Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
So here I am...Friday night...6 days left in Madrid.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I’m not quite sure if everyone has this sort of intuition, but you know that feeling when you meet someone and you just know if you’re going to like them or not? I can’t explain it, nor can I even begin to understand how it all works, but these sorts of intuitions always seem to occur in my life.
This weekend I went to Barcelona. I rode the AVE train…Alta Velocidad. This new revolutionary train reaches speeds up to 300 km per hour…or roughly 180 mph. It was amazing. I was truly impressed by this train. A usual 9 hour ride was only two hours and forty five minutes. The AVE has impressed Obama as well, in recent articles, he has talked about trying to bring such a system to the United States. This would be incredible in my opinion. It is truly better than a plane…no need to arrive 2 hours early…you must be there at least 2 minutes before and you’re good to go. No need to pack your liquids in a small plastic bag… bring whatever you want. No identification needed, leave your passport at home. The seats are bigger and recline more, they play movies and have a cafeteria where you can buy bocadillos de jamon! It was wonderful!
I arrived in Barcelona on Saturday morning. For those of you who do not know, I was visiting Ana Reyes, one of my mother’s friends from her childhood. I had never met Ana, only through emails and short telephone calls had I gotten to know her…but none of this mattered. On the train I realized that this was sort of unusual. Arriving in a city and meeting up with someone you had never met. This had never crossed my mind…which is where the whole intuition thing comes into play. I can’t begin to express what I felt when I finally hugged Anita at the station. She has this warmth to her that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. When I was with her I felt as though anything could happen and I would be ok. Like the world could end but being with Anita would save me. She’s an angel on earth, and if you don’t believe me simply take the AVE to Barcelona and you can experience it all for yourself. I only spent two days in Barcelona with Anita, but when I left I felt like I had known her my entire life. I truly believe that people are brought into your life for a purpose…well Anita has become a second mother to me. I feel like she could keep my secrets and never judge a word I say. I feel extremely fortunate and lucky to have been able to spend time with her.
Not only is she an angel, but Anita is a wonderful tour guide! We visited the important touristy parts of Barcelona. Walking down Las Ramblas was a great experience! It was filled with tourists captivated by all Las Ramblas had to offer. Then we walked into the most amazing market. The fruits, the vegetables, the seafood…it was all so beautiful and so colorful that you could spend a day just eyeing every piece. Although the heat was miserable, we kept walking in order to gain our lunch. We walked to this harbor filled with sailboats, it was truly amazing. Finally we arrived to the restaurant which was right on the harbor. I’m glad to say Anita loves food just as much as I do. We ordered arroz negro… the most delicious meal I have ever had in my life. Arroz negro is like a type of paella, rice and seafood…expect for the negro part. The rice gets its black color from squid ink. It has the most amazing taste, that words could never describe. I do not remember exactly how long we were at lunch for, but if it had not been so hot I’m sure we could have talked until sundown. We left the restaurant with happy stomachs and walked a while more until we reached our dessert destination…GELATO! I had coconut of course, Anita had piña colada…both delicious. We walked through this mall and then sat on the dock to watch what Anita calls… “the rats of the sea”.
After almost melting into the dock we decided to head home for a shower and siesta so we could go out later at night. I arrived at my bed and breakfast and felt like I had just gotten home. This place is amazing. Amiga Barcelona is run by a very nice lady named Margarita. She purchased a couple of apartments and put them all together to have her beautiful bed and breakfast. This place is so cozy! Filled with books and balconies, paintings and old bottles of wine. ( www.amigabarcelona.com ) I had a wonderful nap and took a shower to get refreshed and met up with Anita later that night.
We walked around Barcelona, which is beautiful at night. I saw Gaudi’s famous architecture, which really impressed me. Its amazing how buildings that long ago were built to such perfection. When they did not have the machinery and technology we have today. After the architecture we walked into a dangerous area of the city…yes dangerous. Louis Vuittion, Chanel, Cartier, Gucci, Prada…were all there waiting for us to drool on their window displays. We must have spent 30 minutes in front of Chanel. Anita and I have a lot in common…we love shoes, handbags, and watches…well and a lot more of course! We got a little hungry and had tapas for dinner…delicious!!!!! I’m going to miss the Spanish cuisine. Anita told me stories of her life and her travels, she is a wonderful story teller…something I must work on! Then we walked home (passed Chanel again) and right as I got to Amiga Barcelona I passed out!
The next morning I woke up to find the most amazing breakfast. Margarita prepares the breakfast area with such detail. All types of bread and cookies, 7 different types of honey, nuts, granola, jam, cereal, tea…she set the table with the cutest dinnerware. I had to try everything! I played around with the honey and loved every single one. I had a croissant with nutella and some home made granola which was delicious! After filling my face at breakfast I realized it was time to get ready to meet up with Anita.
Anita and I rode the metro a lot in Barcelona…yes it is a wonderful form of transportation BUT the most important part of the metro is the air conditioning. We even thought about spending the day just riding the metro up and down. We visited the gothic part of Barcelona, where they say Jews lived during a certain time. If Anita would not have told me this, I would have realized it by myself at the moment when we encountered Israeli tourists speaking in Hebrew and pointing out every detail of the place. We entered in every store with air conditioning…this makes everything so much better. I must have taken 200 pictures during this trip. We returned to Las Ramblas and had more tapas for lunch. This was truly a delicious trip overall…I can not complain about the meals! The best part of the meals however had to have been the company and conversation. I have learned so much about Anita, and she has learned so much about me. These meals are what bonded us even more. We grew tired and hot and decided to nap before it was time to return to the train station. I packed my things and took a little siesta and spoke with Margarita for a while. She is a wonderful lady, I did not feel like I was at some hotel, I really felt home. Anita and I met up and took the metro to the renfe station. It was sad to say goodbye, but I remembered one thing. My first day in Barcelona Anita made me drink out of this fountain in the street. I took a sip and then she told me that legend says (and it has been proven many times) that if you drink from this fountain you will return to Barcelona. So we said our goodbyes (for now) because we both know we will see each other again. It was truly an amazing trip, the highlight of my European adventure. So thank you Anita!