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July 21st 2012
Published: July 21st 2012
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These lines I write while crossing the Spanish countryside; we are heading to France. The wooded hills and pastoral landscapes are bringing much needed relaxation and reflection to the trip.

Down the train, a gaggle of loud girls seems to be having a great time. I didn’t know Europe had obnoxiously loud girls too! (No offense, obnoxiously loud girls.)

Barcelona was a blast. The gothic architecture, artistic influence, and laid-back atmosphere gave this coastal city a truly unique feel. Catalán, a provincial dialect, is still an official language, and reflects regional differences further exacerbated by the recent economic crisis.

Speaking of which, we ran into even more fervent protesting in Barcelona. On one night, labor unions had organized a large gathering in the city streets. Waving flags and shouting through PA systems on the back of trucks, they decried austerity measures, falling wages, and government corruption. The next day, angry protesters upset over a recent rate fixing scandal overturned a large trash bin in front of Barclays.

Through all the uproar, we had time to sit down for some fresh, authentic paella – a Spanish rice dish with prawns, squid, and other sorts of seafood – muy rico.

Additional photos below
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For sale at the protest

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