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friday, june 5, 2015 the parks
This morning started off with a long trek to the train station, with a pit stop in Parque Joan Miró. Little did I know that walking this distance was a terrible idea due to the weight of my backpack. It was about 13 blocks, which is doable on foot, but add the weight of this backpack and I wanted to throw up. But I persevered and was beyond elated when I finally arrived at the park. I sat on a park bench for around 15 minutes to give my back a rest, and it was there that I watched people let their dogs run loose while others sat at a few tables and had some drinks. I liked seeing people out and about enjoying the warm weather. In a city that always seems to be on the go, this was a nice reprieve. I was surprised to see a large grove of bright, purple flowers directly behind me when I stood up to head to the train station. I don't know how I didn't see them before, but they were quite impressive. And let it be known that this was my first train ride EVER. I'm definitely looking forward to doing it again soon! It's a great way to travel!

I arrived at the train station, sent my bags through security, and got on the wrong train. When the guy checked my ticket he said "ocho, número 9", so I thought that referred to which section of the train I'd be sitting in. So I climbed into section 8 and asked the guy if I was in the right spot. He looked at my ticket and said "No, número 6." I knew that, but I just chose to be confused. In any case, I quickly found my seat, and we were off. The trip was fairly quick, and very smooth. Unfortunately, I sat next to a young woman who decided that we'd all greatly benefit from listening to her heavy metal music—I didn't agree with her, but I counteracted her loud headphones by putting in my own. I was hoping to sit in the window seat and enjoy the trip, but she got to the seat first.

Figueres was deceiving at first when I arrived. The outskirts seemed a little run down, and I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. But once I found my hotel and went out into Las Ramblas, the town quicky changed to a place that I found myself enjoying. It's very clean, modern, and has a neat layout. The side streets kind of form a labyrinth in the center, and what surprised me most is that none of it is flat. It slants up and down and every which way! I eventually found a restaurant called L'estrella and after a brief glance at the menu, I decided to go for croquetas, bacon con queso, agua y un donut. I was told that today is National Donut Day, so I thought I'd show my patriotism and partake in this celebration. Everything was delicious! I had told the waitress about National Donut Day, and I guess she enjoyed the conversation because she brought me out a free sample of patatas bravas and asked if I had had them. I told her that yes, I had had them for the first time last night, to which she responded "These are better!" They weren't, but they were still good!

After I finished eating, I decided to walk around Figueres some more and see if I could find a beard trimmer, since mine apparently died on the flight to Spain. I eventually found a store that was selling some, and while the clerk was extremely kind and helpful with convincing me to make a decision, I opted to think it over. I then continued up the street and passed by the Dalí Musuem, which I'll be checking out in the morning. From the top of this street was a great view out into the Spanish countryside. I got a few pictures of this, but they don't come close to capturing how cool the sights were. From there I headed back to the hotel, but not before stopping in Parc Bosc and watching the pigeons attack each other. Overall, today was very relaxing and low pressure, which was a fair trade-off from the previous two days. I think I'll end the evening with another visit to a gelatería, and then try to get a good night's sleep. ¡Hasta mañana!

a year later...
I want to start this addendum by quickly talking about the camera that I took on this trip. I had originally purchased a Canon Rebel T5i, and while it was an amazing camera, it would not have been a practical purchase for my specific trip. I needed something compact and light, so after toying around with the T5i for a week, I did my research and discovered the Canon G7X. The G7X is very popular among famous YouTubers, so I knew it would take great videos, and I saw that the picture quality was also really great. While a lot of people have admired the pictures that I took on my trip, the resolution of what they're seeing has been compromised. Compare these two pictures (click on the links): the resized picture for this website and the raw picture I took before resizing it. There is a significant difference in detail, and while I would have liked to have shown each picture in its raw format, that wouldn't have been practical for photo gallery purposes. Still, the end result of the website pictures look great, and I can print of the raw pictures and they look fantastic.

Based on the trip to Figueres, I will never judge a city by the first impression I have of it. I remember seriously doubting my travel choice of coming to Figueres when I arrived. The train station was as outside of the town as it could be, so I was walking through dry fields to get to civilization, which was only like 1/4 of a mile. But I guess that's how all cities and towns are, even in the United States. There's the nice, clean downtown area, and then there's the rural sprawl surrounding. I had to keep in mind that you have to get through the rural section to get to the downtown.

I sat in Park Bosc for quite some time, like maybe over an hour. I felt so relaxed there, and I wanted to reflect about what I've done up to that point and also what I was about to do in the next week. It was one of those moments where I had to look around and remind myself that I was there—in Spain. There was a lot of self-pinching during the first week of my trip, that's for sure!

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