After a long overnight train ride, we arrived in Barcelona early in the morning. VERY early in the morning. Too early to check in to our hotel and we were too tired to really play the tourist. So we wandered around a bit and watched the city wake up. This was our first time in Barcelona and I have to say this was the first place we visited on our trip where I could actually picture myself living. The liveliness, the food and wine, the architecture, the proximity to the sea... it all combines into one fun place to visit.
So once we were able to check in and after a bit of a rest, we got down to business. The business of eating tapas and drinking wine that is!
We only had a few days in Barcelona so we limited to hitting the highlights. We orientated ourselves to the city by taking a walking tour through the city center/gothic section. We saw beautiful churches, interesting gargoyles, and various details that only seem to be found in European cities.
When researching flights from South America to Thailand, the cheapest option that came up flew from Lima, Peru to Madrid, Spain and then to Cairo, Egypt before finally landing in Bangkok. It wasn't the fastest way to get to Thailand, but Tom and I got excited about the opportunity to see Spain and Egypt for the first time so we decided to go for it although we knew it would mean a fast-paced couple of weeks of travel.
In Spain, we decided our priority was to see Barcelona so we only had a day in Madrid before taking a train to Barcelona and then another day before our plane took off again. So we didn't have much time in Madrid, but we decided to make the most of it by eating and drinking as much as possible!
It wasn't off to a smooth start, however. We knew that Spain would be expensive but when we looked up how much hostels would cost we definitely got some sticker shock. So Tom just ended up booking the cheapest spot. I asked him if he looked up how far it was from the city center... and I didn't get a response. I should have known then the trek it would take to get there! After the long flight from S. America, we then hopped on a subway, and then another subway, and then another subway. When we finally emerged from the subway 2 hours later, I saw... fields, trees, and wildflowers. Very pleasant, but it didn't slightly resemble a major city! We then boarded a bus to our hostel, arrived at a mall, and then realized we went the wrong way on the bus. Finally we arrived at the correct bus stop and then had a 10 minute walk to the hostel. 3 hours later we arrived! To say the least, we were both grumpy, tired, and did I mention grumpy?
Besides hitting up the tapas bars in the La Latina district the first night, we made the most of our limited time in Madrid but doing a self-guided walking tour and visiting the Museo del Prado (for free!). Here are some pictures of our walk: