Hello friends! It’s been a while, so we’ll do this in a list format so I don’t forget anything. (I also promise to try and be better at posting.)
After work, I went to a grocery store to pick up a few necessities. Coming out of the store, I took a wrong turn – for those of you who know me, this is not surprising. I walked for about 15 minutes until I realized how lost I was. It being 80 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course), I did not want to walk all the way back to work to figure out where I was. I didn’t even know if I could find my way back. So I picked a bus and got on. The map at the bus stop said the bus would take me to Plaça Catalunya where I could catch the L3 metro home. The nice thing about the busses here is that you never have to know where you are once you board the bus. Each stop is illuminated on an electric sign telling you where you are, as well as which connections can be made at the stops – how convenient. The problem with this bus was that there was some glitch in the system. The text would stop scrolling across the sign about halfway through the stop name and not even get to the part where the connections were listed. This is not helpful when you are lost. Two ladies sitting across from me on the bus also seemed to be a little lost. They were asking me questions in Catalan – I think about the bus route. I just told them kindly – Solo hablo Español. They asked me where I was from and wished me well as they exited the bus. The rest of the ride to Plaça Catalunya was uninteresting, except for a single moment. The bus passed a stop call Arc de Triomf – and – as you would imagine – through the window of the bus was the Arc de Triomf. This didn’t make sense. I was in fact in Spain – not France. But I’ll get back to that later.
That night there was an event at a bar downtown called I Love After Work. The event is for young Spanish professionals and internationals. They offer free food and a chance to meet people – so what is there to lose? I went to the event and it was quite nice. The bar was small with music at just the right volume to talk, but loud enough to prevent awkward silences. I overheard some people speaking English as they walked passed the bar – and in all of my social grace – I turned to them and said, “HEY, you speak English!” Apparently this sort of thing works because I ended up sitting at a table with the guys and some people they were meeting at the bar. I’d call the night a success.
Friday was fairly uneventful. I finished my software reading at my internship – which means tomorrow I start real things! But other than that, the day was like any other. At night I decided to try to meet people by going to Chabad – or as they call it in Spain: Jabad. The services were very difficult to follow, but the people were nice, and afterwards everyone walked to the Rabbi’s apartment for dinner. FOOD LIKE HOME. That was the most exciting part of the day. The food almost made me homesick. Sometimes you just need comfort food, and what is more comforting than kugel?
Another day in which I didn’t do very much. I slept a lot. But you all don’t want to read about that. And I ate a tuna fish sandwich for breakfast.
It is seven o’clock as I write this, meaning the day is not over, but most likely I will not have anything further to post tonight.
This morning I decided to take advantage of the location of my residence and visit the adjacent park – Parc del Laberint. The park is very cool. It is a beautiful area that is entirely green, with the exception of the old peach-colored buildings and monuments scattered around. Inside the park there are paths that you can take to view various sights like a temple or the Romantic Canal (that is its actual name). As the name would suggest, there is a large labyrinth in the park. It is quite incredible. All of the paths either lead to nowhere, or a central point with arches cut into the hedges and a statue in the middle. Adjacent to the main attraction is a smaller (less exciting) labyrinth called the Petite Labyrinth. It is also very pretty, and is decorated with a fountain carved into the rocks. There is no possibility of discovering the entire park in one – or even two or three – trips. It is so easy to get turned around there that the whole place feels like a labyrinth. So I spent a couple of hours discovering as much as I could.
In the afternoon I went to see if I could discover more about this Arc de Triomf. I took the metro to the stop appropriately titled, Arc de Triomf. Of course, I walked the wrong direction out of the metro and had no idea where I was. I found another park called Parc de L’Estació del Nord. I have no idea what it was. But next to it was L’Estacio del Nord. The station was either a police station or a bus station – or maybe something entirely different – but it was difficult to tell. I walked through the park hoping to find the Arc, but no luck. It took me a few minutes, but I got my bearings and headed in the right direction. The Arc de Triomf of course was about two football fields distance from the metro station that I had come out of – if only I’d looked around first. The Arc de Triomf itself was beautiful, and it was accompanied by a long, narrow park that stretched out behind it. But the mystery remains unsolved of why there is an Arc de Triomf in Barcelona. For those of you as curious as I am, here is the (wholly unhelpful) wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomf.