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Category Archives: Festivals

Finding Solo Time in the Midst of Visitors

This was quite a crazy weekend for me. Sensation White came to Barcelona this weekend and because of that four of my friends from home came from Florence, where they are studying abroad, to visit for the weekend. Throughout the weekend I tried to show them everything I could about Barcelona so they could fall in love with it the way I have. However, if you try to imagine four extra girls in a room made for two you might be able to understand why I was desperate for some solo time. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my friends came to visit and we had a GREAT weekend but it was nice to take two hours for myself one afternoon to just enjoy some solo time.

I didn’t do anything particularly exciting or different for my solo time, in fact I went to one of my favorite places to eat here in Barcelona and walked along a street I am very well acquainted with. First I went to Bó de B, a great little hole-in-the-wall sandwich place near the beach. I probably eat there once or twice a week, if you haven’t been there before stop reading this and GO NOW! I got my sandwich to go and took a leisurely walk up Via Laietana near the Juame I square and metro stop. I always enjoy this walk because there is so much going on no matter what time of day it is, there are always people out and about, I love the hustle and bustle feeling I get when I’m on this street. I spent the hour just thinking about the weekend and enjoying everything going on around me. It was a much needed break but ironically I was very eager to get back to my friends to take them on another adventure in Barcelona. They were a little reminder of home and I think that at first part of me didn’t want to be reminded of home. But in the end, I realized what a great time it was to have that comfort around me for the weekend. And now, I will definitely have to make a trip to Florence to visit them!

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Festivals, Solo Time

 

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Oktoberfest

My solo time this week was a little unconventional. I spent a day traveling by myself from Munich to Barcelona after a crazy weekend at Oktoberfest. Let me tell you a little bit about Oktoberfest before I talk about my day of traveling.

I have never been to anything like Oktoberfest. I have heard plenty of stories and seen pictures but none of that could prepare me for this crazy festival. I took an early Friday morning flight with some of my roommates and as soon as we landed we headed straight to the Oktoberfest fair grounds. Luckily some of our other friends were already there and had a table. We headed to meet them at the HB tent, and when we walked in the doors I was totally unprepared for what I saw. There were people EVERYWHERE, the huge area inside the tent was filled with tables and people were sitting, standing, dancing, and doing who knows what else all throughout the room. We just stood there for a few minutes taking it all in. We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our beer and meeting people from all over the world.

After a day at the beer tents we headed to our campsite. I am usually not one for camping but with what seemed like half the world flocking to Munich for Oktoberfest, camping was the cheapest option. We stayed at the campsite with a company called Stoke Travel and it was clear that they knew how to do Oktoberfest. We spent the rest of the night enjoying our free dinner and sangria before heading to bed in preparation of an early morning. On Saturday we awoke before the sun and once again headed to the Oktoberfest grounds. Getting there early meant our own table and we were served some of the first beers at 9am. The rest of the day is history and I can honestly say that I will never forget my experience at Oktoberfest. I was sad to have the day come to the end but happily welcomed some sleep.

My solo time this week was spent traveling. Since we had all booked Oktoberfest back in summer, our flights were all different because we just booked what was cheapest for ourselves at the time. I have never traveled by myself before in a place where there was a language barrier. It was quite a journey to even get to the airport. I had to take a bus to a train to the airport and I almost got on the train going in the wrong direction but looked up at the schedule board right before I stepped on and caught my mistake. I got to the airport with plenty of time (some people may say way too early, but I would rather be safe than sorry) and sat down for lunch. I took time to just observe everything going on around me and was wrapped up in the fact that everyone was speaking a different language than my own. When it was time to board the plane I got in the wrong line because I had no idea what was being said in German but everything was figured out and I made it to Dusseldorf for my connecting flight. I spent a while in Dusseldorf because my plane was delayed. This was the point in the day where I took a moment to step back and think about things. I was getting frustrated about the delay but after realizing there was nothing I could do I was able to see the bigger picture. I was sitting in that airport surrounded by people I could probably not converse with. It made me realize just how big the world was, I was outside of my comfort zone but I was experiencing something that most of my friends back home will never get to experience. Being thrown into a different culture with a language barrier isn’t easy but I am glad I got the opportunity to experience it last weekend.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Festivals, Solo Time

 

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La Mercé

This weekend all my roommates decided to take a trip to the Amalfi Coast. I debated about whether or not to go with them but I finally decided not to because I had been there recently and more importantly I wanted to be in Barcelona for La Mercé. And let me tell you, I made the right decision. At first I was a little weary about being in the apartment by myself but I was able to spend time with some of the other students in my building as well as other friends throughout the city. I really had no idea what to except out of this festival until Thursday morning when my Spanish teacher spent the whole class talking about all the festivities.

My favorite parts of La Mercé were the castellers, Correfoc, and Piromusical. These were three different types of festivities but each of them was amazing. When I went to see the castellers there were people everywhere and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see anything. At first I couldn’t see the castellers making the base but they kept adding levels and levels of people, making it impossible for anyone to not see them. The first time they were building the tower I was so anxious, the little girls that were climbing to the very top looked so young and I kept thinking they would fall. I was so blown away by the skill and strength the castellers had. I stayed for a while and moved closer, seeing several different groups build the human towers.

The Correfoc was definitely my favorite part of the festival. I had absolutely no idea what to except so when I got to the street packed with people covered head to toe in clothes with face masks and googles I was slightly concerned. When the show started I made the decision to stay in the street instead of moving off to the side. When the parade of people got to us it was complete insanity. The “devils” and “beasts” were showering fire everywhere. There were several times where sparks were landing all over me but I was too excited to care. I loved being in the midst of everything and seeing the people of Barcelona get so into this festival. I just kept thinking over and over how cool this was and that I didn’t want it to end.

After Correfoc I quickly made my way to Pl. Espanya for Piromusical. I was impressed by how many people came out to see the show and I thought it was the perfect way to end the festival. I have been enthralled by fireworks since I was a little girl so I just stood there mesmerized throughout the whole show. The entire La Mercé festival was a great experience, not only for the fun but also to learn about the culture of this city. I was in awe of how many people came out for the events and how passionate everyone was about this festival. America celebrates the 4th of July but usually with a party and some fireworks, nothing in comparison to this crazy festival. La Mercé brought the people of Barcelona together and that is something I will never forget.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Festivals, Solo Time

 

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