What I thought I would do with this trip is do a nightly blog of the day’s activities. We’ll see how well I’ll do with this plan. I have to take the time to write a blog post at the end of the day (when I’m tired), but here goes…
Flight to Spain
Flew out of JFK airport to Barcelona. I’m not a big fan of JFK airport because I can’t remember having a good flight whenever I fly through it. That tradition continued on this trip. First off, my wife misplaced her new $600 reading glasses, mainly because she refuses to wear them all the time. Next, we board the plane (Boeing 777) and settle into our seats. After about 30 minutes, they announce that our flight will be delayed an hour due to an engine oil sensor. 30 minutes later, they made us deplane to wait in the terminal. After ANOTHER hour, they announced they need to change planes. They identify another plane to replace the original one, but it needed to be prepped for the flight. Eventually, we ended up with 4 hour delay getting out of JFK.
Surprisingly, no one had a meltdown or complained angrily about the delay. My wife and I discussed and decided that most of the travelers were traveling for fun and so the delays didn’t adversely impact them. The other option was that they have the same luck I have at JFK and just expected it. For icing on the cake, the flight attendant dropped my food in my lap while serving us dinner. I smelled like Tamarind sauce for the rest of the flight. Because the flight originated in JFK, I added that mishap to the JFK airport curse.
We flew American Airlines for the first time in a while. It used to be my primary airlines, but over the last 10 years I have moved to JetBlue in the US and Delta internationally when I can. Dinner in the lap issue aside (accidents happen), DJ and I were not impressed with the quality of the service during the flight. The plane was new and fairly clean but this crew was not particularly attentive. When we fly business class, I expect a better quality of service. I can’t say I received it on this flight.
Barcelona was the destination for DJ and my first European trip back in ’04. It has a special place in our hearts as a result, so it is fitting it is the first destination on our Spain itinerary. We got to the Hotel Casa Fuster around 11am local time, and after a short delay we were allowed to check in early.
On travel days we don’t like to book anything on our itinerary. We prefer to use any available time to get settled and then explore the local area around the hotel. We search for restaurants that we can try during our stay. Today was no different, but after a nice tapas lunch at a local “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant, we have the energy to explore the city further. We decided to head to the Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city and the former city center of Barcelona.
The Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter has remains back to the time of the Romans, but the majority of the quarter dates back to the 1800s. As we navigated the winding and narrow streets and alleyways of the area, we were disappointed to see that small local shops have been replaced by American chain stores (like Starbucks). This is something we noticed in Stockholm and Lucerne, Switzerland last year too. As a traveler, this has been a distressing tendency.
As the jetlag began to kick in, we walked back to the hotel and called it a day. We enjoyed the beautiful Barcelona weather on the rooftop terrace of the hotel. Later we had a great late night dinner in one of the restaurants. (Barcelonans are notoriously late eaters. The last time we were here would go to dinner at 8pm and be the only ones there…)
More to do and see tomorrow!