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After arriving at my Istanbul hostel around midnight, a time when the rooftop bar was closed and the two other occupied beds in my room had sound sleepers, I had really nothing better to do than go to bed myself. I wasn't really tired though, and was an hour behind in time zones so I just laid there for a long time listening to the entire soundtrack to RENT on my iPod. It was my first night in a hostel in five weeks, so I had become unaccustomed to snorers and top bunks. So I didn't sleep well....

Writing something down next to number one on your bucket list can be daunting. It's the one item everyone is guaranteed to read and it just sits there like a sore thumb waiting to be bandaged. Waiting to be ticked off. It has to be something big. Something worth kicking off a list of life goals. Something that, when crossed off, will be impressive. When I first started my list, officially on January 1, 2009, I added "backpack through Europe for at least three months" as my number one goal. And today I crossed it off. I'll tell you a secret....

In all honesty, I did a pretty pathetic job of eating in Barcelona. But I ended up making a lot of salads in the kitchen of my AirBnB because, after two months of almost exclusively eating out while on the road, it was just nice to have some nice crisp light vegetables. (That kitchen was also a nice place to learn to make Tortilla de Patatas from my hosts.) And I stopped into the close, and familiar, McDonald's one too many times. And I was just tired of trying to figure out where to eat and try to get a...

I've liked Barcelona. It's a very Chicago-esque place which, in a way, helped me feel at home here the past four weeks. I can't really explain what it is. I joked that it's pretty but dirty and everyone speaks Spanish. Which, in reality, is only partially a joke. Maybe it's the Metro system that can get you anywhere. Or the beaches that are nice but don't feel quite right. Or the mid rises and high rises. Whatever the case, I've liked Barcelona....

Sometimes when traveling you crave foods from home. And what do I crave when I'm away from home? Macaroni and cheese. Since I was staying in an AirBNB and had access to a full kitchen, I decided to make macaroni and cheese with the finest cheddar Barcelona had to offer. It was actually pretty awful cheese (maybe I should have substituted something local instead...

When I decided to spend my September in Barcelona, I didn't even know I would be here for La Mercè festival. Actually, I didn't even know what La Mercè was until just before I came. Everywhere in Spain they celebrate a festa major, or annual festival, at a different time. And Barcelona is no different. The city celebrates their patron saint at the end of September with a multi-day extravaganza full of events and activities featuring gegants, castells, and correfoc. And thus, I spent the last four days here in Barcelona wandering about the festival and getting a taste of...

Adam (another blogger I met at TBEX this summer) and his wife Megan also happened to be traveling in Barcelona. So I met up with them and others one night for beers at a pizza place. It was good to catch up with someone else I've met before, especially someone who once took a similar trip to mine. And to watch a little doggy beg for food… ...

After many days of sitting around the apartment doing nothing but watching downloaded movies and episodes of the Simpsons I was finally feeling better. Lo and behold the penicillin seemed to cure me of the "viral infection" I'd been suffering with for the let 6 weeks. My cough is even almost completely gone....