Thoughts from a young theologian

Back to Barcelona!!


Okay, now I’m writing on a train from one of the oldest and most grand cathedrals in Europe… I’m really scrapping for as much free time as I can to write these quick updates. As soon as I told the monks back in the abbey at home that I was stopping for a few days in Paris before heading back, they didn’t tell me to visit the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame cathedral and not even the benedictine monks at Solesmes, the monastery where they got their own gregorian chant hymn books from… No… Their first thought was “You’ve got to drop by Chartres!!!”

Before jumping into Chartres though, I have to tell you about the stop we made in Barcelona… For me, it felt like I was backtracking a bit because my first stop in Spain was in Barcelona… Often, while seeing places I’ve been to along with the group, like the Sagrada Familia, I remembered my friends and missed them… It was fitting though that it would also be my last stop before leaving this gorgeous country… While there, I visited the areas that I wasn’t able to visit the first time… I’ll just summarize two of my most favorite experiences back in Barcelona…

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One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about Spain, probably partly because I’m a full fledged, proud Filipino, was easily the FOOD… I loved the tapas, the paellas, the bocadillos and the sangrias… Mmmmmmmmmmmmm Alongside my dream of visiting the Holy Land someday, I also always wanted to learn how to cook but until recently have never found the time nor energy to develop this tiny little passion… Well, I saw on an online forum that one of the best things to do in Barcelona was to visit this one little place called Cook & Taste. This place teaches you how to cook typical Spanish cuisine, though it requires half a day of your time… I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t regretted it at all… Our instructor, Anna, was fabulous and extremely patient with us chefs with different degrees of experience… My classmates, most of them from Australia, were pretty cool and, though I was easily the youngest of the group (I guess cooking isn’t that popular a thing to do in an exotic country for other people my age) I was always welcomed by the group… We cooked 4 dishes… For our soup, we made Chupito de Sopa de Tomate al aroma de Idiazabal (Shot of tomato soup flavored with Idiazabal smoked cheese). We also made some seafood paella, tomato bread (apparently a very popular Spanish snack) and the typical Spanish omelet. I learned some interesting techniques for how to flip omelets there too. For desert, we made a yummy Crema Catalana (Catalan Cream) and to melt the sugar, we used (the first time for me) a little blowtorch… That was pretty awesome… C’était magnifique!!!!

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My job there was to cut up the cuttlefish for the paella… a job that I did really really really really slowly (again, I’m super amateur number 1 at this whole thing) and stirring the paella up to make sure none of the rice burned… The meal was ravenous and I loved every bite!!! I honestly think we’ll be able to cook too in heaven.

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During the only free day we had in Barcelona with the group before WYD, I hung out with Luke, the other seminarian and the priests, Fr. Fred and Fr. Alexandre… We had planned to go all the way up to visit the basilica to the Sacred Heart way up in the mountains overlooking Barcelona but we unfortunately didn’t have enough time and the directions the tourist office gave us were too complicated… Instead, we stayed near the Barri Gothic and ate ice cream… Hehehehehehe… Typical…

Well, this time, I had the time and patience to try and make my way up that mountain… I found out why the tourist office’s directions were so complicated… Part of the fun of the mountain is in getting there… You start by taking the metro all the way to the last stop of one of its lines… Then, you transfer over to a trolley (the last operating trolley in the city) to make your way partly up a mountain that you can also climb, if you were bold enough to do so… Finally, you have to take the funicular to get up the rest of the way!!! Complicated eh? I thought so…. Worth it? 100%

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The shrine is one a place called Tibidabo, which is itself significant because it’s a name that comes from two Latin words, tibi and dabo meaning “to you (tibi)” “I will give (dabo)” These are the words of Satan as he took Jesus up a tall mountain to tempt Him by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world… “All these I shall give to You, if You will prostrate yourself and worship me. (Matt 4: 9)” Jesus’ response was firm and swift: “Get away Satan! It is written ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve.” On the mountain of Tibidabo, one can see all of Barcelona and a lot of its surrounding countryside. You can see the mountain, including those of Montserrat and the sea… You can even see the basilica of La Sagrada Familia!!! In addition, on the mountain is a huge amusement park with all sorts of rides and thrills, ALL RIGHT NEXT TO THE BASILICA… It’s almost no wonder the place is called Tibidabo…

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I spent most of my time here in the basilica… I prayed for a bit in the perpetual adoration chapel they have in the crypt before climbing up to the top of the basilica where a giant statue of the Sacred Heart and a magnificent view awaited me… It was tough for me to get all the way up there because on the way, I remembered that I have a huge fear of heights so I clung sooooooo much to the railings all the way up… Worth it? 100%… or at least this time, you can judge for yourself… Here are some photos of the view…

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I’d like to tell you now about all that happened in Chartres but there’s enough that it warrants its own little post… I’ll have that ready for you soon!!! God bless!!!

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One response

  1. malalangludo

    Wow, Barcelona is really lovely! one of my dream destinations. It’s nice that you are having such a wonderful time! Cheers! 🙂
    – Nicolo

    September 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

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