Dances with cities

As promised, Barca pictures. Photo credits to Abby Schacter.

Some architecture in BCN

Some other, different but nearby architecture

A Gaudi house made gaudi-house museum.

The Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's cathedral to be completed in 20 years

Arc de Triomf a la Barcelona

Some medieval streets

More medieval gothic streets.

Plaza Reial

Park near the Arc de Triomf

Hill towards Park Guell. Yes we walked the entire thang. Yes we had all of our bags with us. Yes it was painful. No we will not ever do it again.

Park Guell from up top

View of the city from Park Guell (a Gaudi designed park). Notice Sagrada Familia

Some sort of official building near the port

Sun over bcn

Sangria and tomato bread.

Voila my dears. The highlights of the trip. Bastille festivities start tonight. Parade tomorrow morning and fireworks yay!

xox,

Mary

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The discrete charm of the barceloneta

So there’s this little, sort of insignificant, not really important, sport-like thang going on right now, maybe you’ve heard of it, I think it’s called, I mean I can’t really remember, but I think it’s called the WORLD CUP. For any americans that may be reading this (read: everyone that is reading this), that was an example of sarcasm, because the world cup is a HUGE deal. HUGE. HUGE. okay. For any of you that may have caught eurofever and were feverishly following the goals and penalties (and hot bods) of the world cup, you would know that last night, spain offish beat the netherlands to be the world cup champs 2010. This is a useful metaphor for my weekend in Spain. Euro champs 2010.

Spain is actually the most amazing country on the face of the earth (I’ve actually only ever been to like, 5 countries, so it’s really just the best of those); the people are nice, the language is beautiful, the gothic streets are the stuff of fairy tales, and the weather and the sea are to die for. Spain makes you feel like a movie star, jetsetting across europe through tiny airports, tanning by the mediterranean, drinking sangria with tapas, dancing on the beach, taking cruises around the harbor… are you jealous yet? Good. Be jealous. Be very jealous.

Barcelona was incredible. Unfortunately my camera is broken so I will have to wait to post pictures until I get them from mis amigas, but think about a house Dr. Seuss might draw, then think about what you would imagine a parisian apartment to look like, then put these two buildings next to each other, add lots of color and some spanish/catalonian flags and repeat. These were the streets of Barcelona, filled with Gaudí architecture (Gaudi = famous spanish architect who designed a cathedral, park, houses, etc, etc, etc in BCN) and european buildings with laundry hanging from balconies and clothes lines draped across tiny medieval streets that wind and twist into plazas and cathedrals. Now think about the most delicious seafood you’ve ever eaten and the most delicious bread and the most delicious wine, now imagine them all in one meal. That is the cuisine of barcelona: tomato bread, paella, tapas, sangria, cava, et cetera, et cetera. Now, imagine a perfect beach: clear blue skies, clear deep blue warm water, soft exfoliating sand, and fresh coconut at your beck and call. That is the beach in barcelona. And at night, the dance clubs open right out onto the beach. Yes, that’s right, music and dancing on the beach until the sun rises. Add some antique and craft markets, delicious gelato, boat cruises, and some mountains, and violà, perf. Wanna go to Barcelona now? Great. Let’s go.

The most bizarre part of this weekend was the travel. We needed a total of five different trips on three different modes of transport just to go one way. By this I mean that to get from Paris to Barcelona, I needed to take a metro to a shuttle bus to a plane to a shuttle bus to a metro to my hostel. Total time in transit: 8 hours. Total distance between Paris and Barcelona by flight: 1.2 hours. See, flying Ryanair, an irish, cheap, euro flight company, you must fly from smaller, low traffic airports. This means “Paris-Beauvais” (aka not Paris at all, and 1.5 hours outside the city) and “Girona Costa Brava,” aka not Barcelona in the slightest, and 1 hour outside of that city. Additionally, the ryanair flight experience is akin to an hour and a half long infomercial. First, they sell food, then drinks, then lottery cards, then smokeless cigarettes, then duty-free, then other ryanair trips, then couches, and houses and computers and I’m kidding about the couches and houses and computers, but you get the idea. On the way home, I felt so beaten down by the constant selling that I almost bought a lottery ticket in my weary, travel-induced stupor, but don’t worry, my wise friends kept my hands away from my purse (though I could be 50,000 dollars richer right now if I had bought one, just saying.) As soon as ryanair planes touch ground they play a trumpet reveille and suddenly everyone on the plane cheers. That is what you get for flying irish. 😉 16 hours in transit, 8 hours of sleep, 48 hours of barcelona sunshine. One amazing weekend.

So yesterday as I was being shuttled back into the city by my entourage I noticed the grand tree lined boulevards and the tell-tale parisian apartments and I got all warm and fuzzy inside realizing that I was home to my taille-fine and kinder. It was then that I realized I am actually living in a dream. I spent a weekend living as a movie star on the shores of the mediterranean and I came home to Paris. Please don’t wake me up anytime soon. kay? thanks.

