the very last


Originally written on September 8, 2004

This is going to be the last “hola” I’m saying to you, at least for this summer.

Tonight we went for our last sangria, and I made sure that we had chosen a bar on La Rambla (famous street in Barcelona) with large drink servings. It was the time to celebrate good days that have passed by so quickly. I wish this vacation never ends, and to a certain extent I’m sad about leaving Spain tomorrow and going to London. My sister, on another hand, is ecstatic about London, fish and chips, FCUK clothing, and everything else that one could relate to the UK. In a way, my trip finishes tonight.

Prior to this trip, it’s was difficult for me to believe people and their stories of having so much fun in this country. However, they were right. We’ve spoken to British, Americans and Australians, and none of them have experienced anything similar in their homelands.I’m a very demanding and difficult to please person, as some of you may know, but this trip went beyond any of my expectations. They are a few places I always like going back to, aside from Paris, and Spain has become one of those places.

I do consider myself fortunate because I’m able to afford such a vacation, but at the same time, I believe everyone can do the same thing. It’s worth eating peanut butter and jam for a year, and paying for 7 days in Spain (under the condition that you don’t have a family to support in the first place).

Last year I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. This year, it was more about tasting different aspects of life. Nobody is ever too old for Spain, and one can always have fun. On our day of arrival to Barcelona, we were at the main city square in front of the cathedral. Elderly joined hands together in a circle and started dancing the traditional Catalan dance. They left their shopping bags and canes in the middle of the circle, and dance for a while. It was perhaps the best thing I’ve seen on this trip because it showed me that age really doesn’t matter at the end as long as you live your life fully. Good times could be found everywhere, either on a main city square or at a hedonistic party on an island in the middle of Mediterranean.

The locals dancing traditional Catalan dance sardanas in Barcelona

The entire summer has been about introducing myself to the new things. I’ve got a better appreciation of modern art thanks to this trip, my sister’s explanations, Dali and Picasso. I’m able now to recognize El Greco’s paintings because of his specific technique, and can pin point almost every Habsburg on the portraits in European museums. It was also cool that I’ve traced Emperor Charles V, without any intention, from his birth place in Gent, Belgium to his tomb in El Escorial monastery close to Madrid. I’ve seen most of his buildings and could expand my last year project into a PhD thesis without any problem.

Ceiling fresco in El Escorial

At the end, let me tell you that Barcelona is a big tourist trap which everyone falls for. It doesn’t present Spain truthfully, and to me it was much ado about nothing. We haven’t gone clubbing as the major clubs are only open from Thr. till Sat. in September. Music played in clubs is different than in the rest of Spain. It’s mostly techno and hip-hip which doesn’t suit me much. Most people go bar hopping as a way of going-out. Barcelona is, on another hand, a haven for shoppers. After London and Paris, it may be the largest shopping centre. There are more Zara boutiques over here than supermarkets. The stores are very cool and some of them hire DJ who spin great music so that one could stay in the shop and boogie all night. lol…

That would be all for now. I just realized that tomorrow is the first day of school. ekk… Good luck to all of you who are about to begin (or have began) with the new school year, and I hope to see you all soon.

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