So our trip to Spain was interesting...night trains are quite the experience...and then when we got to the border we had to switch trains. As we were getting on the train that would take us to Barcelona, wonder of wonders, who should stroll up the train towards us but one of our guys! We were united again, most unexpectedly!
So Barcelona was pretty sweet...definitely one of my favorites...we stayed in the old part of the city (which is just a fraction of the whole city, and is about the size of Bozeman) and our hotel/apartments were right off of the Ramblas, one of the coolest pedestrian walkways ever! It was constantly full of people, merchants, and a vast number of people posing as various statues (a few of which included a soccer player, a tree, a cat, and perhaps the most entertaining, a man on a toilet that squeezed a woopee cushion whenever someone deposited a coin in his can). We were also not very far from the fabulous white sand beach! Unfortunately we were only able to spend a couple of hours there, which were glorious despite our accidental exposure to some of our guys's exposure....oops! haha...don't worry...I didn't actually see anything :p
Barcelona was full of so much interesting architecture and culture, I"ll have to consolidate it once again to a few highlights...
Gaudi's architecture: we saw quite a bit of it...it's wild beyond belief, but so incredibly interesting and innovative...and somehow it finds such a good niche for itself in spain. My favorite parts were the the bright colors and the manipulation of space...Gaudi even incorporated some pretty innovative ways of getting light and air into the interior of his Casa Batlo building...pretty cool! My favorite though was his cathedral, the Sagrada Familia...absolutely breathtaking!
Picasso museum: gave me an appreciation for the guy...he was truly an artistic genius...he was doing incredible work even at the age of 10 and 11! I still don't understand his later cubist work, but I enjoyed his early stuff.
We were able to take a day trip to Montserrat, which was this cool outcropping of some of the most amazingly strange rocks I have ever seen. We had to take a Gondola to get to the top of this outcropping where there was an old monastery. Taking a train up further to the very top we were able to explore some ancient hermitages and look out over the land below, seeing the ocean in one direction and the magnificent Pyrenees mountains in the other.
The biggest bummer of my trip happened when I had bought a ticket to go to the Soccer game. Storing it in my bag for safekeeping I didn't realize until later that night, just hours before the game, that somehow the ticket had fallen out somewhere in Barcelona, and in order to go to the game I would have to buy a whole other ticket! Dang...so I ended up sitting at the apartment with a whole carton of Icecream and watching the highlights of the game on TV....it was a good game...a really good one...and I missed it...*sniff*..
I also had my first Tapas experience here...Tapas bars are crazy, you sit at this bar and there are all these different Tapas that you can order (tapas being these mini food dishes served individually on little pieces of bread) and everybody's goin everywhere and all talking at once and you just gotta jump in there and tell 'em what you want (or motion to the little pictures if you can't speak spanish) It was pretty fun though...
after about a week of barcelona we found ourselves on a plane to Bilbao...it was sad to leave Barcelona, but Bilbao is pretty cool...we flew in to the famous Calatrava airport : a great example of why building completely in white is a tricky thing...