Tuesday, May 5, 2009
spring break 09! woo! just got home from an amazing amazing wonderful glorious trip through europe! visiting everyone i know! haha. I visited friends in barcelona, amsterdam, liverpool, and london. i saw so many beautiful things, met so many amazing people, just had an excellent time! and everyone i visited took great care of me and made sure i was eating the most delicious food and seeing the most interesting things. not one single complaint!!!
i took an overnight bus to barcelona on april 21st - and I was awoken by a policeman in spain at the border. "hola policia...tienes passaporte?" or something like that...haha needless to say i woke up fast! after leaving a few undocumented stragglers at the border (i felt really bad for them) i got into barcelona at 6am. this is one city that doesn't sleep! the metro was already full at 6.15 am. it was really cool to arrive just before the sun came up. my friend's apartment was amazing and looked out onto the city and the mountains behind it. after taking a little nap, i went exploring in the city with theresa's guide books. just down the street from her apartment was las ramblas - the most exciting street in barca. the street performers, artists, flower vendors, graffiti, (and unfortunately prostitutes late at night) make this street impossible to walk down! i stopped along the way at bouqueria de sant josep, and was amazing at all of the delicious fruits they had. fruits i had never even heard of or seen before! i got some guava juice for only 50cts and continued exploring. i ended up finding some people from israel and going on a free tour of the barri gotic with them! it was great to hear stories of catalonia from a professional - how they got their independence, why they speak catalan, etc (they have the same flag as provence! they all used to be under one rule). After the tour me and my new friends got tapas - they were delicious! Octopus, calamari, sardines, cheesy potatoes, shrimp, squid, and sausage. yumm :)
afterwards i went off exploring again, this time to the barcelona cathedral. it was so relaxing and beautiful there. the shrine to the old patron saint of barcelona, st eulalia, was there, and it was absolutely beautiful. because she died when she was only thirteen, they keep thirteen birds in the cloister of the cathedral all the time to remember her. then i went to parc de la ciutadella, which was made for the world fair in 1888. interestingly enough, gustave eiffel wanted to put the eiffel tower in barcelona for the world's fair, but the city thought it was ugly and settled for their arc del triompf. who knew it would be so popular??
that night i made dinner for my host and then we went to see fc barcelona play sevilla! WOW! incredible!!! one of the coolest things i've ever seen. catalonians are CRAZY for fc barca - and they have a right to be! barca is amazing at football! it was funny to see the difference between professional sports in both countries. at the stadium, they don't have any vendors as you are walking in. they don't sell beer at the games because people get too rowdy after drinking. they had people walking around selling sandwiches, and that is it! can you imagine!? arenas in the US are all about making $$$ and exploiting people in any way they know how...
the rest of my days in barcelona were spent checking out gaudi and montjuic (oh and sunbathing on the beach!! i have a little tan). gaudi was an amazing architect who created inspirational buildings all across barca. before going to barca, i thought that it was only gaudi buildings created in the modernista style. but most of the apartments and buildings are all modernista - creating a truly unique city. gaudi was a deeply religious man and loved catalonia. ironically, he had a fear of public transport and got run over by a train walking to church one day. he looked like just a pauper so no one even stopped to help him. he was in a poor man's hospital when someone realized who he was, but he refused to be transported. when he died a few days later everyone in barcelona came to his funeral because he was so greatly loved! he also loved nature and was inspired by it daily. when i went to parc guell, i literally thought i was in a movie! it was incredible! montjuic is a huge park on a hill/mountain that hosts some of the olympic buildings used in the 1992 olympics. it also holds the musee nacional d'art de catalunya - the old palau nacional! it was beautiful there, and i saw an exhibit on an artist from catalunya called sorello. i loved it!
to sum it up, barcelona was modern, beachy, laid-back, romantic, delicious, bohemian, and inspiring! I LOVED IT!
ok i am procrastinating studying for finals...but i have to write more later about the rest of my travels. less than three weeks until i return to the society of consummation! after traveling to different countries in europe i can really see how that description fits our country perfectly. i wonder how long i'll stick to my french ways of walking everywhere/only shopping at the marché/recycling EVERYTHING/never using too much electricity/not doing ANYTHING on sunday? would i be ostracized for riding my bike to acme?? uggh...the word acme makes me shudder. i don't even want to think about wine costing more than 3 euro...