After spending about 4 1/2 days in Amsterdam, I made my way to Barcelona this past Monday night (28 April). Though I booked this trip about three months ago, I didn't do a speck of research or planning for it. It's a nice story - C., my roommate in Amsterdam, was meeting me in Spain on her way back from Rome. Both of us have been so busy that up until about a week ago, we didn't even discuss where we would sleep at night. Hotel plans were made in about 2 minutes, I wrote down directions on how to find to get to the hotel from the airport, and that's about where my planning stopped. I met some really nice people on the train from the airport to the city, and they wrote down places I should go, food I should eat, and showed me what metro line to take (talk about good timing). So I ended up meeting C. at our hotel around 11pm on Monday night, and we proceeded to spend the next three days eating and drinking our way through every tapas bar in Barcelona. We rented bikes, we laid on the beach, we ate lots of fish, we struck up conversations with bartenders, and so on. Other than walking through a beautiful old church, my trip to Barcelona was all about hanging out with my friend, relaxing, and enjoying the weather - the touristy stuff will have to wait for next time. The people were beautiful and friendly, the bars were open late, the food was incredible, and compared to Amsterdam or Paris, Barcelona is a really affordable city.
C. is a very special friend, someone who came into my life at a great time and makes me feel incredibly welcomed here in Amsterdam. When we arrived home, I was delighted with how much daylight we still had left (our flight landed around 7pm, and it was light out until at least 9:30pm or so), and excited to be back and have someone else at the apartment. Even after spending three days in a row together, C. and I stayed up until past 1am, laughing and eating and making curtains for the windows out of sheets. It's really nice to live with a girl again - especially one who likes to cook and wears the same sizes as me. She's also encouraging me to start jogging with her in Vondelpark. The idea of starting up that habit (again - I have started and stopped that particular form of exercise a million times) seems like a great idea, especially since I live so close to the park and I have a lot of free time right now. The only problem is that I pretty much hate running just for the sake of running. If I was running around playing Frisbee on the beach, that would be great. But generally, running just to run bores me to death - but who knows, maybe this is the year that I'll learn how to love it.
I'm looking forward to another beautiful and sunny weekend here in Amsterdam, with plenty of biking and hopefully some meeting of new friends. Next week, I really do have to start working, and perhaps wake up before 11am. No promises though.