Adrienne will deny this to her dying day, but she took forever to get ready and we were about 40 minutes late to the meeting spot in Placa d'Espanya. We wandered around the square for a while, but we realized that Allison and Anna were not there. I was hoping they hadn't just gone on to Montserrat without us, based on how late we were. We spent a while searching for an open cafe or restaurant with WIFI, so we could try and contact them. I assumed there had to be at least one near the square, but there was not. So I asked the tourist information and she lead us to this random side street and we found a very small cafe/bar that had WIFI. I got some juice and Adrienne got a coke and I called Allison. She didn't answer, so we waited for a while to see if she got the message later.
She eventually called and their alarm had not gone off, so they had just woken up.
Adrienne and I waited and wandered around the square near our meeting spot.
The picture to the left is the bullring turned shopping center.
These are the Venetian towers
Three years later, they arrived so we bought our tickets and got on the train.
The train ride was uneventful...except for the lady from Arizona, who had the loudest most grating voice I've ever heard in my life. And for the entire hour, she never stopped talking! It was unbelievably irritating. As Allison said, "It's impossible not to listen to her."
We learned her life story. She was from Scottsdale. Married with 2 children. Her husband sent her in a taxi alone to the airport and she thought, "But where are we meeting at the airport! I don't know where to go!" Except that story took about 20 minutes.
Luckily, we got off a train stop earlier than her to take the cable car up the mountain.
While in line, this group of Australian women were discussing the annoying woman on the train. We bonded as a result and chatted while in line and up the mountain. They were what I hope I will be when I am 50 years old....still adventurous and hilarious. I also felt like it was me, Adrienne, Allison and Anna in about 30 years, on another trip to Europe.
The cable car was terrifying. It was really steep and you could straight down to the rocks you would be crashing on.
One of the Australian women said something that made us feel better. She said, "I just think about all the people that rode it without crashing and then say to myself, 'why would it crash the one time that I'm on it."
Above, Adrienne looking horrified, while Anna looks thrilled.
We then headed over to the main square and Cathedral.
In this picture you can see that the line is long, but doesn't look horrible.
Except that once you go through those doors, you have to walk through 5 or 6 other rooms, go up some stairs and through some other rooms and then another set of stairs, and then another set of stairs, and then you finally get to the statue, so this was our first and really only experience with a long line. It took about 2 hours or so.
The Mary statue is rumored to be from the 4th century, though it's more likely about 800 years old.
While waiting in the very long line, we witnessed the most successful and discreet line-cutter I have ever seen.
She would begin a conversation with someone, then slowly step in front of them and a couple other people, then begin another conversation and slowly make her way forward. She never pushed or made it obviously that she was moving forward. Just looked like she was absentmindedly walking. She'd glance around and pretend she was looking at the walls. Yet, she was very slowly and surely making her way to the front of the line.
Allison yelled at her, "Mary doesn't like cheaters!!!" which we, and the girls from England behind us, laughed hysterically at.
A couple other people pushed their way past us, so that by the time a Russian woman attempted to elbow her way past the English girls behind us, they formed a wall by linking arms and were practically yelling to prevent her from walking by.
Unfortunately, that was unsuccessful and she got in front of us.
We had a lot of time to wander in and out of line
Aka be quiet and no pushing. We should have pointed that sign out to the discreet woman.
Just in case it was tradition, we all took pictures in that spot with our arms in the air.
We then went to the art museum next to the cathedral. It was really interesting. They had a lot of paintings by Spanish artists (obviously) but also Degas, Caravaggio, Picasso etc.
She did not vomit.
We arrived in the Placa d'Espanya, which is where I will begin my next blog!