Transit passes of Europe, UK, US

Here are all the bus rail tram and other transit passes I used on my trip.

I recognize London, DC, Mass, Budapest, Porto, Lisboa, NOLA and my beer ticket from a Bruges hostel hehe.

One thing to keep in mind is while there is usually a tram to the airport in all major European cities there can be 2 different passes you need to buy to get into the airport. There is a separate airport pass that must be purchased along with your regular train pass. I had previously encountered this nuance in Barcelona and Brussels so learn from my mistakes!

The one I want to especially call out is the airport bus ticket from Barcelona. There are at least 2 places in Barcelona that a bus picks up and drops you off at the airport, its the only stop. Dont waste € on a cab or subway that may not take you to the correct terminal. This bus goes to both terminals and it is under 10€. 

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Dream trip Day 58 Farewell Barcelona, flight to Budapest, more rain

My hostel directed me to an airport bus stop a short walk away.

Very helpful for travelers to have a direct option, especially for early flights.

No issues this time, bus went to both terminals and mine was the first drop off.

Boarded a half full flight, but was seated next to a guy wearing headphones.

Once doors closed he hopped into an empty row, taking his loud tunes and MacCie’s meal he had stashed in his bag.

I instantly fell asleep as it was a 930am flight, I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

It’s always strange landing in an EU country as you just walk by passport check, but since I originated in another EU country, they don’t check anyone.

I note that there has not been a plane bombing in an EU airport despite no passport checks. In US I hear that states want to require passports for intra-state travel.

I locate a long line for the bus into town and realize the machine takes Hungarian currency, and only coins, which I have neither.

Found an ATM and the currency is way different, everything is in thousands of fornits.

I randomly pick the smallest amount to take, I have no idea what this translates to euros or dollars.

It’s raining again so I figure I’ll break my smallest bill, 1000, to get coffee, which is 200.

There is an angry lady in front of me who is insisting on paying in euros, ‘this country is in the EU, why are my euros no good? This is a stupid country!’ She exclaims and storms off leaving her coffee and a perplexed look on the barista’s face.

She struggles to give me change, lots of coins and bills. I explain it’s the smallest bill I have and wish the banks would create ATMs that dispensed reasonable, smaller notes. This was an issue wherever I went.

I sit and sip my coffee and watch it rain. I figure out my route via bus and it’s far, plus a long walk from bus drop off to my hostel.

I may as well taxi since its direct and Hungary seems to be quite cheap.

No issues on the ride, just silence as we do not speak the same language.

I stash my wet items into the room and head into the lounge to charge my phone and wait out the rain.

I talk a bit with a guy at a table tapping away on an iMac. He is working for a company in town and has a couple of meetings but pretty much, he says he can work anywhere.

I decide that today is a rain out so may as well do laundry.

I find a highly rated wash spot across town and head out. I shouldn’t seem too odd wearing a raincoat, it is raining after all.

Hungry I stop into a small noodle joint that has a sign reading they are best noodles in town, don’t be afraid of their small size, good things come from small packages.

There are maybe 2 seats to eat inside, it’s likely a takeout spot but the lady smiles and motions to sit while she prepares chicken and noodles in a wok.

It’s incredibly fast, tossing in veggies, sauces and finally noodles, while a chicken breast fries in a shallow pan.

It is a very delicious box of noodles.

Full, I navigate through the rain to my wash spot where I’m met by a guy who handles money, detergent and wash cycles. ‘1 hour,’ he says. ‘I also have internet computers here if you like.’

One room is full of washers and dryers the other full of computers and gamers playing some sort of multiplayer shooting game as they are chatting away on head mounted microphones surrounded by screens.

I pop into pubs during each cycle, trying a new beer each time. They cost the equivalent of 2$ a pint. Wow.

It’s grey, overcast as I walk back to my hostel.

A search for pubs brings up a spot called Red Ruin, a communist themed pub. I had to check that out. Plus it was a good 20-ish minute walk so maybe I can figure out things to see tomorrow.

I cross a Main Street full of cars and people on the way, I was entering the tourist area.

Hard to miss the bar as it has a painting of VI Lenin with a Mohawk on the window.

It’s small pub and all seats are filled so I lean against a wall watching the bartender.

