On month in Barcelona

September 27, 2013

The party week is over by now. La Merced turned out to be another great success this year and this time, I got to enjoy it as well!

Last Sunday, I was meeting up with Steffen and Dani – two friends from CS-meetings – to go and play table tennis in Parque de Joan Miro, near Plaza España. Steffen and I walked around the park a long time before we found the tables, but in the meantime Steffen could tell me about the new words he learned with the Duolingo app (which I have installed on my own iPhone by now by the way, and jeez, it’s addicting!). You actually learn a language against your friends. It works with a score system: the more you play, the higher you rank; in other words, it’s totally motivating!

Playing table tennis with Steffen en Dani

In the afternoon, I went to see the Correfoc. This is a phenomenon where the Catalans run through the streets with these umbrella thingies that spit fire sparks around (correr means ‘running’ in Spanish and foc is Catalan for ‘fire’). Everyone knows you have to protect yourself from burns. To do this is very simple: just wear long-sleeved clothes, a hood and, like some did (the ones who were actually running through the sparks), goggles. The only way I succeeded in surviving this moment, is by photographing everything. Seeing everything through a lens takes my fear of fire away somehow.

Looks like a war-zone!

The ‘fire-umbrellas’ are called ‘bengalas’

On Monday, I had to go back to school. It was the first time I noticed this elevator, right by the entrance, which is really old and authentic and I just love it! Yeah, I know, it’s just an elevator… Anyways, this elevator is only to be used by the staff and teachers, who have a special key to open the elevator door. Well, last Thursday, I had to join one of my professors to her office because she had to fill in one of the forms I had to return to the UA and she allowed me to go into the elevator with her! She told me it dates back to somewhere before the 90s (I think that’s what she said, but it looks older to me). For some reason, I think this elevator is truly fascinating!

Tuesday was a holiday. But nooooo, of course my department at the uni wasn’t granting us a long weekend. Recently, I got to know a Flemish girl who’s studying Psychology at the UB and she said she did have a long weekend. Not fair! On Tuesday there were a lot of activities, it being festival week and all. I went to see the Parada de Gigantes, but after 15 minutes, I just had to leave! During the parade, some history was told – I don’t know exactly which history as everything was in Catalan – by the use of some giant dolls while a huge crowd, squeezed together cheek by jowl by 26°C in the shade, sang along with the Catalan folk music. You see, this particular kind of music is fun for a while, but when that while is over, it becomes very irritating. I guess I am more of an Irish folk music girl!

The Parade took place in front of the city hall

The Giants

That evening the big finale took place at the Magic Fountain at Montjuic: the Piromusical. This would be the most amazing fireworks of the whole festival week. Big and amazing it was! In the paper the next day I read that more than 1.5 million people had showed up at the piromusical, which is about 200.000 people more than last year! Something that caught my attention was that half of the Barcelonan population – the senior part to be precise – didn’t endure the crowd. I went to see the fireworks with Steffen and a Brazilian friend of his, Augusto, who was a really nice and interesting guy. We shared some interests – like translating and traveling – and he told me some useful things that I will keep in mind.

The Magic Fountain and Montjuic in the background

Naturally, I had expected it to be quite impossible to easily use public transport – and by that I mean the subway of course – which turned out to be true. Instead, I suggested we walk towards the next subway station so that we could hop onto a train a station early, when they would (hopefully) still be vacant. That’s what we did. Only in the wrong direction. We waited three times for a train, hoping the next one would be empty – it wasn’t of course. In the end, we had to walk towards the next station where there was another line crossing. I am not a believer, but I thanked God when the train was completely empty. When I finally got to the last line that would go straight to El Putxet, Shannon and Anjelica got on the same train, into the same wagon! They’d patiently waited until they got on a train at Plaza España. It had taken them as long as me to get to the same point, only with a lot less effort! But in the end all that matters is my love for fireworks!

1 out of more than 50 pictures and videos LOL

The next two days were regular schooldays.  Nothing special happened.

The halls of the UB

Today was a day full of homework, with the only break being a stroll on the Ramblas to get some fresh air and enjoying the fact that it has calmed down now that the festival is over. It had been incredibly busy in the city for the last few days. Finally… peace again!

 

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