Spain goes on strike, so Ryan and I go to Barcelona to boost their economy!

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April 10th 2012
Published: April 10th 2012
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To Barcelona

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1: Ode to Joy at La Font Magica 27 secs
Happy Easter everybody!!

I hope you all are had a nice day enjoying Easter and family! Here Easter is a day to relax and, if it’s a nice day, which today is, to be outside. Which is truly an act of God’s kindness since it has been pretty rainy the last week or so all over Spain, even in Barcelona which Ryan and I visited this week!

In Spain we have “La Semana Santa” (Holy Week) completely off of school, plus Thursday the 29th of March was a “Huelga General.” Just the whole coutnry went on strike. A general strike here in Spain means all businesses, grocery stores, buses, trains, schools, etc. were completely shut down. (Big surprise, Devin doesn’t have school again). The strike was to send a message to the government of Spain that workers aren’t happy with economic conditions here, however by 6pm that evening businesses were back open and life went back to normal. It was a bit eerie out in the empty streets, and although there was a march, and a group of people monitoring the streets to make sure no businesses attempted to open up, it was safe, not
La Huelga activitiesLa Huelga activitiesLa Huelga activities

What is Selu reading? That's right, The Hunger Games! And Pepa is reading her recipe book.
violent. I’m really not any kind of expert on politics or economics, but I really don’t think siesta is helping anybody’s business.

So what do Spaniard's do on a "Huelga General" day? Well, if you are Selu and Pepa you stay and home and relax and if you got "Los Juegos de Hambre" ("The Hunger Games") for your birthday you read them! That's right, I've got Selu hooked on "The Hunger Games"! I haven't even gotten my own Dad to read them yet, but I did get my Mom so we shall see; which couple can complete the series fastest? Mom and Dad or Pepa and Selu? 😊

Anyhoo, Ryan got into Málaga on Sunday evening so I went to meet him and it was a fairly uneventful journey there and back except for almost losing my Nalgene bottle on the train there. I accidentally left it on the train and in a panic I ran back to the security check to try and get back on the train, “You need to go to the ticket desk to get a pass.”

Run to ticket desk.

“You need to go to the next desk over.”

Run to next desk over.

“You need to go to customer service.”

Run to customer service.

“You need to go to the Renfe desk.”

Run to the Renfe desk.

“I need to get back on the train I lost…something!”

It was at that point that I realized I was panicked over a water bottle and if I told these Spaniards that I was out of breath running from desk to desk for a water bottle that is about 5 years old and the cap is being held together by duct tape they would do their Spanish rolling of the eyes at me. I tried to keep the water bottle thing under wraps until I couldn’t find it on the train and they conductor asked “What is it you are looking for?” Yep, he was annoyed that he was walking up and down the train looking for a water bottle. Thankfully, the custodian of the train had found it; she threw it away, but at least she found it. “Are you sure you want it? I dumped the water out.”

“No I don’t need the water I just want the bottle.”

“Ok, well, um, be sure you wash that before you use it again.”

Yeah, no kidding. Well, water bottle and Ryan retrieved.

Ryan and I spent the next day powerwalking around Cádiz. Cádiz isn’t too terribly big and we walked around so fast by about 5pm I was out of activities to do and sights to see.

“I’m sorry Ryan; we are sort of running out of things to do.”

“That’s ok, now I don’t have as much pressure for when you come to Växjö.”

We both picked pretty small towns to live in. Thankfully we came up with the idea to spend a few days up in Barcelona! Ryan was told he needed to go and see it, plus ever since I decided to come to Spain people would say, “Oh, are you studying in Barcelona?”

“Oh, no, I’m not actually. I’m going to Cádiz.”

“Oh. Is that near Barcelona?”

“Nope. Pretty much as far from it as you can get in Spain.”

“Oh. Well you should really go visit Barcelona.”

Barcelona had a lot of hype to live up to and it did a pretty good job, I really want to go back though because two-and-a-half days just isn’t enough to see all of the city and the museums that I wanted to. Ryan’s powerwalking came in handy though to get us to all of the sites we did see.

The main thing we both knew we had to see was Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia. It’s a basilica that has been under construction since 1882 and after Gaudí’s death in 1926 only about 25 percent of the work was finished and anarchists destroyed many of his plans. The remaining plans were difficult to understand and so construction stopped in 1935 and didn’t restart until 1952. Right now, it is said that La Sagrada Familia is set to be finished in 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death. Two of the three façades are finished and only one remains the Glory façade which will be the main entrance and the most striking.

The inside was designed with high arches and columns that almost make the ceiling look as if it were inspired by a spider web, which it might have been because Gaudí pulled many inspirations for his work from nature. I was told that it was worth it to pay to go inside, and it definitely was. I’m going to post all the pictures I have of La Sagrada Familia for you all to see because it really is incredible. It’s one of those Spanish things that every student who studies Spanish learns about every single year, and it was pretty surreal to see it for myself.

The rest of the time we really just wandered around the city. We walked along the port, Park Guell (another Gaudí masterpiece), the Olympic Park and watched the La Font Mágica (The Magic Fountain) show, and La Rambla which is the main street with performers, big name shops, and lots of street vendors. However, we did get some bad weather luck and got rained on nearly every day. Our second morning there we both woke up with stuffy noses, so instead of going out on the town our second night we stayed in and watched “Alien.” I honestly had never seen the full movie before and we were inspired by a street performer dressed up as the Alien from the movie.

On a side note, there is a town just outside of

The Alien street performer on La Rambla
Barcelona that due to the economic depression here wants to start growing marijuana to help their economy. Today they held a vote and if 67% of the town votes ‘yes’ they will begin planting marijuana. Marijuana is illegal here in Spain, so they can plant it, but I’m not really sure what they going to do with it once it’s grown.

Now, Barcelona being a big city obviously has Starbucks, but it has something else as well: The Hard Rock Café. And what does The Hard Rock Café have? Real milkshakes. I don’t why all of the milkshakes in Spain are just semi-cold chocolate milk. Why Spain? Why? I told Ryan almost as soon as he got here that I was sorry but we had to do two “American” things in Barcelona. One: I needed to go to The North Face store to get a new raincoat, and two: I wanted a milkshake from The Hard Rock Café. It was all I have been dreaming it would be since about October. Still no Rex Schultze chocolate malt, but it will suffice for the next three months.

So, the real test. Better than Paris? No, no I don’t think so. Better than Sevilla? Maybe. I like how Sevilla is sort of the size of Omaha or Lincoln and I’ve gotten to know it pretty well and I’m comfortable there. I liked Barcelona a lot; I could live there if I was going to live in Europe. I don’t know if I could live in Cádiz for the rest of my life, but Sevilla and Barça have definite potential. It has so much to see and I would like to go back eventually to explore it some more!

So, now I am back in Cádiz and ready to go back to school…finally. They tell me that there are no more big breaks between here and June, so it looks like I might actually have to sit down and do some school work! 😊

Miss and love you all!

Love always,

Devin 😊

Additional photos below
Photos: 35, Displayed: 28



Famous Semana Santa dessert: bread soaked in wine and honey.
Hermes' FeetHermes' Feet
Hermes' Feet

In Paris I took picture of Hermes' feet in the Louvre before I lost all my photos, but Barca gave me an opportunity to get them one more time!
Park Guell EntrancePark Guell Entrance
Park Guell Entrance

These houses are referred to has "Hansel and Gretel" type houses for tourists to recognize them.
The Park Guell SalamanderThe Park Guell Salamander
The Park Guell Salamander

This Salamander designed by Gaudi has become a famous symbol of his work in Park Guell!

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