It's been over a week already and I have so much to share! I'm not sure really where to start...
I guess I can start with last week Monday. Hamid came to visit in Toledo, again. And I've finally decided to just GO with it. Seriously, how many great love stories do you hear about people that played it safe? And that's not just love, that's just life in general. It's the people that take chances, go for what they want that seem to have a story to tell. For example: Doing Southwestern. I could have simply gone home to New Berlin last summer, worked three jobs, and made a couple thousand. However, instead I took a huge chance (despite some advice from friends and family) to move to a new state and sell books door-to-door. It turns out to have been one of the best decisions I've made yet. My next big decision: studying abroad. People always talk about it, but how many people actually act on it? My next big decision: just go with it.
Alright, well moving on. The rest of the week was pretty chill, and typical. I did get to watch my mom make paella, pretty cool! She put the crabs in while they were still alive (wasn't expecting that!) and she kinda played with them before hand :)
Thursday evening Nicole, Ben, Taylor and I headed to Madrid to catch a a midnight bus to Barcelona. Nicole and I had a couple glasses of wine to help us sleep on the bus (which worked for me, I slept off and on for 3 hours, and 3.5 hours straight!). We got into Barcelona around 7:00 am, a little sore, but pumped to start the day. It was still dawn when we got off the bus, and we got off the bus at the wrong stop! So we took the metro into downtown, meandered around the Mediterranean coast, and headed off to check in to the hostel. When we got there we found out we couldn't move our stuff in until 2pm, but we could keep our bags locked up, so we took off to see the city with free spirits and free backs! We headed out in search of the Olympic stadium (Taylor's one goal for the day) and ended up seeing a ton of really neat places along the way. Various parks, museums, a fortress, and finally the Olympic stadium. After that, we were pretty tired, sore, and hungry so we headed back to town and our hostel. We got all settled in, Ben and Nicole napped, and I hung out in the common room. We then went and bought food from a grocery store, ate, and got ready to go out. I guess we were looking for night-life in the wrong places 'cause we only ended up staying out until 2:30 am... SAD, considering we were in Barcelona!
Saturday dawned bright at 11:30 for us! Showered, fed and ready to go, we went in search of the Guadi Park or "Parc Guell." After many directions from a nice old lady, we finally found it... or so we thought! We were in the "nature" part of the park and we wanted to be in the "architecture" part. So what did we do? We jumped a fence and went in search of it. Normally, this would have totally worked, however, a couple weeks ago a wind storm knocked down some really big trees and damaged some of the buildings, and hence were closed off. NOW we understood why it was closed off... but how did we get to the other side?! After about 30 min. and following other confused groups of tourists, we finally found it! I won't spend a lot of time describing Guadi's works 'cause I think my pictures describe it better (see facebook). I will say however, that I am in love with a dead man. Guadi got all of his inspiration from nature and incorporated it all in EVERYTHING! One of his masterpieces (la Sagrada Familia) is actually still under construction and is on schedule to be completed in the 2020's. We also got to see a guy playing a "Hang" (a musical instrument from Switzerland that probably has the most calming sound I've ever heard). Again, see facebook for the video. That night was really uneventful because we wanted to go to bed by 10pm so we could get up early for the half-marathon the next morning. The one success of the night was finding a pair of brown shoes (Mom, I finally found some cheap ones!) for only 15 euro.
We went to bed really early that night, and were up by 6:45 to get ready, eat, stretch, and make sure we had time for a light warm-up. Our friend Ben was going to hold our stuff while we ran, and we told him to meet us at the start (to take pictures and collect our sweats)... and we never found him. So literally minutes before the start of the race I stashed my sweat pants (favorite pair) and soccer warm-up under a parked car (praying they would still be there when I got back). And off we went! It was the perfect day for a run! Not a cloud in the sky, probably around 50 degrees, and 4,999 other people running around me... can't ask for much else! We started out down the main drag of Barcelona and basically got to see the whole city. I think I've found a new love for traveling and seeing cities... running through them!! I sang along to my iPod for the first 5 miles, then I got down to business. At about the 10km mark I was really wishing I was done... and I threw up at the 13km mark... and felt the on-set of arthritis in my knees at about 17km, but pushed through it and made it the full 21km, and even beat a lady to the finish by sprinting past her as the crowd cheered me on (she put up a good fight). :) It felt soooooooooo amazing to finish that race under the Arc de Triumph (not cliche at all!) ;) and have my friend waiting there for me. Needless to say, the rest of the day Nicole and I were in a world of hurt so we stayed pretty low-key. Shower, food, and visiting the Sagrada familia. Then out to dinner, ice cream (we deserved it) and off to the bus station to catch our midnight bus back to Madrid!
And that sums up my week and weekend in a nutshell. Oh wait! Nicole and I tried to buy milk to put on our cereal, and we were looking for little containers so we didn't waste a lot of milk and ended up buying "Chufas" Tiger Nut milk... What the heck?! I will NOT be buying that ever again.
More thoughts to come later. Love you all. Go for it!