Our First Few Days in Barcelona, Spain
Nothing Worth Doing is Ever Easy
Surveying the Apartment and Settling In
Our first day in Barcelona was a exhausting to say the least. We had traveled for more than 35 hours and were awake longer than that. It took several days to just recover, and we are still catching up a few weeks later.
As soon as arrived in our apartment, Kevin crashed on the small couch and went right to sleep – even though he was hanging off of both ends of the tiny thing! I on the other hand started unpacking my things because:
- 1) I didn’t want to pick up a bad sleeping pattern.
- 2) I was way too excited to go to sleep.
So instead, I unpacked boxes and put things away. I also surveyed the contents in the apartment – taking items I would never use and placing them in a pile to go into the attic so I could make room for my things. This discarded pile included ugly pots and pans, useless dishes and utensils, a few lame board games, boxes and other random items. I also discovered a few items I would definitely use, such as a blow dryer, iron and ironing board, a rack for drying clothes, a vacuum, cleaning supplies, and a step ladder for reaching high cupboards.
Strolling Barceloneta in a Quest for Food
I woke Kevin up a few hours later because I was getting very hungry. We hadn’t eaten anything of substance all day, and it was getting dark out. I knew if I was going to get anything to eat it would be now or never. So after several attempts to wake him up, we finally left the apartment and went looking for a bite to eat.
We strolled down the main street in Barceloneta, Carrer del Joan de Borbo, and found it to be a lovely stroll. There were fishing boats to our left and seafood restaurants to our right. Those restaurants, however, were much too fancy and expensive for what we were looking for, especially with our tired faces and wrinkled shirts. So we made a quick right turn toward the central super market.
We decided to poke around inside to get a look at the type of food we would be eating for the next few months. I made mental notes of familiar foods, such as whole grain pasta, greek yogurt, taco shells and a few other staples in our diets. I also noticed that while there were a shelves stocked full of beans, there were no black ones. Que lastima! And amidst the jams, spreads and nutella jars I did not see any peanut butter. What a horror!
After staring at food for several minutes our stomachs started to growl ferociously. So we quickly left the store in hunt for some food. We passed a variety of tapas bars, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a long drawn out meal. I pointed out what looked like an Irish pub, but fish and chips didn’t sound good either. And then we smelled it. That unmistakeable aroma of oregano, basil, tomatoes and baked bread. That’s right – we smelled pizza and it seemed like the right choice at the time. Quick, relatively inexpensive and delicious! We enjoyed every, single last bite and went home without leftovers!
Although we had been up for nearly 48 hours, the day was not over yet. After dinner I had to hurry home to finish a working project with a client. I had a few emails to respond to, a few documents to review, and a few phone calls to make. Then, finally around 1 AM Barcelona time, we went to bed for some much needed sleep.
Living On PBJ and Tuna
The next morning we slept in as long as we could – making it until about noon. At that time neither of us had made it to an ATM nor a grocery store. Our cupboards, much like our stomachs, were empty. We were both still exhausted, and neither one of us felt like hunting down an ATM, shopping or cooking! So I quickly snuck downstairs to the nearest grocery store and grabbed some bread and jam to go with the peanut butter I brought from the U.S. Which we would soon start rationing.
When I arrived back home to toast the bread I noticed the power wasn’t on. That’s odd. I thought, but brushed it off assuming the power must have gone out while we were sleeping. Perhaps we slept through a storm? So, Kevin flipped the breakers and it came right back on – so at the time we didn’t think much of it.
I finished preparing breakfast and the toast was satisfying enough to get us through until lunch, where I used the same bread to make tuna sandwiches, using tuna that I also brought from the U.S. Fortunately we don’t have to ration the tuna – Spain has plenty of it’s own!
An Unexpected Leak in the Ceiling
We spent most of the mid afternoon lounging around and unpacking a bit more. Then, around 3 PM we both went to work.
Somewhere during that time I got up to use the restroom and heard rushing water from somewhere. I quickly called Kevin to come to the bathroom to help me find where the noise was coming from. We checked all over the bathroom and the kitchen and found nothing. So Kevin got the step ladder and climbed to a small closet space above the bathroom. When he opened the doors we saw gallons of water rushing into the attic space!
He immediately told me to get everything out of the bathroom and kitchen area because the water was about to come through the ceiling. I quickly rushed around pulling the dry clean towels off the shelves, and electronic equipment off the countertops. Moments later, the water began to drip through the ceiling onto every surface in those two small rooms.
I quickly called the various phone numbers I had for my landlord, but since it was a Friday afternoon no one answered. I left a frantic message:
“Hay agua cayendo del techo y esta mojando el bano y cocina. Hay mucha much agua, y huele tan feo. Por favor, llamame tan pronto como puedes.”
Getting to Know Our Upstair Neighbors and Local Repairman
An hour or so later I received a phone call back form the land lord letting me know that a repairman would be coming by in 15 minutes – and he arrived right on time. Is this guy Spanish?
He took a look at the attic – and by that time the water had stopped coming down but everything was soaking wet. The repairman went upstairs to talk to our neighbor, and they both came back down into our messy apartment to have a look. How embarrassing!
My neighbor, Alex, was a very nice young man from Germany. It was very strange though, because he seemed very interested to know what time we saw the water flowing down into our apartment, and I continued to tell him that I didn’t know. Why was this so important, anyways?
Moments later, Kevin reminded me that he had filmed the whole thing earlier that afternoon. So he gave me the camera and we all watched the replay of the water coming down with a time stamp of around 5 PM – the same time Alex has taken a shower. Ah-ha!
So both men ran back upstairs and identified a crack in the shower that allowed water to seep into our apartment. Within moments the mystery of the falling water was solved thanks to a simple camcorder. We were fortunate Kevin had a recording of the incident, or who knows how long it would have taken us to put two and two together.
That evening, Alex agreed not to use his shower until his landlord could get the problem fixed, which we all hoped was the next morning.
Still exhausted from jet lag and worn out by the days events, we both ate another peanut butter and jelly sandwich and went to bed early.
Photo Credits: Kat Michelle