Sunday we got up early and walked 45 minutes to Park Guell – my idea. Zach repeatedly reminded me that it was my idea to do so. It was a bit steeper than I had imagined… oh well. We wondered around Park Guell a while and annoyed by the masses of people eventually left to find the book market.
Initially we had no idea where the book market was located. Frustrated and hungry we sat down in a park to eat our packed lunch of salami, bread, cheese, and peaches. Renewed with energy we found the book market only to discover that there were very few English books available. It was quite disappointing. We left and camped out in a cafe, reading and drinking cold sodas to relax for a few hours. We had found a list of cinemas with independent and original language films. The film we chose, Mothers and Daughters, was an American film with subtitles in Catalan. When we left the theater we strolled over to Palau de la Musica Cataluyna to admire the building, maybe hear some music. The concert didn’t start when we expected and we were starving so we walked down the block to a Mexican restaurant and had dinner. It was great – a little different than home, but still tasty.
Instead of going back to the Palau we sauntered through the Gothic district down to the beach for the Buskers Festival, an outdoor music fest where the bands play on the street for tips. We moved from band to band and ended up on the boardwalk where we enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Monday was beach day! We got up and headed to the beach around 10. We chose to go much farther down the beach than the very popular (and incredibly dirty) Barceloneta. It was perfect. When we arrived around 11:30 there were few people out and we chose a spot right by the water. We had stopped at a small grocery store on the way to pick up snacks and lunch foods so that we could camp out all day. It was glorious. The water was cool and refreshing; the sand was free of trash and debris. We stayed out there until around 6:30pm then began our long trek back to the hostel.
We cleaned up and then did a little research for our final dinner in Europe. I had one particular tapas place in mind, but it turned out to be quite far and since it was closing in on 9pm we didn’t have the time. We found another place online – family owned, small, no menu – and decided to go there. We. Couldn’t. Find. It. So we ended up eating at a neighborhood joint down the road from our hostel. It was definitely not a tourist restaurant and we were a little lost on what to order, but it turned out fine. We had patatas bravas, gulas con gambas (baby eels & shrimp), a cheese thing, and a slice of cheesecake. So much for the fancy dinner I had in mind…
And that was how we spent our final night in Europe. In many ways it was a fitting end to this long journey. We didn’t always know where we were going, we didn’t (ever) know the language, many times we didn’t know where we were sleeping, but we learned to be flexible, to use the knowledge we had, and to embrace the situation for what it was: an experience. So now we embark on the final part of our journey. We have an 8.5 hour flight to Philadelphia, then a 4.5 hour layover, and finally a 3 hour flight to Dallas. Here we go!