World's Freshest Markets

Our professor sent us this…it’s pretty awesome that we get to go get our food there sometimes. 

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Up and Up, Down and Down

The say started up in the northwestern Catalonian city of Sarria, one of the more affluent neighborhoods here in Spain. It’s home to many architects in fact…whoo, there is a future afterall. We visited the city hall where, unknowingly, I walked forth into an abyss of giants. Literal giants. Apparently there’s an annual festival where they parade in these huge, hand made giant costumes that stand at around 10 feet tall. They’re hideous and sometimes had two faces. Not a fan. Continuing on our journey to the market we saw, in the distance, our stars and stripes waving in the wind! Alas, it was the American embassy. Mom, if you’re reading this, I hope you know that I now know where it is, and if I get into a sticky situation, I’ll be there. I’ll be sure to call and let you know how beautiful it is. 

Nearing the peak heat of the day, we ventured up a lonely path that, of course, Philip would know of. Winding up the serpentine path I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to see, but the path opened up to an open courtyard that overlooked a small, man-made ravine. Apparently we were in El Turo Parc de Sarria Sant Gervasi Compleix. There, we did some diagraming of the space, its ordering systems, and materiality. It definitely opened my eyes up to see that there really is a reason as to such meandering walkways (to make it easier to walk up) and why there are certain trees (to keep a certain amount of shading throughout the hot seasons). 

The second part of the day consisted of a completely different experience in the West Gothic region, and one of the poorest parts of town called the Raval. It’s home to the Arab, Jewish, and Christian demographic; It’s also famous for the prostitutes there. Boys, be careful of the lady of the night! She might try to snatch you away and have her way with you…no joke.

It was triply to see the polarity in both cities and how there could be such poverty in such proximity to such a rich city. I guess it’s not that much different from Southern California is it? Sigh. 

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The First Day (And A Half)

I literally felt like I was awake for two straight days; I almost was really. It was a good 34 hour day. I met some interesting people on my flights! Next to me was a film and writing double major at the University of Michigan. Awesome part was that he was wearing a denim shirt and toms too…we were twins. On the other side of the aisle was a woman by the name of Temma Kaplan who is a history professor at Rutgers. It was intimidating to say the least when she said she was going to Spain to do a little research to add to her little book. Cutest little old lady ever. 

After I got off the airplane I walked straight to the booth with the grumpy guy stamping passports. No enthusiasm…so unfortunate. I also didn’t have to go through declarations, so it was incredibly fast getting out of the terminal. I found Professor Speranza and the rest of my classmates (Shelby, Nicole, John, Yulia, Peter, and Laura) waiting at the cafe. We ventured outside to the less muggy sitting area and waited for Chris to land and meet us there. We got onto the metro (after walking forever like tourists with our baggage) and got off at Poblenou and walked to our apartment. 

We’re on the first floor (in America it would be the third floor; I know…i don’t understand either) in the second room. My roommates, Nicole, Shelby, and Aliza, and I share a 3-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen, bathroom, and living room. It’s adorable to say the least. 

To keep us awake, Philip took us on the longest walk ever. First, we walked down the Rambla del Poblenou back to the metro and took it to Urquinaona and situated ourselves at Plaça de Cataluna, a main drag in the Gothic district of Barcelona. From there, we walked down the Rambla de Sant Joseph to the shipyard (where la Rambla turns into la Rambla del Mar). Along the way, at around 2 ‘o clock, we had lunch at some little restaurant. I had a mozerella salad, a filet of swordfish, and I finished it off with a rice pudding.

After, we spent a little time at the most tourist populated part of the beach. There were a few topless girls (AHH!) and lots of international people. The water was warm (relative to California) and the sand was fairly fine. We walked back slowly and met Philip back at the apartments where he made a ton of steamed mussels and bread with a tomato and garlic rub. Finally, after cleaning up, we went back to the apartments and fell asleep almost immediately. Almost ridiculous how loud my room is, especially since the windows MUST be open for air to go through. You know me though…I clearly don’t have a problem falling asleep/staying asleep to loud noises. 

It was a great first day of Barcelona, and I’m ready for more! 

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And so it begins…

Everywhere, there’s overpriced airport food, matching family outfits, and smartphones galore with the latest news updates or advanced levels of Angry Bird. John Wayne airport (or rather any international airport) is a different world and yet scarily the same no matter which one you’re at. It’s only another hour I wait until I board the 757 to Newark as my first leg of my trip, and waiting on the other side is a four hour layover. Cheers to the people-watchers…I’ll be one of you soon. For now I’m just that lonely traveler that ended up stuck next to a giant random asian family (loaded with the best snacks I might add), because obviously there weren’t five other rows of seats open an hour before flight. I guess I seem approachable. We’ll go with that. 

Well Barcelona, I’ll see you soon!

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