Lene's Weblog Portfolio

Monday, November 15, 2004

SUMMA SUMARUM- My time here in Barcelona

Well it is kind of difficult to summarize my time here in this amazing city Barcelona because the impressions have been so many. I have been here for a litle over three months now and I feel like I have experienced and seen a lot- more then I can remember right now actually- but I`ll try:

To start off I want to tell all of you what kind of cultural aspects I have engaged in here. During our first month here I, as I have said in a earlier weblog, attended a spanish course. And during that time I didn`t go to any of the tourist sights like the Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera etc- because I knew that we were to see some of them with the class in Erasmus-program. So all I did the first month was, briefly summarized, to lie on the beach, go shopping, partying and of course get to know the city and just let the entire atmosphere of this enourmous and beatiful city sink in!!!
If I would recommend a beach to others it would be platja Nova Icaria- this is really nice, clean and you have the opportunity to play volleyball here (but it is necessary to bring own netL) and it is close to Pizza Hut!
I did go to a see a football match at camp Nou in this period though- and it was incredible. The stadium was enormous and there were a firework before the game.
I`m not much of a football-fan, but this is definetly something I will remember!

It was really nice to start the Erasmus-program and the school is an encredible building, and it was nice to meet the other students of this program- they are all very very nice- and we have had a good time together and lots of great partiesJ
Well back to the culturell part: I have now seen many different sights. To mention some of the best ones: The Sagrada Familia, of course. That is like mandatory to see when you are here in Barcelona, and I thought it was amazing, althought i didn`t like all the work that was going on there. La Pedrera and Casa Batlo was also good- I really find Gaudi`s work facinating and the buildings were really worth a visit. Other than that I went to park Guell, took the gondol up to castell de Montjüic and went to the Picasso museum. It is also nice to just walk around in the city and dicover new places. Areas I like is the Barri Gothic and the el Born. They are really nice and intimate.
Dyring my stay here in Barcelona I have also been at two great festivals. The first one was the Festa Major Gracia- that was amazing. Lots of people in the streets everywhere and they were all having a good time, dancing, singing and drinking. One of the days it was so crowded that me and my friends had to hold hands; otherwise we had lost eachother. We were also lucky that we got to se the La Merce festival. This have to be the best festival ever! The giant heads and the castellers was incredible. I don`t think I will ever forgett the human towers- good that we have it on filmJ.
So this is defenintly a recommandation for everyone- and no matter what time of yaer you are here, there is always something going on. It is very nice that people here take their time and arrange all these festivals.

The places we have visited with the class, like the Dali`s museums, Palau de la Musica and Port Aventura was really nice. And I hope for next year`s students that they do it again. Just one thing about the Port Aventura excursion I would like to suggest as an improvement is to drop the presentation- that was kind of not good. The woman spoke in spanish and most of us could`t understand a word. It is better if the students could spend this time in the park instead-they need the time so that they can take all the rides!! To recommend- The Dragon Khan- it was awesomeJ
The flamenco show we saw was also great- can`t ever imagine my feet move so quickly..............
Well I know that there are still many many places and things to see here- so I`m glad that I have four weeks left to discover the rest.

Well now over to something that is my favorite hobby-shopping!! It was like coming to heaven when I dicovered all the shops and different shopping areas they have here in Barcelona! The best places to shop in my opinion is carrer de Pelai, portal de`l angel,carrer de portaferrissa and all the litle streets from these main streets. It is also very good to go shopping in either the shoppingcenter Gran Via 2 or Glories. And when you want a break from all the shopping you have to go to one of Barcelona`s many Starbucks and drink a large Mocca Frappochino and eat a delicious Fochaccio, or if it is summer and warm the best is to buy a big bowl of icecream at Dino`s. (i Have never tasted better icecreamJ

When I am on the subject of food I just have to recommend some of my favorite restaurants. The first is at the top of La Rambla and it`s called Nuria- there they have the best lasagne and bread with allioli, and the service there is magnificent. The other place is close to Port Well, at metrostop Drassanes. The restaurant is kind of hidden in a small street, it`s called Margarita Blue. There they have the best fahjitas, burritos and other mexican food and really cheap and good drinks. Beside food and drink they also have entertainment there. I was there one thuesday and then a really good magician preformed. It was just amazing-everyone should go there and just see for themselves!!!

I have been thinking of whether there are any aspects here in Barcelona that I am not satisfied with and there aren`t many, but I have to mention the service. The service you get in shops are terrible-I don`t think I have never experienced so lousy service before....but other then that there are nothing to complaint about or to tell others about. I think this is a marvelous city which i love, and it seems for me very safe and
clean. There are everyday people who clean the streets etc.

