26th October 2011, 02:37 PM
Very interesting LoveLaudrup.
Barcelona is a beautiful and interesting city so enjoy it as long as it lasts.
Great updates but did it not take a bit of courage to move to BCN for a year completely alone (as of now) and without (any?) contacs in BCN and limited Spanish language skills?
And what about school/university?
If you learn both Spanish and Catalan you would be in a very strong position to learn both French and Italian very quickly (and other Romance languages). I speek both those languages and learned Spanish extremely quickly in the Gymnasium. So my advice would be to practice and speak as much Spanish as possible.
It is also always a advantage to know as many languages as possible.
Last edited by DucdeOrléans; 26th October 2011 at 02:40 PM.
4th November 2011, 02:09 PM
Wonderful city! I miss it so much.
There are so many places for you to experience! Keep on writing! :thumbsup2:
16th February 2012, 07:02 PM
Seems like the right time to revive this thread... so I'll do that. Sadly, I had to abandon my Argentina thread. I don't know where to start so I'll give you a short resume: I went to El Calafate in Patagonia, got sick from the icy weather, volcanic eruptions in Chile, cobbled with an airport strike in Buenos Aires resulted in a 12 hour ride to some backwater airport. Not the most interesting thing in the world (oh but I did see two Alpacas by the side of the road... which is a plus).
When you're stuck ass-deep out in the middle of nowhere (Patagonia really is a big space of barely nothing but the Andes, tornados raging across the plains and an occasional Native American settlement) then you really are stuck ass-deep in the middle of nowhere with very few options to return to civilization. It wasn't completely nightmarish but it was enough to limit my enthusiasm a bit so when I finally got back to Buenos Aires, reviving the Argentina thread was one of the last things in the back of my head.
Back home. Cold weather.
So I'm back home in Barcelona. Just enjoying the chilling weather. The locals curse and froth about it. 8 degrees is rare and almost unheard of here they say. I don't really mind. Last I got off the phone with relatives back home in the frozen north, temperatures had apparently plummeted to minus 20 and homeless people were dying on a streak. Excessive, perhaps, but I've had my share of cold winters so it's only some 8 degrees colder than it used to be. My Spanish teachers shake their heads in confusion when I show up in school with a T-shirt under my leather jacket. Yeah well, they call it Sangre Vikingo, I call it being used to it. I get asked frequently if people back home just stock up on food and don't leave their houses for most of winter. Ridiculous question. When you got shit weather half the year there's no other option than to brave it. Won't say we like it but we do it because we need to.
Last couple of weeks
I would’ve loved to have taken some more photos but I haven’t had the time (alright I’ll be frank with: I’ve been lazy) since I’ve gotten a good routine going: Spanish lessons, six consistent meals a day and work-out thrice a week. I spend most of my free time watching The Wire or nerding on my computer but I promise you that I will go out and visit some important monuments, buildings and parks in the near future. And there will be pictures. Everything was going well actually until I met this French guy who went to my school for a couple of weeks. We ended up going out to drink almost every night for the last week he was here. We still talk on Facebook. He’s a fucking awesome guy and it’s scary how many things we have in common. He’s coming by sometime in March to visit with his girlfriend and I’m already expecting a friend from Ecuador around that time so things are going to heat up. I’m probably going to end up forsaking my healthy routine for the sake of beer but that’s what being my age is all about: Party and live to tell the story.
We went to a couple of bars and also hit up two dubstep clubs. One was named Corellia I think, the other Sala Razzmatazz. The first one was so-so. The music was very monotonous and so loud it was impossible to talk to anyone. A break came when we were leaving through the backdoor (which led out into a blind alley full of smokers… so we had to go back in). Had a bit of a chat with some Catalan guy who actually knew about my country. “Ah Denmark! Christiania! Christiania! Free weed” he said and gave us a bit of hashish. Understand this: I’m highly tolerable about weed. I’ve had lots of fun with the herb. When I was 18 I could smoke myself to sleep after some seven joints and a couple of bong hits. These days I can’t take more than three hits then I feel woozy and it only happens on rare occasions, like once every two months. It’s funny to notice how openly people smoke it here. In front of bars, on benches in the park with the police only a couple of feet away. As I understand it is a bit like back home: You smoke it, it’s your business. You buy it, it’s illegal. Only, back home you do it a bit more hush-hush when out in the open, in a corner somewhere or in a yard.
Hard drugs is another thing. Back home you’ll have to know the right people or really look for it. Here you can’t walk 10 steps on Las Ramblas or at the harbor in the evening without having some guy yank your sleeve. “Pssst! Cocaine? Amphetamine?”. Yeah yeah. No thanks.
Barcelona a scary place? Nonsense!
