This week I bought the most expensive shirt of my life to date! I had the privilege of attending a Barça game at Camp Nou on Tuesday and I had to be properly dressed for the occasion. Though this wasn’t my first professional sports game, and it certainly won’t be my last, it was definitely one that will stick with me forever! We got our tickets from a vendor on La Rambla and with that came a ride to the stadium from one of their local sports stores. They told us that a bus would come for us in five minutes, but as five minutes passed the group of anxious fútbol fans grew, and no bus showed up. By the time a bus finally did show up to take us to the game 20-30 minutes later, the crowd was too large to fit in one bus. Our coordinator assured the impatient tourists, because let’s face it, natives avoid La Rambla at all costs – even for fútbol tickets, that another bus would come in just five minutes. We finally catch a bus and are on our way, you can feel a buzz in the air, WE’RE GOING TO CAMP NOU! I tell you all of this because I want you to know that at this point we are in a bus full of extremely excited and impatient fútbol fans, so when we are turned around at the entrance and our bus driver, who is forced to take a different route, heads away from the stadium, things get rowdy. After a minute or two of unanswered questions being hurdled forward from around the bus, people begin to rush towards the doors and demand to be let out in the middle of the street. By the time the bus driver is able to pull over we’re pretty far from where we want to be and walk/run towards the stadium with the rest of the baffled and angry fans. We make it to the stadium a few minutes before the toss and after grabbing a hotdog, yes they have hotdogs in Spain too, we head to our seats in the nosebleed section. It was an amazing game and not even our cheap seats could detract from that. I think I would have had a blast even if we hadn’t won 3-1 against Ajax! I think my favorite part was watching a man several rows below us, who was listening to a commentary on a little portable radio, stand up and scream Spanish protests and complaints at the refs every couple of minutes!
On Friday a group of students and I went to Porto for the weekend. This was my first weekend trip outside of Spain, and what a way to start! First off, our hostel was the best I’ve ever been to! I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on the matter, but this was my fifth hostel and it greatly surpassed all the others in every category. The staff was the best, the rooms were amazing, the showers were fifty times better than my shower in Spain and ten times nicer than either of my showers in the US. We even ate dinner at the hostel two nights and the food was fantastic! Needless to say, if you’re ever in Lisbon or Porto definitely get a room at one of the YES! Hostels. We ate lunch at a place the hostel recommended and had a Francesinha, famous Portuguese sandwich, which I thought would be the death of me… meat, meat, and more meat between slices of bread covered in cheese and a “spicy” sauce. The Portuguese must eat as much spicy food as the spaniards, ninguno! The city was so beautiful, right by the river and the ocean, and the weather sure didn’t give us anything to complain about! We did a pub crawl (my first “official” pub crawl!), and a wine tasting. I love Port wine! I never have been a big fan of alcoholic drinks, my favorites being the ones that are full of sugar and fruit, but Port wine I do like, probably because it’s super sweet! Yay sugar! I went on two walking tours of the city and learned that J.K. Rowling lived in Porto for a couple of years and it is there that she started the first draft of Harry Potter! (Big PotterHead here :)) There are things all over the city that they claim are the inspiration for book elements, like a little house squashed between two churches that may have been the inspiration for Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Pretty silly story as to how the house got there, but you’ll have to go there to find out (or just Google it). Livraria Lello is now one of my favorite bookstores in the world, second only to Powells. Google it (I don’t have time to describe everything in detail for you. Sorry, I’m not sorry) if you want to see how pretty it is, normally I don’t follow the “no photo” signs but this time there was a camera nazi walking around the whole time. That’s his job. What a way to make a living. Anyway, Porto was beautiful and I can’t wait to come back someday, and fill my suit case full of Port wine
Big city life (or rather European life in general- I’m talking to you Spain and France): I have seen more PDA these past 3 months than in my entire 21 years of life in the states combined! I don’t know if this is something that happens in big cities in the states or rather more likely is simply a result of past oppression and a renowned sense of freedom of expression, but it sure happens a lot here. It’s not just that people make out on the streets, though I see plenty of that, it’s the fact that it is followed by booty grabbing and other kinds of touching that I don’t appreciate seeing. Today, while waiting to cross the street, I saw a man reach down his girl’s pants and squeeze her butt… under her pants… his hand was between her jeans and her butt, in plain sight of the five or six of us waiting at the crosswalk. A few weeks ago in line at the airport I saw a man unzip his lady friend’s jacket and “honk” her boob… several times, while we waited to board the plane. I understand you’re stoked that you can now hold hands and kiss in public but do you need to do more than that outside the comfort of your homes? Seriously, take it inside. Let me clarify, when I say inside, I mean YOUR OWN HOME! Inside does not mean a crowded airport full of people. I’m sorry if this was too graphic for you but they don’t seem to think it’s too graphic for the streets so I will write it here for the twelve of you that read this blog.
Cambio y fuera,