It was time to leave my shitty sweat box of a tent and head to Barcelona!! I was pretty excited to be going back to this city as last time I was here I was on contiki and had a bad headache so really didn’t get up to much. After a pretty long and slightly stressful bus trip (it was a major pain in the butt getting on the first bus we had to change buses at least 5 times) I finally arrived in Barcelona. I really didn’t get up to much on the first night as I was pretty tired and figured I had 2 more days to see the sights. That was until I called my friend Rachael to tell her when I was arriving in Ireland to catch up with her. She said I thought you were coming on friday and I have friends coming down to party. This ment I only had 1 day to quickly explore the city!
I woke up early the next morning to start my tourist on speed day! I had a msg from Kirsten saying that they had stuffed up their flights and she now had a stop over in Barcelona!! I planned to meet her at the start of a walking tour I was planning on doing. She wasn’t there by the time the tour started so I decided to go on the tour and hopefully hear from her at some point. The walking tour was pretty good but honestly I didn’t pay much attention as I was trying to find wi-fi the whole time to see if Kirst had msged. She finally did and I eventually managed to find her. We went and had some awesome pallella and sangria and then just had a wonder down la rumbla.
It was then time for Kirst to head back to the airport and i had tickets to go into the Basílica de la Sagrada Familia. Little tip: buy your tickets online to save yourself waiting in line. You can do this for all sites in Barcelona. The church is beautiful!! From the outside im not really a fan and as it is still under construction there is a lot of scaffolding about so maybe this detracts from it a bit but the inside is absolutely amazing!! It is so colourful and huge! Not so relaxing as you can hear all the construction going on but you can kinda see why it has taken so long to build! Apparently it will be finished in 20 years so I’ll have to come back then and see it once it’s completed. Little Note: While it is a church the normal rules of covering up your shoulders and knees doesn’t seem to apply here or at least isn’t in forced.
Look who I found!!
Our awesome Pallella
(I personally don’t like the outside)
After living off Pintox for the last 4 days it was finally time to leave San Sebastian and head to Pamplona for San Fermin. I had booked my accommodation through PP travel as I had only decided a few weeks before I left that I was going to go to the festival based on Jess’s recommendation. Now when I say accommodation I mean a shitty 2 man tent in a camp ground 15 mins out-of-town. The distance wasn’t to bad as they had shuttle buses running constantly so wasn’t too much of an issue but an air mattress would have gone a long way! The camp ground we are on had several tour groups there including the Fanatics…. I hate the Fanatics. They are a good tour group for organising big events like Oktoberfest of San Fermin etc. but it is always full of very drunk and obnoxious Aussies. If you want to party hard and meet no one other than Aussies then this is the tour group for you. Saying that all the groups were a bit like that. PP was more Aussies living in the UK but there were a few english people there and not nearly as many people.
I really didn’t get up to much on the first day. I was pretty hung over and tired from the night before and didn’t want to be hung over for the opening ceremony. This was kinda a mistake on my party I guess coz it turned out to be the biggest party night at the campsite where everyone bonded. Still at least I was nice a fresh in the morning to start drinking unlike most (Harrison and Ricky!). It took us a while to get all our shit together and get everyone ready to head into town for the opening ceremony. We weren’t ever really planning on heading to the town hall centre as we had heard that it was worse than the most crowded mosh pit you have ever been in. As I am not a fan of big crowds we decided to hang out in the larger main square. There was quite a bit of room here to be comfortable but it did get quite crowded just before the rockets went off. At 12 o’clock the mayor of the city comes out onto the balcony and announces the opening of the ceremony and sets off a rocket. It is at this moment that everyone goes crazy and holds there bandana’s up in the air. After the rocket has gone off you are supposed to tie your bandana around your neck and not take it off Until the end of the festival. It would be a bit gross if you did this as the festival also consists of being covered head to toe in sangria. From the time we entered the square people were throwing sangria on each other. It is supposed to only be sangria but we also got flower and mustard thrown on us…. Little Tip: Sangria in the eye hurts!!! so make sure you have lots of water or something to clean your eyes out with.
After the rockets went off we decided to head down some of the side streets and keep on partying. As you walk along the side streets there are people everywhere and loads of people up on the balconies. These people are angels!! As you walk along you yell up to them “Agua!” and they will then dump a huge bucket of water over the top of you. One guy even had hose! It is awesome getting the water dumped on you as the sangria gets quite sticky and it was a 38 degree day. After wandering the streets for a little while we found ourselves at the Musselbar statue. This has to be the stupidest tradition at the festival and I’m pretty sure its only tourists that do it. Guys climb to the top of the water fountain and then jump off the top hoping to be caught by the crowds. A guy managed to get up there when we were there even though everyone was booing and throwing stuff at him. He then jumped backwards off the top and thankfully was caught by a group of his mates. It was VERY impressive but so stupid at the same time!! After several hours of wandering the streets drinking and absolutely soaked we decided it was time to head back to camp and carry on the party there.
