The Local News

Karie on Jun 9th 2008 03:13 pm

Just a quick update about some of the things we’ve been up to in and around Barcelona…

Bon Jovi: The Lost Road Leads to Spain
C’mon, you know your jealous.   I’ve been a Bon Jovi fan for the last couple of decades (more last decade than this decade), so when we found out they were coming to Barcelona we couldn’t resist.  I convinced myself that the 56€ tickets were an early birthday present.

The concert was at the Olympic Stadium on Montjuic, and I was surprised to see how full it was.  I tried making friends with people around me, none of whom spoke English, but all of whom knew every word to the songs, so we all sang together.

Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of the show, because the back of the tickets said no cameras allowed.  As it turned out, EVERYONE had cameras but us!  Doesn’t anyone here follow the rules?  Or at least clue us in when it’s ok to break them?

We wanted to fit in one more day trip before Mary & John flew back to Los Angeles, so we headed out to Montserrat.  Scott & I have obviously seen the major sites around Barcelona, but we try to save some day trips to have something new to do when people come to visit, and this was one we had been looking forward to.

Montserrat (which means “jagged mountain” in Catalan), has several claims to fame, but the most popular reasons for visiting are:

  1. La Moreneta – the black statue of the Virgin Mary & baby Jesus, made of a dark wood
  2. Escolania Boys Choir, which gives free performances (almost) daily at 1:00.  Get there early if you want to sit, but the performance only lasts about 15 minutes so standing isn’t so bad.
  3. Some believe that the Holy Grail is hidden somewhere on this mountain, as well as hosts of other stories and legends about this mountain and its spiritual significance.

Not to mention the mountain it self is pretty cool!

Weekend Getaway with Friends
10 couples piled into cars and headed for some cabins up in the mountains.  We were supposed to leave BCN at 6:00 and arrive around 8:00, but instead we left at 8:00 and arrived at 12:00.  There’s not much need for a car in this area, so from a group of 20 adults and 1 child, we had only 5 licensed drivers and 4 cars + 1 borrowed car.  Bogdan, the driver of the car we were in, just got his license last month.  Apparently new drivers are given a provisional license that prohibits them from exceeding 80 kph (about 50 mph), so we told the rest of the caravan to go ahead & leave us in the dust, and we’d eventually catch up.

However, the one tool we had on our side was Giuseppe (our GPS).  50 mph with accurate directions is faster than getting lost at 80 mph.  We were shocked to realize that we were the first to arrive… by a long shot!  Unfortunately we didn’t know exactly where our camp was, so we drove around trying to capture the spotty cell phone reception, and then parked & waited for the rest of the group to arrive.

We were exhausted, but the minute we all got back together, we were revived again.  We all had that delirious type of energy which I think is intensified based on a combination of factors:

Number of People
Length of Time Without Food
Number of Hours Past Bedtime

Some people forgot how to speak their 2nd and 3rd languages, while others suddenly thought they knew how to speak a 2nd or 3rd language.

For the next 2 days we played, and played, and played.  Football (aka, soccer), monkey bars, cards, swimming, Marco Polo, hiking… Then we ate, and ate, and ate.  Fun. Fun. Fun.

The only bummer of the weekend was Sunday night, as we had to say goodbye to 2 couples who are both preparing to move to Australia (for separate reasons).  Since we were preparing for another trip, we realized that by the time we got back, they would all be gone.  I guess that’s the reality of moving abroad and meeting other people who like to do the same thing.  But overall we had a fantastic time bonding with great friends that we’ve only known for 9 months… and now we have 4 more reasons to visit Australia.

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