In Spain if you live in Valencia, your not Spanish you Valencian, if you live in the area around Barcelona its Catalonia, they have they’re own language and sort anal about the whole not being Spanish thing, and then there’s the Basque region further North, they not Spanish either. So….who is actually Spanish in Spain?
Anyway one of Mums friend who she grew up with now lives just out of Barcelona and runs this horse riding school. She is like a horse expert, knows everything about them and doesn’t ride with saddles of anything like that and has all these special techniques, all about communicating to the horses and stuff like that, she is a pro and people come from all over to learn from her. I feel a bit bad because I have about zero interest in horses, Sarita loves horses to the extreme so its good for her to be able to help out and stuff. Una’s just brought new land and setting up everything so she has all the horse arenas and a big stable with a kitchen and room in it and she sleeps in a caravan until her house is built. So right now we are actually sleeping in the horse stables, its great! Its up in the hills surrounding by little villages and its only about 45minutes by train into the centre of Barcelona. She has about 15 horses, 7 cats and 3 dogs so everywhere you look is a cat sleeping, a dog trying to get your attention or maybe a horse sticking its head through the window. Its nice being able to relax in the country as cheesy as that sounds. It’s great because Una’s lived here for about 25 years so speaks fluent Spanish and Catalan and can explain things to us and help us sort stuff out. It is still really hot here and Spain is having this crazy heat wave so it’s like summer has come too early. Nothing else to do but lie in the sun and read. And eat of course. The kitchen is not really set up, but there’s a fridge and a gas cooker so we’ve been cooking lots and eating lots of yummy fresh veggies and cheese. Spent 2 days hanging out, one day me and mum walked down to the closest village to buy some bread and of course timed it perfectly to walk to hour back up hill in the hottest part of the day, which is about 35 degrees. Definitely, need a siesta after that.
Me and mum came into Barcelona leaving Sarita in horse heaven for a day. I really like Barcelona, have a cool feel to it, beautiful streets, lots going on. New plan is to come study Spanish here one summer for a few months. Have to fit it in around the next hundred trips I’ve already planned! We were here this first day to do the Gaudi thing (he’s a famous architect who built totally crazy stuff back in the day) we got off the train and walked out of the metro to be looking straight at one of his buildings. After paying some ridiculous entrance fee we got our audio guide, which I’m sure had the same voices from the Alhambra in Granada “Gaudi let his imagination run wild, with a kaleidoscope of colours….we’re sure that this visit will change your life…” super cheesy. This first building we saw was a huge house and I cant really explain it, its all curvy with wacky shaped everything. Weird courtyards, weird ceilings, weird everything. And heaps of mosaics which he’s famous for. Unfortunately only have film photos so I cant put any online. Next stop on the itinerary was the Sagrada Fimilia, this huge, huge cathedral that is only about 1/2 finished (started in 1920’s) and probably never be finished. It’s weird because it’s a huge contraction site, they’re still building it and its full of scaffolding and people building, bizarre when its Barcelonans most visited building. However you can see how cool it will be and there are very cool parts to it. The front is amazing, huge towers and the whole back of the cathedral is a carved Nativity scene. So its like this cathedral but with a Gaudi twist, weird mosaics on the top of the towers and crazy plastering everywhere. They have all his original plans so hopefully one day they will finish it and it will be amazing. if I haven’t said that enough. Our last Gaudi for the day was the Park de Guell. Another crazy place full of mosaics, mosaic houses and walls and seat and this weird big platform held up by giant pillars..I cant explain it but it was crazy and very cool.
Spent the rest of the day wandering down this street with a big pedestrian bit in the middle, sold our souls and went to Starbucks (I just really wanted a frappachino!) and had a look around some super hips shops, we’re having a shopping day with Sarita when we come back so we scooped out some cool places to go. I even found my camera at a camera shop for about the same as what it is in NZ so I’m just going to buy it and keep my fingers crossed insurance money comes though. Sightseeing is tiring and we both were very sore by the time we finally got back to bed!
Right now I’m typing this all out in our stable, we spent today cleaning the horse poo up then went to a place called Girona to see this flower show and walk around the cool old part of the city. Had really good ice-cream, there is sooooo many good icecream places here, and good bakeries with nice bread and good cheese, if it wasn’t for all the walking around sightseeing I’d probably leave Europe about twice as big. On the way back to Una’s in the main village by her house we happened to stubble upon a folk dancing, cultural procession thing. Very weird with groups of people carrying giant dancing puppets, folk dancers, strange medieval orchestra’s and people dressed as devils that lit fireworks and threw fire around. Very bizarre, all very traditional and cultural though I’m sure!