Barcelona, Day One

For those of you who don’t want to waddle through the long version, here’s a short sum-up:

Last minute flight change; flight delayed; connection made; VBers on the plane; bus is a no-show; hotel is okay; hotel knows nothing about DC tickets; @AnaTennisGirl rocks; strolling on La Rambla; GRAPES; Xisca; rampaging geese; poopers.

I <strong>had</strong> to buy one.

I had to buy one.

I wasn’t going to blog non-tennis days, but there’s a few tangentially tennis related items here, so…

Got a call 3 hours before I was going to go to the airport from the airline asking me to come in right away – Atlanta was backed up and they thought I’d miss my connection to Barcelona. Panic. Call ride – COME GET ME NOW! Throw all last-minute items into suitcase and hope I haven’t pushed it over the weight limit. Know I’m missing tons of things I need to do (like make my list of phone numbers), but feed the cats and run out of the house when the ride arrives. He takes the “we gotta get there ASAP” thing a bit too seriously and gets pulled over for a speeding ticket. Get to the airport minutes before the cut-off time only to find that this early flight has now been delayed too. Three delays later (two in the terminal and one on the plane), we take off…about 15 minutes before I was scheduled to take off in the first place.

Land, scurry over to other side of the airport, board and see….two ladies from VamosBrigade boarding. Say hi. The plane is nearly empty. Woot! We take off and…I can’t sleep. I get maybe an hour or two of sleep.

Land early, customs is a breeze, but no one seems to know where the “Hotel Bus” picks up. I’m told to wait for the tourist office to open. I do. She says, “Parking/G”. All righty. Off I go. I see Hotel Bus listed on the sign, so I park my tush on a bench. It’s way before I’d scheduled my pre-paid ride since I’d left oodles of extra time to allow for delays and lines at customs. On one driver’s third time through the pick-up and drop-off routine, he’s worried about me and asks who I’m waiting for. I tell him. He’s never heard of it. I show him my print-out. No help. He talks to another lady there. Nope, she’s never heard of it either. He tries to tell me something in Spanish…I’m confused. He very kindly tries again (much gesticulating), but I’m still confused. He offers to call them for me, but I have no phone number since I didn’t have time to make my list. He shrugs and goes back to his job.

I call @AnaTennisGirl to see if she can look up the number for me, she does, but no one’s picking up. Hmmm. By now, it’s past time that they were supposed to pick me up, so I go back in side and get a freaking cab. *sigh* Saw many Copa Davis signs along the street on the way to the hotel. Yay!

Check in, the hotel is nice, but nothing fancy and my room is on a lower floor so the view isn’t good. They also know nothing about my DC tickets. I do, however, want to marry the HUGE tub in the bathroom. It’s perfect. I settle in, wash up and by then @AnaTennisGirl is here. I write a few emails (stupid bus company and tour/tickets company) and we go off.

We were going to go to Park Guell, but the weather was bad and I was tired, so we walked La Rambla a bit and went to the market where I got an intense craving for grapes. Nice fresh grapes. Yummy juicy grapes. Yay, grapes! After roaming around a bit, we stop for a bite to eat at an Italian place that @AnaTennisGirl likes. We have a very tasty meal and then something odd happened. To explain why this is extra funny, I need to back peddle a bit.

A few times in the course of the afternoon, @AnaTennisGirl had said, “Oh! There’s Rafa!” The first time, it meant his picture was in the Nike store front. The second time was when we were in the restaurant and it meant he was on the TV. So, we are sitting there and she says, “There’s Xisca!” I turn around to look at the TV set and see Xisca passing our table heading to the restroom. We were both trying very hard not to laugh and figure out how we could get our check ASAP so we could so a slow walk through the front of the restaurant to see who else might be there. She comes out, we pay our bill and…she was there with some female friends, no hot boyfriend in sight.

Next up, more strolling. I squeeed over all the narrow roads and took pictures. We went to a Cathedral which contained a nativity scene and geese that stampeded when they thought food was imminent. The more wandering about and I see a Christmas market. Hmmm…we walk through looking at all the shiny stuff for sale and I was just about to give up when….Caganers! Heee! Bon Nadal!

So, my day started with a rush and ended with poop and me being pooped. Blister count on feet: 3 (they blister easily). I need sleep and I better wake up to DC tickets!

29 Responses

  1. Natalia says:

    oh, I didn’t know you went in Barcelona! It’s great!

    Have a good time!

    p.s I wish I were there too *sigh* :))

  2. natch says:

    Sooooo…you DIDN’T go up to Xisca and demand she produce Rafa on the spot? You didn’t tell her he was the reason you were in Spain? Aw, Miri, you missed a golden opportunity. ;) Maybe Rafa would have insisted you sit on the bench and rub his shoulders…or other parts…during changeovers, no? ;)

    Alright, srsly, that’s quite a story. Glad you are still in one piece and haven’t fallen to pieces yet. Hope your DC tix arrive. I hope you didn’t get screwed by that internet company.

  3. Sam says:

    So did you see Rafa or not…not sure about your last comment, soz?
    Was Xisca as beautiful in the flesh as she looks on TV (be-atch)?
    Have a great time!!!! :-)

  4. sunset says:

    The nose and the tilted lips are fine but the rest of it? WTF? (I didn’t get to say this-not even once-during the real WTF and want to make up for it.) Anyways, no way to truly capture the hotness of Rafa but still a cute little souvenir.

    Sounds like you are having fun. Go miri and Vamos Rafa!

  5. MJ says:

    What a great report…sorry so much trouble….loooking forward to hearing more tomorrow!!! Vamos Espana!!

