Monday, March 1, 2010

Barcelona, Gaudi, and Soccer

This weekend, we took a weekend trip to Barcelona. We took us bus over there, which lasted about 4 or 5 hours. I looked out the window as we drove along the coast and could see a lot of the rural landscapes of Spain. I saw a lot of small farms, as well as big orchards of orange trees. Everything here is so beautiful. It looks different, but there are a lot of hues of forest greens, neutrals, burgandys, and dark oranges. We got to Barcelona in enough time to see the city bustling about on a late friday afternoon. The hotel we were staying at was right in the middle of everything, just a block away from the biggest plaza in the city. Mary Clare had a room to herself so I moved in with her. Our room was on the top floor, with big windows that opened up to an incredible view of the city. We dropped our stuff down and immediately left to explore. We took a couple small streets, saw of vegetarian restaurant that we wanted to eat at sometime, and went into a retro clothing store. We found a restaurant to get a drink, and it seemed very popular because there were a ton of people. We retruend to the hotel shortly after to meet up with the group to go eat dinner. We walked to an italian buffet restaurant, which was a nice change from the cafeteria food at Rector Peset (my dorm). That night we met up with Dave's friend and saw some of the city. The next day we got up and went on a bus tour throughout the city. I wish we could have walked around a bit, but we didnt have enough time to see everything we wanted if we were walking. We went to a park called Parque Gruel, which had a lot of Gaudi influences and structures. Then we were driving along again and all of a sudden, there was La Sagrada Familia. It was absoultely breathtaking. Imagine just driving along and the next block is just this massive church. you can barely even see it when you are standing in front of it because it is so high. The church was designed by Gaudi, but is not finsihed yet. He died before it was finished but he didn't write all of it down so they can't do exactly what he had in mind. His ideas are absolutely absurd. There are these three towers that make up part of La Sagrada Familia and he wanted to construct it so that each one made a different musical note when the wind blew into them. A lot of his art and architecture is influenced by the natural world. The inside is supposed to be a forest. The columns are supposed to the trunks and the ceiling makes up the canopy, and there are a ton of little star lights so that when the sun shines in, it makes a pattern on the ground. What is so crazy about this church is that every detail is different and each side has a completely different feel to it. There is some coherency in the overall look, but to me there were just crazier details and structures at every turn. That night we went out to a couple places. First we ate at the vegetarian place we saw the first night. We all got different food and sangria and shared everything. Then we went and met up with some people and went to the biggest bar that I have ever been in. There were a ton of foreigners there, but really just a ton of people in general. Then we got on the metro and headed to a discotech that we heard was supposed to be a must-experience kinda place. We got there and it was surrounded by all the warehouses. The line to get into Razmataz was about 2 city blocks long. We really didnt want to wait that long, but we had come all that way and we wanted to see what the hype was about. I understood completely as soon as I took my first step into the club. It was this huge warehouse with lights, loud music, and dancing bodies everywhere. But that room was not jsut the craziest part. We walked up some stairs, outside on some bridge and into another room equally as big and crazy as the first. Each room had different music, but we as equally packed with peope. There must have been a couple thousand people there. We left around 6 in the morning, which was early compared to everyone else who were still dancing away in there. We got back to our hotel and about 7 people passed out on our bed. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep because an hour later we woke up to grab breakfast in the hotel. We had to pack up our stuff after we got back, took a little nap, and then went to the bus yet again. We were leaving just as soon as we had got there. This was not nearly enough time to experience Barcelona, one of the craziest cities in the world. I should be seeing myself back there in the future, but I am still happy to be living in Valencia. I think its not as crazy, more manageable, but still very unique. That night me and Caroline were invited to watch the Marselle vs Paris soccer game with Gilles and Jean Manuel. We went over to Gilles apartment, which is a 2 minute walk from our dorm. His place overlooks the Plaza de la Virgen and there were a ton of people in it. This week marks the beginning of Las Fallas, a week long celebration, party, and parade of the coolest looking structures. There are already a ton of people in the city to get ready. There are parades at night and something called Mascelta in the day time, where they shoot off cannons in Plaza del Ayuntamiento, which is one of the biggest plazas in Valenica. Gilles cooked dinner for everyone, which was rice with mussels in this yellow creamy sauce. It was so delicious and a lot better than the food I could get at my dorm. I can't remember the name of the dish but it was a traditional French dish. Marselle won the soccer game 3-0 in Paris, a huge upset for them but a great victory for Marselle, so everyone was in high spirits.

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