The first morning waking up in Barcelona, and when I say morning, I mean only technically. It was 2am, I was still on Melbourne time and couldn’t sleep any more. I got out my Mac Book, logged into the hotels WiFi to plan my day. I wanted to search Tripadvisor for walking tours, and I needed to Google a Vodafone location to get a Spanish SIM card. I logged into the hotel WiFi but I couldn’t get my VPN to work, it appeared it was being blocked. Even though I was terrified of cyber attack (God forbid someone should hack my travel blog!) I decided to take a risk and trusted the hotel WiFi, (I’m such a dare devil!), only to discover that nothing is open in Barcelona on a Sunday! I couldn’t buy a SIM card until Monday which meant I had to walk around without Google Maps or the Barcelona Metro app I’d downloaded. I was starting to panic and then it occurred to me that I had become totally dependant on technology. I was instantly disappointed in myself, I had become the kind of person I had always made fun of, like the soft millennial born after the advent of iPhones and internet, who would go into a catatonic state without their technology. There and then I said to myself “Just go get a frigging map and get out there!”
I thought about all the explorers who literally went into the great unknown in an age where well educated people believed if you ventured too far you would either (A) get eaten by sea monsters or (B) fall off the edge of the earth. It must have taken a gigantic set off balls to say “Yeah, I’ve only got this half arsed incomplete map, and I’ve no clue what’s out there, but fuck it, let’s go anyway!” No Tripadvisor, no Google Maps or metro apps for them. I instantly felt ashamed and I vowed to be braver. I booked my walking tour, grabbed a tourist map and headed out. Now, I’m not the cliched map readingly challenged woman, in fact my spacial awareness and sense of directly is generally pretty good, but there is also the “I’m standing in the street wrestling a tourist map, please come rob me” factor. I travelled with a girl once, who refused to pull a map out on the street, either for fear of becoming a target for pickpockets or it could have been the fear of looking like a complete touristy dork. I never found out the real reason why.
It was still only about 8am and the other thing I learned about Barcelona is that they don’t like to get up early, nothing seem to open until about 10am. By this stage I would have pushed my grandmother down a ramp on roller skates for a coffee. I continued to walked the streets in search of said grandma murdering coffee. The only place I could find was on Las Ramblas, the most touristy place in Barcelona. It looked nice enough and I sat down and ordered a latte, (I’m a Melbourne girl), and a ham and cheese croissant. The latte was more like a cappuccino which I could have forgive if it didn’t taste like it had been filtered through burnt socks. Even the ham and cheese croissant was disappointing. The ham had the unmistakeable flavour of ears, snouts and rings. I felt ashamed again as I thought, “I’m sure Magellan had his fair share of shitty meals in the course of his adventure, so I finished my shitty coffee and the snouts and rings croissant, tip the waitress and ventured out to discover more of Barcelona.