking garage about 4 km away.  It was in the ghetto for real, but we finally figured out how to get on the Metro before a gang of hooligans descended on us and stole Mark's flesh-colored money belt.  :)  Just joking.  It was a pretty sketchy neighborhood, but we have felt safe this whole time.  Everyone who hears you're heading to Barcelona always warns you about pickpockets (hold your bag close on the Metro, don't walk through big crowds, etc).  My advice is: don't be stupid.  If you're aware of your surroundings and don't look like an idiot American, you'll typically be mistaken for a local.  And I love that!  Although, when people start speaking rapid-fire Catalan (not Spanish) at me, I have to sheepishly ask them "Si hablas ingles?"  But I digress...
We hopped the train back to Plaza Catalunya, which is steps away from our b&b and the heart of the city.  After wandering through the Ramblas, a pedestrian shopping/tourist zone, we kept rambling on to dinner.  We stopped for a couple of glasses of red wine (1.50euros/glass!!!!) and went to a wonderful little restaurant called Habaluc in the Eixample (another Bcn neighborhood).  Risotto with scallops, sardines on tostadas, roast beef with tarragon butter, and coconut dulce de leche cake.  Sounds miserable, right?  After gorging ourselves, we lazily wandered back to our street, where we stopped for one last drink (or a pitcher of Sangria, but whatever) at a cool tapas bar called Ciudad Condal.  We're heading back there tonight for tapas, because they looked ridiculously fabulous.  Bread topped with millions of things, like cheese, sausages, fish, eggs, peppers, etc.  I took probably the best food porn photo of my LIFE there last night.  See if you can find it.  It's got green pepper on top of jamon.  You're welcome. 
We returned to our b&b a bit buzzed and ready to crash.  Unfortunately, our neighbor had other plans.  Seems the Chinese gentleman of the room is prone to night terrors.  So, as we are getting ready for bed, he is YELLING in his sleep.  Obviously being attacked by something.  At first it was hilarious.  After an hour of his on and off hollering, grunting, and muttering, I got out of bed and pounded on the wall.  That shut him up (or scared him to death).  No more shouting until several hours later, but by then it was almost time to wake up.  Thank God he checked out today, because otherwise I was gonna give him something to yell about!
We had a super busy day today, but I don't have the energy to write about everything we saw/did today.  So, check back again soon and you'll get to hear more about our Barcelona adventures.  Fingers crossed our new neighbor isn't prone to nightmares!

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