Connected through Paris, landed in Madrid with no lodging, accommodations, or plans, saw Guernica (Picasso) at Reina Sofia, wandered the streets, scoped the Real Basilica De San Francisco, got lost, ended up found at Retiro Park and was enchanted by the sunset, broke it, snuck into a nice hotel downtown to use the facilities and get directions which worked perfectly, tapas at Tigre, saw the Royal Palace light up, roamed with eyes bloodshot and hazy streetlights through the Plaza de Oriente, Plaza Mayor, every wall in every corner tagged in rainbows, found the city center with glowing lights and fountains blasting, caught the bus to the airport, crashed in the Iberia terminal until 7am…
Caught the first flight to Barcelona, cab to the hostel, lost in the Gotika markets, comida, wandered Rambla and and Catalunya, blazed the alleyways, city panorama near sunset from Park Guell, met some new friends, more tapas, went out in Rambla to enjoy the nightlife, got my heart stolen rightfully so – who forgets a name 4 times? crash, wandered the streets with headphones, hit the Muslim part of town for pastries, snapped some shots, stopped for tea, orbit La Sagrada Familia, tried Paella, tried to figure out what La Pedrera was, had chocolate churros, beach side at sunset, met some more friends, had my heart stolen by two international aide workers, wandered through crowded subways to Catalunya Square to countdown the new year with thousands of foreigners and Spaniards, 2012, got lost migrating to the beach, jumped in a cab with a Bengali and a Japanese girl that spoke 2 words of English but smiled constantly, met some new friends, attended Raul’s party in the middle of Barcelona where everyone was convinced I was a refugee lost in Spain, escaped, city centre, one place, another place, another place, sunrise onset, bid farewell to our friend Liz, jumped on a train, almost got pickpocketed at 4am, almost got in a fight with the pickpocket but instead got hit by his scarf as the train doors closed, bid farewell to the Japanese girl that spoke no English, jumped in a cab, kissed the Barcelona night sky….
Last plane to Paris, 48 hours on foot, 4 hours of sleep, first 2012 sunrise on an airplane to France, lights out for one hour, conscious, airport, Istiaq spends 15 minutes in the bathroom sick from exhaustion as I wait in the airport cafe, I meet traveling sisters from Texas at the airport, we split a cab to coincidentally the same hostel, drop bags, exhausted, wander the Parisian streets with no energy, cobblestones and concrete, hilltop Basilica, overlook Paris, find a body laying lifeless(?) on a walking trail, hail an ambulance, stumble back into the city, jump a train, smile at Arc de Triomphe, walk the Champs Elysses, jump a train, eat a great falafel, crash, run to the Afghan Embassy to find it closed, meet an Christian evangelical that disregards me but takes an extreme liking to my Bengali travel partner, take a walking tour of Paris, heart stolen by a Brazilian, see the Mona Lisa, see the Louvres, search for the Brazilian at sunset which leads to the most beautiful bridge in Paris and the Eiffel tower, see the Eiffel tower light up at sunset, break it, Indian/Pakistani part of town for great food and sweets, meet some new friends, meet an MLB (Major League Baseball) player, watch the MLB player get into a fight, break the fight up, almost get into a fight with the MLB players friend, escape, appetizers with new friends, crash, wake up to a missing heart en route to Sao Paolo, run to Afghan Embassy for visa, hustle the staff to land a visa turned around in 2 hours (hell yeah!), crepes, coffee, Notre Dame, Mansion of Saint Chappelle, wander the Seine river, run to the train station within minutes of departure, take a seat, take a picture, headphones…
Arrive in Brussels by nightfall, break the train station, wander Belgium in the rain in search of Wifi, find the hostel, meet a friend, wander the streets, watch the city light up to a nearby accordian, find the crowded alleyways, catch Delirium, watch a man overloaded on drugs set the entire place on fire, take some pictures, meet a strange frenchman, wander back to hostel, exhausted, no sleep, crash….
I’ll have to continue later – need sleep. That trip was cray.