Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Caliente! Caliente! Caliente!

Hola amigos!

How is everyone today? Well the word of the week for us has been caliente as it is quite humid and sweaty here in Barcelona...but we have been living it up regardless!

Well, when we wrote last we were on our way to see U2...well, most of you know how I feel about U2 and probably realize that I am completely biased in my opinion...but it was definitely the absolute best show I have ever seen them play!! They were supported by Keane - a band from England - who did a pretty good job getting the crowd excited. U2 were definitely in top form - when they started off the show with Vertigo (¨Hello, Hello¨- HOLA¨) I knew it would be a great show. The crowd of 80,000 people went wild everytime Bono said anything in Spanish and repeatedly broke out into the Ole Ole Ole chant that you always hear at soccer matches. The atmosphere was really amazing at the open air Camp Nou stadium. Our seats were pretty good and we were just relieved that we did not have to queue for hours to get a spot to stand...they played most of the songs from their new album and a lot of their old favorites. There was a lot of politics and ranting by Bono as usual, but one unique thing was that it was The Edge´s birthday and so we got to sing to him and Bono gave him a F.C. Barcelona jersey as a present at the end of the concert. The whole show was quite amazing and we are really looking forward to seeing them in December in Portland on the very last date of the tour...

On Monday, we actually went back to the Camp Nou stadium to take a tour of it and to take in the Museum of the F.C. Barcelona soccer team. It was interesting to see the stadium the day after the U2 concert without all of the thousands of people there...the museum was also quite good...steeped in history and really interesting displays and I know Mike enjoyed it quite a bit.

That afternoon we took the metro out to Parc Guell...a famous housing project designed by Gaudi in his modernist stype for the rich at the beginning of last century that was a commercial failure but is now a major tourist site. We walked around the park and took in some really spectacular views of the city and made our way through Gaudi´s house that was full of interesting pieces designed by him and other architects and artists.

That evening we walked around the Barri Gotic and stopped in a quiet bar called the Q bar on one of the side streets for a cocktail. There was a very laidback atmosphere here and it was a nice place to relax for awhile. Then, we walked to a tapas bar that was almost more like an Italian deli and had a delicious meal and some lovely Spanish chardonnay. Afterwards, we went down Las Rambles and stopped in an Australian bar called Hogan´s just for the laugh and then went down to an Irish bar to finish off the night. A very long day with no siesta so we were absolutely worn out by the end of it.

Today, our final full day here we spent in the Montjuic area which is quite nice and full of tons of touristy sites. We took the metro to the Funicular de Montjuic, a train that takes you partway up the mountain. We walked the rest of the way through a lovely park up to the Castell de Montjuic and took in the view from the castle walls. We have mastered the art of walking slowly on these unbearably hot days and it has helped conserve our energy considerably. After this, we walked down through another park, past the pools where the olympic diving events were held in 1992 and tried to go to the Fundacio Joan Miro art museum but it was just too packed to consider going in. It was a pity to miss it as I am sure it is quite good but the hoards of tourists were really getting to us at this point and we decided to skip it. Just another reason to come back to this beautiful city...not that we need one. Everywhere you look there is something lovely or interesting to see here...a fiest for the eyes. So, anyway, we walked to the Estadi Olimpic to see the stadium where the 1992 summer olypmics were staged and on to the Palau Sant Jordi and the fountains around it. The Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya is quite an impressive building from the outside...again, we just did not have the energy to try to tackle this bohemoth today but it made for some nice photos. Our final tourist stop was the Poble Espanyol or Spanish Village which our guide book warned is a tourist trap but we found it to be quite good. It was build for the Spanish crafts section of the 1929 exhibition and is comprised of plazas and streets lined with copies of typical buildings and architecture from all of the regions of Spain. These buildings house shops and restaurants but many of them are quite unique and you can watch them making objects out of glass, leather, or other materials in many places. We sat down at a touristy looking Tapas bar inside but it turned out to be one of the best we have visited. Sometimes you just can´t tell what is good from the outside. We spent a few hours just sitting and chatting...enjoying our last few hours in this place.

It has been a truly amazing time here in Spain and we really only had a small taste...we look forward to returning and hopefully being able to speak better Spanish next time...

Well, tomorrow we head off to Dublin to reenter the world of English speaking people...we are very excited to see our friends and family in Ireland...hope all is well with everyone.

for now....Adios.



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