There are communist propaganda posters all over that almost seem real until you read them:

‘No toilet paper isn’t a problem. We don’t have much food to eat so we don’t need it!’ Read one.

The toilets are in the basement which has even more paintings: Stalin dressed as a referee holding a red card stood out.

There are only a couple of guys downstairs and I ask for restroom in Hungarian, thanks to google.

As I leave one says something in Hungarian to me so I shrug, ‘English?’

‘What? I thought you were local, you look Hungarian. Cool you learned a word in our language. Join us?’

They are pro skiers studying in town. Both speak several languages as they’ve been going to private schools all their lives in different countries.

They are drinking liters of a wine drink. I saw the bartender make them earlier: about a quarter of rose wine and soda water.

They are hungry Hungarians, haha so they go to eat but want to go out somewhere with me later. They’ll be back.

I get a pint and wait, sure enough they come back so we go back down to the basement.

They are pretty drunk but still get half liters of the wine drink.

They tell me Hungarian is the most difficult language to learn and pronounce.

I try a couple of phrases and they laugh, I don’t have the right sounding phrasing.

We take off towards city center but not before finding a store for more wine. They pass the bottle to me and I take a gulp.

We walk and drink, they take turns talking to random girls in different languages, hoping to get a couple to join us.

The most receptive are a couple of girls from Ireland who agree to join us.

They both seem way into the Hungarian athletes, but that changes for a moment when I reveal I’m on an extended trip.

They are finishing a month-long trip due to school starting. They are staying up all night due to their very early flight.

They say I’m the 1st person they know who sold everything to travel, something they’ve talked about but now had proof it’s possible.

We arrive to a club a bass thumping, neon lazer club. The girls are less into this idea now as am I.

My plan to talk to them also fails as I point to a small pub and tell them to join me if they wanted to keep talking. I drank a beer alone.

It was late plus I need to orientate myself as I’m in a different part of town.

I’m most definitely in the tourist part of town as no less than 3 girls say hello to me, then ‘would you like a blowjob? I’ll suck your dick, you know you want to.’  These were pretty girls, too, I would safely call beautiful.

I was just buzzed enough to say ‘No but can I ask you a question? You’re really pretty, why are you out here?’

Again I’m shocked most were not offended at the question and gladly told me they enjoyed the thrill of the moment and getting someone off made them happy.

One said she made enough money to support her family in the country.

‘I make more in one night out here than a week working in an office. I only work when I want to and I’m free to do anything during the day.’

Hard to argue if they aren’t being exploited or forced to sell themselves that it was wrong.

Dangerous certainly but so was dating, life, you know? They picked who they wanted, likely only tourists, and seemed very happy.

I had a new perspective or at least something to think over in terms of prostitution.

Made it back to my hostel, it sprinkled rain the final moments of my walk.

Beer: Dreher Classic

Song: Brahms Hungarian Dance #5

Dream trip Day 57 Barca beaches, tacos, rock bar

Matt his wife and I made plans to meet up in the afternoon and walk around the city the night before. I cannot wait to explore the city with friends, maybe show off a bit of my limited knowledge of the Barcelona.

Get a text and they were hungry so I suggested the taco spot I went to a couple of weeks ago near the Arc.

Still great, still packed but we beat a crowd and had a table inside so we could people watch.

AC was pretty necessary this hot day.

I saw a pretty girl try some of the hot sauces and comically react to a milder one, as if it were liquid fire. Spice just isn’t a thing for most people I guess.

We decided to stroll on the boardwalk by the beach as it was a wonderful day. A good decision as there were several ladies sunbathing topless.

I see you, creepy guys snapping pics! I know that the sea makes for a good pic but not as many as you’re taking, buddy.

We locate a small park next to the boardwalk and sit, chill for a bit. I’m amazed at how close we are to both the beach and downtown, but it doesn’t feel like it. It felt like being in a forest, very green and inviting.

A ball comes our way, kids are playing nearby, Matt kicks it back into play.

We make our way back to their hotel and finish off a bottle of wine from Spain. Very delicious and I’m glad I was able to try some local wine in country.

There’s another loud pool party downstairs, how the neighbors tolerate the bass I do not know. At least they stop precisely at 10 so maybe everyone goes out until the party stops.