  6. glors27 says:

    Miri,
    so great you are in Barcelona, one of my favorite places in the world!
    Don’t miss Parc Guell and if you want to see/feel the real catalan traditions – go on sunday noon till 3pm – in front of the Cathedral and watch the typical catalan dance – sardanas – it’s very interesting and something you won’t see anywhere else.
    my mother was born in Barcelona and don’t miss out on the great food!!
    Eat Canelones, mongetas and butifarra…
    All that and to get to see our wonderful Rafa!! Bon Nadal=Merry Christmas!
    Please keep the posts and on twitter also – We don’t have the games at all on TV here in Venezuela, so please – I’m in your hands…!!!!
    will tennis tv be showing games??

    • Dolcefuga says:

      I usually watch matches on http://www.atdhe.net. Miri posted that site before and have been using that since Shanghai, Paris and the last WTF.

    • miri says:

      I had the dances on my list, but they conflict with the last day of DC matches, so…

      And yes, I knew Bon Nadal = Merry Christmas, but I prefer to think of it as the whole city cheering for Rafa. :)

  7. aRafaelite says:

    atdhe is great – but depends on your broadband speed – mine isn’t always fast enough to cope with some of the streams. Miri also posted a link to the official Davis Cup stream if you want to buy access to all the final matches: http://www.itfteamevents.tv/?WT.mc_id=nadalnews

  8. glors27 says:

    Thanks! I think I will buy access to matches – it’s worth it and I can see them on my laptop at home or work. At home my broadband speed it better – in office too many people on at same time and it gets slow.
    By the way – how can I put a picture up for my name???

  9. Debbie says:

    Glad you are safely there Miri! Enjoy :)

  10. mary says:

    miri sounds like your first day got off to a flying start. You could almost write a novel on the experience. :)
    Hope you got some stuff for your blisters cause you gonna be doing some walking, jumping & screaming!!! Maybe you can go over to camp amarda & fall down infront of them to get some attention. Maybe Rafa can sooth your feet by blowing on them to dry the ointment!!!! *Ole!*

  11. Atch2 says:

    Glad to hear you arrived safely in Barcelona. It must be DC madness and fun there now, like the type of atmosphere you’d get when a grand slam is held in your city.

    And Rafa should be everywhere. Nike ads, Timeforce ads, DC ads, Mapfre ads, Banesto ads, etc

    Cool u saw the pretty half of Rafisca. Shame you don’t have a stalker twin or else you could have sent her off to follow Xisca back to the hotel so you can see the handsome half of Rafisca. Was Maribel in the female friends group?

    The Rafa Caganer is cute. Even the swoosh made it, Nike would be proud. And why is he in the squatting position?

    If you’ve been on your feet the whole day, soak your feet in ice cold water for about 10mins to stop any swelling.

    Have heaps of fun. Hope your seats are with the other Spanish supporters, and not in the middle of the Czech fans.

    • Denizen says:

      Atch2, Rafa the caganer is in the process of defecating. Caganers are truly the weirdest Christmas tradition I’ve ever heard of. Google it!

      • Atch2 says:

        Thanks for the confirmation Denizen. I suspected but hoping it wasn’t true.

        Miri, where r u going to keep this joyous Christmas ornament?

  12. CC says:

    I’m not jealous. Really, I’m NOT. ;)

    Xisca’s as beautiful as Rafa, no? So that’s almost as good as spotting him. Well…almost.

    No bus, no tickets and a hotel room in the basement? WTF, Spain?! You need to sharpen up! ;)

  13. cookie says:

    Miri, I hope the rest of your travels in Spain are much more enjoyable than they were at the beginning! Thank you for posting of your experiences so that others who cannot be there, like me, can live the thrills of the Davis Cup Final vicariously. Few early Christmas gifts can compare to seeing and hearing Rafa in person! And to witness a country’s total love for their (our) champion and the entire Spanish Armada! VAMOS!!!

  14. miri says:

    I guess I sounded like I was complaining – I often do. The trip has been fine so far…a real adventure. All trips should have a bit of adventure to them. Makes for better stories to tell when you get back home.

    Just woke up from almost 11 hours of sleep! So wonderful. Called the ticket place and there is supposed to be a place in the lobby set up after 10am for me to pick up the tickets. So, I’ll hang around the hotel enjoying breakfast and WiFi until then. Not sure what I’m going to do before the matches late this afternoon because I don’t want to get too sweaty before them. Weather looks much nicer out today. Maybe I’ll just go across the street and see what the beach look like.

    • mary says:

      You are having new experiences & that’s gotta be awesome knowing you are in stones throw from the man. Yummmmmm!!
      I figured Xisca was tiny & of course she is very pretty from the pics. Well Rafa was fortunate to find a home girl thats hermosa as well, bugger!!

    • An says:

      It sounds wonderfull there!

      Here in the Netherlands its raining, what its pooring… for weeks and weeks and weeks now…
      I keep saying it, i so wanna be in Barcelona right now…..

      Thanks for letting us join in the atmosphere there, you describe it well! Cheer for Rafa loud this afternoon:) on my behalve too please!

      Have fun.

  15. glors27 says:

    Miri, in what part of the city are you staying at?
    You are near the beach? I’ve never stayed on that side- I usually go toward a part called Eixample where I have family.
    Please keep up the posts – we’re going to live this DC thru you!!
    Enjoy and take care – When you see him remember you must kiss him for each one of us- so it will be mannnnyyyyy kisses…and hugs, and everything else….
    yummy….

  16. glors27 says:

    By the way – he does have a glow – I think he did get a good facial – his skin is like baby skin! He looks gorgeous, but for a tumble with him I prefer the scruffier look…

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