Exploring Spain the Excursions Way

Jazmin Lopez is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jazmin is currently studying abroad in Barcelona on a Fall 2 program.

So it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, so I suggest you have a bowl of popcorn and a coke near by because this will be both long and entertaining! (I hope it is, at least!)

Last time I posted anything was shortly after September 11, 2012 a day on which Catalunya decided to protest for their independence from Spain.  I also talked about my experiences at the beach on the Barceloneta metro stop, and gave my views on Spain!  Well, A LOT has happened since we last read each other!  I have gone on 2 ISA excursions, witnessed a week’s worth of Barcelona partying, played in the rain, taken pictures of weird paintings that strike at my inner artist, and keep getting closer and closer to that group project I have not yet started!!  First off, let’s talk about Sitges, Girona and the Dali museum!

If I remember correctly, we went to Sitges and on our way there made a stop for a Codorniu Cellar Tour, which was cellar upon cellar upon cellar of aging bottles full of “cava” or what we know in the States as “champagne.”  I wish I could provide pictures of how beautiful the landscape of the vines are and the many acres the winery is spread out on, but unfortunately, my camera’s memory card decided to stay lodged within the SD card reader slot on my laptop the night before and refused to return to my camera!!  Nevertheless, I had a great time exploring the depths of the cellars, understanding the aging process and how the cava/wines are made at Codorniu but best of all was the cava tasting!! We got two glasses- one a rose-colored cava, which was sweeter to the taste than the white, drier cava which paired better with the crackers they gave us. (Well, at least that’s what I think!).  From there it was about a 30 minute drive on the bus to Sitges, another beach city found near to Barcelona.

Sitges proved to be a delight: Amazing little clothing stores, yogurt places, restaurants and more.  The group of friends I went with decided to have a stroll through the city before heading to the beach to tan, hit the crashing waves, and play a little volleyball.  The waves were definitely a plus, but I stayed away from them for fear of losing my bathing suit pieces in the relentless crashing and their cold sting to the epidermis.  (TMI, I know!!) Relaxed, definitely tanned, and reading bits and pieces from “This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, my mind wandered the entire day to how it would be to actually live in Barcelona for the rest of my days- but that is yet to be seen!  But, enough about tantalizing waves and sunshine rays- let’s move on to La Merce!

La Merce is a week’s-full of activities ranging around the various plazas in Barcelona and street-made venues.  There are plenty of concerts, dancers, puppet shows, art displays, and more sprawled around the city, giving people the ability to choose where and when to attend what they like most.  Personally, I went to a few concerts, firework shows, and some dancing demonstrations!  Tons of jam-packed fun, a great way to meet locals, and great ways to connect with friends on more than just an academic or program-oriented way!   The weekend after La Merce, we headed on another ISA-led adventure!

Saturday the 29th of September we headed to Girona at 9 am, making out sad trek under the pouring, horribly grey skies, and a beyond-freezing bus (so maybe I am exaggerating a little on the bus there… but it was VERY cold!).  The weather definitely turned our day sour, since the tour of Girona was not as delightful with all the raindrops hitting our heads, our umbrellas failing to work, and having to keep our belongings from getting water damaged.  However, I must admit I was definitely excited to see the architecture, towers, steps, and roads that small Girona had to offer.

From there, we took the bus to Figueres, home to the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum. The various art forms of expression caught my often delusional attention, making me wonder if in fact I am crazy for trying to understand such abstract pieces of art or just normal since no one else seems to extract information from his pieces.

That’s about all I have without making it too long and/or boring for y’all.  Enjoy the pictures, ask questions if you have any, or let me know of anything you recommend! Thanks for reading! -J. x

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