Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 8: Sunday, November 27: Barcelona, London and Washington DC:

          Our last day in Spain started with a quick breakfast at Mas Alba, before we packed our last things and brought our suitcases outside to meet our driver at ten. Once he had arrived we loaded our things into the bus and headed out for the hour and a half drive to the Barcelona airport. The drive gave us a last chance to see the beautiful countryside before we arrived at the airport around eleven thirty. Bri and mine's flight didn't leave until 6:30 so we decided to check our bags and then see if there was an easy way to get into Barcelona for a few hours. We talked to a woman at the tourist office who informed us about a bus line that runs from the airport to the center of town very frequently, which we could catch every five minutes and that only costs 9 euros. We headed downstairs to where the buses come, and after purchasing tickets boarded the bus and headed into the city. It took us to a really nice part of town, allowing us to get a feel for Barcelona and do a little shopping at the street vendors, as well as lunch before we headed back to the airport. We caught a bus at about 2:15, and once we got back to the airport we headed through security and found our gate. We were still very early for our flight so we got out our homework and got a little work done before we caught our flight to London. Once we arrived in London we headed through border control and then tried to find someone who could tell us how we could get into the city for a couple hours. We were told that the best thing for us to do would be to catch the 'tube' (what the British call the subway) and take it to Piccadilly Circus where there would still be lots of things happening even at this hour, for by now it was about 9:00. We bought tickets and headed into town, the trip took us about half an hour so by the time we arrived we didn't have tons of time before we had to head back, as the last train runs at midnight. We came up out of the underground to brightly lit streets and colorful lights decorating buildings and tons of people. We decided to head down a street that looked promising, with lots of open shops. We stopped at a store that seemed to hold all things Britain, very touristy but we were able to get gifts for every one at home! We wandered around for a little while longer, got some very late dinner, and then headed back to the tube station to catch the train back to the airport. We boarded the train only to find that the train we were on didn't even go all the way to Heathrow airport which is the last stop. We went up and asked the people at the station what we should do, and they told us to simply wait, that another train would be along to take us to heathrow soon. When the train arrived we hoped on and rode back almost to the airport, however we needed to be at terminal 4 and the way the trains work, only some go to terminal four. Once we asked we found out that we had somehow missed the last train to terminal four, so we would have to come up and catch the bus. After spending some time figuring out which bus would deliver us at our destination, with the help of two guys who were also trying to get to terminal four, we got on the right bus and headed back to the airport. Bri and I had booked a hotel that is actually in the airport, they're called capsule hotels because you rent a room, but they are tiny and very compact rooms like a cabin on a ship. I've included some pictures of the room so you can see how tiny it is, however it was very cheap and convenient as it's located right at the airport. The hotel let us get a little sleep before getting up at seven on Monday morning to catch our flight home. We had to take yet another bus to get to terminal five where the international flights leave from after which we went through security and got some breakfast before heading to our gate. Our flight left at 11:35 and then arrived in Washington at 2:30 U.S. time. Once we got back in the states we had to go through border controls here and then gather our checked baggage before heading through customs. However luckily it all didn't take us to long and we were able to catch the 3:15 shuttle that would take us back to the Holiday Inn where we parked my car. Once there we commenced our long drive home, arriving back at Sweet Briar around 6:30 for dinner and then to fall into bed exhausted. All in all it was a great trip with many adventures, successful navigations of the tube, riding in the beautiful sun and the pouring rain, and delicious food! We learned a lot more about both the culture and the history of the region and were able to apply what we learned before we left once we got there, keep your eyes out for some upcoming blogs about all the things that we learned while we were gone and more information on the region as a whole!

Downtown Barclona.

Barcelona from the bus.

Required photos of us by British phone booths!

... And Bri

Some of the bright lights in Piccadilly.

A photo of our hotel room when standing at the door.

Bed time at last!

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