four-and-a-half hours later, we got cleaned up and went up to the rooftop of the hotel for the most magnificent view of the city you could possibly imagine -- la sagrada familia, against a mountain backdrop and surrounded by its perpetual cranes, was there to greet us when we got off of the elevator; we turned to the right to see the beautiful mediterranean sea, and one more turn to the right took us to a view of montjuic; in between was gaudi's casa battlo... i'm fairly certain i got a little teary-eyed (and i'm fairly certain also that this was not the only time i got a little teary-eyed) -- i was seeing these amazing things that i had read about, studied, wanted to see, in college but also in high school -- it was too much. i am so blessed.
we were feeling adventurous, so we decided to try out a restaurant that i'd read about in my guidebook, taverna basca irati. it was hard to find, and we had to some scary turns down some dark and narrow streets, but eventually we found it. the place was long, narrow, and crow. ded. as soon as we walked in the door we got yelled at in catalan (of which i understand nothing), but we figured out that they were warning us to keep our belongings close to us in the crowded place. waiters were continually bringing out serving platters of pinchos (bite-sized servings of different foods on top of bread held together by toothpicks) and setting them down on the long bar. a not-so-nice barmaid gave us a plate and explained to us that we would eat what we wanted and then pay at the end of the night based on how many toothpicks were left on our plate. (honor system? what??) so we pushed our way through the crowd of locals to get a sampling of pinchos -- we didn't always know what it was that we were eating, but more often than not it was pretty delicious. it was loud, hot, and more or less insane in there, but it was the most fun!