The rock bar they wanted to take me to is open so we pop in. Pics of rock legends line the wall, including one at the table we get.

Round of beers follows as does a bit of food, burgers.

I had to cut out after a bit, early flight in the morning so I bid farewell to my friends, thanking them for the rock show experience and hospitality.

I walked a down a different street to my hostel than I had previously and there was some sort of big show about to go on.

I didn’t catch who it was, but the line was over a block long, snaking around a building.

Beer: Amestel  Oro

Song: the Doors   Spanish Caravan

Dream trip Day 56 Waiting around for Barcelona rock festival

I woke up in a cold sweat, this room was sauna hot. No AC, roomful of people in summer it was nearly unbearable.

I shockingly was able to go back to sleep, I’d need it as I figured it was going to be a late night. My friends’ band didn’t go on until midnight.

I lounged around the hostel, drinking coffee as it was sprinkling a bit of rain.

After burning a few hours surfing the net, my next adventure was booked: Budapest was a cheap, quick flight away.

I determined I was noodle hungry, seemed last time I was in town we walked by several joints.

A quick walk and I was at a noodle spot where I was seated and then ignored.

I basically had to tackle a waiter to take my order but the noodles were good.

I took a long route back stopping in a small pub for a pint.

It was in this pub I received the text I was anxiously awaiting.

The night before I mentioned I needed info on how to get to the show and luckily the tour manager overheard. The band was shuttled from hotel to venue and he felt safe telling me there should be room for me, but he’d confirm day of the show.

All I had to do now was be at their hotel in a few hours to ride with my friends to the show vs an hour ride on the metro as the show was well outside of town. What a wonderful turn of events!

I showered up and laid down for a bit before it was time to walk.

I wasn’t too hungry but knew I should have a bit to eat as I wasn’t sure of the food situation at the show. Could just be expensive burgers, festival food.

Ice cream is everywhere and it was crazy cheap so I had a cone as I walked past the dildo building.

I met Matt in the lobby and we hung in his room drinking a bit of wine and watching the pool party below.

Crazy loud sound system pounded out bass and jams while pretty people danced below around the pool, quite a sight.

Soon we hopped into a van and hit the Spanish highway, a new part of town to see.

The tour manager greeted us and handed us all access passes as well as meal tickets!

We found the dressing room and then walked behind the venue to the cafe.

It was buffet style chicken, rice, salads, cold cuts, so much food.

Plus a soda fountain. Everything was all you can eat, drink.

We had several hours to kill before the show so we walked around the festival grounds stopping to check out a huge drum set and guitar, both 10x normal size.

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A German metal band was onstage and we stopped a moment to watch as fire and lasers lit up the night.

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Soon the band had to huddle up in the dressing room but fortunately we ran into Chad who rolled up a spliff on the bleachers behind the venue.

It felt very high school sneaking a smoke moment. Security was walking near but they paid us no mind.

We walked around searching for the soundboard, but were blocked by metal barricades.

My friends fiancé became my hero when she merely lifted the railings open, then we ducked under the scaffolding leading to the soundboard.

Again security didn’t stop us but we had all access passes and knew the crew if anyone confronted us.

Seeing a rock show from front of house is an amazing experience, best views and sound!

We met up after the show and had time for a beer before being whisked away by the shuttle.

It was super late when I got back to the hotel so felt best to grab a cab to my hostel.

I climbed into bed after 3am, a smile on my face.

I’d had an amazing night, everything kept getting better and I just rolled with each improvement.

Beer: Estrella Damm
Song: King Diamond  Abigail

Dream trip Day 55 Farewell Ghent, back to Barcelona, friends

I was awoken to the rustling of all the other guys packed up. Seems they were a group and all had to catch the early bus.

I groggily got out of bed and made my way to the shower which shockingly was open.

Barely made it down for free corn flakes and coffee. I dumped flakes into my bowl and they took the dispensing contraption away, I was the last one to eat.

I encountered 2 Canadian guys I’d met on the pub crawl in the lobby and talked with them a bit. I’m still not sure if they were a couple or just friends.

In the most Canadian of ways they asked me to join them, ‘So we all should go to the rail together yeah eh?’

