29 October 2008

Summary of my past month Part 1

Whoops, my computer died and I forgot I had a blog! Sorry kids! Also, it's downpouring otherwise I would be outside!!

The last week of September there was this huuuuge festival in Barcelona called La Merce, and the entire city parties the whole week. I only had classes on Monday and Tuesday, and even those were like parties.
The highlights:
Correfoc (fire run): For like three hours a bunch of people dressed up like devils and carrying big dragons light of sparklers and spray fire all over the streets. Everyone wears protective clothing and dances in the fire. It was super wild and crazy and I can only imagine what would happen if someone tried to do this in the states.
All throughout La Merce there were free concerts on stages set up in many different plazas throughout the city, and wherever you went there was something going on. My favorite was seeing Rocky Votolato for free in Plaça del Rei, and I also loved the random nights of dancing and drinking and celebrating in the streets! During the day there were also a lot of cool things, a lot of them traditional, like the Castellers, which are human towers. It is really a wild thing to watch people climb on each other and create towers like 7 people high. Hopefully I will be able to upload photos soon!

The first weeks of October were the beginning of classes, and after an initial freak out in which I had to change my entire schedule and find all new classes, it is going really well. I have an advanced grammar class, which is a good review course, a class in oral and technical expression (formal speaking like debates, presentations and such), a class called BCN/Madrid that compares the two cities through literature and film from the 19th century to the present, VERY COOL, and my last class is Primitive Art, which is the only class that I have with other Spanish students. All the classes are in Spanish, and all are going well. Neat, not too exciting to talk about!

Frisbee has, of course, been a big part of my life here. The team is a lot of fun, definitely all older than us college kids but I´m happy that I still get to play while being here. We play on the beach on the weekends and at a stadium during the week. There´s a huge hat tournament this weekend...I am so excited!!

One weekend we decided to go to Madrid on like Wednesday. It was sooo much fun, and my first big trip out of the city since being here. We took the overnight bus Thursday night and were in Madrid until Sunday when we took the overnight bus back to get in on Monday morning, just in time for 8 hours of class! Madrd was so cool- I have read so much about it, studied so much of the art there...it was amazing to be experiencing things for real that were so familiar in my mind. We went to the Thyssen museum, which had an incredible exhibit about the Vanguardists during WWI, and also to the outside of the Royal Palace and the cathedral. Friday night was wild and then Saturday, on very little sleep, we had another full day of sightseeing! The Prado, Reina Sofia (I couldn´t believe I was in the same room as all of that great art...I had to keep blinking and pinching myself to know it was real! And so I wouldn´t start crying...haha)
On Sunday we had an AWESOME day- there is this giant flea market called El Rastro (or is it Rostro?...don´t remember) that took up endless streets and I wandered around for hours. Then Mary and I went and ate bocadillos calamares..fried squid sandwiches...and YES THEY WERE DELICIOUS. I think I can officially eat everything. Especially when paired with sidra, aka cider...our day on Sunday was very Madrid, very Spanish. We went to the Parque de Retiro which is Madrid´s answer to Central Park, and there were some interesting characters there, and it was just a gorgeous day and perfect!
That night, before our return, we went to a bull fight. I didn't want to but at the same time felt like I had to experience it once. It was horrible. I cried, and when the first bull was actually killed I was reeeeeeally crying. I thought I was going to vomit a few times. I just don't get it, I never will. It doesn't matter that the bull has had an excellent life, is well fed and happy, if it is being tortured for the last 25 minutes of its life. Terrible.

Aaaanyway, on that somewhat depressing note I am going to be done for the moment. I know I skimmed over a lot but if you are truly curious you can read my travel journal when I get back. In part 2 look forward to adventures in Amsterdam, mountain climbing, and the magical mind of Salvador Dalí. Adios!