This summer, for vacation, my parents and I flew to Barcelona, Spain. We spent a few days there to see the sights in the city before boarding a cruise ship, Celebrity Century, to visit various towns by the Mediterranean Sea.
I didn't know much about Barcelona before I went there. My mom seemed to know more about it than me - perhaps she did some research on the Internet or something of that sort. I didn't really know what to expect, besides a big city where people speak Spanish.
I had hoped that, having taken French in school, I might be able to understand what was being said, but it turns out that there are two languages commonly used in Barcelona - Spanish and Catalan, the language of Catalonia, the region of Spain in the far east. I have to pay more attention to Spanish so I'll actually be able to tell the two apart. I feel rather pathetic not knowing which is which even though the languages are different enough to be distinguishable.
There was some rather interesting architecture in Barcelona. I visited this church called the Sagrada Familia. It was rather different than the other churches I have seen. It was...a bit more modern and more nature-themed rather than being Gothic and medieval-looking like the norm. Inside the church, the columns are made to look like trees. Too bad the church is still being built. How many years is it going to take? The church, designed by Antoni Gaudi, has been under construction since 1882.
We also visited Parc Guell, a park of sorts. Both of these places had been swarming with tourists. I was rather irritated at first when we got to Parc Guell. I dislike going up stairs, and then when I had gotten up to a higher level, it turned out to be a vast area of sand, which irritated my senses...Eventually I went with my parents up to a home which had been turned into a museum. There was some interesting nature-inspired furniture. It was pleasant standing in one of the rooms in front of an open window and feeling a cool breeze. The countries along the Mediterranean Sea all seem to have hot, humid weather during the summer.
It was just my luck that I happened to come to Barcelona on the day of the World Cup match between Spain and Germany. After Spain scored a goal, it started to get noisier outside. There was the sound of horns and chatter. And once the game had ended and Spain was declared winner of that match, people started to show up, walking down the street. Some even sang. We had chosen the hotel Rivoli Ramblas, which is on a fairly busy street, La Rambla. The racket continued long into the night. (Do people even sleep? My parents say that they probably wake up late, take a nap after lunch, and stay up late every night) I was kind of annoyed at not being able to sleep, but I also felt like joining the people outside and celebrating.
Oh, and if you were to walk for a ways from the hotel, you would arrive at Placa de Catalunya. I was charmed by it immediately, for when I walked there, the sun was setting. The fountains and pigeons looked so beautiful to me. (There are so many pigeons there, I was astonished.)
I later came back to the square, and saw something rather amusing. There were some boys and a man (the father?). They dropped some food and the pigeons swarmed to eat it. Then one of the boys, amazingly, grabbed hold of a pigeon. (He released it, though) He was able to catch multiple birds, although he let them all go. It was pretty cool. But my dad says it might be rather unpleasant for the bird, and so we didn't make any attempt to try and get one.
I like Barcelona as a city on the whole, both in the urban parts and on the outskirts. I had the chance to stay in a hotel for one night on the edge of Barcelona. But I'll be telling that story another time.