11 July 2013

¡Un fin de semana espectacular!

Last weekend was kind of a crazy 42 hours with hardly any sleep for some of us. Saturday morning we woke up early and met at the doors of the University. Elisabeth, one of our friends who is working here in Barcelona this summer, also joined with us, as she had taken a class with Conxita last semester.

First off, Spaniards generally exaggerate. The week before we went on the hike our teacher asked us if we wanted to actually hike the mountain of Montserrat or if we wanted to take the train to the top. She told it was VERY VERY difficult, but you have to keep in mind that this is the same teacher that told us that ALL of us were going to get robbed in Barcelona. So, the majority of us hiked up, and hands down it was either the most difficult hike, or second most difficult hike that I have ever done. The total time was hiking for 1 hour and 54 minutes for myself.

The hike sucked, I am not going to lie, and I don't have any other words to describe it other than just that! Elisabeth and I wondered around the city and had a lot of fun checking out some of the different areas. I took the train down the hill, because I needed to save my energy. ¿Por qué? you might ask... Well, the truth is that on the same evening, just hours after returning back from Barcelona, twelve of us caught a bust to go to Pamplona. And why do people go to Pamplona on July 6 - 14?

The Running of the Bulls or in Spanish "San Fermines" is a crazy fiesta in Pamplona that lasts a week. The majority of you have probably heard about it, remembered your Spanish I high school Spanish teacher mentioning something along the lines of it... Well, it was amazing to live it!

We got to Pamplona at about 5 in the morning after one of the most uncomfortable seven hour bus rides ever. But it was totally worth it. The bus rolled into the station, and for a second I thought that we were pulling up into a sketchy trashy side of town. No... that was just a mountain of garbage from all of the party that had happened within the past 14 hours.

Our group split up into two groups. My group stood towards the end of the run, right before the bulls enter their slaughterhouse Plaza de Toros. Yes, the bulls die. Meanwhile the other group was at the beginning. I have a YouTube video uploading right now which everyone will be able to access later. After the epic three minute run, if that, which brought us to Pamplona, it was time to wander throughout the town and check it out. Randy and I went to a place that I had heard to check out that is called Bar Gaucho, which had Basque Tapas, since Navarra is really close to the Basque Country. It was delicious!

Everyone was wearing red and white! Those are the traditional colors of the fiesta. I saw people who were wearing orange shirts and running with the bulls, and I did not quite understand it, but that is fine. There were no deaths the day we watched it, however there were people that I saw who had become injured. I was afraid that one of the people that I saw was dieing, that was really intense for me, but it was still exciting. I wish that I could have ran, because it is not nearly as big of a deal that people made it out to be. Also, women... you can ran. Traditionally women were not allowed to do it, as the fiesta expressed masculinity at its finest, however I saw women running. So pack your running shoes!

At five pm we caught our bus and made the return back to Barcelona. We arrived around 11 back home, and when I got home I saw my bed and went into a coma. Yes, I slept that hard! I hope you have enjoyed this epic blog post, I never thought I would be able to post anything about it, but I did! Erika gets here tomorrow so I will be sure to post photos and such with our travels within the next week, and then I come home on the 24th! Thanks for reading!

Un abrazo,

05 July 2013

Barcelona, Catalunya

I have been studying in Barcelona for a few weeks now. Of course, I absolutely love it. The two classes that I am taking are called "A literary walk through Barcelona" and "The coexistence of three cultures on the Iberian Peninsula: Islam, Judaism and Christianity". The courses have a lot of fun, and I am really glad that I was fortunate enough to come abroad again and study here.

Catalan is the main language spoken in the city; all of the metro stops, plaças, everything is written and spoken in Catalan. However, everyone (even if they do not want to admit it) speaks Spanish so that is a lot of fun. I have been on the other social media mostly during this trip, as I have used Vine, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share my adventures in the second largest city in Spain.

Personally, Barcelona is great and all but I could not live here. I would prefer to come back and teach English in southern Spain. Below you can see some photos and some adventure notes. Also, I am going to Pamplona tomorrow night to go to the Running of the Bulls which is going to be very exciting. I am looking forward to it. A lot, actually so I will have a ton of photos there as well! (And maybe a video!)

You can see some of the adventures and such, it is ALL written in Spanish though, here at this blog that we are using for our trip: Barcelona Literaria 

I actually live just a few blocks away from La Sagrada Familia. I almost always get off at this stop of the metro and love to just sit on a bench and think in the shadows of the building.
 This is Parque Güell and it is at the top of a hill. It was a 30 minute walk to the area, which was quite an adventure of its own. Getting to know these other people in my class has been a lot of fun too. We are all studying at the University of Wyoming, and now at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Seeing Kitt (one of my really good friends from Granada) this summer was also a highlight of my trip. She is studying up here in Catalunya also!
 This is Plaça Catalunya (Plaza Cataluña) which is located at the top of Las Ramblas. Its the third largest in Spain. This photo was taken the night before Sant Joan (San Juan) which is a huge fiesta here in Barcelona. There were fireworks going off like crazy!

Pride in this city was a lot of fun! I have only been to one before this. Catalunya is very open minded and this Pride is well-planned and is internationally claimed to be "one of the best". I had a lot of fun, and met a lot of great people that weekend. I was not able to make it to the parade because we took an adventure to the Dali Museum.

 Of course one of the great things about Barcelona is that we have montañas, and we also have playa, all accessible at anytime that we want. Here are Kori and Kathryn burying me in the sand. (Photo is of Mary Goetz)