I don’t think we’re in Spain anymore

This week’s adventure–Pais Vasco! We received an email from our professor earlier in the week in which he reminded us to NOT refer to the places we were going to as Spain. The native residents of Pais Vasco aren’t related to the rest of Spain and speak a totally different language–Basque. Because it has no connection to Spanish or any other language in the area, experts believe that the natives are the original inhabitants of the Iberian region. Apparently this gives the people there an excuse to consider themselves a totally different nation, even though they are within the Spanish border. I don’t get it either, but I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I kept my little Spanish comments to myself.

Our first stop was Bilbao, home of one of the Guggenheim museums.

Confession about museums: I usually enjoy museums. A lot. I loved the Prado. I loved the Louvre (you can tell how late I am in writing this post) But contemporary art=not my thing. A lot of the themes were kind of disturbing, and I left with a yucky feeling. But we boarded the buses afterwards to head to one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen–San Sebastian.
After spending some time with the group, eating dinner, eating a double scoop of ice cream (on the program, heh heh) taking a rather unexpected dip in the ocean (Thanks, Aubrey) and spending the night in a 4 star hotel, we got back on the buses to take a nice trip to France. No big deal.

Erin and I being French on a French beach

Kylie and I eating French Fries in a French Bistro. Note my French braid 🙂
The rest of the time we spent in Pais Vasco was spent lounging on the beach, shopping for yellow shoes, and eating Nutella. Not a bad way to spend time in one of the most beautiful parts of the world 🙂

Barcelona Games

This weekend’s trip: Barcelona! In honor of the Olympics that Barcelona hosted in 1992, we’re going to talk about the fun games you can play in Barcelona.
Picasso Relay–You only have one hour to see the museum devoted to one of the world’s most famous painters. First one to get to his interpretation of Las Meninas at the end of the museum wins. Extra points if you can get past the guards without your leader (because clearly all a bunch of responsible college-aged students want to do at such a famous art museum is touch things)
Museum Miss-Outs–Drive right past the Barcelona Museum of Chocolate. Park right in front of it. Get out and drool a little bit. But then walk past it and go to another museum. (Sometimes I hate my life. But only because I miss out on chocolate)
Water Searches–Water in Barcelona is non-potable, as they say, so the award goes to the person who can find water for cheap. Unfortunately, when you are dying of thirst, sometimes you have to use the tiny water bottle in the mini bar for 2 euro (displayed on the right) before you can get the economy size the next night for 1.50 (the bottle on the left)

Gaudi Marathon–tour as many buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi as possible within two days. Disqualification if you miss his famous cathedral Sagrada Familia.

On the roof of one of his houses

Sagrada Familia–wow!
Beach Volleyball–Enjoy the sand, the sun, and the waves. And the nicely bronzed Spanish men playing volleyball. This is a spectator sport.
Rain Running–after you get out of the monastery at the top of a beautiful mountain, run through the rainstorm to the bus. And get soaked in the process.

(You can’t tell me this isn’t awesome)

Barcelona Jersey face-off–Gold medal (and awesome jersey) to the person who can find the best imitation of a Barcelona jersey for the cheapest price. 28 euros, baby 🙂

Being Confused–Here are the rules: You spend 5 weeks getting used to reading all the Spanish signs and are finally getting the hang of it. Then you go to Barcelona, and they decided to start writing in Catalan, a dialect specific to the eastern part of Spain that’s a mix of Spanish and French, kind of. That way, they can make you feel like an idiot when you’re trying to read in Spanish and understand nothing. Gold medal to the person who can understand the most jibberish. Good game, Barcelona. Good game.