To finish of this summary I have to tell a litle bit about the area I live in with my four Norwegian friends. We live at Plaza España, in our opinion the best placa in town(!) and it is very close to everything in this city. There are shops,restaurants and a good gym close by and the transport to school is easy. We have both metro, FGC and bus right outside our frontdoor-and I would say this area is very safe. So I strongly would recommend this area for next years students. Although I have had a great time living with my friends I would probably recommend next years students to live with spanish people- then they get to learn more about the spanish culture and their way of living, and of course they get to practice their spanish skills.

Yeah, I think that just about summarize my stay here in Barcelona. I have probably forgotten something, but it`s difficult to remember everything because it is all happening so fast and everything at once.
So I want to say to everybody that it has been nice meeting you all, and we still have a few weeks to have more fun together!!!! These months have been great and I have had the best time of my life:-)

Thanks and Hasta luego

Monday, October 11, 2004

oki doki; assignment 2:

Well I finished this assignemt much quicker than the last oneJJ. I asked three persons if they felt more catalan or spanish? Why? And if they wanted Catalunya to be independent from Spain?

The first person I asked was the recepcionist at my fitness center here in Barcelona. She is a women in here mid 30`s and she has been living in Barcelona all her life. She always referred herself as a catalan person, this because she lives in catalunya and all her family as well. She always speaks in catalan and follow the catalan culture. She also said that she could understand if foreigners called her spanish but not if anyone from elsewhere in Spain did so.
She also would very much like to see catalunya independent. She felt that Catalunya and Spain was very different from each other.

The second one I asked was my aerobic-instructor. She is a 25 year old women, and she has also been living here in Barcelona all her life. She was not so precistent on this topic as the other one was, but she always spoke off herself as a catalan, and not as a spanish. She felt that she could identify with the catalan culture more than the spanish. She didn`t give me an answer on the question about wether she wanted Catalunya to be independent or not. But I think that this probably could have something to do with language-barrier, because she didn`t speak much english and I don`t speak that good spanish. So either she didn`t understand the question or didn`t know how to explain it in english or she just didn`t had an opinion.

The third person I asked was a worker at my local grocery store. He is a man between 25-30 years old, and he moved here to Barcelona 8 years ago, from Marocco. He said that he did`t identify much with the catalan culture, so he never called himself catalan. But if people asked him he either said that he was spanish or sometimes he just said that he was an african (maroccon?!) who lived in Spain. Since he didn`t identify with catalunya or the catalan cuture he didn`t have an opinion on the subject of wether Catalunya should be independent or not.

I though this was an interesting assignment-and you get the opportunity to talk to catalan people and hear a little bit about their culture and how they regard themselves.

expectations and impressions

Hola hola!!!

Well I know that I am terrible late with writing this first assignment on impressions and expectations of Barcelona, but it`s just that for these last two couples of weeks I have had friends and family from Norway visiting me. So I have been a busy guide, but it has been a lot of fun- I loved showing them “our” beautiful city and all it has to offer.

When I first received the message that I was exepted into the ERASMUS-exchange program in Barcelona I was thrilled. I didn`t know so much about the city and so I started to do a little “research” about Barcelona, I bought guidebooks and looked it up at the internet. I was truly impressed over what this city could offer and my expectations grew. I have been to Spain five times before, but never in Barcelona. I have been at the cost of Costa Brava three times and in Mallorca two times. I have only pleasent memories from Spain and the spanish people and culture.

I have read and heard from people who have been to Barcelona, that it is a big city, so I thought that I would be totally overvelmed and that it would take me a lot of time to get to know the city. But actually now beeing here it isn`t so huge. The distance from one metrostop to the next isn`t far and everything(places and streets) are systematic and well organized. It is easy and fun just to walk around in this city-discovering new sites, attractions and shoppingareas. People also told me before I came here that I had to be careful, it was a dangerous city! So I came here believing that I soon would be robbed or even something worse. But I still, two months later, haven`t seen or been involved in anything like that(..knock on wood...) So I`m kind of releaved about thatJ

I knew that this city was famous for its arcitecture. And i was really looking forward to seeing all of this.
I though that this mañana mañana-attitude that we have heard so much about would me more visible. But I`m glad it isn`t. Althoug shopping here in Barcelona is exellent I don`t like the service from the big chain stores like Zara, bershka, PAN`s etc. They never smile at you and the mañana mañana-attitude is clearly obvious. I know that this probably has to do with the large number of customers they receive every day, but still.....

FOOD: I just love the food here in this countryJ. I was kind of nervouse about that before I left Norway because I love norwegian food(of course...) and I didn`t think I would enjoy the gastronomic kichen here! Luckily I was wrong! My favorite restaurant at this moment would have to be either Margarita blue or Nuria.

I have been in Barcelona for about two months now, and its an awesome city- I love it. It has everything anyone could desire-a nice beach, beautiful weather, exellent shopping, different arcitecture and many many leisure and attractions sites. I know also that the three months I have left here will be amazing. Looking forward to getting to know everyone of you better and to have a lot of fun together.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Welcome to Catalonia!

Hello and welcome to the course!