06.19.16 / by Shaun Ventulan

Jet lag is one hell of a barrier when it comes to travel. The body is physically exhausted, yet the mind is wide awake. At one point, I started to fall asleep, well, felt like falling asleep. I figured that if I take 50mg of Diphenhydramine (also known as Unisom), it would make me sleep a minimum of 8 hours. Luckily, I asked my friend tonight if I should double dose, and his advice was to assess why it didn't work last night. Anti-histamines can do the exact opposite of sleep, which was its effect on me last night. It's as if I took two scoops of pre-workout for the first time. I literally shut my eyes from 22:30 all the way to 08:30 without any progress. The fact that my room is located -1 floor, or known as the basement in my native tongue, is hellish. Fresh air is non-existent and the fact that 12 people reside in such a small space intensifies the heat. I suppose I was spoiled during my stay in Anne Hostel Ryogoku, or maybe the end of winter made it pleasant. My day may sound unpleasant, but I eventually fell asleep around 09:00 and woke up around 12:40. It took a relatively heavy breakfast and two cups of milk for some tryptophan to surge and put me to sleep. All I needed was a few minutes of REM to make me feel refreshed again. 

Jet lag and the fact that I haven't been working out has really affected my sleeping habits. I feel way too energized all the time. For the past two days, I've averaged a 9 mile walk, yet all that cardiovascular exercise hasn't really dragged me down. I need to figure out a routine for when I leave for Florence. 

Although I had a rough start and started my day a little bit late, I still managed to enjoy my trip. Solitude isn't bothersome when you're exploring something new. Perhaps I do miss some aspects of traveling with a group (having someone to take a proper picture of you), but having a spontaneous itinerary is exciting. At one point, I decided to look for the beach. I just walked the general direction as to where the port is and ended up in Colon, a towering monument in the middle of the port. The walk was a 3 mile stretch from my hostel in a battering 85 degree weather. The port is pretty interesting. It's a diverse crowd of locals and tourists enjoying the sun. 

The best part was getting to the port. I had no idea where to go, so I followed a signage pointing towards the Picasso museum. The more I explored the area, the deeper I fell in the heart of Barcelona's gothic district. The architecture is an explicit reminder of the Catholic churches influence. It's both beautiful and frightening as something immaculate also had sinister intentions during its glory. The Barcelona Museum was a waste of time. I was expecting more of Catalan history, not Asian and Samoan relics. I ended my day with the realization that stores are not open during Sundays. I walked a 4 mile stretch with 90% of retail closed. I did, however, get to eat paella. The mixture was delicious, but the rice had a bit of a tough texture, which is not that appetizing. At least I was able to try the food that the city praises.

Tomorrow, 06.20.16 will be my last day in Barcelona. I'm thrilled as I get to explore the cities of Florence, Rome, and Venice. I think of Italy as a romantic city. The medieval architecture sounds appealing. Despite my excitement, I do feel a little homesick. It's a little bit different to travel with someone familiar.