I’m actually quite shocked that a number of foreigners I talk to claim that Barcelona is a scary, dangerous place. Sure, there are robbers and pickpockets. But honestly, Barcelona has relatively little serious crime in comparison to other cities of it’s size. It happens, of course, but it’s rarer than you’d think. I’ve walked down lots of shady alleys at night (Barrio Gotico I’ve been told is really sketchy) but I’ve never seen nor felt anything uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I’m a big guy. I’ve never been mugged in my life. Never. I have friends who have. I have one friend who attracts muggers like flies to dog poo. Of which there’s a lot here in Barcelona, mind you. Not as bad as when I lived in The Netherlands. Walking down the street in Den Haag was like walking in a minefield: Zigzagging to avoid the brown landmines. I stepped in my fair share of that shit (pun?) when I lived there which has left me with a habit of checking my shoes once every kilometer. But enough about that. Barcelona is over all a safe city. Yeah, the local tapas bar down on the corner had it’s windows smashed last week but that’s normal in any city. Be thankful you don’t have militants beating away on people with another skin color or opinion like they do in the old country.
Coming to Barcelona has been very healthy for me. Not just because I’ve got a good rhythm going and because I’m learning the ropes in a foreign country with little to no knowledge of the language. No, it’s because my own country, Denmark, has been poisoned and is rotting away. People up there might agree but they’ll put the onus of blame on immigrants. This is exactly where the poison comes from: Not from the immigrants, but from the people blaming them. It’s almost sickening to see how things have changed. 20 years ago it was safe. Probably the safest country in Europe.
Now it’s seething with right-wing extremism, paranoia and seclusion. A couple of months ago, a young Turkish kid, barely past the age of 15, was walking home from school. He wasn’t a bad kid. He’d done some minor stuff but haven’t we all done bad shit when we were young? It’s what being young is about: Doing stupid crap that you’ll regret later in life. This kid, however, had done nothing to deserve what was coming to him. He was barely 10 meters from his house before a black van stopped next to him and five men jumped out and beat him to death with baseball bats. I wish I could say that this was a rare occurrence but it’s not: This has happened before. I can name at least two other incidents of its kind within the last two years. In only one of the two, the victim survived. The ensuing media spin lasted for barely a week or two before it quieted down. Just like the last two. This is where the problems arise. The country has been effectively split in two.
The whole ordeal started with the recent influx in immigrants from the Middle East in early 2000. Now, you must understand, Denmark is a small country with little of the colonial heritage of countries like France, UK and Spain. So when people show up and they look different and practice a different religion, people get scared. Some attempt to understand but the majority don’t. An era of quiet racism began where you didn’t say it to people’s faces but everyone knew it was there, looming in the shadows. When these immigrants had kids, many of them found it hard to fit in. In a country with cold people and where you feel different, it is easy to become very nationalistic and proud of your heritage. It’s a reaction. I felt the same when I lived in Singapore. Being European and living in a country where 99% are Asians I also felt a sting of paranoia and a sense of importance in defining who I am and where I come from. Therefore, it is understandable that many Arabs and Pakistanis became very proud of their land of birth, their heritage and Islam while living on a different soil. Others could assimilate better but I know that they’d still feel left outside. This increase in religiosity made alarm bells go crazy amongst Danish people. After hearing stories of extremism and chants of “Sharia in Denmark” from a tiny extremist fringe, people began to fear the gradual Islamisation of the country. Absurd says I. The media used scare tactics like: “Did you know in 2050 this country will be majority Muslim because of high birth rates amongst immigrants?” and “They will destroy our heritage”. Heritage: A thing that was almost completely destroyed by Christianity 1000 years ago which has left us with nothing but Viking helmets and a couple of long boats as evidence of our past. What heritage? Anyway, if you thought scare tactics could only evoke panic in the US then you were wrong. Relations declined gradually over the years. Tredjegenerations indvandrer, “Third generation immigrants” a term used normally for grandsons or daughters of any immigrant from any country, became closely connected to people of Middle Eastern origin. When the media spinned a story with that connotation or when someone in a party mentioned it, everyone knew what it meant. Poles, Romanians and Serbs? That term hardly applies to them anymore.
Soon it became only indvandrer, “immigrants” that was used and it too was used as a colloquial term for people of Middle Eastern origin. The 2008 gang war between Hells Angels, the Danish wing of the world wide motorcycle gang, and immigrant gangs marked a new Clash of Civilizations. Some 50 people got killed or injured, the majority of them civilians who just happened to look a bit too Middle Eastern or a bit too skinhead.
The majority of those who died were at the hands of the Hells Angels, who took them out in cold execution style fashions. Deaths were relatively rare at the hands of immigrants, more often resulting in a couple of gunshot wounds and knifings than actual death. The gang war is unofficially on stand-by and it may erupt again in the near future. What it has left is a deeply divided society where Muslims close themselves off increasingly from a hostile environment. Muslim majority neighborhoods are almost impossible for the police to patrol and it’s discouraged to walk around in them… if you’re too Danish looking. This increasingly self-governing Muslim minority has sparked questions like “Why don’t they want to integrate?". Its little surprise that we’ve ended up here at a crossroads. Action breeds reaction. Passivity is an action as well. Right-wing militant gangs throwing rocks at Indians in Jutland, threatening civilians to vote right or attacking people at random while having an all pervasive media spinning scare tactics seems to be a norm.
