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Tag Archives: Barcelona

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!

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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Travel

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Solo Time

 

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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.

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

 

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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.

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

 

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Why should you come to Barcelona?

After spending four months in Barcelona I have fallen in love with this city. My roommates and I always find ourselves sitting around and talking about what we have and have not seen. We have been recommended places, stumbled across places on our own, and of course seen all the must see places in Barcelona. I would never ever trade this experience for anything and we wanted to take a few moments to share some of our favorite places in this amazing city.

Casa Mila is just one of Gaudi’s amazing works in Barcelona, some other must sees are Parc Guell and the Sagrada Familia. Bo de B is definitely one of the best restaurants we have found…literally we go there multiple times a week. Other must try restaurants are Pim Pam (a burger place), Rosa Negra (a mexican place), Tapas 24 (a tapas places), and Da Greco (an italian place). Go to the beach and the mountains, it’s not an option. One of my favorite things is just walking around the city. You never know what you will discover and there is without a doubt truly so much to discover in Barcelona.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Journalism 2.0, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Catalunya Radio

It’s always nice to do something a little different and this week instead of normal class we took a trip to the Catalunya Radio station here in Barcelona. We spent about an hour touring the station, seeing all the different parts and departments of the radio. Our professor works on a program called Tot és molt confús and we had the chance to see where he works. Each different part of the building is essential to the success of the radio. There are the information areas and computer desks where everyone puts together the different parts of the program. We saw a short tutorial of an editing program where clips are made for each show. It was amazing to see the amount of sound clips and information that go into just one show. There are also the studios where the actual recording takes place as well as the behind the scenes room where the directors and producers run the show. Cataluyna Radio has many different programs throughout the day; general news, information, sports, and special programs. Each of these plays an important role in creating a great radio program throughout the day.

Back in the states I have one station that I listen to on a regular basis, KIIS FM. This radio station differs from Cataluyna Radio in that it is mainly focused on music and pop culture. The station is based in Los Angeles, California and reaches millions of listeners every day. The morning show is run by Ryan Seacrest, a popular host and producer in the states. It consists of all the recent celebrity news and pop culture, usually gossipy and sometimes a little over the top. Throughout the rest of the day the station plays music, usually the top 100, with some exceptions. I have to admit that the main reason I listen to the radio is for the music aspect. KIIS FM suits those needs very well and I do not really spend much time listening to the radio other than that.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Journalism 2.0

 

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Peer Encounter

My solo time entry this week is not quite solo time but this peer encounter has been such an important part of my time here in Barcelona that I wanted to share. This peer encounter that I am talking about is an assignment from one of my other classes. At the beginning of the term we were paired up with a native Catalan student from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. Throughout the term we have written papers discussing the cultural differences we notice between our peer contact and ourselves. We have covered a variety of topics including, language, social identity, extra-curricular activities, pop culture, university life, religion, and politics. Each meeting I have a set of questions to use as guidelines for interviewing my peer contact. The great thing is that most times we start of with the questions for the general topics and then carry on into discussions of our own. We both love learning about the other’s culture. I am paired up with a girl my age so it is very interesting to see how much we have in common even though we are from two different cultures.

Two major topics we continually talked about were our identities as well as the university system here compared to that of the states. When talking about identity I learned a lot from my peer contact. Her and I are similar in some ways such as we are both very open-minded and aren’t strongly associated with one particular side of politics. However, I noticed some very prominent differences in the way in which we define our identities and how they were constructed. The ways we identify with social groups, how our identities were constructed by religion and how are nationalities affect our daily lives were all differences I noticed throughout our discussion. In terms of the university systems the three major differences I found were the issue of cost, student-professor relationships, and extra-curricular activities. The cost for university in Spain was extremely less than that in the United States. I also discovered that professors here do not seem to have as much available time or focus on their relationship with students whereas in the U.S. spending time with your professor is highly encouraged. What I was most shocked about is that extra-curricular activities are basically non-existent in Spanish universities and in the states you can’t walk more than ten feet on a college campus without seeing a sign or poster for some extra-curricular activity.

These experiences with my peer contact have been an amazing opportunity for me to get to know what life is like for students in Spain in a very direct way. It has become so much more than a class assignment, as I have been exposed to Spanish culture and formed a relationship with a great friend.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Solo Time

 

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