Yesterday's leader was Heather, so she began the day telling us a little about the Raval neighborhood that we would be touring. The area was once pretty seedy and tourists were advised not to go there. But since about the time of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona it has been gentrified and it is a much better area that it used to be. Below are some sights from the area. One really interesting building is all glass on the side and at the top it it tipped just perfectly so it reflects the sea at the top. You could see the reflection of the cable car moving across the area. A number of students hope to get down there and ride that cable car while we are here.
After our tour we stopped at a cafe to eat chocolate con churros. This is a very traditional snack in Spain. A churro is basically a fried dough, and the chocolate is thick to it coats the churro when you dunk it in the chocolate. It is really good.
After our snack we had the afternoon free. Some students went to the zoo, some to a museum and others who knows where. I went by myself to Parc Guell, which was really cool. I am going to encourage the students to go there if they have time. Below are some pictures.
We also got to experience a major cultural activity last night, the Three Kings parade. In Spain, the children get gifts on the morning of Epiphany from the Three Kings. The night before, the Kings arrive at the port in Barcelona and travel through the streets. The parade is really cool because it tells the story of the Kings coming and how the kids need to go to bed so the Kings can deliver their presents. The floats are pretty high, so you don't need to be right in the front to be able to see. One interesting thing to see was that people bring step ladders to the parade so if they are in the back they do can get above the crowd to see. It never occurred to me to do that! Below are some pictures of the parade and you can see a short video clip on our Facebook page.
Today is a holiday in Spain so we have the entire day free. We will be doing an Epiphany celebration later tonight as a group. We are doing gift exchange, eating tapas, and trying the cake traditionally eaten on Epiphany. You will hear more about that in the next blog entry.