04 January 2012

Christmas Break part 1: Barcelona

I know I've been horrible about updating lately.  I want to, but I also want to keep this blog at a certain level and my standards are often too high for myself, unfortunately.

On Christmas Eve, I flew to Barcelona, and enjoyed walking around the city center.  People were still out walking and hanging out on Las Ramblas until late, so it wasn't too bad.  However, Christmas Eve dinner was a rather sad affair, at a tapas bar, and consisting of crab croquettes, bacalao croquettes, some quite nice roasted pork with vegetables, and a beer.  Sitting by myself at the bar.  It made me a bit crabby and teary, but I also realize in retrospect I was having some PMS and that is what made me more teary -- the being alone part made me more sad and angry.  Angry, I don't know why, and not sad for myself but because I know there are tons of people who also don't have anyone to spend holidays with and that's horrible.

Christmas morning, I got up really early to get the first train to Montserrat.  I was so excited to go back there -- my first visit there was so special, and this time I knew exactly how to get there.  While waiting for the Aeri, I was in line behind an Italian family, and the little girl said something to me in Italian, and I responded normally in Italian.  She asked me what region I was from, and I said, "L'America" and the look on her face was precious.  She reminded me of the sweet little girls I met and talked to once in Calabria -- they were the ones who asked me if there were crocodiles in the NYC subway (no, just huge rats at Canal Street station).
Fog rising from the valleys, as seen from the top of the Aeri station.
My first priority when I got there was to get some coffee, and then by that time it was time for mass at 11am.  The famous boys choir sang, and everything was completely in beautiful Catalan.  I can get on board with the clash of nationalist fervor and Catholicism when it's a nationalist fervor I'm sympathetic to -- souvenir in the gift shop had the Virgin of Montserrat with the following text: La meva terra, Catalunya - La meva parla, el català - La meva dansa, la sardana - El meu desig, la llibertat (My land, Catalunya - My language, Catalan - My dance, the sardana - My desire, freedom). 

Wax votives left in thanksgiving for favors received.

The last Aeri (and train, for that matter) down the mountain was at 2PM, so I left a bit early to avoid the rush, and then enjoyed walking around Barcelona on Christmas afternoon.  The city was full of locals and tourists out for a walk and it was a gorgeous day.  I was a bit unnerved, however, to see the McDonald's at MareMagnum bursting to capacity... 

Courtyard in the Barcelona cathedral
Towards the end of the evening (for me, anyway) I walked up the Passeig de Gràcia, window shopping and admiring the Casa Battlò and La Pedrera again.

Casa Battlò
The next morning, I flew from BCN to VIE -- Austrian Airlines plays waltzes during boarding, which makes it a much more pleasant experience, relaxing and setting the mood. 

1 comment:

slavicmuse said...

Sounds like an amazing time!! I have yet to travel that far West. I cannot wait to see the world you experience on a daily basis!