Thursday, 6 December 2007

Jazzing it up in Spain

After feeling the blues in France, it was time to jazz it up in Spain going to one of the many performances at the Barcelona International Jazz Festival. "Dianne Reeves With Strings Attached" nearly put me to sleep (in a good way) at times and had me hopping and bopping through the rest of her 2 hour performance. After Avignon in France i trained it to Barcelona, then Valencia and i then went back to Barcelona. Ive spent a total of 2 weeks in Barcelona, 5 days in Valencia and 2 days at Monistrol de Montserrat climbing the mountain twice!

"Dont worry, he's from Barcelona"
Wow, i have done so many things here and i am so glad i stayed especially after wanting to leave after the first night here. So what have i done... Ive been to the 1992 Olympic Games village, visited Park Guell (Goudy's Park) (pic), went to the Dali Museum (pic) 2 hours outside Barcelona, went to an inside the human body exhibition, went clubbing at Barcelona's best club "Razzamatazz" (5 clubs in 1), went to a cop shop, went for a run along the beach and another run to the castle Montjuic, watched countless street performers down La Rambla, saw a heap of the new architecturally designed buildings as well as Goudy's, tried to grow a Spanish moustache for charity, ate expensive Tapas that was really nice, ate the best Paella and also peanut butter and coffee icecream as well as drinking heaps of Sangria, Mojito's, Cora's and Caipirinhas... and im still not fat!

Meeting two guys in my Hostel who knew and had friends in Barcelona, i was very lucky to be able to hang out with them for two nights. We went to a cafe/bar/butcher place called "Champagne". This place was down a back street in a tiny shop, it had dried meat hanging from the ceiling and it was packed full of people. Its more of a bar than anything else where you drink Cora (red champagne) and eat Loba's (bread with pork meat) but they also add their own special spices to it which makes it really tasty especially when you're hungry, thirsty and in a real lively atmosphere. Real cheap too which is why it is so popular. As this place is in a residential area, it is known that the residents throw eggs on the drunks below on the street if you are too noisy outside, so we moved on pretty quickly when the place closed. With the same group the other night, i was invited to go to a Brazilian house/flat party down the road where that turned out to be a lot of fun. I was the star of the show being the only Australian where everyone else was Brazilian and giving me their uncles, brothers friends contact details to go and stay with them when i reach Brazil. It was a really good night and really friendly bunch.

Monistrol de Montserrat
Yup, another monistary way up in the clouds, and still loving them! I climbed this mountain twice, where i climbed different routes each time. The first day i went i planned a day trip from Barcelona. Climbing with Florence whom i met on the train on the way there was great company walking around on two of the main five walks that you can do. The first time i didnt actually climb from the bottom, i took the cable car train to the Monistary and then went on the walks from there. A week later i came back and actually stayed in the small, quiet and really friendly town for two nights. Meeting Mariah in Barcelona, we climbed from the very bottom to the very top of this rocky yet foresty mountain (pic). Getting lost on the way up, we bush bashed a bit trying to figure out which way to go as the signs arnt really clear, or we just missed them. Took us most of the day to get to the top witnessing an amazing sunset. Climbing back down in the dark for 1 hour (to the cable car/train) was a bit difficult, but we made it unscathed as well as seeing the odd mountain goat. Back at the Monistary was a sculpture/monument (pic), dont think you are allowed to climb it, but hey... when in Rome. Was one of the best days i have ever had.

Valencia was a nice town where what makes this town different is the dried up river bed that runs through it. They have converted it into a really long park with sports areas, bike riding paths and your general park layout. The old town is quite nice as well but being a smaller town to Barcelona and Madrid, there was not much going on mid week. So what did i do here... I watched Flamenco dancing at a bar drinking Sangria, saw the new funky designed buildings (pic), got a ride in a cop car, chilled out relaxing down the beach, ate a really tasteless Paella (that's why it was so cheap), walked along the river bed and went to the best kids playground IN THE WORLD! This place was amazing. It was basically a huge fibreglass giant from the story of Gulliver's Travels (pic). The 50 metre or so giant was lying on his back. You could slide down either side his jacket, his hair were also slides and you could climb all over him. It was hard fighting kids away as i wanted to go down the slides without collecting 10 of them on the way down!

Im in Madrid at the moment and then i will be off to San Sebastian very soon. The weather has been good, coolish to warm days and cold nights. The sun goes down at 5:00pm.