If you know me at all you know I love to get lost the moment I arrive in a new place. It's kind of a tradition at this point so I don't know why I thought it would be different this time. Accordingly, I got off the Aerobus in Barcelona and walked in the exact opposite direction of my hotel. To be fair, I had gotten on a plane about 12 hours earlier and hadn't slept in about 24 hours nor had I ever been to this city before. I wrote down google directions from the general area of the bus stop to the hotel and people helpfully pointed me towards Las Ramblas (the equivalent of Broadway in New York, at least that many people/tourists) where I wandered around for an hour before giving in and getting a taxi.
You can imagine my humor when he drove me right back to where I had gotten off the bus, went up the street about 35 yards, and pulled up in front of my hotel. But once I got inside everyone was incredibly friendly and helpful and I quickly returned to Las Ramblas to find food and people watch. Being the nice Jewish girl that I am, I of course ended up at the vegetarian chain Maoz which sells falafel. Pretty good falafel in fact. Then I returned to the hotel, watched some Spanish TV, and fell asleep at 6 PM local time. Got to love the jet lag.
I woke up today and went to the Corte Ingles (a local department store) to buy an adapter for my computer plug. Then I went back to Las Ramblas, because it really is a fun street to wander. I walked down to the waterfront and then turned around ambling down side streets that looked interesting. In addition to a beautiful courtyard with a large fountain, I came across the Sex Museum, the Sex Shop, and The Sex Cabaret. After the third one I stopped noticing. They seem to really like sex on that street...
I'm sure I will quickly acclimate to my surroundings, but for now I can't help but notice all the differences between European and American society. First of all, I finally understand why Europeans think everything in America is huge. It's because it's true. The stores here are tiny in comparison. I could probably fit 5 of the clothing stores here into one GAP store at home. There are jewelry stores about the size of a closet and food vendors not much larger. The streets here are also all very narrow and impossible for me to navigate. I really feel lucky to live in a country that caters to my inability to find my way out of a box. Perhaps living here will help my directional skills.
Eventually I stumbled across the covered outdoor market called La Boquería. There are hundreds of food vendors selling everything you could ever want to eat. It felt a lot like walking through the market in Jerusalem only with more treif. Lots and lots of treif. I have never seen so much meat in my life. There were whole pigs and rabbits and pieces of lamb hanging from the sides of vendor's stalls. Seriously, I saw Babe, and he was having a bad day.
In the back corner I found a nice organic vegetarian stand where I bought an amazing mushroom tortilla (omlette) for lunch. So to all of you who doubted my ability to be a vegetarian in Spain- take that! Granted, I've only been here two days, but still, two days and two vegetarian restaurants. Not bad if you ask me.
Okay, I'm going to go attempt to find the Chabad for Kabalat Shabbat services tonight. If you don't here back from me again that just means I got lost on the way there. A likely possibility.
I send much love to everyone and I hope you all have a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year (I had 3 of them on the plane, one for every time zone we flew through. I generally don't like this holiday, so having to go through it 3 times was rather annoying, but maybe that means I'm in for a tripley good one).