Where Are We Again?

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Sunday, May 22, 2011

While counting down to take a picture today it came out uno, deux, tsvi (Spanish, French, German.)  And anytime we answer 'yes' to something, you never know what language is going to come out.  I'm not sure we know where we are anymore.  I'm not sure why, I think we've just turned off thinking since there's only a few days left.  We didn't wake up until around noon today and took our time leaving the hotel, which was absolutely fine.  Spain time is a little different too.  They usually stop breakfast around noonish, lunch around 2pm and dinner starts to get busy around 9pm.  So maybe we're just in Spain mode.No super exciting plans today, just meandering around the city and going to a few of the sites.  Since it is Sunday the Cathedral was open.  It is normally difficult to get into because it is compeletly under construction.  I really didn't expect to go to so many churches, but I'm glad we have been able to.  Each country has had there own style, but all equally amazing.  We put this one in our top 5 (not counting Rome of course.)We took the metro to a neighborhood called Montjuic.  It is a plateau/hill overlooking the city/sea with a big fortress on top.  We took the cable car up and shared the car with a couple people from New York and Pittsburgh.  At the top there were cannons on the fortress walls pointed at the sea and a lot of tourists making their girlfriends sit like models on the wall overlooking the sea while they took pictures.  It is pretty funny to watch them.  It seems to be a theme here in Spain since they were doing the same thing in Granada.Our cable car tickets were only for one way, so we walked down the hill.  On the way down we ran into the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 Olympics.  They let you go in still and see the track.  Connected to the stadium is a small tourch, but in the background is a huge white tower sculpture that they used as the official Olympic tourch.  The 1992 Olympics is the first one that I remember well, so it was cool to see pictures of the mascots and old atheletes.For the rest of the afternoon we went to a village that was created for the 1929 World Expo, down the road from the stadium.  It was built as copies of buildings from all over Spain.  The main area was Plaza Mayor, which is the Plaza where we found the nun cookies in Madrid.  It is scorching hot here so we got ice cream.  I got some sort of rice milk, and Jacki got strawberry.  About halfway across the plaza I hear "ERIC!!!" I look over and Jacki had dropped her ice cream.  It was tragic.  I shared mine though.  So no tantrums or tears.  They charge to get into the village, and it is pretty much just a village of shops, so they really make out on that deal.  It was pretty cool though, and there was a large museum of modern art that had a lot of Piccaso stuff.After leaving the village we headed back towards the metro.  It was almost 7:00 and we came to an intersection blocked off by the International Auto Show.  We had noticed a Ferrari driving around the hill all day, so that explained it.  The auto show looked really cool, but unfortunetly they closed in an hour, so we couldn't go, and it was the last day.  The first exhibit was a huge Ford exhibit that had the new Ranger out front.  Oh well!  They were probably mostly cars I've never heard of anyway.  Most of the cars in Europe I have never seen before, like the Ford Kaa.On our way back to our hotel, walking through the Gothic Quarter we ran into a church called Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi.  We never would have noticed it from the outside, but it ended up being one of the oldest places we've seen on our whole trip.  It was built in the 14th century and was very dark and simple.  It was essentially just a large stone vault.  On the sides of the aisle were around a dozen small chapels with unbelivably old alters and relics.  It also happened to be the birthday of the patron saint so there were roses everywhere around her alter, brought by local people.After a quick break we headed out for dinner.  We went to a place that serves something called pinxtos, which are small open faced sandwiches, they describe them as sushi on bread.  There are a bunch of different kinds and they are spread all over the bar.  The waiter gives you a plate and you just grab whatever ones look good.  At the end of the night they add up your toothpicks.  It ended up being a blast.  We were standing at the bar and on our right was an older couple from Holland that were in town for a long weekend.  On our other side was a guy and girl from America who used to be in the army and navy.  They were in town for the F1 race so we spent a long time talking about racing.  There was a race today, and F1 racing in Europe is huge.  We probably should have went, but I couldn't justify the at least $400 it would have cost when we don't know much about it.  The girl is currently going to school in southern Spain, and she explained the history of my t-shirt to me.  Apparently it is a bull called Osborne, who was an advertising logo for a wine company in the 60's.  Apparently they made big billboards of just the bull in black and it became a symbol for Spain.  It was a great fun night.  We haven't talked to anybody that much in a while, the whole time snacking on and comparing the different sandwiches with a glass of roija.After dinner we walked all the way down the Ramblas until we got to the sea.  Right at the base of the street was a huge pillar with a statue of Christopher Columbus pointing towards America.  This was the port where he sailed from.  There was a bridge leading to a shopping center and it was lined with guys selling fake purses and stuff.  A couple timed a cop would show up and we would watch all of them wrap up their goods in a huge blanket and walk away casually in big groups.  On the way back across the bridge I had a strange feeling like I had been there before.  After thinking for a minute and looking around I figured out it was from a level of Tony Hawk that I used to play years ago.  Weird!Anyways, even though we had a late start, it ended up being a pretty packed great day.  We are excited for tomorrow, though, since we are going to the Sagrada Familia which is the whole reason we ended our trip in Barcelona.
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