22 April 2009
So tonight I went to the Barca v. Sevilla game with Allie, Kate, and Ashley! They’re so fun! We all hung out at Rosa’s before, made pizzas, and drank champagne! We also took another bottle with us for the 7 minute walk over to the stadium, haha! We definitely should have brought the third, but how would we have known?! Our seats were way up there, but it was awesome! Despite the fact that we killed Sevilla 4-0, it was still more intense than the last one I went to, which I love. It’s still crazy to be inside of that stadium—there are just so many people there!!
30 April 2009
The 23rd of April is Catalunya’s Día de Sant Jordi (their version of Valentine’s Day). On this holiday, there are street vendors selling roses and books on every corner. Traditionally, guys give girls roses, and girls give guys books! What a sexist tradition! Anyways, since our classes were cancelled, we decided to make it a beach day! I’m so glad we decided not to walk there because it was absolutely ridiculous. I have never seen so many people on the streets of Barcelona. Based on the crowd by Placa Catalunya, it would have taken us hours to get to the beach. Unfortunately, Amy and I (but more Amy) had to deal with the creepy old man. He sat next to me at the bus stop, taking up way more room than he should have so he could be close to me. I think he got the hint when I kept moving over that I didn’t want him near me and he got up. But then Amy was an open target and he did the same thing to her. Yugh! Then we get on the bus and Amy is sitting behind us. Mid-trip, I hear Amy talking to someone and I realize that even though the entire back row of seats was open, someone had decided to sit right next to her. When we got off Amy told us that it was the same old man from the stop and he had been caressing her leg the entire time! And then he had the nerve to ask if it was bothering her?! What the hell do you think?! Geeze, what a freaking creep! The beach was good though! I was stupid and only put sun screen where I was already burned, so I got really burned. So now I’m all striped and blotchy. Oh well! Such is life! We grabbed some shawarma on the way home and watched an episode of Freaks and Geeks before packing and getting ready to fly! Our hostel was super nice and we had a 4-person room all to ourselves! Unfortunately, my allergies were in a rage and I couldn’t fall asleep til 7am.
Back up at 10am, we got our 2 pieces of free toast for breakfast and headed out to find our free walking tour. We were in Ali’s group, and he told us that if we could guess where he was from, we would get a musical surprise at break. Facts received: he’s lived in Dublin for 4 years. Us 3 assumed he was from America because his accent was very subtle. Our hypothesis was supported when he said “feet” but broken when he said “kilometers.” Hmph. We started out by Dublin Castle, which doesn’t look like a castle at all. There is only 1 part of it that looks like a traditional castle. Out back was the coach house, which was where Queen Elizabeth used to keep her horses when she visited. Apparently they strategically built the wall so that it blocked out the slums. It worked and she never saw them! The grassy area in front of it is now used as a helipad, haha! Next was Christ Church Cathedral, which is the oldest building in Dublin! The crypts below it, which outdate the church itself, house a stuffed dead rat and a mouse which were found in the organ after many long years of being stuck in there, haha! I thought that was pretty bizarre. Apparently the rat ran in there, got stuck, and the cat who was chasing it ran in after it and also got stuck, haha! Before entering the Temple Bar, an area of bars and drunk people, we saw the hotel that U2 owns and a guitar under a road sign which is dedicated to Rory Gallagher. They had to put it up really high because the drunk people leaving Temple Bar would always steal it, haha! We took a break in Temple Bar and Ali told us he was German and Irish. I thought it would be something cooler. Oh well, we still got our musical surprise. He was quite a good tin flute player! There was a layout of what an old Viking house used to look like and Ali chose this one guy to go stand in it because he “looked like a Viking.” Then he asked if any of us girls were Scandinavian. Nobody, at least not legit from Scandanavia. He said I looked Scandinavian (correct), so I acquired a Viking husband and moved in with him, haha! Heading out of Temple Bar, we crossed over the Ha'penny Bridge which usually has roses woven through it around Valentine’s Day! They used to tax people a ha’penny to cross it back in the day. If they reinstated the charge now, they would make millions every day! As we walked down the Liffey’s boardwalk, Ali told us all the stupid things Dublin likes to do with its money. According to him, Dublin is like the city that’s won the lottery multiple times but blown it on something ridiculous. One of them was a millennium clock at the bottom of the Liffey. On the O’Connell Bridge, there was a place where you could pay money and press a button. The clock would light up at the bottom of the river, and a picture would be taken of it for you. Problem was, the river is incredibly dirty so it just looked like a creepy glowing river, or the clock didn’t work due to water getting into it. Silly. Once the clock was removed, there was a hole in the bridge where the money taker used to be, and someone put in a plaque dedicated to Friar Pat Noise who supposedly “died under suspicious circumstances when his carriage plunged into the Liffey.” No such person existed. The government was outraged, but left it when people started putting candles and flowers next to it. They also built a bit spire which they call the Stiffey by the Liffey or the Stiletto in the Ghetto, hahaha! Next on the tour was Trinity College which was so