Ahhhhh...yes, I actually feel somewhat rested today- the group of 5 extremely loud and obnoxious English girls left my dorm room the night before allowing me to sleep without interruption for all of my last night in Barcelona. Wait, I take that back. There was a sleeptalker in my room last night.
I definitely needed the rest because I was so sleep deprived from the Spanish way of life. Lunch at 3, dinner at 10, and then drinks and dancing until whatever hour in the morning you fancy (usually around 5 or 6 on the weekends). I did the whole 'up til 5' thing once in San Sebastian and once in Barcelona. It's hard to get that sleep back especially when you have something planned more or less for each day. Being sleep deprived does have it's advandages though- it's much easier to fall asleep on long train rides sitting up.
From all the cities I have visited so far, I think I have to rank Barcelona as my favorite city. The beach, the nightlife, the people, the art, and the overall lifestyle of the city were spectactular. From what I understand, Barcelona was dramatically revitalized for for the 1992 Olympic games. In preparation for the games, they built over 2 miles of beaches lined with a beach walk and several restaurants and cafes. I was hoping to sit on the beach a little more than I did but a couple of the days here were windy and/or raining. I guess that is a good excuse to have to come back.Yesssss!!!
Other then their soccer team (FC Barcelona), Barcelonians are really proud of Antonio Gaudi, an arctitect/artist that designed several buildings around the city, including the famous Sagrada Familia that is still being built even though it was started in 1882. I had no idea who Gaudi was until I got there. The first time I saw one of the houses that he designed, I thought to myself that this guy had some mental problems. It literally looked like a house from the Little Mermaid. It was curvy, colorful and in my opinion really over the top. However, his architectual style really grew on me after seeing a lot of his buildings and parks around the city. Now, I am inspired so don't be surprised if some of my so-called artwork I attempt when I get back home looks like I am on drugs. Just blame it on Gaudi or Picasso ( they also had a Picasso museum). Also don't be surprised if I take wind surfing lessons, get a scooter, learn Spanish better, eat dinner at 10, or start following European futbol. I've decided that my team is going to be FC Barcelona in case you were wondering.
My Barcelonian friends, Marta and Vanessa, whom I met in Ireland showed me around the city most of the weekend. It was really nice to know people that were familiar with the region as they knew all of the good places to go and they could translate for me. It is crazy to me to think that most Europeans know at least 2 or 3 languages fluently, if not more. I can barely speak English fluently!! We Americans are so sad.
Before Barcelona, I stopped for 3 or 4 days in Lisboa (Lisbon in English), Portugal. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco. They had a bridge that looked exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge and trollies all over the city. I think the city must have had an identity crisis in the past because it also built a statue of Jesus identical to the one in Rio de Janerio, but on a slightly smaller scale. Despite the similarities to other cities, I absolutely loved Lisbon and all the surrounding towns. I did a day trip with a couple of people I met in the hostel to the city of Sintra where we visited a castle, a palace, and an estate of a ridiculously rich guy who had so much money that he decided to build tunnels throughout his property. I also visited the beach in Cascais about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon by train (Lisbon does not actually have any beaches). I got a pretty wicked sun burn on just my back as I forgot to bring my sunblock or enough money to buy sunblock. Everybody at the hostel I stayed at in Lisbon had sunburns as I think most of us were not expecting to get as much sun as we got (even from just walking around). Haha.
I finally bought my ticket back to the States for the 1st of June, which means my trip is almost half way over. I definitely stayed longer then expected in all the places I have been so far so I hope I get to everything I want to see before I have to go back. I have already skipped a few places (Seville and Morocco) that I would have like to have seen, but the difficulty of getting there and my time constraints means that I have to pick and choose. I cant see everything. In those situations, I just tell myself, "Next Time".
I'm currently on a train to Nice, France . Well, I hope I am going to Nice. My ticket only says it is going to Montpelier, France (about half way to Nice) even though I told the travel agent I wanted to go to Nice. When I showed him the ticket, he said it was right. However, I am thinking something might have gotten lost in translation. Oh well. I'll see where I end up. Until next time...