OK, I've been terribly busy lately. So sorry I never got around to writing about my Spain trip! I wanted to make sure I wrote a bit before I forget, so here are my thoughts. And I stole all of these images from the internets.:
-Catalan is confusing
- Barcelona is definitely a summer party town. There are all these clubs on the beach, and everyone hangs out outside. It's definitely not a place I can imagine living in year round.
-La Sagrada Familia is epic, though it's still in the process of being built, so there is scaffolding everywhere.
-Park Guell was lovely, we visited the Gaudi museum and sat out on the winding benches and chatted up vendors selling their wares. I bought some leather bracelets, and my friend Nisha had some jewelery custom-made.
-My biggest disappointment was missing out on the Picasso museum. It was closed on Monday!
- I loved how everything was open so late, perfect for a night owl like me. Stores didn't close until 9 and later, and people don't sit down and eat until 10. Best tapas I had in Barca were at Tapas 24. A review with nice photos here.
-Worst? Some random joint on Las Ramblas that was handing out free shots. It wasn't my idea, obviously.
- We also hit up Barcelona's fabled night life. Most notable was Razmatazz, an absolutely humongous club, with several buildings and multiple stories. All the Northwestern students who were "studying" in Barcelona claim a room nightly here, with their friends from UChi, Stanford, Brown, Princeton and Harvard. All this social awkwardness and intelligence interrupted by the effects of alcohol makes for an interesting experience to say the least.
-The market is awesome! But don't let your waiter overcharge you for swordfish at one of the little bar/restaurants inside.
-Overall, Barcelona is a nice city, but one I'm not itching to visit again.
-Beautiful Weather! It felt so good to wear sandals again.
-We took a free walking tour from our hostel, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences I had during my trip. I learned interesting tidbits about Spanish history and the story of Sevilla, which is rich in Spanish-Christian, Moorish and Jewish culture.
-The Cathedral is the third-largest church in Europe (after San Pietro in Rome and St. Paul's in London) and very interesting to tour. It used to be a Moorish mosque, and the famous tower used to be a minaret. You can climb to the top of the tower using a winding ramp. Apparently, back in the day, someone used to ride to the top on a pony to do the Call to Prayer in order to preserve his voice. Neat, huh?
-I met my friend and former roomie Rachel for dinner one night, and we headed to the neighborhood where Flamenco was born. Some friends wanted to pay up to 30 euros for a flamenco show, but I dined right next to an impromptu floor show, at no cost.
-Even though I liked the daytime walking tour, the night life tour was a very different story. Pancho of Pancho Tours runs a very shady business. Be wary of him. It is very unprofessional to try to make out with your clients. However, I did get to meet a Brazilian hottie on this tour. Hey Juaon, or Joao, or Juan...or however you spell your name.
-Most tapas I had in Sevilla were excellent, and very rustic. I love the little sandwiches (bocaditos) with iberian ham or chorizo, the seafood, and the vegetable dishes.
-I really really really want to go back to Sevilla. It's so romantic. It would make the perfect vacation, and there is a lot more I'd like to see around Southern Spain.
-The weather...Colder than it's ever been in Paris and rainy the entire time. I wanted to get out and explore Madrid, but it was really hard when all you wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep.
-I hit up the Thyssen and the Prado museums and they were very nice. My favorite painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, hangs in the Prado, so that was really a treat.
-Visited Hemingway's fave Sangria bar, Las Cuevas de Sesamo, and the Penthouse rooftop bar after that. Went to la Chueca barrio for dinner one night, since my stolen-from-the-hostel lonely planet guidebook told me it was "THE place" to eat in Madrid. It was Sunday, so there wasn't much open, but it was still very trendy. Most gay neighborhoods are that way. Hey, Boystown, hey!
-I don't think I gave Madrid enough of a chance. It's really similar to Paris, so I'd definitely like to go back again and explore some more, hopefully when the sun is shining. The Passeo del Prado is beautiful.
-Found an Indian fusion restaurant called Root, because at this point, I was sick of patatas bravas and cured meat.
-Madrid is LOUD at night. Our hostel was near plaza del sol, but still, I had to wear earplugs to drown out all the noise on the street.
-Halloween in Madrid was kind of scary. Everyone was dressed as a zombie, or some sort of bloody witch. Or a ghost buster, but that's kind of random. You couldn't tell if someone was actually injured, or if they were just having fun.
But overall, a great trip. But I'm glad to be back in my beloved Paris.
Because Spain doesn't do pastries well. And Paris has LaDurée and Pierre Hermé. And it's Paris for goodness' sake. I'll have to write soon on Paris stuff. I'm so behind.
Alright, now on to my millions of homework assignments. Not joking. In the next week, I have 2 political briefings to compose since we're role-playing a session of the European Council in one of my classes. I'm Ireland! I feel so typecasted. Plus a grant proposal, plus an outline for my 15 page paper, plus an annotated bibiliography for our poltical economy debate class. FML.