Sunday, February 28, 2010

Davidson Sports Blog Episode 2

By Josh Zipin






What’s good Davidson family? I haven’t checked in for about two or three weeks, but they’ve been packed with travelling, some “futbol,” new cultural experiences and of course a little school here and there. The last two weekends have been my first two weekends travelling outside of Barcelona and they have both been fantastic. Last weekend I went to Andorra with four other friends and skied in the Pyrenees, and as I write this, I’m finishing up a trip to Bilbao in Basque Country, the North of Spain.

The weekend in Andorra was definitely the best skiing experience I’ve ever had. Four of my friends from Barcelona and I took a bus from Sants Estacio to Andorra, one of the smallest nations in the world, sandwiched between Spain and France. We rented a small apartment for the weekend and we had an amazing view of the Andorran valley in between some enormous mountains.

Unlike ski resorts I’ve been to previously, skiing in the Pyrenees means skiing multiple mountains and sometimes deviating from the obvious slope. To quote Robert Frost (wutup Mo), “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. The slopes, especially for very advanced skiers and snowboarders, were more of a suggestion or push in the right direction (towards the bottom). We blazed our own path to the bottom a couple of times and those were the most exciting runs - weaving between trees, slow skiers, and a few moguls. The snow was actual powder instead of human-produced, and made for really smooth skiing.

Euskadi, or Basque Country, was a great trip this weekend too. We started in San Sebastian, and learned about the local cuisine there, called Pintxos (pronounced “peent-chose”). They are little one or two bite dishes, usually put on top of a thin slice of bread. We went to a local cooking school and learned how a few were made, and then we actually got to eat some. It reminded me of a special day in Commons where you walk around and get lots of little things on your plate to try.

We also visited the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. The architecture was amazing and some of the exhibits inside were unbelievable with names like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Jackson Pollock popping up more than once. I learned a little bit of Basque, the historically-forbidden language they speak there. It was really interesting to see locals’ reactions when we said something to them in Basque. They were so much more excited than when we used Spanish.

As for what’s going on in Barcelona, I’ve just started doing yoga classes at my local gym—in Spanish. It’s a bit of challenge, both physically and linguistically. I have to sometimes stop and look around to see what pose we’re doing to make sure I’m not the only one looking awkward. I also recently toured Camp Nou (FC Barcelona’s stadium) and the 1992 Olympic museum and stadium. I also went to a flamenco show with one of my host brothers which was pretty different from any dancing I’d seen.

I’ve also started playing futbol with a new group of guys. It’s a very interesting group of players, with some former semi-pro guys, some scrubs, and a host of geographic diversity. Sometimes I’m not sure what language to speak on the field because there are guys from Ireland, Scottland, England, Ivory Coast, Germany, Sweden, and of course Spain. In addition to my Spanish class, I’m learning Catalan, the local language spoken by natives of Barcelona and Catalunya, so sometimes I speak to the Spanish guys using that.

As for the immediate future, I have a midterm on Thursday next week, and then immediately I fly to Paris for the weekend. The weekend after that I’m heading to Costa Brava. Should be a good time. Hasta luego!

-Josh

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