Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I feel that this picture sums up our trip to Barcelona pretty well: hot, tired, sweaty, and all in all miserable. Just kidding! (kind of...) We left Thursday morning really early and after a fairly late night, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a train. I get motion sick, I had to sit by strangers, etc. Anyway, I digress. So, we arrived in Barcelona and were forced to walk 12 blocks carrying our bags. This would have been no big deal, except as soon as we get to our hostel, the tour guide pointed out the metro stop that was 1/2 a block away. Why we couldn't have gotten off there is still a mystery to me. We were left to our own devices to find lunch. Me, Rich, Christy, Jamie, Sarah Grace, and Katerina ended up sitting down at a tapas bar with a great outdoor "patio." It was shaded and breezy, and that's all that mattered to us!

After lunch, we met up with our tour guide Alan, and his two assistants, Kyoko and Gerrol. We divided up into three groups and took a tour of the old part of the city. We saw ancient Roman ruins and lots of old churches. Gerrol, my tour guide, was the best, because he was always showing us great little nooks and crannies that had lots of shade and places to sit down and rest. He knew us well. None of our tour guides were native to Barcelona, which was very interesting to me.

After our tour, Dr. Bowman treated us all to pinchos, which are basically tapas on a piece of bread. So delicious, but a little disappointing because we have the exact same restaurant here in Valencia, and I had eaten there earlier in the week. Oh well! After dinner we all went to take showers and rest for a little while. There was a soccer game on that night and we all wanted to go watch. We ended up watching the soccer game at a great pub and had a blast -- got back to the hostel at about 1am, just in time for a good night's sleep!

Friday was a long day - we met at 10am for the start of our tour. We went to La Familia Sagrada and spent some time there. Then we looked at many of Gaudi's works that are displayed all over the city. The above picture was taken while we were waiting for lunch. We were starving and hot and clearly fairly miserable. Lunch, however, was fabulous! Alan took us to a small restaurant that was so accomodating, and they had delicious hamburgers!!! I sure do miss having meat cooked medium rare, though.

We spent the rest of the afternoon touring the Olympic Park and the Forum area. After that, we were able to go back to the hostel and catch a little rest. We ventured out for dinner at the Irish pub and chose to stay to watch the game there. What an exciting game! I can't believe Turkey won in penalty kicks!! After the pub, the night kind of turned into a mess. I think it is getting to that point in the trip where 
everybody is just kind of getting on everyone else's nerves, especially when we are sleeping 12 girls to a single room in a hostel... you catch my drift. Anyway, we all ended up splitting up and I think that all of the individual groups had a nice rest of the evening.

Saturday morning we got up and went to Camp Nou, which is also known as the Barca soccer stadium. It's HUGEEEEEEEEEEE!!! It's like a compound with several stadiums for soccer, basketball, and rugby, plus a practice field that is the size of a high school football stadium, plus tons of outdoors stuff for people to do during the games I guess? I don't know.
Anyway, thats what that picture is from - because Barcelona is "mas que un clube" or more than a club... whatever that means :)

We made it back to Valencia late Saturday night, and I came home and absolutely crashed. I got to sit by a non-stranger on the train ride home, which was nice, but I was so glad to be back in my bed that has a mattress thicker than 2" and actual sheets and not have to share community showers. Call me spoiled, but...

This week is finals week. We had a picnic for class today and tomorrow we have our last class of the trip. I can't believe it's almost time to go home. What an amazing experience this has been; definitely something I won't forget. I have made great friends and I have really learned a lot about myself since I've been here. However, I am so excited to come home to air conditioning, driving my car, normal grocery stores and restaurants, and so much more. I miss home!
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