pretty! And here I was thinking the UB was cool! Since Ireland went back and forth between Catholic and Protest, it was written in the school’s constitution that it was legal to shoot Catholics on Wednesday with a crossbow from the upper left window. There is also a big monument in the middle of their quad, and it is said that if an undergraduate walks under it before a test, they will fail and many other bad things would happen. Also, if a student showed up to a test on horseback with their sword, the school is legally obligated to serve them a meal and a pint of Guinness at their test. Apparently one kid did it a few years ago and he got the meal and everything! Later, he was called in and suspended/expelled because they said in one of the requirements was that you were dressed nice, and his shoes were dirty. Bahahahaha!!! So silly! We walked around to the library where the original manuscript of Book of Kells resides, and ended out tour by the park. It had been raining on and off all day, but it was really strange rain. It was more of an awkward mist and I wasn’t sure whether I should be using my umbrella or not, haha! Since we were starving, we went to the first restaurant we could find, which was Fridays. American, I know right! Can you blame us for getting excited about America!? It was really crappy though because it was SUPER overpriced! At least we got free refills which we totally took advantage of. Off we go to the Guinness Storehouse!! So cool! Such an interactive tour! We got to stick our hands in a big kid play pit of barley, taste test some Guinness, watch old ads, and then go up to the Gravity Bar for a free pint of Guinness! Dad was right—it is so much better at the Storehouse! It was so cool to be in a city I know Dad has been to. I kept wondering if he had seen all this stuff and wishing the parents could be there with me! We were there until it closed and then headed back to the main part of the city for some souvenir shopping. I got a claddagh ring, some post cards, and some stickers for the guitar! We found a place for dinner and it turns out our cute little waiter was from Malaga! Why do we always meet cool Spanish people not in Barcelona?! Lame! So we chatting with him in Spanish—he was so adorable calling us “mi amor” or “guapa,” haha! We searched for a pub with live music that night, but all the cool ones were 21 or 23 and older (Amy is only 20) or there were no younger people in there! How lame! So we went home and decided we would go out in Belfast!
Saturday we got up early to get breakfast and head over to the Old Jameson Distillery! Another great tour! They had models of all of the equipment and pictures of what it used to look like. In one of the models, there is a stuffed cat that actually lived in the storehouse 70 years ago to chase all the mice! Creepy, yet funny! Some people got to volunteer to whiskey taste at the end, but I didn’t. I had originally planned on volunteering so I could get the certificate at the end, but there were older people there who clearly knew whiskey better than I did, so I let them go. Oh well! We still got a complimentary whiskey + mixer at the end. Let me just tell you, that was some delicious whiskey! Afterwards, we hit up a pub, got some lunch, and headed for the train! We got into Belfast and found our hostel incredibly easily. We certainly had an interesting roommate. Praying to Mecca! Getting calls at 4:00 am and answering them in the room! Always in the room when we went to bed and always still sleeping when we left! Sheesh! I guess it’s a good thing you only go back to the hostel to sleep or shower! Anyways, when we got in, we took showers and then we wandered down over by Queens University, which was really pretty!! We walked around town for a bit before deciding on the perfect pub! We settled down at a table (which was hard to find), started playing cards, and then were approached by the most ridiculous group of Irish boys. Definitely did NOT go to Queens University. One silly drunk one wanted to play Asshole with us (which is the card game we were playing). He was convinced he was going to win, but he turned out to be the asshole every single time. Dropping cards, not organizing them, etc.—this kid was a mess! Then Nigel came over. What a bizarre kid. Gary and Joe came along with them. Ooooh boy. I could not understand a single word Gary was saying. Like, for real. I had to ask “what!?” about 15 times before I would get one word right. One time he was asking if we were best friends and I thought he was talking about France. Then he started babbling about how he wants to visit America and I had NO idea what he was saying. I told him to rephrase or say it slower, but he would just yell it louder. You are no help, man! He then proceeded to tell me that he would pay for me to come to Ireland from America. Umm, if you think I would want to come see you, you are terribly mistaken. Do you not understand that by watching the rugby game and talking to Amy I’m trying to tell you that I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU?! Good lord, kid! For the soul purpose of not being a bitch, I tried to make conversation by asking if he’s been to Berlin and Prague. No? Great. There goes that! But no! He wants to know when I’m going ! “I’ll be there,” he says. Umm, no. You will not. Umm, let’s see—he also liked the way I said “soccer”…?? They kept trying to convince us to go to a party with them that night or go out with them tomorrow. We all tried to wiggle out of it, but they insisted on getting one of our numbers. So I gave mine since I would never answer his call anyways a) due to the fact that it’s Gary and b) because I cant understand him anyways. To make sure I wasn’t lying, he called my phone to make sure it worked. Wow. I don’t know whether to feel bad for him or creeped out. I’ll go for a combo pack. So we left and went to bed!
