Traveling Europe can be an adventure. But traveling Europe alone is something else entirely.
This summer I spent two months in Europe, however, Barcelona was the first city I went to alone. I had no idea what to expect and I honestly didn’t know much about the city. The main reason I decided to go was to see a concert of one of my favorite bands, Taburete. So, as my plane landed at El Prat, the nerves kicked in.
I went into Barcelona with the mindset that I could “wing it,” so I had nothing planned except where I was going to stay the first night. With that being said, I had no idea how I was going to get from the airport to the city. I didn’t know if there was a bus or a train or if I needed to call a taxi. As I tried not to panic, I sat down and ate a strange sandwich and began searching for information about Barcelona.
Better late than never, right?
Unfortunately I didn’t find any useful information on transportation so I decided I would just go outside and see what everyone else was doing. I began walking down the sidewalk to what looked like a bus station and I saw a line with probably a few planes worth of people. I went to buy a bus ticket anyway and the machine was, surprisingly, out of service.
I turned around in irritation and a little fear and I noticed three guys with matching backpacks, tall white socks, speaking English and with a familiarity that I couldn’t quite place. Definitely American. Definitely frat guys, right? Well, I was close. They were engineers from Georgia Tech on the last leg of their post-graduation vacation.
I’m not afraid to make new friends so, I walked right up to them and within minutes we were sharing a taxi to La Boqueria which is a fresh food market in the middle of Barcelona. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, or smelled. There was an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies, but also a large number of dead fish and animal carcasses that I assume were intended to be someone’s dinner. We all grabbed a quick snack as we made our rounds through the market and quickly decided we wanted something a little more…appetizing.
We found a little place on the corner and ate some interesting food. Then we began our trek through Barcelona towards their Airbnb. We came across a park called Plaça Catalunya which was crawling (literally) with pigeons. They were swarming our feet, flying at our heads and basically terrorizing all of the tourist for the crumbs being scattered on the ground by locals. I’ve never seen so many grown men so afraid of such small creatures simultaneously. We were all carrying heavy backpacks so we eventually ran out of energy and parted ways.
Then began my own adventure to my hippie filled hostel on the hill.