Arriving in Barcelona, I immediately felt at home. A feeling that does not come around often when I visit a place. Barcelona for me is like San Francisco but more laid back and not having many issues. I stayed at a hostel which was very affordable. I was in the company of several affable Brits. The locker is high tech and card operated. Huge crowd downtown for the La Merce festival. Although I am puzzled why the accommodations are not full and the air fare was not overpriced. Saw the Gigantes parade, the DJ set and dancing in the parks and the fireworks. I missed a lot of events in the Festival calendar being there for only two nights. The events I liked most were the two separate drum and percussion performances which were very energetic and engaging.
I had a bad first experience with Milan. I didn’t like the Malpensa airport and had to ride a bus to terminal two. I was grumpy by then. Then I had to take an hour bus ride to Statione Centrale and was not impressed at the scenery along the way, they were typical mix of modern and old structures which were tidy but drab. Then arriving at the pricy hotel I booked there was barking big dog by the owners at the lobby. And then I was told to go to a separate location without a reception. I was trying not to succumb to a meltdown and that might have made me feel constipated. After taking a hike around the city, seeing the monolithic Milan cathedral, the Armani models, having a nice dinner with RK2 made me relax a bit. But thing that struck me most were the people. They were a lot of good looking people and they are perhaps the most fashionable. If people watching is a pastime and an attraction, one should go to Milan. I can literally sit down for hours just doing people watching here.