Sweet Montjuïc and the Marvelous Mediterranean

Our first weekend in Barcelona. What did we do? Well, since we live about spitting distance from the Mediterranean, we decided to venture there, despite the fact that it was a bit cloudy. But, it didn’t matter since it was pretty hot anyway so it didn’t matter too much.

One thing you should know about this beach, is that it was an “optional bathing suit beach”, so a great number of very confident folk strutted their stuff, topless or bottomless, or both, which is a far cry from the city itself. It’s so ironic that such a city that still follows a somewhat conservative dress code because the influence of the catholic church, would also have a mandatory-cover-everything-beach dress code, but it’s quite the opposite. Perhaps the people get so antsy from having to cover up themselves throughout the city, and this is their time to shine and let loose- or something like that.

Other than the surprising discovery of the optional dress beach, it was for the majority, a good day. We all had our “bocadillos” at a good hour, trying to build up and maintain our stomach’s endurance. Some of them were a good length, like about a $5 foot long (minus the $5) and about ten times better. The bread is rubbed with oil and tomato, and contains some type of meat, like churrizo or cured ham, and cheese. One of my friends in the group after a mouthful admitted “I would pay for these” cause they’re just that good. And I would have to agree. I would say that we are kinda getting them for free, but then I remember we did pay for everything with the tuition. I’ll take it though.

We stayed there for most of the afternoon. Ok, let me correct that; for most of the day, til around 6:30. Other people in our group broke off to leave a little earlier, but the group I was with decided to stay later, since we don’t really eat until 9 pm anyway. A friend and I decided to walk back, seeing if it could take a little less than an hour. Well, it wasn’t, but it was a little more exciting than taking the bus over, which we had done earlier that day to get to the beach. Several vendors parked on the streets, so we had to take a glimpse of those. The vendors sold things from books and masks to old antiques and touristy things, so we had quite a variety to look at.

Later that night, we decided to go to Montjuïc to see the fountains, Placa España and the Arenas, now a shopping mall, in the night. See, earlier that morning, my friend and I went for a run, and I discovered that I lived only a three minutes run away from Placa España, and the Palacio, which is also a museum. The opportunities right outside my front door are endless!

Let’s just say, that the fountains were nothing short of amazing or beautiful (fill in a close synonym for pretty or inspired etc. as you please) with its multiple colors and opera music. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the show was almost over. Though fortunately, they have shows every night running every twenty minutes. And fortunately, I actually found out a shortcut to get there in about two minutes. And even more fortunate, is that I will stop using that word… for now. Fortunately, it started to annoy you.

Up the stairs of the Palacio were several cardboard cutouts of basketball players, and there was a huge setup of a basketball court and life-sized pictures of some of the athletes. Don’t worry. I got to stand next to them and get pictures.

We raced up the stairs to the balcony where we were stopped in our tracks. Barcelona was just at our feet, and we could see the Placa España, the columnas of the palacio, the line of fountains on both sides of the street from the Placa to the palacio. Behind us, the several blue spotlights crowned the palacio and a pale yellow glow highlighted it.

The rest of the night, we spent or time exploring a little bit of Montjuïc and figuring out how disorienting cities can be at night. Still, the group helped me find my way back eventually, and all was well in the world.

I wish I could say that this was all that we have been doing; going to the beach, frolicking in Parque Guell, skipping to the fountains of Montjuïc and such. But, ¡Asi es la vida! We’ve had classes too, every day. I believe, we had our first class on Tuesday, the day after we arrived, so we haven’t had our heads completely in the clouds. And tomorrow, (more like today, whoops) we leave for Castilla y Leon, which will be our academic trip. It should be a good break away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even though it hasn’t been that bad. A 13 hour bus ride into the countryside has never sounded so great.

Well, that’s it for now! I won’t be keeping up over the next five days, so you guys will have to hold tight til then. Try not to get too upset. I will be taking pictures (of course) and continuing a journal, that I’ll probably upload to here so you guys can take a peek into my trip. ¡Hasta luego!

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