I was grateful for the invite as I wasn’t so keen on a 30 min walk as I was when I arrived. Plus they knew how to buy a tram ticket.

On the way to the tram, we popped over to Facebook Street, which was the last thing they wanted to see in town.

Some guy renamed a small alley Facebook St so people would visit and take a pic.

While people did visit, they kept taking the sign. It wasn’t there when we visited, we all laughed at how ridiculous the whole thing was.

No issues hopping the metro, but I was running low on euros and still had to buy a ticket to the airport.

I had just enough euros for a ticket and we make the train easily. After a bit the conductor stops by and looks at my ticket.

‘English? Yes, you only have a ticket to get inside the airport. We tax everyone entering airport. You need another ticket to travel to the airport. I’ve brought this up to them before, it is confusing for tourists. 17€ please.’

Dang I felt bad but this guy was being cool about it even though he had to go through this a few times a day. I had only a 20€ note left, damn cutting it too close.

My Canadian friends were heading to Germany so they had to get out in Brussels. One of their family lived there so they had a place to stay and explore.

I waved goodbye and we shook hands as they left.

Alone again.

I was greeted at the rail station by a military guy directing me to a security check.

I wondered if this meant I wouldn’t have to do it again. Wrong.

Two security checks, one before entering the airport and then before the plane.

I made it passed the airport check and walked towards my gate, but I felt lighter. Doh! I’d left my bag at the security check!

I flew up the escalator convinced my bag was gone and I’d have 20 questions to answer before they gave it back to me.

I was relieved to see it was just sitting where I’d left it.

I swung it over my shoulder as nonchalantly as I could and walked to my gate.

It was a long walk to the gate so I stopped at an ATM for more euros, but was surprised when it spat out dollars.

I thought a moment and figured I had about 20$ in cash left so it was now worth exchanging dollars for euros once I got to Barcelona. Always one more thing to do.

About 10 minutes before takeoff, we see our flight was delayed. Then 30 minutes after that we learn the gate has changed, too, so everyone runs to the new gate.

No issues during the flight, but it was sold out so not as cool as the flight to Belgium where I got a whole row to myself.

I exchanged my cash at the airport, knowing that while the sign claimed no commission, they would give me a horrible exchange rate. I had euros now so I could get a metro ticket.

My hostel was near city centre this time, randomly selected as I was only staying 3 nights, long enough to see the rock festival tomorrow.

I got checked in and stowed my bags. I was staying in a 16 bed room and it was packed, no AC I noted.

Matt’s hotel was about a 20 minute walk away so we agreed to meet up later that evening for dinner.

We met near La Rambla and I was elected leader as I’d been there before.

I picked walking down one side as I knew the expensive places were in the middle, there were some side streets that should have cheaper options.

We soon had to pick quickly as it began to sprinkle. Always raining.

A waiter lead us up narrow stairs and we took over the top floor as there were 9 in our party.

It was a tapas spot so lots of seafood, sausages and salads soon appeared.

After a nice, light dinner 5 of us broke off from the bigger group to walk around and sight see.

A few turns and we were in Gothic quarter and I learned how the city was laid out.

We passed by the Arc, dildo building and we were near their hotel after a few blocks walking.

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The bar they wanted to show me was closed, but we located another one only to run into the crew we had just left.

This was a tourist bar, connected to a hotel and was full of students taking shot after shot: a hookup bar.

While waiting to order I noticed a very pretty girl next to me who took a shot with some bro before turning to me,

‘Nice glasses, very cool. What’s your story?’ she asked.

I told her what I was doing, backpacking through Europe and to my surprise the bro guy left me with her. I was talking to who I thought was the hottest girl in the room and doing well.

Turns out she was from SMU on semester abroad and was meeting her mom in Italy. I put her age at 20, maybe 21. We high-fived and she left.

I didn’t really had a chance, maybe if I bought her a shot and joined her group but the jig would be up as soon as I revealed my age.

She was better off with the bro dudes her age.

Still I was chuffed to have the exchange, I was gaining confidence, unfounded though it may be.

I stepped outside and talked with Chad a guy on the crew as he twisted up a spliff. I smoked a bit too much but luckily the night was over.

A nice walk coupled with a cool ocean breeze carried me back to my hostel.

