Spain changed me. There is a beauty in these streets that I haven’t encountered before. The people, the history… I can really picture myself living here when I get bored/exhausted in New York.
Valencia was beautiful and I wish we could have spent more time here… My friends and I walked around the city, ate paella at a Basque restaurant, and observed the beautiful aquarium and science museum. The architecture was exquisite! My favorite thing about Europe is the contrast of time periods that is so apparent in the buildings.
…But that night we ran to catch a train to BARCELONA! We went a day earlier than the ship to really maximize our time.
Day one in Barcelona I went to Park Guell, the beautiful dreamspace created by Gaudi, who is officially my favorite architect. I was so inspired by visiting his home in the park, where he spent his last years designing the Sagrada Familia. I saw the austere room where he lived his modest life, waking up very early to pray and cooking his own vegetarian meals himself. He was an incredible guy.
The following day I visited the Sagrada Familia with my friend Elinor. The following is not a hyperbole-
This is the most beautiful place I’ve been to in my life. The pictures do not do it justice. We got there just as the sun was going down, and the angle of the light through the multicolored windows doused the white marble columns in the most peaceful living watercolor painting I’ve ever seen. Gaudi must have known about chromotherapy.
My Global Music teacher got hired to do a gig in Barcelona and I went to his concert. It was in this amazing hole-in-the-wall music venue filled with cool thin androgynous people… I felt like I was home in Austin. There were three acts that night, and my favorite discovery was Le Parody, a powerhouse one-woman-band and singer. She got up there with her keyboard, ukulele and sampler, and blew me away. (I HIGHLY recommend her albums “Casala” and “Hondo”.) All the people I met that night were kind and wonderful.
I also met some incredible people at a park where I wandered by accident because I heard distant drumming. It was like a circus had descended here, on a Sunday afternoon. Aerialists were doing silks on the trees, there were some crazy slack-line jumpers, people doing juggling, and a whole crew of acro-yogis. I timidly observed for a long few minutes, then went up and introduced myself. They were all wonderful and friendly and helped me with my head and handstands!
Basically Barcelona has the coolest people.
I did a day trip to Montserrat, where one of the oldest schools for music in Europe is still going strong today. I attended mass and heard the world-famous boys choir.
My last day I had a Field Lab for World Geography. We had the enormous pleasure of meeting quite a few folks that are involved in the Catalonian independence movement. I was enraptured with their story and their intensely pacifist road to independence.
I have fallen in love with this city, and am already planning to come back this summer somehow.