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12 hrs in Barcelona

I just finished hiking a portion of the El Camino de Santiago; I have been in Spain now for twenty days. After spending an extra day in Santiago to reunite with friends, I decide to spend the following day alone in Barcelona, before heading home. Having booked the budget airline fight the night before, I will have exactly twelve hours in Barcelona before catching a plane back to Madrid and then home. Any alteration in this plan will result in missing my fight home to Florida. I am staying at a Hostel on the beach, an eight bed coed dorm. Though I never see any roommates, I know they exist merely from belongs left behind for the day. Wet clothes hung from bunk beds, cell phone chargers plugged into the wall, and backpacks stuffed to capacity resting on the ground. Apparently it’s the Night of San Juan; a celebration lasting well into dawn. Roaring bonfires lining the sand along the beach with fireworks lighting the night’s sky, shadows of people can be seen in the darkness for miles, it’s a surreal and magical sight. Not a well organized festival, it seems effortless and uncomplicated, almost as if it’s a coincidence everyone is here at this very moment and time. However the electric energy is contagious and unmistakable. Its 2:00 am and I am trying to sleep before my fight, the noise and energy outside are keeping me awake. I am lying in my top bunk, wide awake, reminiscing on my day. A few hrs ago, I arrived in Barcelona with no pan other than to drink sangria on the beach and be a tourist. First stop after checking into the hostel was a café on the beach, a few steps away. Being the budget traveler I am, I chose a pitcher of sangria instead of a glass, because well why not? I people watched for a bit while sipping sangria, and planning my day. Deciding to do the Hop on, Hop off tourist bus to see the most I can, in the least amount of time. I pay the tab and was just about to admit defeat with the pitcher of sangria, when the waitress asks if I want the remainder “to go”. In my broken Spanish and her broken English, somehow I wind up with the leftover sangria, the contents of the cup so heavy, I need an extra cup to reinforce it. I leave the café; rather stumble away from the café, to go sightseeing for the day.
I used the Hop on, Hop off bus route as my personal taxi. Seeing and experiencing everything I set out to; including The Sagrada Familia Church and Park Guell. I arrive back at the hostel just after sunset and notice a large number of people gathered on the beach. The energy draws me in, I am memorized and curious. As I stand at the edge of the sand where it meets the sidewalk, too shy to join, a handsome, tall, blond, Dutch boy approaches me. He looks me in the eyes, smiles and says “I know you”. I smile back and laugh; explaining that he could not possibly know me, as I have only been in Barcelona a few hrs. At which he replies “you are the girl that drank a whole pitcher of sangria earlier”. Embarrassed, I laugh and change the subject, he offers me more sangria, of which I except. With the festivities happening all around us, we sit on the sand talking and drinking sangria for hrs. He is an ex pro basketball Player for the Netherlands, here with his coworkers on business. He’s spiritual, does yoga and knows of the Camino. Worried about my fight in a few hrs, I leave without even getting his name……..

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