Beer: Cruzial

Song: Orelha Negra feat. NGA & Prodigio   Ovelha Negra

 

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Dream trip Day 49 Banco, plane to Brussels, Belgium beer

Whilst in Andorra I had time to think about what I wanted to do, go and I realized I needed to see my friends who were coming to Barcelona for a few days.

I used a cool website that searches all departing flights out of an airport and averages out 2 weeks of fares.

I very nearly picked Morocco but ultimately decided to enjoy Belgium as round trip was right at $100.

Only thing was I had to fly out mid-week thus leaving myself about 2 hours to get my card, breakfast and get to airport.

When I woke I didn’t shower, get free coffee or anything, I was on a mission!

It wasn’t as big of a hassle as I expected. Walked into the bank, spoke with the teller who needed my passport for ID, then handed me my card back.

On the way to the hostel I felt total relief when my card withdrew euros. I wasn’t sure if the bank would call my bank and tell them it was lost or if the card was demagnetized.

It’s pretty peculiar how check out times vs flight times seem to never align. You’ve got to wake up very early and rush to the airport or wait around most of the day. I had 2-3 hours before my flight to kill either out in the city or cooped up at the airport.

I had enough time to snag a free cup of coffee at the hostel. It was a pay by weight buffet style, cold foods and grains, but I didn’t see a cashier or any $ change hands.

Plus coffee is very cheap, it’s likely a 80% profit for them so I do not feel bad having a free cup.

Found a breakfast shop close to the hostel and procured a hot meal of potato, egg and bacon pie like dish. ‘Twas a good send off meal.

While the metro does indeed stop at the airport, there are 2 terminals so, you guessed it, I did not get the metro to my terminal.

No worries, that’s why you get to airport over an hour early right? Well the solution was simple, a bus that shuttles between terminals.

10 minutes go by, we are still making stops.

20 minutes, now what?! We actually get on the highway, that’s how big this airport is!

Oh don’t you know that my airlines requires me to check in to get boarding pass.

The airport, while huge, doesn’t accept app boarding passes and since I’m flying to another country or some such ‘security’ reason, my airline won’t send me a printable boarding pass.

It’s a huge line of course once the bus drops me off and I locate my airlines. I have to also go through security too. I estimate my flight begins boarding in 30 minutes.

Line moves very quick, most people aren’t checking bags so the process is literally tell them a name, show passport and they print a ticket. Maybe 1 minute per person.

I now have 10 minutes to pass security and find my gate.

Small security line which I fly through. Approach the screen with flight info and yup, my flight has been delayed. Haha all that worrying for a lot of nothing.

I had over a half hour now so I walked the terminals. Some bad weather was the reason for the plane delay.

When it came time to board the lady taking my ticket advised me it was only 1 carry on bag free, ‘you have 2 bags,’ she said.

Technically true, a backpack and an over the shoulder bag, a murse one might say. It was certainly not as large as some of the purses I saw ladies carry.

‘It’s small, it will fit on my lap. Are you going to also charge ladies for purses now too?’ I ask.

‘Try to fit it into backpack.’ She replies.

I dramatically shoved it into my backpack with most of it still jutting outside as I attempted to move things around so it will fit, but some people laughed and a lady came to my rescue stating ‘seriously?’ to the attendant as she passed us.

‘Go… go on now, ‘ the ticket lady told me.

I bring a small bag to stow my iPad, headphones, water etc. specifically so I have everything I need with me in my seat and can sit quickly vs rummaging through my backpack in the aisle, like others do, holding up the boarding process.

Secondly, I figured if I’m robbed they will take 1 bag to speed things up. They ain’t getting all my stuff is my hope, too.

I collapsed into my seat and pretty much fell asleep for the 2 hour flight. Damn airports and budget airlines wore me out.

Upon finding the rail line I remembered why tickets were so cheap: 2 very stern military guys stalked the platform, guns at their chests, barrels aimed down.

Duh, there had been a bombing in Brussels in the past month so people were still wary.

Lightning won’t strike twice will it? We shall see, bad things happen everywhere.

A few stops and a long walk I was at the river my hostel was adjacent to.

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Smooth check in and I reward myself with a beer from a cooler by the doors. Cheap prices too.

