Category Archives: Photos

The last week

Well, the program officially ended yesterday, but I’m staying in Barcelona until August 2 to enjoy it on my own and relax a bit… here’s a recap of things that have gone on:

This past Tuesday evening, I went to the craziest party I’ve ever attended in my life. It was the biggest festival of the year in Mataro, Spain (small city outside of Barcelona), called Les Santes, and it was CRAZY. I got home at about 430 am and I was on the early side. It consisted of live music, dancing in the street, firecrackers, flowing wine, cookies, towers of human people, yelling, singing, and was basically indescribably amazing. No pictures because of the riskiness of the venture, but they wouldn’t do it justice anyway. Needless to say, class the following day was cancelled…

On Friday we went to two museums, Fundacion Tapies and Fundacion Joan Miro. Both were modern art that I didn’t really get/like/enjoy. But it was sort of interesting, I guess, and it was our last walking tour (sort of sad!).

That evening was our final dinner, too, which was also very sad. I had a very amazing steak (duh) and the wine was plentiful and wonderful. Good dessert, too. It was much less awkward than the first dinner, but it was sad to say goodbye to the professors for a long time.

Finished the exams, said goodbye to most, and here I am now. Today I went to Parc Guell again, one of Gaudi’s creations, and sort of wandered around and observed things for a while. It was hard, though, because it was so hot and the sun was really blazing. Siesta’ed until later tonight, when the last three of us went to see the Font Magica at Montjuic. Really gorgeous stuff. Basically they make a light and water show with the big fountain in front of the palace from the 1929 exhibition near Montjuic/Placa de Espanya and set it to dramatic music (i.e. Carmina Burana, 1812 overture). It was REALLY awesome and I have way too many pictures of it…

We’ll see what the rest of the week brings — going home on Wednesday!

Magic Fountain (Font Magica)

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Modernist Barcelona and Sitges

Our first almost free day in two weeks! And there is a lot to tell.

On this past Wednesday, we went to a flamenco dancing performance by Joaquin Cortes. It was good, but no one felt that he danced enough, and all in all it was a little disappointing. Still fun, though.

Friday was a walking tour of Modernist Barcelona. We went to Park Guell, a really cool park with gingerbread-like houses and strange rock formations and architecture. We didn’t stay long but I think I might go back there after the program ends; who knows.

After that we went to a hospital designed by Domenech i Montaner (I think that’s spelled right). It was a really pretty complex of buildings, and reminded me of a college campus. I wouldn’t mind getting sick there.

Then it was off to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, a grotesquely huge and ugly church that’s still in construction after all these years. It looks like a very large and strange sand castle. The religious statues on the outside are also definitely not typical…

Then we saw my favorite building — el Palau de la Musica Catalana. It was really amazing and the tour was very interesting. The website is here if you want to look at what it’s like — photographs weren’t allowed. The tourguide talked a lot about the organ and how it was very heavily damaged early on, but people would sponsor tubes and pay for their repair themselves. We also got to hear it played. There isn’t an actual person who can play it, but just a computer that blows air through particular tubes. We heard some Bach and it was pretty ridiculous.
We walked by a few modernist houses (Casa de los Punxes was one of them) before heading to Els Quatre Gats for lunch. Very good food and conversation. And wine.

After that we went to another Gaudi house and got to go inside it and on the roof. It was quite a house — very large, but no where I’d want to live.

We saw a few more houses from the outside, and called it a rather exhausting day.

The next day was a short trip to Sitges, a beach town about 30 minutes away. After sprinting through the train station we made it to our destination, and got to see some modernist and historical houses in Sitges (which were admittedly more modest than those in Barcelona, due to money concerns). We also had a tour of a small museum, which was very warm.

After lunch the professor took off and we students were left to fend for ourselves at the beach. Swimming in the sea was really wonderful — the salt content is very high so we just floated around for a while before getting out, lying down for a bit, and we left around 5 in the afternoon.

That’s about it for now — as always, here are pictures!

Modernist Barcelona

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Girona and Montjuic

Long week! Too busy to write it all down until now.

On Friday we took a day trip to Girona, Spain, a city north of Barcelona, to see the historical buildings and such. It was gorgeous and historic — my kind of trip.

First we went to a church, Sant Feliu (I think in English it’d be Felix). One of the interesting things about the saint is that he was supposed to have protected the city through a plague of flies, so the city mascot of sorts is now a fly. You can buy shirts and jewelry and things like that with flies on it. Kind of cool, but a weird mascot.

Then we went to the “Banys Arabs,” or the Arab Baths. The building was built in 1194, and it was modelled off the Muslim baths which were sort of hip at the time. In 1283 the building was damaged from a siege, so it was repaired a year later. It was closed in the 15th century and then privatized later on, until the government reopened it in the 1920s. It included five rooms (a dressing room, a cold water room, a warm water room, a hot room, and the oven/boiler).

Then we stopped by an old monastery on our way to the big cathedral. We couldn’t take pictures, but it was huge — and, more impressively, it’s the only medieval cathedral that still stands that had such a big chapel but without columns going down the middle to support the roof. Instead, the walls were made very well as to provide enough force to push the stones together. The garden in the cathedral complex is really pretty, and because a lot of people couldn’t read back then, they made columns with Bible stories on them.

Then we got lunch, which isn’t exciting enough to retell.

After lunch, we climbed a bunch of stairs to get on top of the fortification walls and towers that overlooked the city. The view was really something — except you could tell it was pretty smoggy. Lots of mountains and trees.

Then it was off to the Jewish part of the city, which was sort of unimpressive because it had all been destroyed. By that time, too, I was so tired that I couldn’t really pay attention to our tour guide, who was speaking in Spanish the whole time.

And today we went to Montjuic. We saw the old castle from the 1700s, the Olympic stadium and parks, and the old buildings from the 1929 Exhibitions. It was hot and much of the day was outside, so I’m pretty tired now. More pictures and stories to come, though!

Full photo albums here:

Girona (pt 1)

Girona (pt 2)

Montjuic

Click below for samples:

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