We managed to get through day 1 of our 14 week trip without a hitch. We took it slow, barely slept, and struggled to find food but we made it and Averal was a pretty good trooper through it all.
We changed our seats before boarding our flight from Newark to Barcelona so that we had the 2 aisle rows in the middle 3 seat row leaving the seat between us empty. There were enough other empty seats that we hoped Averal could take the seat and we could have a whole row to ourselves. Our plan worked out and Averal was able to get 3-4 hours of sleep in the middle seat between us. The plane had outlets for charging your phone so by the time the plane landed I had a fully charged phone managed to watch the new Star Trek movie on the plane.
From the plane we took each step slow. Reading signs, asking for help, and checking the map on our phones as often as necessary. The baggage carriers are free at the Barcelona airport and lasted as far as the airport shuttle bus. My rusty Spanish was enough to get some instructions to our connecting train from a Tourist Help Desk. On the way to the train station one of the wheels on our heaviest checked bag fell off. It weighed 48 pounds when we checked it in Charlotte. Between it, the backpack, and the other checked bag I’m pretty sure I was carrying/dragging my body weight in luggage.
We got to the train station and a friendly employee gave us the rundown of how to buy a train ticket and get through the turnstyle. With only a minute to spare we caught the train to Cardedeu. Or so we thought. Apparently, the train stops just 2 stops shy of our destination so after waiting at the Granollers station for a while and seeing that it was about to head back to the airport we quickly exited the train and found a connecting train that would take us the remaining 2 stops to Cardedeu. Once in Cardedeu it was another quarter mile with the luggage to get to our apartment.
My first impressions of Spain are this: the people are mostly very kind. Besides one bus driver everyone has been happy to help and at least 3 or 4 people have offered to help us with a bag or help pick up Averal in her stroller up some stairs. We don’t even ask. They just see we a need and they step in. Secondly, there is a lot of graffiti. Seriously there is a TON of graffiti along the train route and in some of the less pleasant parts of town.
In Cardedeu we found our apartment and settled in but the most important thing was finding food. I set out to bring home some groceries while Heidi and Averal got situated at the house. Nearly an hour later I came open empty-handed. I found out the hard way that every store in town is closed on the 26th for St. Stephens Day. A holiday officially recognized in the Catalonia area. Fortunately, later in the evening a little supermarket across the street opened up and we were able to finally make some dinner.
The apartment was freezing when we arrived. Heidi stayed in bed for a couple hours while I started work because it was so cold. Averal didn’t seem to mind. Nothing phases that girl. The people who own the house came to fix the heater and show us how to use some things around the house but us Arizona folk were freezing when we went to bed.
I spent the late afternoon and evening working while Heidi continued to make the apartment feel like home. We crashed around 10 after almost no sleep the night before. Finally warm, fed, and sleeping after a long day and a half of traveling we’re beginning to accommodate and feeling hopeful we’ll be able to get things figured out soon.