After dropping my stuff in my room, got the top bunk yet again, I find a seat next to an outlet in the waiting room and charge up whilst I savor my well-earned beer.

I scan around and find a couple Irish pubs near city centre. The Euros were nearly over and due to the amount of time I’d dedicated to this point, I felt I had to finish.

Brussels seemed to be permanently overcast I noted as I recalled the last rainy few hours when I was here in May.

The walk was down the street from my hostel, due east for about 15 minutes, then it suddenly opens up and it’s city centre.

No cars, so lots of street performers. In fact they must have performances here as there are bleachers off to one side of the street.

There were already protests, demonstrations going on the steps at old city hall. Today it was for people killed in the wars for oil.

It’s tough walking by as an American because we started it, hard to argue oil wasn’t a primary motivation for the Persian Gulf war and yes all bombs and bullets do not only hit bad guys, they kill children, mothers, families.

Crying women, my sons, my cousin, my grandparents, killed, and for what? Read their signs…

I kept walking to my pub shaking off the horrors my country is known for just so I can drive around using cheap gas, oil based bags and other consumables.

The streets are black cobblestone in Brussels and since downtown has limited car traffic, walking around is easy and safe.

A short time later I find the Irish pub as well as the last empty seat at the bar, TVs are to my left center and right sides. I’m covered.

The place fills up as I down a white, saison beer, one of my least fav styles up there with anything smoked and sours. Oddly I’d change my mind about sours while in town…

I order some food before the game and a good, light Belgium ale.

France was well represented at this pub starting with the French national anthem sung by several tables followed by loud gasps and a couple chants during the match.

Luckily they won and on my walk to my hostel I watched two groups of French fans meet up in the middle of the street and sing La Marseillaise. Les national anthem.

It was round 11 and I felt like one more beer but mainly my new favorite pastime was changing my shoes into flip-flops to sit outside whilst my feet aired out. I just hoped no one smelled anything, I mean I’d walked many kilometers per day.

As I enjoyed some outdoor time, I was entertained by a group of very drunk English guys trying to set up a beer funnel. Problem was the very different heights of the two guys attempting this maneuver.

The solution was one stood on a bench, while the other kneeled. Beer still went all over as is the hallmark of funneling beer in their state. A glass was knocked over near me too.

One of the group came over and apologized, made sure I wasn’t hit by flying glass.

I told him I was fine and we laughed at how dumb a couple of his friends were acting.

Ran into the English guys again later inside and the one I chatted with outside bought me a beer at the pub and asked if I was good at pool.

No matter the answer I was playing their game. 1£ per person, everyone took a shot, you were out if you missed, last person left won the pot.

I was introduced and everyone cheered. I reminded them of a friend of theirs back home as well as a character from a British tv show named Smitty.

I go fairly far but don’t take the pot. More beers appear, as do shots.

The place is closing soon and unbelievably they are all going out to another pub. I’m exhausted by this point so I tell them I catch up with them tomorrow.

Beer: Ramée blonde

Song: Oasis     Rock n Roll Star

Dream trip Day 48 Goodbye Andorra, back to Barcelona by bus

I was greeted to the faint sounds of cat paws at my door so I played with kitty for a bit to start my day. I do like playful cats that bat at anything you dangle in front of them and this kitty seemed to never tire.

I decided on Bfest at the little French bakery, the one with the pretty waitress.

Sure enough she was there smiling away whilst she made coffee. But since she made the coffee I had to talk to an older lady with a morning scowl on her face.

It took pointing at several items before she selected the sugar-coated croissant I wanted. I knew I said croissant correctly so I do not know why she indicated at a scone like item, then a kolache like pastry before she started pointing at croissants.

This occurred at several places and the servers seemed put out by it even though I know I ordered correctly, they seemed to create this narrative that I was being difficult, but I felt they were deliberately misunderstanding.

Just because we don’t speak the same language doesn’t mean we cannot communicate or figure out what each other needs.

I watched as the fair lady made my coffee and smiled at me when the waitress picked it up.

‘Laut?’ She asked me. I said Si, and nodded. The waitress then poured in about 1 second worth of milk and delivered it to me.

I’m used to having control of milk pouring but I was soon to learn that was a luxury in Europe. No self pour, milk is a premium.

