11 May 2009

Human Pyramids, Shitting Mimes + Supermarkets of Culture in Barcelona

It’s odd the way things worked out: our first night in Barcelona, LB + I were supposed to stay at Hostal San Medin, but after we showed up, the dude acted like he’d never heard of us. He told us we weren’t on the list even before we could tell him our names. Once both of us had told him our names, he was like no, you’re not here. When I insisted that we’d made reservations more than a month ago, he said he’d never heard of us, and that if we didn’t mind, he was going to walk back upstairs and get back to work, looking at Russian porn on the internet. Okay, I added that last part out of bitterness. LB was really freaked out + I was pissed. I mean, arriving in any city at eleven at night without a place to stay + a limited income is pretty much a recipe for eight hours of homelessness. I mean, sleeping at a train station when you're 21 is vaguely romantic, but when you're in your mid-30's + you have a girlfriend who didn't sign up for that kind of hardcore adventure + you're not even sure you can deal with the shit you went through as a Peace Volunteers 8 years ago, it doesn't look good. Finally, however, we walked—unknowingly—into a five star hotel, begging the receptionist to help us.

We ended up being lucky for two reasons:

One, they had no rooms available, which is good because we would have laid down more than 200 Euros (around 300 bucks), which is more than we spent for the next four nights combined in Barcelona.

Two, the receptionist was simply awesome. She gave us a map of the city, marked three hotels + hostels she knew of off the top of her head, + was genuinely concerned about us, even though we weren't clients of hers. It was amazing. The kindness continued though: after walking to one of the hotels she’d recommended—Hotel Christina—the two receptionists told us they didn’t have any rooms either (this time, it would have cost 115 Euros), but they were also awesome and they called almost ten hotels on our behalf, checking rates + availability. Finally, once things were starting to look really bleak in the non-Hollywood version of bleak, the Russian receptionists told us we could leave our bags in their storage room + then she took us to a hole in the wall (but totally clean + beautifully located) hostel called Hostal Mozart, where the owners, Paraguayos, as luck would have it, let us stay in an room for 40 Euros, which was actually cheaper than at that fucking hostel where that dude pretended he’d never heard of us before.
Our bed was amazingly comfortable + we slept like triatheletes. The next day, we wandered around for a little while before running into Plaza de Gràcia where we discovered a human pyramid demonstration. It was such a stunning piece of serendipity. LB + I are already in Love with Barcelona. I mean, fuck, that was fast.

Our next four days in Barcelona would follow this presage. Even if Barcelona hadn't been so beautiful, it would have been impossible not to love the people in Barcelona: so kind + helpful,
slightly eccentric + unique, so open + approachable, a stark contrast with the cranky, middle-aged women of Madrid.

Here are pictures for the first two days from the Bari Gótic, the neglected Joan Miro Park, (Plaça de) Grácia, La Rambla, Plaça de Catalunya, Passeig de Colom, La Ribera, a few Gaudi apartments, the Boquería Market + a dizzying number of street shots.


leighmckolay said...


i have to tell you what a fucking PLEASURE it is to read about your travels. You two lovelies seriously contribute such a beautiful lil' respite from the drone of my schooling (in what is now my 1,000th year of education). ANYHOOOOOO- big love to you and your gal- She is so sweet (i'll have to meet her someday).


JACKSON BLISS 水と魂 said...


Thanks baby. That's hella sweet of you. It was amazing being able to travel so much for the past month after spending a year in South America + I have to say, it was just as amazing being able to come back to Chicago afterwards + just chill out.

I feel you on being a permanent student. I'm about to go back myself. I'm moving to LA in August with LB, so I'll be a lot closer to you. I'm hoping to get up to pdx sometime in the next year or so if at all possible. I'd love to see you while I'm there.

Give my love to your little boy.


leighmckolay said...


I am going home to Michigan for the summer but will be back in the fall and intend on staying in PDX for at least another couple of years.

so, we will see each other sir!