Last week of classes this week, final tomorrow and friday, bastille day on wednesday, leaving paris on the 21st.

xox,

Mary

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Desperately Seeking Spanish

Hey all! This will probably be my last post for a couple of days because I’m going to Barcelona tomorrow after class (and, um, after I pack and do my dishes). I’m super excited. Not sure what we’re going to do yet, but hopefully I’ll have some good pics and stories to share when I come back! And woo for a chance to practice my, um, longggggg dormant spanish (gracias sr. pardo!)

I can’t imagine what you’ll do without my blog posts to read, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out 🙂

xox,
Mary

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Sweet Smell of Sashimi

Hey all.
Today class went to the “Goutte d’Or” an immigrant quarter in Paris. Really, an immigrant quarter. We were like little ducklings following our teacher around and stopping to “sight-see” amidst market stalls and ethnic quarters. We even canceled our traditional weekly lunches because there was no where to eat. But that’s okay, why? because we made plans for a NUTELLA SUSHI rendez-vous. Yes, you heard me, nutella sushi.

This wonderful chain, called Planet Sushi (not to be confused with the ever popular Pizza planet of the toy story movies), serves delicious and creative sushi in France, Ibiza, and Miami. And, duh, I lovvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee sushi (and it was SO good.. um, hi delivery every night from now on?), but like I said, we chose it for the nutella sushi. Back story: So one day about two weeks ago, we were talking about the weird things french people like to eat, and nutella came up as being a spectacularly amazing thing that french people like to eat, and then we started talking about the things nutella tastes best with, and then my friend jeremy mentions that some people put nutella on sushi. In the wise words of hannah montana: jeremy say whattttttt? Yeah, I went there. Okay, so he had never actually had this supposed “nutella sushi,” but he did know where one could get it, and so finally we all decided to go give it a try. You only live once, right?

Nutella sushi!

Basically it was an egg dough around rice, nutella, and possibly a fruit like banana or strawberry. And it was actually not bad. Je l’ai aimé. I wouldn’t say I want it for dessert all the time, but it was pretty good. Woo culinary adventures.

Barcelona on THURSDAY, then finals and then homeeeee

love,
Mary

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Letters from Rue Basfroi

Nothing to say today, really; long day of class, just doing some work now. Writing only because if I do not, my father gets very antsy.

Dear parents,

I am alive and well. I have written some words here on the internets to calm your worried hearts. Have a nice day.

Love,
Mary

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The Opera House Rules

Well, today was my lucky day.

Today I had tickets to the ballet. Don’t ask me what ballet was being performed, it was a weird sort of experimental, ethnic, contemporary ballet that involved tycho drumming, some mirrors, lots of scantily clad male dancers, weird instruments that hurt my ears, and bars that descended from the sky. (It was also really good btw, but we’ll get there). So I bought the cheap seats, not gonna lie, which were way up in the second balcony, but since there was room in the orchestra, they moved me down to approximately the perfect seat in the middle of the orchestra fo’ freee. Wooo.

The ballet, performed by the Paris Opera Ballet Company, was an eastern inspired ballet about a goddess who descends, and some sort of war and then the goddess leaves (ballets are always sort of vague like that?). Anyway, the dancers were obviously amazing and beautiful, and this was sort of a “guy” ballet, meaning there were more guys and they got to do a lot of cool things during the fight scenes, and I like seeing strong masculine ballet dancers. So violà I enjoyed it. It also happens to fit perfectly into my homework assignment for my history class this week.

Well, so then after the ballet, I remembered I had no food and no super markets were open because it was sunday. I didn’t really feel like a crêpe or anything so I just went home and settled down to a nice dinner of… soymilk? Well, I was kinda hungry (read: starving) so I decided to go for a walk and see what I could find. And it turns out, today, in honor of the soldes, Monoprix is open! ! ! Aka. I can eat. So now I have groceries for the week, and am currently enjoying dinner.

See what I mean? Lucky day.

So now I just have to work on this research paper. rawr.

Also, Happy birthday America! I miss you. Celebrate extra big for me?

xox,
Mary

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How to succeed in basking without really trying.

Oh my. It is really hard to work in Paris in the summer. I’m doing nothing in particular except avoiding doing research; just chillin’ in cafés and basking near the water is so much more pleasant. And I’m in Paris okay? Can you blame me?

It’s also the something something french islands festival today? In Place Léon Blume? Which is right down the street from me? Traffic was crazy because they diverted it away from the square to the tiny, not-made-for-traffic streets I live on. I checked it out: basically, I was the palest person there without question, and there were about 50 people dressed like the chiquita banana woman dancing around, and about 200 people standing around drinking (they’re french) and yelling and singing. Yeah, not really my scene. On the bright side, it’s much cooler today. Still humid, but about 70. It rained all this morning and now the weather is much more agreeable, giving me a chance to sport my new jeans 🙂

18 days left? Barcelona in 5!

Some pics to take us out?

Cute french epicerie?

french streets and smart cars wooo.

burberry short shorts. only in france

that is all!
xox,

Mary

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