I watched the busy cafe fill up and empty with ladies having tea, couples talking over coffee and a large family with kids, coffee for all.

Occasionally I snuck a glance at my favorite lady, she was smiling. She wouldn’t be a 10 in anyone’s book I don’t feel, but sometimes you see someone who has that magnetism, that look of familiarity, that rare combo of features that flip your switch, that’s what she had.

I got another coffee, I didn’t have anywhere to go for another couple of hours so why not.

As I was leaving I glanced back at the lady I fancied and noted she was still smiling.

I walked around the block a couple of times, took the long way back to the apt.

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I was only a 5 min walk to the bus station and had a bit over an hour before my bus was scheduled to leave so I played with the cat for a bit.

I usually am not a cat fan, I get ignored by people all the time so getting a pet who pretty much ignores you until you want to be left alone isn’t my dream, but I liked playful cats.

I gave this cat one last cheek rub and was out the door.

I’d learned the stressful way that the bus I was on took physical tickets vs scanning an app. They even counted via number card that you received with your ticket.

Again with the confusion by ticket lady, I stated I had a ticket to Barcelona and was ready to give her my confirmation # so she quoted me a price.

I showed her my phone and read the confirmation numbers. Finally she understood and duly printed off a ticket.

I moved over to the side with the river once the bus took off as there were maybe 10 people riding vs full bus on the way in.

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Andorra is gorgeous, nestled near a river flowing between two mountains.

It is very spread out chain of small towns, it seemed, as we drove by a long cluster of houses, apartments, then green space, soon followed more buildings. This stretched for miles before it became large farmhouses.

Some farms even had a small brick structure, sort of like churches on them that are now derelict. I presumed a big farm family or two gathered to worship or hold small gatherings, parties.

Driving into Barcelona is an interesting experience. Seeing the city creep up with manufacturing plants warehouses and then suddenly you’re sitting in traffic in a neighborhood.

We note the source of the traffic as we soon pass by a wreck on the opposite side of the road which was very fortunate for many reasons.

The pile up behind the wreck stretched for miles, it took several minutes driving at highway speed before I saw the end of the line of cars.

We pulled into the bus station, conveniently connected to the train station where I procured a ticket to El Clot station.

Quite a packed station so of course it’s impossible to navigate. Spread out a bit people, that’s all I ask. Large groups of people standing in a circle block the way through so one platform is super crowded while there is plenty of room next to it.

I’ve adopted the tap on shoulder as I pass through, taking my backpack off too so I can get through narrow spaces of people.

I get on the wrong train as a result of my haste to get away from the crowd as I see the train is heading towards the port or west but I need to head east.

A simple fix, just get out at next station and find the right train. Easy and there’s one coming in the next 5 min.

This gives me enough time to give a guy directions to downtown station and how to find a landmark.

I think he was Belgian. I’d finally become that guy who knew his way around more than 1 city in another country. A good moment.

I knew my way round the El Clot area, a bit north-east of town, I stayed at the previous hostel since it was near the bank where my ATM card was held.

This part of the trip was a bit unplanned as I had about 10 days to kill before some friends would be in town, but I couldn’t do anything until I retrieved my cash card.

It was quite fortunate to come back to Barcelona as it’s a major airport hub so I could fly most anywhere in Europe pretty cheap.

I showered and headed out for food and to catch another soccer match. Fast stir fry noodles were all over the city and most are quite affordable.

I hit up the old standby, Irish pub for an after dinner pint.

Place wasn’t too crowded but felt like it as the back bar was closed for a private party so I fit myself into a small spot near the bar for the first half.

Most places in Europe don’t have AC and mid July in a packed bar you need one or at least fans, I was sweating!

I don’t think I bothered to finish the half, I had it with the stuffy heat and was greeted by the much-needed ocean breeze as I hit the street.

I figured the craft bar spot would be better and I was right on: AC and an empty chair at the bar. Score!

I finished the game and had a couple pints before calling it an early night, had to be at the bank as early as I could.

I walked to the hostel, it was only 20 min walk down a well-lit thoroughfare so I felt safe.

Beer: San Miguel Fresca
Song: DNCE   Cake by the Ocean (the metro had screens playing a clip of this song. Over and over and over)