We sleep in a bit. So nice. Then we get ready, leave the keys, free the critter, and head over to the cafe again to strategize. (Vicky said she saw a huge centipede in Falset - like 6"!)
V&L are heading to another hotel tonight.
Irena (Ren) who I met at the party and adored, offered her couch to me if I need a place to stay in Barcelona. So, Lawrence offers his phone so I can give Ren a call. She picks up and says the offer still stands! Woo hoo! I get her address, and she says she has to work, but I can meet her at the metro station "Jaume 1" at 9:30pm and she will take me to the house. Perfect!
At breakfast, Lawrence marks some major sites on their map, including a Sony store he spotted with his eagle eyes while we were wandering around last night. Then he gives me the map. Woo hoo! That was infinitely helpful over the next few days
We finish our food and part ways. (Thanks again, you two - for everything!)
I walk to the Sony store. They have the battery, but no charger or power cable. Doh! But, she says they will have the charger tomorrow. I almost bought the battery, but figured I'd wait, since it does me no good without the charger.
I walk down the street - which just happens to be "La Rambla" - a famous street of shops, artists, vendors, performers, etc. There is so much to see. I wish I had my camera working.
I notice a Kodak store and decide to pick up a couple disposable cameras. They have universal chargers too - and she says they have one for the Sony batteries, but she won't take it out of the case to let me try it with my knock-off spare that the camera rejected. My battery is not listed, so I'm not going to buy it unless I know it works. I just end up getting the disposables and snapping shots with those the rest of the day.
I run into the Erotic Art museum and decide to go in. I take some pictures and I'm amused by some of the displays. There's a nice view of the flower market from the upper window too.
After that, I find a cafe off the beaten path and get some gelato (very popular in Spain), and a sandwich with chorizo salami. mmm.
A homeless woman comes by asking for change, so I give her some - to the annoyance of the other man sitting outside. I'm surprised at the appearance of people asking for change here. They are all very clean and nicely dressed. More tidy than I am right now, I think. The very few times I've been approached for change, I just thought they were local people about to talk to me until they put their hands out.
I finish my lunch and just sit - enjoying people-watching for a while. Then, I head back down La Rambla toward the port.
I run across another photo shop. This one allows me to test the universal charger, and it fits my spare battery, so I buy it. Now I'm wishing that I had bought that battery at the Sony store after all. Heh.
I head down the rest of La Rambla to the port and use up the rest of the disposable camera pictures.
I catch the metro back to the station closest to the Sony store and walk the familiar route. I buy the camera battery and start walking back down La Rambla. I need to find a place with power to charge the battery. Preferably also an internet connection. If I find a photo place, I'll drop the pictures off to get developed, too. (Oops - Never mind that last thought - It's siesta now so all but a few restaurants are closed. No way i'll find a photo shop open until later.)
I see a sign for "wifi" in a restaurant window, so I step inside and ask the girl at the bar. She points to a table in the front by the window, so I go sit down. A server comes over to take my order and I order Churros y chocolate (i saw it advertised outside, and Crissy said I absolutely had to have it in Spain).
I plug the charger into the wall and start charging the camera battery. So exciting!
When the guy comes back with the food, I ask about the wifi. He brings me a paper with the password. I start up and log in fine. It's slow, but tolerable. So, I start uploading my backlog of pictures.
After I finish my delicious churros y chocolate, I notice the bartender making pitchers of sangria and decide that looks mighty tasty, so I order one. Mmmm!
I sit there for a couple hours and chat with the Indian server (who speaks English) between uploading photos and reading email that's been languishing forever.
At around 7pm, I decide to set out and navigate my way over to the station where I will be meeting Ren.
The most direct path is through a narrow street that is filled with small shops. It opens into a courtyard with beautiful public buildings, so I stop and take pictures. It's so nice to have a working camera again!!
The street narrows again then opens to another small courtyard where there are a few restaurants around the metro entrance. I stopped in a few shops to browse on the way, so I have about 30 minutes, and I'm hungry. I order a focaccia with ham and cheese at the coffee shop and sit at a table in the courtyard to eat and read and wait.
I'm enjoying the weather and the people-watching, when a server asks me to move, because these tables are for a different cafe than the one I bought food from. Hm. OK. So, I move.
It turns out this is typical in Spain. You will have a big outdoor eating area and tables will be reserved for different restaurants or cafes surrounding the courtyard. Some are more obvious in marking the tables than others though.
Right at 9:30, Ren pops up next to me with a warm greeting. I'm so glad to see her!
We walk back to her flat and unwind a bit. She gives me the tour. She just got off work, so needs to decompress a bit. We drink glasses of beer and chat, then decide to go out for some dinner.
She walks me around to see some interesting sites in the Gothic Quarter where her flat is, then we stop at a restaurant and get pizza and I get an Empanada too.
Ren shows me a few more nice sites on the way back.
We talk for a bit then make the couch into a bed (wow! bonus!), and turn in for the night.
She warns me about the noise in the area, so I put on my earplugs and sleep like a baby.