España! (part I)

Two weekends ago, I flew (via Easyjet woo woo $100 roundtrip) to Barcelona where I met Larken, my partner in crime from High School, and we spent a day there then took a train to Valencia for Fallas for 2 days. For those of you that don’t know, like I didn’t, what Fallas is, the people of Valencia spend a year making these giant dolls that are several stories high and look like characters from Disneyland. They’re often politicians, celebrities, or just suggestive scenes. After partying, parading, and blowing off a gajillion fireworks for a few weeks, they light all of the dolls on fire at midnight on the last night. I had never been to Spain before and had heard about their not-so-laborious lifestyle, but didn’t realize just how much they like to siesta and fiesta until I saw if for my own eyes.

When I got in, I had a few hours to kill so I wandered around with this nice Parisian man who sat next to me on the flight. He had lived in Madrid for a year and knew Barcelona so he helped navigate public transportation and maximize what to do and see. We walked down Las Ramblas, through the Gothic quarter, stopped for Tortilla and wine, then said goodbye just steps from the Boqueria Market I had wanted to go to (thanks Google) but hadn’t written down the address. Inside were rows of baskets of chocolates, dried fruits, nuts, fruit, fish, meat, spices, cookies, juices– basically my favorite things. I wandered around like a lost child, gladly accepting samples of caramelized macadamia nuts and slivers of Spanish ham (not together) then guility buying dried fruits and nuts and some sort of salted fish I ended up throwing away because the process to cook it would have taken too long.

Finally I met Larken at our hostel (Urbany- not super central but a good hostel) which was my first time staying at a hostel since the 6th grade retreat at SAAS. Yeah, I suppose I’m kinda high maintenance like my mom says I am. But I camp! Anyways, we wandered around snacking on olives and wine and catching up since we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. The next morning we got up early to exercise (her: run, me: swim) because the hostel gave us access to a gym woo woo then wandered to MUDAM the Museum of Catalayn Art then wandered more until our train. The architecture in Barcelona is AMAZING. So whimsical, no rules.

The train was crazy. First it was nice and “ooh Spanish coastline!” Then a gypsy mom with three kids (3 years, 1 1/2 years, 2 months) got on. The kids were crying, then she started smacking them, then she ended up handing us the infant to hold. Larken was jester extraordinaire since she speaks Spanish fluently and could communicate with the youngins while I held the baby Francisco. She also, hilariously, gave them some of the macarons I brought her even though I tried to explain that little kids will neither like them nor appreciate them, but to my dismay, I had to watch them get slobbered on adn ground into the carpet of the train. C’est la vie. Finally, they got off, and the rest of the train thanked us for babysitting and we thanked them for telling the mom to quit hitting her kids. Then Larken ran into a couple from Idaho and knows (of course, since the 8 billion person world is STILL so damn small).

Fallas was crazy. I think the pictures will show into it enough so that I don’t have to ramble on. It was just crazy. Firecrackers all around your feet, thousands of women dressed up like my little Spanish doll I had when I was wee, street paella, churro-mania, and a hell of a lot of street drinking.

I’ll admit, I burnt out pretty fast. By day 2 of Valencia, I couldn’t see straight, by day 3, after not sleeping well in my air b and b on the creaky cot my wonky-eyed, bible-thumping host Alessan swore he thought was comfortable (read: “Nicholas *the other guy staying there* said he slept like a baby, but maybe it’s because he’s a Buddhist and lived in a monastery for a few years on the floor.” UM DUH). By day 3 I couldn’t see straight and was pretty much like a toddler following Larken around.

That night, we watched Leonardo DaVinci go up in flames, then I got on a 2:30 bus to Barcelona, slept a few hours, got in at 6:30, cabbed to the airtport, got on a 10:00 flight, landed at noon, then took the metro to class where I was greeted with a pop quiz from the French T.A. Hedwig.

Me: A Quiz? No you don’t understand, I just got off a plane from Barcelona and I haven’t slept in 2 days.

Hedwig (in heavy French): It’s okay, just try. I’m a little slow today too, I was a minute late to class today!

Me: Uhhh, not quite the same… *insert confused face*

Anyways. Spain was great and very eye-opening. Definitely learned about how I like to travel and how to tackle a foreign country. First time traveling internationally by myself! Aside from coming here I guess. And Lux…but that was a train not a plane.And thanks to the damn Schengen region, they never stamp your passport! I want stamps!!!! Eventually…

So here’s 100 pics from Barcelona:



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