2 Americans in Barcelona


“The only person I miss is my therapist.”

My little sister informs me of this while she adjusts her seat on the train to discover it does not lean back. This makes me audibly laugh, because I so get it.

We’ve just arrived in Barcelona after spending twenty hours on the ever-so-popular and raved-about rail. This morning started in Paris at 5 a.m. with my little sister kicking me and silently mouthing the words, “My throat hurts”.

Thirty minutes and one hundred and ten euros later a doctor knocks on our hotel room door. An older man with white hair and a stethoscope hanging around his neck (yes, just like in the movies) gives the diagnosis very seriously and with astute pride: My little sister indeed has a very bad throat infection, the kind that needs antibiotics. He scribbles down 3 different kinds of medication and the name of the twenty four hour pharmacy that is not in our neighborhood, takes his euros and waves goodbye. This left us with forty five minutes to pick up the medicine halfway across town and make it to our train headed for Barcelona.

Some tears, lots of running/hyperventilating and a few panic attacks later we made it. It really was quite a sight. There I was, directing my sick sister to wait in the taxi while I ran across a seven lane street because waiting for the light to turn green was just going to take too long, holding prescription papers from the doctor, literally running into the pharmacy.

I looked totally insane.

This was to be our rail route:

  • Paris to Avignon (south of France)
  • Avignon to Montpellier (south of France)
  • Montpellier to Port Bou Espagne
  • Port Bou Espagne to Barcelona

Total time: Fifteen hours.

So we went with the flow deciding that although the rail is a really great way to see the countryside and all the places in between the point of destination, there is no food traveling in second class except a vending machine here and there full of food that’s really bad for you and actually makes me hungrier, and the frequent stops can make the trip less than ideal.

Had I known this tidbit of information I’d have been better prepared with a bag full of food and water!

My little sister whose sporting the Princess Leia look with her hair tightly and specifically placed in two little buns, one on each side of her head, falls asleep on my shoulder as I listen to my stomach growl.

We were on our last leg of the train journey…the train to Barcelona, about two hours away, we’re oh-so-close and the train comes to a screeching halt.

We’re now in Spain and the predominant language here is now Spanish, which I actually understand. (My five years from junior high to college has paid off.) But there’s some bad news. A tree has fallen onto the tracks and everyone aboard the trusty train must de-board immediately…into the thunderstorm.

We are to take a bus to someplace closer to Barcelona, then transfer to another bus that is supposedly to lead to Barcelona.

My maturity has worn off by this point and we both feel like we could die. We’re starving, lost somewhere in Spain and freezing…not to mention we’ve now been up for twenty hours. I try to keep my calm, but I fail. My sister tries to keep her calm, she fails. We’re in horrible moods.

There was no one directing anyone, just hundreds of tourists from all over Europe going crazy, yelling in every language, totally confused and angry to be forced out into a storm! So with my sick sister and my growling tummy we stood with everyone else in the storm waiting… for Godot, it seemed like.

“Oh my darling cousins!” Our beautiful brunette cousin Gia greets us at her apartment door holding a glass of champagne and smelling of sweet chocolate.

“I thought you’d never make it!” she giggles and helps us with our soaking wet bags.

We are staying with our cousin here in Barcelona who is doing a horror film. This apartment is suited for a queen. Lavish wall hangings, crown moldings and the famous indigenous cava and jamon fill the fridge (the best champagne and ham I’ve ever tasted in my life).

My little sister takes out her buns, sips some cava and opens the lap top to email her therapist.

Things are looking up… or at least dry.

Until next week…

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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