Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lost in the Labyrinth

I have a terrible sense of direction.  I know this.   So, when Brandon and I are standing on a sculptural stone balcony admiring the intricate hedge maze, and he suggests I go into the maze and work my way to the side so he can take my picture, I was a little worried I would get turned around, but I also thought it would be fun to figure out how to get through it.  Well, it didn't take long for my thoughts to go from "this is so cool!" to "ha ha, another dead end, this is sort of embarrassing...", to "Okay, this isn't fun anymore!".  I really wished I had a magic wand to send up some red sparks Harry Potter style.  

I wasn't in the maze alone.  There were family groups yelling to each other from separate places trying to reconnect.  Two little boys were lost in same area as me, and they were sweating and running frantically back and forth while their mother yelled from above trying to give directions.  Since we didn't speak the same language we couldn't work as a team, not that any of us were making much progress.  For all I know they may still be in there.  One man was doggedly leading his entire family with a determined and grumpy look on his face.  We passed each other several times and just tried to not catch each others embarrassed eyes.  

You can't cheat either, because there is metal fence wire woven in the shrubs to keep people from cutting through.  This was a serious labyrinth, not a well worn corn maze.  I finally had to get methodical about it, and use the statue in the center as a reference.  I tried the path by the left foot and got to a dead end and worked my way back, then tried the right foot, and so on until I made my way out where I came in.  If the maze was meant to be a test, I failed!  Brandon says I was in less than fifteen minutes, but it felt much longer.  Of course, he had to try after I did and only went down two dead ends and made his way out by a different access point.  Show off.  

While I was wandering lost in the maze, the drawing students were spread around the park working in their sketchbooks.  It was an idyllic place to draw.  There were fountains everywhere, in all different styles, and it was the kind of park where I felt like each new fountain I found was in a hidden nook that no one else must know about.  

The gardens were extensive, and very formal.  Some of the students had celebrated a birthday the night before, so I don't think they were appreciating the early morning setting as much as I was.  Although one poor girl was getting up close and personal with the shrubbery. Hehe.  Drinking is fun.  

Brandon tries to visit each student several times while they are working, which means we got to walk all through the park searching the shady spots for students, and then at the end of class they all meet together.  

Yesterday evening, Brandon and I accompanied the art history class to one of the contemporary art museums in Barcelona.  It was my favorite museum so far.  The building was stark and modern, and I think the contrast with all the ornate buildings and colorful parks with classic statuary that we saw during the morning made it that much more enjoyable.  Outside the museum is a place where skateboarders gather to use the sidewalks and rails.  There were dozens of skateboarders, and they were putting on quite a show.    

The museum had several levels, and the floors of the walkways were made with clear glass cubes so that the people walking above you made great moving patterns with their feet which showed up black in a mostly white building.  

And the best part?  Bean bags!  All museums should have bean bags so I can rest my feet and mind when I get tired of looking at art.  

We stopped for drinks and tapas on our way home.   Like nearly every place we have been, the service is great, the people are friendly, and the food is okay but seems to cost more than it was worth.  Maybe we are being cheap and we should eat at higher priced restaurants, or maybe we are spoiled because when we stayed in Italy everything was delicious, even if it didn't cost a fortune, or maybe we just don't know what to order.  Last night we ordered four types of tapas from a list of about ten -  bombas, chorizo something-or-other, something-or-other pimentos, and patatas bravas with something-or-other sauce.  Bombas turned out to be a mashed potato ball with some ground meat inside, and we had some greasy sausage, salted mild green peppers, and some fried potatoes with mayonnaise.   It was twenty-six euros, or about thirty-four dollars, not counting the drinks.  Thirty-four dollars seems reasonable if the food was more filling and more...I don't know...special, I guess.   

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