A little over 2.5 hours later I arrived at the biggest train station in Barcelona, Sants. My friend Victor with whom I would stay for 10 days was on his way to pick me up. We got along very well during our time in school together and so did our parents. So we maintained a long distance friendship and kept in touch over the years.
I thought there would be wifi at Sants, but surprisingly there was not, sigh……I walked all around the train station searching for wifi, but nothing worked. I also walked all around trying to find Victor and could not find him either. I thought “where would be the best spot to be seen?” Literally after 2.2 seconds of critical thinking I was on my way to the main entrance. I knew it would be the best place to spot my curly blonde hair. Forty-five minutes later it was time to turn on my data and suffer the consequences later. Turned out he was pulling up just around the corner and I could see the small red car he described.
In the 7 years I was in Barcelona I went to two schools. I was at Colegio Stella which no longer exists from first grade to fourth and Colegio Montserrat from fifth grade till when we moved away mid-way through seventh grade. I met Victor and the other friends I would see on this trip at Montserrat. Since moving away, I always stay at Victor’s family house when I visit.
Having a great time with his family is literally guaranteed. They are a perfect mix of personalities, talking about all kinds of topics and to me their dynamic is both interesting and entertaining. There’s never a dull moment. I have sat at many other tables and there are very few that are this good because one thing is talking and another thing is having a conversation where you can learn and debate. At the dinner table they talk about all kinds of topics from politics, sports, money, studies… Good stuff.
Victor was finishing up his studies at a University close to La Rambla so on one of my first full days there I decided to go with him. While he was working on a final presentation with his group at the library I walked around since I was curious to see if anything had changed in that area. We later met up for lunch.
I walked several kilometers to get to La Barceloneta which is the old part of town and many tourists go there for the beach as it is the only one close to the center. There are much nicer beaches to the north and south of the city though, but my focus was on a well known bakery located in one of the tight and quiet streets that are characteristic throughout Europe. A couple of times while we lived here my mom brought these croissants after school that were filled with some kind of mango filling and it was the best thing ever. The last time I was at the bakery five years ago they did not have it. They had the typical raspberry, tiramisu, and a few other fillings, but not the mango one. I was hopeful this time would be different.
Nope, not a one. It was a sad moment. Very sad moment. Two raspberry croissants please and see you in five years.
I continued my walk to the beach and since I was close, I walked the entire strip. I even saw a rope pyramid that brought back memories from our early days in Barcelona. My brother and I would climb to the top and down over and over again. It looked so much smaller now than it did then. Good times.
On my walk back I stopped at the temporary F1 exhibit. The event was just a week away and they had a long row of race simulators there too. In recent months I was thinking of eventually buying one of these setups once I have my own place, but shortly after sitting in the comfy seat and the green lights going off, the interest declined, until it completely vanished. I was struggling to finish the race let alone get anywhere near the second to last person. I must say I looked around a couple of times to make sure no one was watching because it was very embarrassing.
Back outside the library in classic Spanish style I waited for an hour and a half before Victor and his friends came out. I had no data or wifi so I was basically a camera on the time lapse setting in human form. I watched people arrive, stay for a little bit, leave, and over and over again. I was surprised at how many people my age smoke. I would see a group come out and just about everyone pulled out their cigarettes. Once they finished they left their separate ways. One group after another. Again I realized that I was and still am an outlier amongst my peers. Staying true to yourself is probably one of the best things in life.
When Victor and his friends finally came out of the library, it was time to decide where to eat. Of all places they could have chosen, Victor and his friends decided to eat lunch at an American restaurant.. I did not come all the way from the US to eat American food, but I am not going to lie, my fried chicken sandwich was the best one I had ever had and yes I have tried many of the popular ones in the US.
Buen provecho y hasta luego.