My second morning in Barcelona I managed to sleep in until 6am, still considered too early by any self respecting Spaniard (or Catalonian), to be out yet. As I learnt the day before most places open around 10am. I tapped out two 600 word blogs and started Googling places for breakfast. It seemed the Catalonians are like Hobbits and have a first breakfast which usually consists of a coffee and a small pastry, or more traditionally, a hot chocolate into which they dip churros, their version of donuts only better. Some time after that, there’s a second breakfast/brunch. This amazed me, I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t all fat diabetics, but, it seems to work for them.
I couldn’t wait until 10am and found a cafe called the Milk Bar that not only opened at 9am but served bacon and eggs. It was still only 8:30am and I walked by just to check if by some miracle they might be open. As I wandered down the narrow almost deserted alley ways I thought please God don’t let me be mugged, at least not before breakfast. I found the cafe and peered inside. A couple of staff setting up completely ignored me in typical Spanish style, so I trudged off for a couple of laps around the streets to bide my time. The Gothic Quarter, you can imagine is not built on an efficient grid system, you can’t just turn corners expecting to come back to where you started. I was sick and tired of stopping every 20 seconds to pull out my crumbled tourist map, and I didn’t want paint a target on my back saying, “I’m a lone, lost tourist in these narrow, deserted alley ways so come rob me”. I tried to look like a local, walking with purpose as if I knew where I was going. I looked up at the top of the builds to see where the sun was to get my bearings, I was like a Navajo scout, and to my amazement I managed to find my way back without once looking at my map. It was 9:05am, I tried the door again which was sadly still locked, apparently their opening hours were more a guide line than a hard and fast rule. I peered inside again hoping the staff would notice my pathetic, hungry face, take pity on me and let me in, but I was getting nada. I stomped off for another lap around, returning at 9:15am by which time they decided they were open.
One thing I notice about Spanish customer service is that they get to you in their own sweet time, and until then, they will not so much as acknowledge your existence. I didn’t mind so much as when they did get around to serving me they were nice and friendly. I had my eggs Benedict and two coffees which were delicious. As I sat there nursing my second coffee, (how shall I say this), the coffee and eggs kicked in and I decided I’d prefer the privacy of my hotel bathroom. I tried to catch the one of the four staffs attention who were looking everywhere else but my direction. I started with a little wave which grew bigger and bigger until I must have looked like I was trying to guide a Boeing jet to its gate. Thankfully crisis was averted and I managed to pay and get back to my hotel. I had no hard feelings towards the staff, they were very nice and I realised it’s just their way. It might seem strange to me but I’m in their country and I can’t expect it to be the same as it is at home, otherwise what’s the point of travelling if you don’t what to experience different things.