Went to Barcelona this week---Wednesday through Saturday, or rather, the week before finals. My rationale: prep for Spanish and Macroecon finals.
Let me sell you on this one.
Not only did I practice my Spanish firsthand with native speakers, I did this getting my haircut, getting my legs waxed, and buying kiwi-coco-banana smoothies at the local grocers. While there, I increased my vocab...
Not only that, I slept on the beach for 8 hours on Friday. Ah, Friday. While my peers were scurrying to class (or drinking their brains out) in the sleepy hollow of Lugano, I closed my eyes and just listened. The sounds of the ocean, seagulls, ebbing waves, and Spaniard Spanish caught my attention. This is what I think of when I think of Barcelona. I lived the dream...while improving my listening skills. (Yes, listening on other conversations while lying topless counts toward the practice I needed for the listening portion of my upcoming final). The sun was intense, though I managed to stay awake for maybe an hour of my precious beach time.
Social skills: when a Pakistani approaches you, speaks fluent Spanish, and you scoot over so he can sit on your towel to have a nice chat. His family lives in the UK but he has been living in Spain for 15 years and his sister in the UK is an alcoholic and he can't find work. So what do you do when you're in this position? You go for long walks on the beach asking strangers how long they'll be in Barcelona for, apparently. Okay it sounds strange, but we really had a good heart to heart, right there on the beach...
And how much more culture could I have soaked up after drenching myself in sunburn? Well, lucky me--Friday was also a local holiday, Fiesta de San Ponc! It celebrates Barcelona's patron saint and they sell locally cultivated honey all over the place. Honey comb, honey soap, lip balm, nuts in honey, fruit in honey, honey "grande", honey "pequena", creamed, oh it was marvelous! What else did they have, you ask? Lot's of herbs and different kinds of fruit soaked in syrups. Jams were popular was well. They had green and red cheries, oranges, mandarins, prunes, limes, lemons, but the peach was absolutely the best, however difficult to eat (it was served whole).
I only wish my dad could have gone to the market where I bought my smoothies so we could have explored the meat section...they had lamb heads with the eyeballs still crystal clear which I know he would have enjoy.
And as for the supposed "bailout" or whatever that Spain is said to need....not going to happen. All the British and Italian tourists will keep them breathing, for the summer at least.