Barcelona – A Depressing Jewish Tour

We start the day in a pretty standard way.

We wake up and get on our way as we make our way in to Barcelona to explore the city.

We start the day by fixing our marriage. Yeah, thats a bit of an exaggeration, but we have been tossing up whether we will make our way to our friend’s wedding in Orlando, Florida, or not. I am of the opinion that we should have a bit of a game plan, but Bec was of the opinion that we should just wait to see if things were going to work out with the plan on our mate’s end.

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Neither of us could see the other person’s point of view, even though we both had equally valid points and reasons for rationale.

So, we start the day nice and slow with a coffee and a selection of baked goods, while we make our amends. It always baffles me at how easily situations can be resolved when two parties are willing to see each other’s point of view.

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Our first point is to see the Sagradia Familia. We are staying only a 30 minutes walk away from the internationally renowned cathedral, so we just meander our way to the landmark. We begin to see the pointed tips of the cathedral peer around of the neighbouring buildings, with it’s immense intricacy and intentionally semi-rugged look to it. This is one of the few locations that people have said that we utterly have to head inside to see for ourselves.

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We look for the entrances, and discover that the entrances are barricaded and people are checking tickets. As with everything in Barcelona, all the attractions, you have to pay to even get a look in. We figure that it may be worthwhile us having a good look at this, so we head to get the tickets, only to discover that they are all sold out for the day.

Super not ideal, so we decide to admire the place from the exterior.

We wander around the corner, and see that there is this exhibition on display. There is a mixture of photography, oils and metal sculptures. Bec and I have been keeping our eyes out for art that we might want to take back home. The only issue is that we have a champagne taste, on a beer budget.

Actually, not even that. We’ve got a champagne taste on a bore water budget.

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We head along the streets, as we do, hopping into all the stores that tickle our fancy and looking for the thing that we might be willing to push the edge of the budget to acquire. There are blokes busking out the front of churches, and women with dogs that don’t understand that when they are all dolled up, the young pets should be playing the game instead of giving up on the walks.

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It is mid arvo, and we decide that we should check out if there are any tours on. As mentioned before, they are a really great way to be able to get a better appreciation for the city. Once you go on a little tour, you get a little more insight into the culture of the city and why it has been shaped into becoming what it is now.

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We find some wifi, and find that there is a tour happening in the next few minutes, and we are a good 5-10 minutes away. The only tour that is available is this gothic tour. I mean, Barcelona is kinda spread out, so the tours run throughout sections of the city.

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We run into the square, right next to the church, and run around trying to find anything that resembles a tour group. Finally, in the corner of the square, we join our herd. The bloke leading the tour is obviously jewish. We get the tour underway, and we learn about a lot of the really old history of the place. Most of it is depressing,

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But some of the stories are comical, with stories like how the king paid to have a special walkway built connecting the castle to the church, so that he didn’t have to associate with the peasants and catch a deadly disease, like fleas or something. This king was a real knob too, I mean he didn’t like how his castle couldn’t see the ocean, so he extended the height of one of the towers, so that he could get a tidy view of the waterfront.

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We walked past this one wall of an old church, and the gargoyles are hanging over the edge. Our guide pulls us together and asks us what they’re called. Naturally, we tell him “Yeah. Its a gargoyle”
“Good! Good. Do you know where it got it’s name?”
*everyone pondering how to escape this verbal trap*
“Ahhh… Nope”
“What sound does water make when it is going down a drain? It sounds like a gargle no? Doesn’t that sound a lot like the name, Gargoyle?”

Everyone’s jaws drop in amazement.

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He goes on to explain that the gargoyles were actually a really fancy-looking drainage system, and when the water would run out of the gargoyles, they would make a gargling sound, naturally, which gave them their name. Not as mysterious as you would expect right?

We wrap up the tour, and most of the tour endings are pretty ok. I mean, there is always that awkward moment when the tour guide for the free tour has to spring on the guests of their free tour, that they kinda don’t want to do the tour for free, despite it being promoted as a free tour, for people who wanna go and do free stuff.

This was one of those moments.

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I mean, he was as graceful as someone could possibly be about it, and says to us all “So, now you can just pay what you feel the tour was worth”
I look at Bec, because I know that we haven’t even factored this in for the budget, and I am very much an all-or-nothing kinda guy, so if I go to give the dude some $ for the tour, I don’t wanna insult him with a few coins or anything, plus I want him to know that the tour was actually pretty decent.

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Bec is way better in these situations, and regardless of being nearly 25, I am still having to learn how to be a bit of a hardass like this, and to be honest, there is more than one case that I can think of, where if was a little more of a hard-ass, I probably would have avoided a bit of heartache. Everyone else begins fumbling our wallets. In most of the other tours, there is a few people who don’t leave tips, cos they’re in our current position.

Before everyone starts giving their $ to the bloke, I step in, shake his hand, and say “Mate, thank you very much. We really enjoyed the tour.” You can see the momentary glance down to our hands to see if we are concealing anything that might make him feel like he hasn’t wasted his afternoon.

We’re not.

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I get on my way, and Bec soon follows after she says her thanks.

I didn’t look back to see if I had offended him, as I don’t want that kinda guilt. It kinda sucks, I mean, sure I should show appreciate for the bloke. We have been on the tours, up until this tour, but at the same time, we have also come on what we thought was a free tour, and now its just really bloody awkward.

We head on our way home, as it is now evening.

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We swing into a wok shop and pick up some food on our way to the hostel. Just as we finish the noodles, Bec remembers that there is a tea house just around the corner from the tour location start. We head in there, and it is no surprise that the chick who serves us, is named Maria.

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A good quality, old fashioned Spanish name.

She shows us a mammoth list of all the different tea options we can pick. There is everything from sea weed teas, to blacks, whites, florals, the list goes on. Its not even a joke. We have no idea what to do, so Bec and I just pretty much take this chick’s advice on her tea selections. We sip on our teas and chat over the day as we chill in the tea house.

There is even a specific amount of time that you have to brew the tea for, and I am talking about 80 seconds, as opposed to 90 seconds. That is the kind thing that we talking about, plus the water that we are served is quite literally to the exact degree. These guys are serious about their teas.

We get back to the hostel, and get started on planning the reminder of our trip. We have only around 5(ish) weeks left, and wanna see Spain and France, and we are going to do a HelpX in Switzerland for a week, plus, we have to get to Amsterdam, plus it is possible that we are going to go to Orlando, Florida for our mate’s wedding, plus we are meeting Bec’s family in the Netherlands.

So, we have a bit to work out, so that is what we do.

We head to the breakfast room, which once the time is past breakfast, just becomes a communal food room. In this communal food room, is a group of frenchmen. These are not your usual frenchmen. This eclectic group of over drunk, hyper-testosterone fuelled blokes full the room with more sound than a fighter jet made of banshee souls.

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It doesn’t take long to realise that it is a buck party, and part of the antics is waxing strips that all the blokes are slapping on their mate, who is Kevin. We haven’t spoken with Kevin yet, but we know this, because his shirt says “Je Suis Kevin”, which translates to “I am Kevin” in english. His mates are wearing shirts which say to everyone that they are with Kevin.

Its a bucks party.

They even got a chick to pull it off Kev’s ass.

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He didn’t enjoy it, and as any good bucks part goes, Kev nearly is in tears by the end of it.

Not the funny tears, either.

Its sleepy time now.

Come back for the next story,

Billy

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