RSS

Author Archives: laurenschafer

A Bittersweet Goodbye

I can’t believe this semester abroad is coming to an end. These four months have flown by, I feel like I was just moving into my apartment here in Barcelona yesterday. This week is filled with finals, packing, no sleep, and enjoying every last second of Barcelona. This week is not a time for solo time because at the end of this week all the people I have met this semester will all be heading off in different directions. My goal is to embrace every single moment I have left.

I cannot put into words how much I have learned and changed as a person over the last four months. Living in a completely new place with a completely new culture brings such an important perspective to life. One of my favorite parts of my experience here has been travelling, I have been blessed with the opportunity to see so much of Europe. These experiences are parallel to none and will truly be lifelong memories.

Although I am going to miss this place like crazy I am ready to go home. First and foremost I miss all my family and friends back home. I wish that all of them could be here with me but now I just get to have some great reunions. Secondly, I am looking forward to the small comforts of home: my own bed, a car to get in whenever I want to go somewhere, a dryer, my favorite restaurants…the list goes on and on. All these things are going to seem amazing when I get home and I can’t wait. Lastly, I am excited to go home and bring back everything I have learned and experienced here to share with others.

Barcelona, thank you for the greatest experience anyone could ever ask for. You are the best city in the world and even though I am leaving you now I promise I will be back for you one day!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Travel

 

Tags: , , ,

Solo Time Italian Style

A long break from school meant travelling time so my roommates and I decided on a week in Italy. I travelled to Italy this past summer with my family for three weeks so I was excited to go back and experience these places with my friends. We spent time in Rome, Florence, and Venice. Traveling with a big group of girls is great but there were a few times when I needed a little time to myself. Two of my favorite solo times were in Florence and Venice.

We spent several days in Florence and I was surprised at how much I remembered from my time there this summer, I knew where everything was and felt very confident finding things. One afternoon we were all at the big central market where all kinds of booths were selling things, leather goods in particular. We decided on a meeting time and place and set off to shop. I didn’t really feel much need for shopping so I set off to walk through Florence a little and to my favorite place; the Ponte Vecchio. This is an amazing bridge overlooking the  Arno River. It is lined with shops and in the center offers beautiful views of the city and river. I found a little spot on the wall of the bridge to sit down and people watch. All sorts of people were coming up and taking pictures on the bridge. It was a breath of fresh air from the craziness of our trip and the bridge was even more beautiful than I remember.

We only planned 24 hours in Venice, mostly because that city can be done in a day. We had a very productive afternoon, visiting St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. Before dinner I decided to do something I loved when I was here this summer: get lost in Venice. I left the group to walk through the streets of Venice for a while before pulling out my map and finding my way back to the hostel. Venice was my favorite place this summer and I only loved it more the second time. I love the idea of the city being on water, with no cars but instead small streets and bridges. It was beautiful and different in the winter. I knew that I would be saying goodbye to Italy the next day so I spent a few extra minutes taking it all in. Italian is such a beautiful language and I loved listening to the almost musical noise as I walked passed people. Italy was a great trip with friends but I definitely loved my moments of solo time.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Solo Time, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Casa Batlló

This week I spent some solo time exploring the work of a major figure in Barcelona’s history: Antonio Gaudí. Casa Batlló was the particular work I visited, taking some time to walk along Passeig de Grácia before heading inside. The outside of the building alone is amazing and is a perfect description of Gaudí’s architecture. It is sometimes called the House of Bones because of its skeletal look from the outside. The audio guide was free with entrance and I loved taking my time travelling throughout the house and learning all I could about it. The whole building itself has so many marine influences with colors and shapes coming from the sea.

There were a few particular parts of the house that caught my attention the most; the curvy walls, the big windows looking out onto Passeig de Grácia, the lightwell with the blue tiles, and the roof. The whole building was filled with curvy walls, I don’t think there was one straight or flat wall in the whole place. It really gave the house a unique feel and you could tell you were in someplace special. The big windows in the living room on the first floor were amazing. They stretched across the whole wall giving a perfect few of one of Barcelona’s main streets below. The light well was incredible, I have never seen anything like it. The blue mosaic tiles looked beautiful when the light hit them and I was impressed with Gaudí’s creativity. My favorite part was the roof. It is designed to look like a dragon from the street with more mosaic tiles covering it. There is so much space to walk around on the roof and I spent a lot of time just sitting up there. I have been in high places several times in Barcelona but they have all been from outside the city center. This time it was different, I was in the heart of the city on that rooftop, there were buildings all around me and I could hear the hustle of the city from below. It was a perfect time to reflect on my time in Barcelona and enjoy the beautiful city.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Solo Time

 

Tags: , , , ,

How to Make a Podcast

I am surprised to say that creating a podcast is very simple. I was slightly concerned when I learned we had to create our own podcast because I have never even attempted at doing anything like it before. But in class we learned three simple steps to creating a podcast and even I was able to make a podcast!

