My first week has passed in this amazing city and I feel like the more areas I see, the more I fall in love. I have finally mastered the metro, with the help of a map of course. However, I have gotten lost on the way to work this week even with my map; lucky, there were nice locals to point me in the right direction.
This weekend the Barcelona interns traveled to Sevilla to meet with the group from Madrid. We had an 11:00 a.m. fight on RyanAir, and, though it was inexpensive, I would never recommend flying on this airline for long distances. After the flight, the groups split up until 6 o'clock to go explore the city. My roommate Kelly and I toured a local castle and then got ourselves lost on the amazingly beautiful twisty turvy roads of Sevilla. Every building looked like artwork and we had a hard time deciphering which ones were famous landmarks for us to see. We got delicious tapas from a quaint restaurant down the street from our hotel.
After we met up with the group, and it was decided that the girls would get the experience of watching the traditional dance of Spain, the Flamenco! We got ice-cream during our wait for the show to start and saw a parade of immaculately dressed people coming from a wedding. The girls were all wearing beautiful, floor-length gowns and we knew that it must have been an absolutely beautiful wedding. We also witnessed how important soccer was to the locals when they drove down the streets screaming with the Spanish flag in hand. When we finally got to the Flamenco show, I was pleasantly surprised. I was under the impression that it would be a short dance routine, but in reality, it involved a singer and guitarist as well, and it lasted an hour. My impression of the traditional Spanish dance was that it resembled interpretive tap dancing. The singer and guitarist set the tone for the dancers and told a story for the audience to follow; apparently, the story was very comical. It was a stunning show with beautiful music, movements, and costumes. I would love to see one again.
The most memorable part of our adventure, however, was our full day of adventures on Sunday. Our main goal was to see Los Jardines del Real Alcazar; we had been told that this was the one place you must visit in Sevilla. After wandering around much of the city, we had finally found the entrance to the gardens. It was a beautiful stretch populated by Muslim architecture and wild peacocks. Every area was beautifully unique, and there were even garden mazes! We spent most of the scorching day (110 degrees) roaming around in awe of our beautiful surroundings.
We made a quick trip to La Plaza de Espana to complete our journey in Sevilla. The plaza was made completely of brick, and though it felt as if we were cooking in a brick oven, it was a stunning sight, that I'm glad I saw. The plaza was centered around a water fountain and was surrounded by a small, man-made river, over which were delightful bridges.
After returning to Barcelona, I realized that Spain is a country with new and interesting things always around the corner, and due to the influence of many cultures over the centuries, every area is different. However, one thing that seems to unite the masses is football! Yesterday was the semi-finals for Euro 2012, and Spain was due to play Portugal. It was an intense game that went into PKs, but Spain prevailed, propelling them into the Euro 2012 finals! Even though Catalan is an area that distinguishes itself from the rest of Spain, the streets were buzzing with screams of excitement and fireworks. I can't wait to watch the finals this Sunday!