As comforting and reassuring as it is to have a travel companion, there is nothing quite like the experience of fast friend-making that goes on between solo wanderers. I made several friends while in Barcelona, the most memorable of which was Tim, a sweet, energetic Englishman about 20 years my senior. Tim and I chatted a few times in the common room of our hostel, and decided it would be fun to see how many of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural landmarks we could cram into one day of sightseeing.
We set off early one cloudy morning, grabbing coffee’s and getting to know each other better while taking in La Pedrera and Casa Batllo. I learned that Tim had been down on his luck and was leaving England for good. He was a passionate mountain climber, and planned to spend the foreseeable future working small jobs and climbing the Pyrenees. We wandered, awestruck, through the nave of the Sagrada Familia and took an elevator to the top of one of the spires and marveled over the views of the city, then made the long, vertigo inducing walk down the spiral staircase of the spire, taking turns leaning over the edge and laughing because of the way the drop turned our knees to jelly.
After a few hours clambering all over Park Guell, we warmed our frozen fingers and toes over coffee in a tiny old fashioned cafe, then beers in a hip new bar. Tim told me stories about finding wine for €1.00 in some shop, so we decided to go in search of this mythical cheap wine and assemble Barcelona’s greatest cheapest dinner. Our quest lead us to at least a dozen tiny neighborhood mercados, and though the cheapest wine we found was €2.50, we managed to pick up tomatoes, pasta, and fresh bread for less than €5.00. Back at the hostel, we cooked up a storm, and served ourselves a huge amazing meal back in the common room, and others lingering in the room joined us, sharing wine and chocolate and stories. It was one of the best nights I spent in Barcelona.