Walking the Line: Week 9

6 Nov

It is that time of the week again! Another week has passed, which means another blog post for you to (hopefully) read. And why is this week’s post called “Walking the Line”? Because I was quite the rebel this week. I guess you’ll just have to keep reading to find out how.

This week was a busy one academically, because starting today, I have midterms in all of my classes. Joy. And, considering that these midterms are worth 30-40% of my overall grade, I guess you could say they are kind of important. Needless to say, a lot of note-taking/studying went down this week.

Volunteering in the school this week was an experience this week. I asked a group of 12 year-olds where they would travel in the world if they could go anywhere. One boy, at first, couldn’t think of the name of the place, but he said that it contained a desert and a beach. A few minutes later he shouts out “The Shore! I would go to the Jersey Shore!” I was floored. First off, there is no desert in New Jersey. Secondly, here is a kid living in Europe with gorgeous beaches and countless historic cities at his fingertips; yet, he wants to go the the Jersey Shore. Amazing. What has the US done to the culture of the world? And then while volunteering I had to give a Halloween presentation (containing many embarrassing pictures of me/my siblings/friends in costume) to an entire class of sassy 15 year olds. They sure enjoyed the many pictures…..

And so, while school and volunteering were just oodles of fun this week, the best part of the week happened between Thursday and Sunday: soccer and Barcelona!

In my first act of rebellion this week, I skipped class (okay, only part of it) to go to a Granada vs. Atletico Madrid soccer game. And, let me tell you, what a great decision. My seat was five rows up from the field and so the view of the field was incredible! During corner kicks, the players were right in front of us, which only made the game more exciting to watch. Plus, being that close to the players gave me ample opportunity to check out some extremely attractive Spanish soccer players. The emotion in the stadium was also exhilarating. I liked the atmosphere of this game better than that of the Real Madrid game. Here, the fans were very into the match and demonstrated their emotions through loud screaming and the heckling of the other team. Needless to say, I learned a lot of new Spanish words on Thursday night….

After the game came a lovely 12 hour bus ride to Barcelona. Thankfully, it was at night, so it was slightly less painful, although, it did require sleeping in some uncomfortable and cramped positions. To anyone who ever decides to study abroad/travel in the future, do yourself a favor and invest in one of those neck pillows. It will be worth it! They did play a movie for the first two hours, which I watched, but it was an absolute waste of time. If you have never seen the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, please don’t. You will want those two hours of your life back.

We arrived in Barcelona on Friday morning. For those of you that have never been there, it is a huge city with lots of people. I know, that description is really specific. However, the architecture of the city is what makes it incredibly unique. In addition to the masterpiece of Gaudi, a large majority of the buildings are built in a classy, antique style. It really makes for a beautiful place.

The afternoon was spent exploring the works of Gaudi at Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia. Park Guell was nice- it is very naturey with buildings that look like gingerbread houses. Plus, I learned that America’s Next Top Model once did a photo shoot there. How cool is that?! Yes, I did have to take a picture in a spot similar to where they posed. No, I feel no shame.  Overall, the park was a very nice way to begin my Barcelona adventure. However, the highlight of the day (and entire trip) was visiting the Sagrada Familia. Absolutely impressive. It was beyond incredible to see in person. And, the inside? Easily the most beautiful building I have ever had the opportunity to visit. The pictures that I took don’t do it justice. I can’t even describe the impact it had on me. I probably could have sat inside the church all day, I found it that impressive. It seriously puts to shame all other churches (sorry Our Lady of Lourdes) I have ever seen. I absolutely loved it!

Gingerbread houses at Park Guell

Gingerbread houses at Park Guell

Attempting to be America's Next Top Model

Attempting to be America’s Next Top Model

La Sagrada Familia!

La Sagrada Familia!

 

So after an eventful afternoon of sightseeing, it was time to get ready to see the nightlife. Oh Goodness. After a drought of 6 weeks, I ventured to another Spanish club. Surprisingly, I actually had fun at this one! There was a bit more space to dance, so there was definitely less touching and grabbing. Which meant less uncomfortable dodges and petrified looks for me! One guy did grab my wrist and tell me to come dance with him. However, considering that he was at least 30 and wearing a puffy vest inside the club, he was not my type. Plus, if you want to dance with me, grabbing my wrist is not the best way to get my attention (just in case anyone ever wanted to dance with me…). Needless to say, I gave him a terrified look and scrambled away. But, it is safe to say that my second club experience was oodles better than the first! The cab ride back from the club was also an interesting experience. It so happened on Friday there was a drone strike in Pakistan that killed some Taliban leaders. Our cab driver happened to be from Pakistan and proceeded to express his opinions on drone strikes and Obama. He was not very happy. And considering that he had my life in his hands and I did not know what his feelings were about the Taliban, I was glad to get out of that cab! I did have another lovely interaction with the always classy gentlemen of Barcelona. Upon walking back from the club a gentleman approached my friends and I and asked us if we wanted alcohol/liked men. As we kept walking, he proceeded to offer us free intimate interactions with him. He probably thought he was being very generous, but his offer only led to us walking faster away. Needless to say, it was an eventful night.

Saturday was spent touring the city. On our official tour we saw many buildings by Gaudi, Montjuic (a mountain/park over looking the city), and the port of Barcelona. My favorite stop was the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Although these sporting events occurred before my face graced the world, it was still mighty impressive. Talk about a real field of dreams. This experience really made me want to be an Olympian, but unless I happen to have a real knack for curling, I don’t see that coming true. At Montjuic, I participated in another rebellious activity. I walked on and posed on a statue where it is strongly frowned upon to do so. And, I did not get caught. I know, I am just really pushing boundaries here.

The field of dreams

The field of dreams

Just posing with a statue. Yes, this is how I dance at the clubs

Just posing with a statue. Yes, this is how I dance at the clubs

And the rest of Saturday featured an adventure around the city to see some of Gaudi’s houses, a “Magic Fountain” that had a lights/water show, and the Torre Agbar, which is a giant tower that lights up at night. Thrilling for me, maybe not so much for you, so I won’t describe it all for you. But, I must say that Casa Batllo, a house by Gaudi, was easily the coolest house I have ever had the pleasure of being in. There are not straight lines in the entire thing, so it makes for very funky architecture. It reminded me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But unfortunately, no Oompa Loompas (although I could ask Brendan to dress up as one like he did four years ago for Halloween; if you haven’t seen the picture yet, scroll down a little bit, it’s worth it). My lasts acts of rebellion happened during this walk: jaywalking across 4 lanes of traffic. I know, I am going wild here in Spain!

And then, a 12 hour bus ride back to Granada. This one was during the day; not so much fun, because all I could do was read or sleep. And, thanks to a group of loud Spanish students who did not stop talking/singing/clapping for the entire bus ride (yes, all 12 hours), sleeping was difficult. I was very glad to make it back safely into my bed!

Overall, a very fun weekend and I loved the city of Barcelona. Now, before I head off to London I must buckle down and do some studying for my 4 midterms. What joy!

Hasta la Vista!

 

 

 

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One Response to “Walking the Line: Week 9”

  1. juliamoore3 November 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Hi Rebecca, I saw your blog promotion on Facebook. Your experience studying abroad sounds amazing! My friend studied in Spain over the summer and she said the night life, especially the clubs and EDM concerts are crazyyyy. I don’t know how you find time to study amongst all the excitement going on around you. Your photos are beautiful. Enjoy the trip and be safe!

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