Monday, December 19, 2011

New Experiences

We can proudly say that in one day we have enriched our lives with numerous new experiences, and I (author - Maria :) - have done a couple of things that scared me! We walked and metro'ed ourselves to the Arc de Triomph - yes there is one in Barcelona too. Accidentally we found a group of old people standing in various groups in a circle repeating about 12 steps to music played by an orchestra. All of this outside in a park, unrehearsed - it might be a Sunday get together thing. 20 minutes later they all packed up and left and you would have never known they were there...

We then got really hungry, after having already been to the erotica museum - funny and weird, and the chocolate museum (omg we'll write a separate blog for this one). So we tried our first lunch in a true Spanish restaurant - non speaking English, although luckily they had an English menu - phew! Second new experience for the day - Spanish Sangria - yum yum! Leon had roasted chicken - the best I have ever tasted, and I tried lamb chops which were tender and just as delicious!

Being a little drunk and feeling a little braver than usual - we went to Park Montjuic to go book ourselves for a Flamenco show. By the time we actually found the venue we had walked away all the alcohol, but maybe that's not such a bad thing, since Leon's sore knee and my worry for him walking so far with the sore knee could have turned, and nearly did, into a sense of humor failure. After I got us lost (as would be expected) and Leon got us unlost, we booked our spot for the show and did some sight seeing in the old Castle where the show is hosted. Leon made an interesting observation - the Italians have restored or left the historic buildings as ruins and make them pure tourist attractions. The Spanish restore all the old buildings and convert the rooms of castles and old buildings into little shops or venues. My preference is what the Spanish have done - you still see and experience the history, but at the same time it feels like you are now part of the history as you still utilize these buildings.

The Flamenco show is preceded by more Sangria, hic, and Tapas - our third new experience for the day. Tapas are basically a couple of small plates with different foods on it. We had some kind of cheese, bread, some cured meat, some kind of green vegetable that looks like a short fat chilli but has a bitter taste to it, calamari, and potatoes with a delicious garlic cheese type sauce. I thought Tappas are smaller portions, but I couldn't finish my half of all the plates they put down.

Our next new experience was the Flamenco show, and this will definitely be something imprinted in my memory for a very long time. Flamenco is a Spanish dance and song filled with lots of emotion and passion. After googling a bit more, one of the namings is something like 'To consist of or be consumed by Fire'. We saw three female dancers and one male. Due to the aggression and anger expressed in this dance, it is one of the few dances, in my mind, that a man can dance and not seem feminine in. The ladies dance it just as well, but it is definitely not always graceful. Flamenco is filled with lots of hard stomping and sometimes very fast tap like feet movements, arms raised above the head and used in different ways. Some movements are beautiful, but they always end up fierce and angry. The ladies also seem to have a frown of anger or sometimes sadness in their faces. This fascinated me terribly, and after reading up about it, this dance is danced to songs that are similar to blues - doom and gloom and sadness. To learn this style of dancing dancers need to learn to let their emotions come out. The dance is also not choriographed or done in a standard set of steps. The dancers either listen to the song and then based on the emotion they experience do a set of steps and movements, or they dictate to the singers what song they are looking for purely by the initial taps they make or by an indication of their clapping. There is also a lot of hand clapping and finger clicking. If there is one thing I intend on doing in my life, it is to learn this dance!

After lots of food, more sangria, desert and coffee and being inspired by the show, we decided that we were not up for the walk back to the metro and that we would figure out how the buses work. 5th experience for the day done, and now we can get around the city much easier than before! So easy that today we even hopped on one metro and onto another to go one block (in our defence it was quite a large block as the metro took about 3 minutes).

A fulfilled and well utilized day in Spain!

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