Monday, June 19, 2006

Good Morning from Barcelona

Good morning USA, I am writing to you from the beautiful Spanish City of Barcelona. So far I have only seen the beauty riding the subway, but as its already 28 degrees and not even noon, I think the beach is in store for the day. If you know me well, you know I love the TV show the Amazing race, well this trip already has convinced me I doubt I am yet cut out to be a contenstant on that, as lugging a heavy backpack around and then having to bungee jump that required a bit more energy than I can see to muster, yet todays travel adventure was about as close to an episode of the Amazing Race as I have experience yet.

Started out with a 3am wakeup call, after maybe 2 hours of sleep curled into a loveseat in the room of the cool Germans who let me stay for free. I didnt want to get into the bed as I knew it would be way too comfy and hard to wake up. In the pitch darkness of night(gosh I actually miss the midnight sun now) went to catch a cab, at the cab stand the guys were sitting around playing cards and said they would call one for me, I was like yeah dont interrupt your high stakes poker game for a measly 5 euro fare, sorry I bother you at 3am. Anyway this former member of the East German swim team pulls up in a 528i Bimmer(I have to say all the taxis overseas are much nicer than our yellow piles of junk) and takes me to the main train station. Just then it starts to rain, first rain i´ve seen in Germany, didnt last long and was able to hide under a covered bus stop. Bus comes to the airport right on time at 405am, I pass out sleeping so no idea of the countryside, but awake at a former USA military base converted into an airport called Frankfurt Hahn, now calling this anything close to Frankfurt is a joke, as its about 100km from Frankfurt, that would be like calling the Islip airport NY East Airport. Anyway does the bus let you off in front of the terminal.. no... it lets you off a nice 400m walk from it, no biggie, I got energy.

Now thankfully since Ryanair operates more than 1 flight from this airport it was well organized and check in was broken up by flight, with 2 lines each. So it was a breeze, checked in, had some breakfast tea and crossiant(I know i´m not in france, whatever..) and passed thru security no breeze, despite having to take off my belt and jeans almost falling down, a result of this nasty alien stomach invasion I picked up in amsterdam. Now Ryanair packs them in on the flight, almost no leg room, if you are taller than 6 feet, whoa be prepared to kiss your knees the whole flight. 33 rows of 6 wide on a Boeing 737. I guess they have to pack them in, since they basically give away all their fares, my airfare for the RT was 2.04Euros(more on that later, taxes are a bitch). Again slept the whole flight, very easy. Got to Barcelona on time, well not really barcelona, airport was in Girona a nice 70km ride outside of Barca. Anyway plenty of scheduled airport busses to take us to Barcelona. Easy ride, more sleep. Now in Barcelona picked up a map, figured out the Metro deal and felt like NYC, when the first train pulled up and it was full of people. My NYC skills managed to squeeze me on and not hit anyone with the backpack, now down to 14.1kg..

Walked a big circle to find the Hostel, but the Hostel is very nice, friendly people, only 20 capacity so not fully stuff. Already was talking to a french canadian guy from Montreal, the world is really a small place..

Warning on flying the european discount airlines, sometimes its the little things you dont see that can cost as much as the big things. My flight roundtrip from Germany to Barcelona on Ryanair was a total of 42Euros(2 for the flight, 29 in taxes, 10 in some aviation levy, 1 in CC fee), still not a bad deal considering a train ticket from amsterdam to brussels is about 30 euros. Yet since Ryanair flights from off market airports that are not connected to germany or other country rail system you have to take busses, and these busses are a monopoly. It will cost me about 10 Euros each way to get from city to airport. So that is 40Euros only in busfare just to get to airports for these flights at ungodly hours.. This is the fine print you dont read or know when you jump at the offers you see on their webpage of flying anywhere in europe for 2euros roundtrip.. Alright, off to see this great city, no time to rest, sleep when i´m dead.


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