Sunday, August 21, 2011

Semana Grande


And "grande" it was!

Spent the last week in northern Spain and was lucky enough to be in San Sebastian during their annual week-long fiesta called Semana Grande (Big Week).  As I mentioned in the last post, each night there is a fireworks display by a different country.  You know how the grand finale of most fireworks shows can give you the chills?  (No? Just me?) Well in any case, these shows were basically one big grand finale. The show that South Africa put on was unlike anything I've ever seen.  From what I understand, it's the same company who did the fireworks at the end of the World Cup when they hosted. It was sort of drizzling/raining that night, but the show was just unreal so neither I or the thousands of people sitting on the beach cared that we ended up soaked. 

Ok, I'll stop now. You know me and fireworks.  So anyway... San Sebastian is a beautiful little city that is known for its beaches and its pintxos (tapas).  We stayed in the old city which is just rows and rows of pedestrian-only streets that are filled with tapas bars, restaurants, gelaterias, etc. so we would bounce around all afternoon trying different places and each was better than the last. Since it was Semana Grande, there was also live music, street vendors, and all types of events that we would just stumble on as we were walking. It wasn't really beach weather but that was okay because it gave us a chance to really enjoy the city.

One more quick "Nancy tries to speak Spanish" story and I promise I'll stop doing that.  When we went to buy our train tickets to Barcelona, the woman behind the counter had a necklace with the Eye of Horus as a charm.  It was definitely Egyptian gold with the signature blue stone so she either went there or someone brought it back as a gift.  I decided to ask her in Spanish if she visited Egypt and she replied emphatically that she had been there in 2005 and loved it, it was so beautiful, etc.  We proceeded to have a pseudo-conversation and I know my conjugation was completely off and I probably sounded like a child but we actually communicated.  At one point I apologized for my awful Spanish and explained that I'm just now learning. She asked me how long I've been studying and I told her I've done 2 weeks so far and she kept saying "Es increible! Solo dos semanas?" Heehee. Yay!

And now I am in Barcelona...and they speak Catalan... and I can't understand a thing.

Talk about a let down!

~ N