Today we flew to Barcelona for lunch! OK, while this is technically true, it sounds ridiculous, so let us explain. As part of Hirsh's continuing battle to find the lowest possible fares from A to B, we ended up having an 8 hour layover in Barcelona on our way from Marrakech to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We could have booked a more direct flight with a more manageable layover, of course, but we're Sandesaras and we love a good value.
We both adore Barcelona, having visited briefly with our families in the past, so we were excited that our unfortunately long layover happened to be in this beautiful city. Since we had previously done the city tour and seen La Sagrada Família, we were free to enjoy our favorite pastime of eating! After storing our luggage in the airport for a fee that amounted to highway robbery (€10 per bag!), we took the bus to the heart of downtown. It dropped us right at the end of Las Ramblas, the famous shopping and dining boulevard. TripAdvisor came to the rescue once again, and we found an excellent restaurant called Güell Tapas, just off Las Ramblas. We stuffed ourselves with paella, tapas, Barcelonan creme brûlée, and a giant pitcher of sangria.
The sangria really hit the spot on this warm, sunny day, but we had a little too much of it. We stumbled--or "rambled"--back up Las Ramblas and stopped at Placa Reial, a beautiful square along the way.
We walked through the Boqueria Food Market, one of the largest and most famous food markets in Europe. We were so full already, but couldn't resist the freshly squeezed juices for €1 per cup.
And then we had to head back to the bus stop. But first, a detour to one of the largest and most impressive Sephora stores we've ever seen!
Our flight from Barcelona to Dubrovnik was easy, taking only 2.5 hours. We landed at around 10pm and because the airport is a good distance from the city, took the inexpensive shuttle bus instead of a taxi to town. We thought we had communicated clearly (in writing, no less, so no potential accent/language barrier) with our Airbnb hostess that we would take the bus to Pile Gate (the main entrance to the old town), then catch a taxi from there for the short ride to the apartment. As the bus cruised along toward the heart of town, some crazy lady flagged it down along a busy road and the bus driver stopped. She boarded the bus and started yelling out, "Apartment Maria?" You know, she had our names in the email and wouldn't it make more sense to call out our names, or "Airbnb," or "Americans," or five other more logical things? It took a good 30 seconds or more for us to connect the dots and figure out she was looking for us. Thirty seconds may not seem like a long time, but when a crazy lady has stopped a bus full of tired and irritated passengers and a confused driver, it is. We were mortified to realize she was our Airbnb hostess, and she had decided to stop our bus and publicly humiliate us so she didn't have to wait any longer than necessary. She also essentially called us idiots for not reading the email properly. Not only that, but our bags were stored under the bus on the side facing the middle of the road, so the bus driver was pretty ticked to have to risk his safety to open the luggage storage door and pull them out in the middle of traffic.
This was our introduction to Croatia, where we've decided that their very different communication style doesn't necessarily mean Welcome to Croatia, F you, although it often feels that way. We presume Croatia's beauty will more than make up for it!