Step #1: An audio file needs to be created. An easy way to do this is through Audacity, which is a free and simple program where you can create or edit an audio file. You can record a sound clip and add music or whatever background you want. After simply downloading the program to your computer you can immediately start recording audio clips.

Step #2: The audio file needs to be uploaded to the internet. The easiest way to do this is through Soundcloud, again it is free and very simple. After creating an account you can upload your file. Just make sure your audio file is in mp3 format and you’re good to go. Once uploaded you will get a link for your audio file and you can use that for the next step.

Step #3: Distribute your podcast. You can use all sorts of programs to do this such as blip.tv or podomatic. You can also distribute your podcast through your personal blog.

These three easy steps make creating a podcast a simple and accessible task for everyone!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Journalism 2.0

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thanksgiving in Barcelona

Trying to celebrate a holiday in a country that doesn’t celebrate that holiday is an interesting task, especially for a girl who really loves that holiday. Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays since I can remember, probably because the whole family gets together and there seems to be an endless amount of food. When I signed up to go abroad I knew that I would miss Thanksgiving and I’m okay with that, even though I missed home a little extra on Thanksgiving this year. This is pretty much the exact opposite of solo time but I wanted to do a post to share about the wonderful Barcelona family I have formed here.

Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated here, a group of us decided to make our own Thanksgiving. It was weird for all of us that we had to go to school on that day because our entire lives we have always know Thanksgiving as a day of having no school. However, we all gathered together for a big Thanksgiving meal. I volunteered to make mashed potatoes, mostly because they are one of my favorite foods, but also because how can you have a Thanksgiving meal without mashed potatoes? Since there was such a large group of us I used 42, yes forty-two, potatoes. It was quite a process but after a few hours and a bad blister all the potatoes were peeled, cut, cooked, and mashed. Luckily they turned out to be a big hit and I was able to take some leftovers home! The rest of our meal consisted of stuffing, cornbread, cranberry sauce, gravy, salad, and chicken. Unfortunately trying to find and cook a huge turkey just didn’t make sense so I will have to wait until I am back home for Christmas dinner to get my turkey fix. When we were all gathered eating together I took a moment to step back and realize how thankful I am for this opportunity to be abroad. I have had some of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget my times with these people and these places.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Food and Drink, Solo Time

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The History of Podcasting

Podcasting is a relatively new invention in the media world with its origins traced to the beginning of this century. Audio content was just starting to become an important part of media and this brought up the idea of what to do with it. Christopher Lydon started posting recorded interviews on his blog. This audio content was becoming more popular but didn’t quite have a name or place in the media world yet. Audio versions of radio shows and newspapers were starting to be sold on the internet and one of the biggest advantages about them was that they were portable. However, it wasn’t until Dave Winer and Adam Curry brought in syndication that this audio media really started to expand. It is said that the word podcasting comes from the mix of iPod and Broadcasting. Podcasting is usually described as just audio and any video recording would be called video-podcasting. There are many advantages to this new form of media; automatic processes, web syndication, no filters, and more specific content as well as more quantity of content. Podcasting has come a long way in the last 10 years and is making a huge impact of media society today.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Journalism 2.0

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Escaping the city…Montserrat

I love a big city, I have spent the last three months living in one of the biggest cities in Spain and visiting some of the biggest cities in Europe. But every once and a while it’s nice to get a little break from all the craziness. My solo time this week was a little trip to a place called Montserrat, a mountain a little ways outside Barcelona. There are several options on how to get there and I decided on the cable car. First I took a train from Espanya to the bottom of the mountain, about an hour journey. From there I took a small yellow cable car up to Montserrat. It was a breathtaking ride with beautiful views and thankfully I have no fear of heights so I was able to enjoy the short trip to the top. Once at the top I just stood there for a moment looking around at all the mountains and the views surrounding me.

To me it seemed like Montserrat was a sort of mini town on top of this mountain. It was built around the monastery but there was quite a lot going on in this place. I first made my way to the lookout points. Along the way I came across a cute little market. Booths were lining the streets selling jam, honey, cheese, and a few other things. I spent some time taste testing and in the end picked up a jar of some delicious honey. The atmosphere of this market was so happy and peaceful that I took my time walking around both times I passed through it. Once I got to the lookout points I could see so much of the surrounding area; the mountains, some with snow on their peaks, and the small towns below. It was pretty cold up at the top and I wasn’t exactly prepared for that so I headed to go inside the monastery. The outside was beautiful but the inside was what really blew me away. It was completely decorated everywhere and very ornate. It was surprisingly crowded but I enjoyed sitting inside for a few minutes and relaxing. I spent the next hour walking through the shops and grabbing a bite to eat before heading down the mountain and back to Barcelona. Montserrat was such a great day trip and the perfect solo time escape.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Solo Time, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,