Sharp Minds and a Full Battery
I spent this past weekend checking out the Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou in Barcelona for my weekend off from school. I went with three other friends and it was a blast. However, this trip was full of problems popping up. The main problem that I am going to focus on in this post deals solely with transportation.
As I said, I went with three friends. All but one of us have access to data which means we are pretty much able to use Google Maps to get around. Well, we caught a flight to Barcelona on a Friday morning at 6 am and arrived at 8: 15 am. Upon arriving in Barcelona, we had to buy bus passes to get around. We already knew this, and so went ahead and bought the passes. The passes turned out to be extremely useful, and more or less a life saver.
My friends and I headed to the hotel that we booked so we could rest a little. Then we head out to go see the Sagrada Familia. It was an amazing sight to see and everything that happened after the Sagrada Familia does not deter from the beauty of that building, but I digress. After viewing the Sagrada Familia, the four of us decided to split into two groups to go do two different things. Anna (not her real name) and I decide to head back to the hotel to get some sleep and rest up for tomorrow. My other two friends went to explore more.
Remember when I said all but one friend had access to data? Well, Anna was that friend. So by default, I am tasked with getting us back to the hotel. This was fine by me. My phone was on 43% and I was fairly confident in my skills to listen to where Google tells me to go. Anna and I walk back to the train station and get on the Metro (thank you bus pass!) for our voyage back to the hotel.
But my phone dies while Anna and I are on the metro. Yep, I know right. How did my phone die when it was on 43%? I still have no idea. This presented an immediate problem and a large one at that. How do we get back? By luck and more luck, that’s how.
So, on the metro, we try to retrace our steps to figure out what stop is close to the hotel. I made the mistake of choosing the wrong train. The one I choose was going in the opposite direction of our hotel. We had to ride this train all the way to its end, and then wait for it to go back the other way. We are now riding the metro, without any indication of where to go once we get off. This turned out to be an hour and fifteen-minute ride when it should have been max thirty-five minutes. I recognize a stop that the train is heading to and I follow my gut. It turns out that my gut was right (always follow your gut.) So we get off the train and walk out of the station. The real challenge has begun.
We are in a city that speaks a whole different language than what we have been studying. Remember that the people in Barcelona speak Catalan not Spanish. However, technically Catalan is still Spanish just with some differences. The reason this is important is that we have to read the bus stops and figure out which one takes us close to the hotel. However, neither Anna nor I know how to read Catalan. This proves to be a serious problem and so we opt to take the walking route and see if we can recognize any landmarks. This was both a good and bad decision. Good because we eventually made it back to the hotel. It was bad because, well, it took a lot of mishaps to find the way.
As we walked around the city of Barcelona, we had to do some serious critical thinking and problem-solving. We knew the name of our hotel and that it was near a shopping plaza. We just needed to be pointed in the right direction. So, we asked a local couple and guess what. They pointed us in the right direction! We had to get creative with the route after the initial “that way” finger point and so we just kept following the main roads. So since we knew it was near a shopping plaza that means a main road must be connected to it and there should be a lot of foot traffic as well. So we essentially spent the next forty-five minutes following main roads and trying to find enough foot traffic near landmarks we recognized. Eventually, all the searching worked and we made it back to the hotel.
This adventure took a lot of educated guessing, critical thinking, and problem-solving but it all paid off in the end!