I started the morning with a jog down Port Vell to the beach, and may have learned what keeps Barcelonins up so late at night. It is quite possible the residents here stay up all night and sleep through the morning for the sole purpose of avoiding completely naked, fat, old men on the beach. Yes, I can now cross "see fat naked guys at the beach" off of my bucket list. Without any inhibition, on a stretch of beach west of Port Vell, there were dozens, (what seemed like millions) of them.
Afterwards I walked around the Ramblas for a bit, stopped at a bookstore and bought a novela collection of Cervantes. The bookstore was mostly selling Spanish, but had French, English and Catalan sections also. Cervantes is credited with inventing the novel, so the Spanish must have an affinity for literature.
I continued walking (today was a day of much walking) up to Placa de Catalunya, stopping on the way for a coffee and croissant. There was a TV in the café playing American rap music videos, so I asked the barista, "todo la musica esta Americana, por que?" to which she replied something I didn’t understand. At Placa de Catalunya people shuffle about buying balloons and ice cream. It is close to Passeig de Gracia, a main shopping and tourist area. Tired of hoofing it, I got on the metro and rode out to Zona Universitaria.
Following up yesterday’s visit to Parc Guell, at Zona Universitaria I stopped into Parc de Cervantes. Appropriate choice, considering my book purchase. I wandered around the gardens for a while, and was surprised the large area was almost entirely deserted. I stopped on a bench and couldn’t hear the city, and fell asleep for a few minutes while trying to read my new book.
From Parc de Cervantes, I passed by the Metro and walked for what seemed like a hundred miles down Ave. Diagonal, which was peppered with boutiques and cafes. I chuckled at one shop called "American Men," but didn’t stop in.
Earlier in the day someone passed me a flyer for a classical guitar performance, which I had intentions of attending. My afternoon siesta ran a few minutes too late however, so I will attend the performance en Domingo. I had an all you-can eat buffet, which featured tasty spiced potatoes and fresh fish. I walked up and down Las Ramblas, to Placa Catalunya, through the Placa Reial, and El Raval. At one point someone dropped a plastic bag filled with water from a balcony above, and it splashed down a few feet ahead of me. To my dismay, I couldn’t remember how to say “May you be startled by water-from-above yourself, balloon-monger!” in Spanish.
The streets are so old in this neighborhood, its hard to imagine the men who laid the first stones had any idea who or what would be passing through them now. Of course, that’s an obvious observation. I think I would actually like to see the suburbs of this city, so I can make a better comparison of American and Spanish life. We don’t really have any thousand-year-old neighborhoods in Washington D.C. that I know of. Walking through the Placa Reial, where hundreds of people sat at outdoor cafes lining the square, dining and drinking and chatting, I thought how rare places like this are in America.