The next day we went into the hostel travel office and asked which tour we should do if we’re only here for a day. He said definitely the Giants Causeway tour! I’m glad he said that, since that’s the one I wanted to do! We grabbed some traditional Irish breakfast in the hostel before catching our bus. It took over an hour to get there and my allergies were driving me crazy! I was glad when we got there! It was so cool! Jagged cliffs, green rolling hills, sheep, waves! We had fun walking around and taking silly pictures. It was so windy there! After about 2 hours, we had made a loop and were back by the gift shops! The ride home was hilarious mainly due to the fact that we were sitting on the back of the bus again! Back of the bus + winding roads + bumpy countryside roads = rollercoaster ride!! We were dying of laughter back there. We realized we had the best seats in the house when we saw that others could properly read a book in theirs, bahaha! Loved it! We all fell asleep once we got onto the main roads. I cant believe I slept sitting up! I guess the lack of sleep had really caught up. If I weren’t afraid of choking on my gum, I probably would have slept even better, haha! We got off the bus by City Hall which is right next to their big ferris wheel. It’s basically the same thing as the London Eye. We were going to go on it but it was closed either because it was Sunday or it was too windy. So we walked around town to get some souvenirs and then ran into a mini parade. It was just a small marching band, but we kept running into them everywhere we went! Town sure is small! The cymbals player made me laugh, making big circles with his arms after clapping them together. Oh, the theatrics of it all! We decided to go check out the murals but realized they were in the ghettos. So we saw one street of them before heading back to the main road! We came all the way back to the hostel, Carolyn took a shower, and then we headed back to yesterday’s pub. We got there early enough this time to have dinner at a proper table. There was a really nice couple sitting next to us who made meal suggestions and talked to us about Barcelona and stuff. They were so cute! We all got bangers and mash, partly because it sounded good, and partly because of Arrested Development.
Tobias Fünke as Mrs. Featherbottom: "O-kay, who'd like a banger in the mouth?"…confusion… "Right, I forgot, here in the States, you call it a sausage in the mouth."
Michael: "We just call it a sausage."
So yeah, we had to do it. It was DELICIUOS! Mashed potatoes, sausages, broccoli, gravy, all in a bready bowl! Our waiter was super cool too! I think he’s seen more of the States than I have, haha! There was a comment card we could write on an Amy wrote that “Paul is cute to boot” on it, haha! We weren’t sure if he saw it or not. We got a bunch of pints and hung out playing cards for the night. We turned in “early” because we had to leave for the airport at 4:15 am. Side note: cabs in Ireland are fancy! The rest is pretty uneventful. Allergies were an absolute nightmare on the plane and then horrible all the rest of the way home. I stayed home from class because I had a brief period of being able to breathe through my nose which I used to sleep. So glad I didn’t go because Tania didn’t even show! She just left them a horrible movie to watch—which they didn’t.
Tuesday night was eventful! It started out great! We went to the Irish pub for the big Chelsea-Barca game, had beer, redeemed free things, and did tequila shots! So fun! There were so many insane fútbol hooligans in there it was like being in some crazy sports movie, haha! It was a tie game and everyone cleared out fast. The girls in Allie’s program wanted to go to this place where drinks are at least 7 euros each…because the fruit is fresh? Whatevs! Me, Allie, and Kate are cheap and decided to hit up the “sexybeer” guys on the Rambla. We bartered and got 12 beers for about 7 euros, haha! We took them down and drank some on the lions at the bottom of the Cristobal Colón statue and then headed on down the port. There was a conveniently placed boat with its drawbridge partially down, so we decided to commandeer it. I hung from the bridge to pull it down and Allie boosted Kate up on to it. A couple Spaniards walked past during this, all of who found it incredibly funny. Kate found the right rope and lowered the drawbridge for us so we could all board the ship! A genius success!! We put it all back together about 5 minutes later when we got off and then continued on our way. We got down to the beach and sat by the water when these 2 boys showed up. Ummm, what? This was the beginning of the end, because about 10-15 minutes later they were running away with Kate’s purse. Allie and I chased after them, but I got wacked in the face, allie lost a shoe, and then she got wacked in the stomach and they got away! Those little bitches, they were such cowards. ROB THE DRUNK GIRL! Why didn’t I think of that?! There were a bunch of Spaniards just standing around. I asked if they saw 2 guys running with a purse, and they were like “yeah…they went that way.” So Allie and I set off again. Got back to the beach, asked more people. They all felt bad for us. I told two british guys to kick them in the balls if they see them because I was contemplating doing just that right before they robbed us! However, not wanting to start something that hadn’t been started, I decided against it. Then we realized we had no idea of finding Kate since she didn’t have a phone now. So we ran back and yelled for her until we finally found her. 2 police men came out of a building so we talked to them for a bit. They said there was nothing that could be done since it happened too long ago, but to go to the police station and report it. Thanks a lot guys. No, they were nice, it’s just annoying that 15 minutes is “too long ago.” So we all went home. Poor Kate. She said all she really had in there was 15 euros and a debit card, so that’s good. Still, it’s no fun being robbed, especially like that!
So yeah…eventful times in Barca! I’m so glad I get to stay in town this weekend. I need to do lots of school work and catch up on daily chores that I’ve had to put off!! X-Men comes out tomorrow, YAY!!