The next morning was the first running of the bulls. All of the boys headed into town super early to get in the square so they could make the run. None of the girls were doing the run so we all decided to go to the bull fighting ring to watch it. We were there super early but got seats right at the front and they had lots of music and entertainment going on. It was then time for the run! I was so scared and I wasn’t even running it!! There is no possible way I could have done it. So many people were wiped out by the bulls! There were rumours going around the campsite that someone was killed but i haven’t been able to find anything about that in the papers since. Apparently 2 Americans and a British guy were mauled in the 1st running that we watched. After everyone runs into the ring and all the bulls are out of the ring they then release little baby bulls with blunt horns into the ring and everyone tries to touch them. A few people got cleaned up by them but nothing to serious. After everyone had finished tormenting the bulls it was time to head back to camp and have a nap!
After sweating our balls off under our shanty town shade construction for hours it was time to head back into town. The rest of the group had all bought tickets to go and see a bull-fight but I really wasn’t keen. I know it is tradition but even watching the bulls earlier in the day being tormented by everyone upset me so I really didn’t I could sit through the bulls slowly being killed and tortured for no real reason. The girls all said it wasn’t as gruesome as they thought it was going to be but it wasn’t all that enjoyable either. After the bull-fight we headed to the park to watch the fireworks and have some drinks. It was an amazing fireworks display and an awesome way to end the last couple of days!
Waiting for the bull run!
After lounging on Amy’s couch for 2 days it was time to go to Spain. I was off to the coastal town of san Sebastian (which came highly recommend to by Jess in Port Headland). The plane and bus went smoothly but trying to find my hostel was another story. I had the worst directions and a shitty little map to find the place. I really should have just got a taxi but I’m such a tight ass I decided I could walk it. I ended up walking around up and down this street that I thought the hostel was supposed to be on at least 5 times. After an hour of wandering around I asked a taxi driver for directions and managed to find the place. I was in such a bad mood when I got there I decided to just be a hermit and get Maccas for dinner. My introduction to backpacking in Europe wasn’t off to a great start.
After stuffing my face with a highly cultural meal of a big mac, I had calmed down and decided to go and try to make some friends. I was staying in more of a guest house then a hostel so there weren’t too many people around. I still managed to meet an aussie guy named Tolga, a mexican guy called Elias and a chick from Barcelona called SiSi (I had to look up all of these names on Facebook as I could never remember them). We went out to get Pintox (small little tapas snacks that they serve at the bar) and have a few drinks. As I had already had my delicious me I didn’t partake in the Pintox but I did in the drinking. What was ment to be a few casual drinks out turned into a huge night out with LOTS of drinks. I blame Elias! I don’t remember too much of the end of the night but it was pretty fun.
I woke up the next morning to SiSi snoring like a trucker and farting like one too. I was feeling very sorry for myself. Eventually Tolga and I managed to drag ourselves out of the hostel and go and see some sites. It was a pretty overcast and gloomy day so we just walked around the boardwalk and stumbled across a funicular. We headed up the hill in it thinking it was just going to be a good view-point, but when we got there we found a little fair that was so bad that it was awesome! We went into a haunted house that was actually quite scary but mainly coz Tolga was an absolute pussy and made me go first. We then went on a very old school Rollercoaster that was pretty fun and had a great view!
That night we went out with the receptionist at the hostel and her friend for cheap Pintoxopote. On Thursday nights you can get a beer/wine and a small pintox for €2!!! While this is a great way to get drunk it deffinitly isn’t the best idea for dinner as it’s not much of a meal.
The next day Tolga was off so I made friends with a mexican chick named Monica. we pretty much spent the day lying by the beach as it was sooooo hot! We also climbed up the hill to the Jesus statue at the hottest time in the day!!
My final day was spent getting white clothes for san fermin and doing a pintox tour. It was a pretty good tour where we learnt about the food people eat in the region and the idea behind pintox. In hindsight I wish I had done the cider tour that jess had suggested but I forgot about it until someone mentioned it in pamplona.
That night i decided to embrace my inner bogan traveller that I didn’t know existed and go out with a group of aussies to a music festival. One of the guys in my room had been on a busabout tour and had mates scattered around the place. They were such a typical group of young aussie travellers that just wanted to party. They had all bought matching pink winglets for the night out, I have no idea why, but one of the guys decided to ditch them as he had met a girl. This then ment that I had to wear the spare singlet and we decided it was going to be that guys bucks night seeing as he was now wifed up. Was a little awkward when we rocked up to the festival and he was there with the girl but thankfully he found it pretty funny. I dunno how funny she found it though….
View from the top of the funicular
Our crazy night out
Soooo much Pintox!!!