Our first day of class started with the group meeting in the courtyard of the Melon District. Cheryl led the way through the metro and down La Rambla to our classroom which is at 64 Calle de Hospital. Cheryl took pity on us and gave us a half an hour to go and get some breakfast. There were many delicious looking options along Hospital. Some students decided on café con leche and croissants while others chose fresh fruit smoothies, bananas and fresh squeezed orange juice. The croissants are fabulous here. They are large, freshly baked, flaky sweet pieces of deliciousness and the class consensus was that they are much better than those in America.
After our quick breakfast we made our way to the classroom, which is in the building Residentia de Investigators. Cheryl gave a keynote lecture and gave us an overview of what our assignments will be and our itinerary for our two weeks in Barcelona. Our assignments range from doing a visual profile of a Barcelona native to creating a mini-book of what Barcelona means to us. We will also be writing reflections on the artists we’ll be studying—Picasso, Dali and Miro.
At 1:30 p.m. class dismissed. After a quick group photo we hit the streets of Barcelona. Cheryl headed home to take a siesta and update the blog while we students split into two groups. John, Lauryn, Laura E., Laura F., Abbey and Nichelle went to a tech store and had lunch in a café. Adam, Katie D., Alanna, Katherine and I wandered around La Rambla and Placa De Catalunya. Today was a holiday in Barcelona—“No Trabajar” which means no work—so most of the shops in the city were closed. That didn’t bother us though; we enjoyed wandering the streets taking photographs and just finding our way around. See photos here.
Back at Melon District some students napped or used the internet while some of us were up lounging by the rooftop pool. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the breeze kept us from getting too warm. The best part about the rooftop lounge is the view, a 360 degree view of the city, mountains and ocean. Breathtaking.
Eight of us met up with Cheryl for dinner downtown. We walked around looking for a tapas bar that looked appetizing. During the walk Katie D. decided that she wanted to increase her Spanish language knowledge and vowed to learn a new word every day with the help of John who is a Spanish minor. We finally decided on La Ventana. An attractive little bar where they had a large variety of tapas, which are appetizers, and bocadillas, which are little sandwiches. Everyone ordered a couple of different things and we all shared, which is the Spanish style of eating tapas. The bartender/waiter was very understanding and gracious to us as we attempted to order in Spanish/spanglish and John and Laura F. were extremely helpful with their amazing Spanish speaking skills. We sat and ate and chatted for about two hours, enjoying the food and each other’s company. A certain professor who wishes to remain anonymous told us to try new things and that whatever happens in Spain stays in Spain.
We left the restaurant and continued our meandering. At dinner Cheryl was telling us about a fountain in Barcelona where myth has it that if you drink the water from it you are certain to return. As we wandered down a random street we found what we thought was the fountain. Of course we all had to take a drink and Cheryl had to take a group picture. (However, after I returned home and did a little journalistic research, I found that it was not the special fountain. We had actually wandered by it earlier in the day on La Rambla: Font de Canaletes.)
We wandered back to La Rambla, which is the main street down the busiest part of the city, and said goodnight to Cheryl as she headed back to her lodgings. We then took our time meandering back to the metro station, enjoying different streets and taking pictures along the way. We stopped at a snack shop where Nichelle got the most beautiful cone of gelato. We made it to the metro in time to catch one of the last rides as the metro closes at midnight every night except for Saturday. Soon we found ourselves back to the Melon District, safe and sound.
We are all thoroughly enjoying ourselves and can’t wait to see what new adventures each day will hold. Tuesday for class we will be going on a Barcelona bus tour. The weather is forecasted to be a high of 78 and sunny, lovely weather to ride around on the top of a bus and take in the sights. Adios for now.