Barcelona – week 16
This weekend, two major things happened: my program officially ended, and my best friend from Norway came to visit.
My Farewell Dinner was on April 23rd, Sant Jordi Day. This holiday, honoring a Patron Saint, also commemorates a legend popular in Catalonia. According to the legend, a dragon was attacking the kingdom of Cappadocia. People of the village sacrificed two lambs a day to satisfy the dragon’s hunger. However, when the lamb population dwindled, the people of the village had to give one human and one lamb to the dragon to prevent an attack. Tired of not having a member of the royal family sacrificed, the village sent the princess to the dragon. On the way to the cave, the princess found Jordi, who slew the dragon. From the blood of the monster stemmed a rose, which he gave to the princess.
Therefore, on April 23rd, men give away roses to women. In return, women give men a book, remembering the death and burial of Miguel de Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso. I received two roses from my boss and my program director.
My Farewell Dinner itself was so fantastic. We went to a flamenco show, which was very different but very intriguing. We got there early so that we could watch the feet of the dancers tapping on the floor. Sometimes you could hardly see their legs, but more of a blur moving swiftly back and forth. After, we walked a couple of steps over and landed at one of the best restaurants in Barcelona, located in Placa Reial. I was told I could order whatever I wanted, so I got patatas bravas, a plate of bite-sized fried fish, salmon and vegetables, and a chocolate lover’s dessert. We talked for hours and enjoyed our last time together.
By this time, my best friend from Norway, Linn, arrived at the airport! She and our other mutual friend Tomy came to my residencia, and we went to OttoZutz together. We danced for a while, and then went out on the street to talk for a couple of hours.
The next day was pretty chill. Linn and I went to the beach for hours and got killer sunburns. We then met up with Sammy and Marianna to celebrate Sammy’s last night in Barcelona. We got doner kebab on Ciutadella Villa Olympica, went back home to hang out and drink wine, and went to Bling Bling. We saw some of our American friends there, and Linn had a great time dancing to their fun music. It was really sad to say goodbye to one of my best friends, but at least we went out with a bang.
On Friday, Linn and I enjoyed Barcelona on a budget. We ate a picnic lunch in my favorite Plaza in Gracia, complete by watching a homeless man make weird art from a broken umbrella and discarded DVD player, and the scariest dog fight that I have ever seen. We then went to the Labrinth Park- the oldest park in Barcelona made by some rich person in the 1700s, but now open to the public. After enjoying the park and some smoothies at a café, we walked to the Bunkers Del Carmel, and watched the sun set over my favorite city. I bumped my head on the concrete there, and probably got a concussion, but it was worth it Since I was dizzy in the head, we went to the supermarket and made a healthy dinner, and my friends went to a bar that night and just got mojitos. We even got free roses from a local vendor.
We had a huge day on Saturday. I finally made it to Mt. Tibadabo, the tallest mountain in Barcelona! We hiked up the mountain for about an hour and a half, and landed at the amusement park. We rode rides that overlooked the entirety of Barcelona, as well as many suburbs, which was a little scarier than I thought it would be. We did scenic rides, rides that overlooked the city, roller coasters, bumper cars, and more. We also climbed to a huge church on top, which majestically overlooks the city as well. After hiking down the mountain, we went to another flamenco show (which was even better than the first one I went to), got gelato on La Rambla, and then drank with my friends and went to Opium. We danced for hours, and Linn said she had a lot of fun!
We had a tourist day the next day. Linn and I ate lunch on Port Vell, at Tapa Tapa in the mall Mare Magnum. We ate delicious tapas outside on the shore, and waited for Tomy to join us. We walked around the gothic quarter of Barcelona, saw some street shows and shops, then walked to the Arc de Triumf to go to a huge outdoor market/hippie festival, full of organic herbs, odd rituals, and a lot of dreadlocked hippies rolling joints. We sat in the grass, enjoyed the greenery, and then decided to walk to Montjuic. We walked around a part of Barcelona I had never seen, and eventually sat on the steps in front of the National Art Museum overlooking the city. Linn and I ate a delicious dinner at a local place in Gracia. We decided to splurge, and got some Spanish specialties, and even a molten chocolate cake for dessert.
Sadly, the next day Linn had to leave. I dropped her off after having café con leches and crossaints. I will miss my favorite Norwegian Viking, but am SO happy she got to come visit, stay at my residencia while my roommate was travelling, and explore my city with me. Trinity University reunion at last!