Tonight, I am sitting in my room before bed, watching a weird French movie (is there any other kind?) about Christmas. Tomorrow, I meet Ian at the station at a , and I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I spent the entire afternoon and evening baking Christmas candies and cookies with some of the other assistants, and listening to Christmas music. Despite the sun shining (relatively) hot through the windows, it felt very much like Christmas. Baking, of course, always puts me in a good mood, and today was no exception. Not even the problems with translating American cooking to a French kitchen (powdered sugar, it turns out, is not “sucre en poudre”—which literally means sugar in powder, and the red and white striped candy canes that I bought to make peppermint bark are not peppermint flavored, but rather some weird artificial tasting fruit) could deter my good humor.
I realize that I haven’t written much in the past few weeks that clues everyone back home into what I have been up to. I haven’t been up to much. When I have been in
But I’ll tell you anyway. We left our lycée at about in the morning on Saturday, to catch the train from the station. The train ride was 4 long hours, with one connection just past the French/Spanish border. French trains, apparently, have been spoiling me—once we got into
After checking in with the interminably slow concierge at our hostel, we went out into the Plaza de Reial to stand in line for around an hour for lunch/dinner. Karen was raving about this restaurant, and assured us that the food was definitely worth the wait, and inexpensive, too. It was cheap, and the paella was good, except for the lingering upset stomach it left me with for the rest of the evening…
After dinner (and surprising Karen with an incredibly French, incredibly fashionable handbag), we went Christmas shopping in
The next morning (well, the same morning, really) I woke up far too early (, I think?) and took advantage of the free hostel breakfast before heading to the Gaudi cathedral with Emma. To get there, we walked to the metro station along La Rambla,
The Gaudi cathedral was stunning. Absolutely stunning. I can’t really describe it, actually. Gaudi’s architectural style can be seen here and there around
The cathedral is still not finished, almost a century after its inception. The projected completion date isn’t for over ten years, and there are at least 4 cranes surrounding the gothic-but-Gaudi spires. The intricacy and coinciding immensity of the building are breath-taking, and really all I can do is ask you to look up “Sagrada Familiale” on Google images…
After visiting the Gaudi cathedral, Emma and I found a little pizza restaurant, where we bumbled our way in French, Spanish, and English through the meal, and were incredibly proud of ourselves for our ability to function in a country where we didn’t know the language. Our pride lasted until the dashing smiling waiter came to pick up the check, asking “se peudo?” (I know I probably didn’t get that right…) and Emma and I stared at him like brain-dead deer caught in a semi-truck’s headlights. When he repeated himself in English, we knew that the jig was up, and that we were just another pair of tourists who hadn’t bothered to look up useful Spanish phrases in the guidebook before making it to Barca.
With lunch over, I had to book it back to the hostel and then to the station to catch the Sunday evening train home—during most of which I slept uncomfortably on the hard seats. The weekend was over before I knew it, and I felt like I spent more time traveling than I did in