The night before I went to Barcelona I was playing pool with some of my mates in a bar. A guy came up to me, looked at my tat and went "Sieg Heil!". I asked him why he did that. "Dude that's a Nazi tat there man!". I told him it had nothing to do with Nazism and I had selected it because I had made sure it had nothing to do with it. Turned out he was a neo-Nazi. Surprise, surprise. The dude started flaunting all kinds of Aryan shit. I told him to bugger off. I hate Nazis with a passion. My granddad killed his fair share of them and ended up in a KZ-camp as a result, having to bury some of his best friends in the mud there. If there's anything I'm really proud it's the fact that I descend from someone who had the balls to fight against fascism and racism. And my granddad had big balls. Elephant balls.
Don't get me wrong: I love my country. I might've painted an overly bleak image of it but there are a lot of good people there. A lot who just want a peaceful, harmonious country that we can all share. But there are some serious issues that needs fixing and to fix those, people need to point the finger at themselves as well. Otherwise things are going to spin out of control for the worse. The principal cause for future events is the media and it's ability to influence people. When you live there it's hard to see it from an objective angle since a lot of the people you talk to share the same view, which makes it harder to disregard the media. When you don't, it's easier to criticize and see the things that are wrong clearly. It's also scary to notice just how much it has affected you and the way you think.
The situation here as I understand it.
I had to get that off my chest. It’s nice to be in a place where this kind of stuff isn’t the big question. Here it’s economy, economy and bad economy. That also sparks some nationalism, but nothing as paranoid as the like I’ve just mentioned. Nationalism in Catalunya and Pais Vasco seem to be heating up. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. There’s bad nationalism and there’s good nationalism. Truth is I’ve found people here in Barcelona to be more split about the issue of separatism than I thought I would. I’ve met a lot of people my age who glow with nationalistic pride, very infectious. When I went to Razzmarazz (great music by the way and cheap shots. Big stage, DJ’s in jumpsuits and masks and sublime sound system) I could squeeze into a group of Catalans who assured me that “Catalunya is NOT Spain” followed by chants of “Ese Portuguese! Hijo puta es!” (a chant I’ll explain later if needed be) and “Visca Catalunya!”. I’d chant that with them, then walk over to another group in a drunken haze and yell “Visca Catalunya!” only to have them go “Dude! No! We don’t like that!”. It’s very evenly split. Barcelona is more or less 60% Catalan. 20% are Spanish from other parts of the Spain and the last 20% are immigrants from Ecuador, Colombia, Pakistan, Morroco or China. There’s A LOT of asians here. Those forty percent seem to favor staying part of Spain and there are quite a few Catalans who seem to agree. The question is not as much nationalistic as it is economics. Catalunya is a powerhouse in the Spanish economy and there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with having to feed off Andalucia and other less fortunate parts of Spain. It’s a bit of the same in the EU: Northern countries don’t want to keep sending money to the south of Europe.
Anyway, that concludes today’s update. I really have to write a post about my El Clasico experience but that’ll have to wait to one of these next days. Right now it’s nine o clock at night and I need me some food. I love how late you eat food down here. It’s perfect: Wake up late, eat late, sleep late.
Last edited by La LL; 24th May 2012 at 10:46 PM.
17th February 2012, 02:19 PM
Very entertaining stuff, keep it up man!
17th February 2012, 03:35 PM
this thread is a fraud, i come here looking to read about your experiences but all i get is walls of text. wtf am i supposed to do with this shit?
17th February 2012, 04:52 PM
barça amor d mi alma
gingy have patience and read them .
Great stuff LL. Keep them coming.
17th February 2012, 05:45 PM
Hahahaha, yeah, reading in the interwebz? Crazy stuff!
Originally Posted by gingerless
LL, your new assignment in Barcelona is to hunt down the catdog! Post evidence here!
11th March 2012, 08:41 PM
I was in Barcelona last weekend for the game against Gijon. It was our first trip down there and we loved the place, all 3 of us. In fact, we' re already looking to come back in the near future, best place I have ever been to by a huge distance. Very nice people aswell, so I'll brush up my Spanish/ Catalan. As we had an early flight home and a hard week coming up, we didn't really see any nightlife in the city, so that remains to be discoverd.
A little question though, I' ve heard about a few blokes getting robbed at knife- point. Granted that happens in every big city, but how is Barca in general for safety? Quite a few narrow streets but I thought the place was sound.
11th March 2012, 09:25 PM
In all honesty I feel more safe walking around in Barcelona at night than Copenhagen. Never experienced anything slightly threatening, even when walking home at night through the Gothic quarter. I have seen a few pickpockets in action and I've heard stories but most of it tends to be petty crime. Violent crime is pretty unusual to my knowing.
Originally Posted by Reds
11th March 2012, 10:04 PM
Just figured I' d ask the more expierenced. It was only passed on to me by someone who heard from someone else etc. Might be alot of bollocks aswell.
Anyway, looking forward to my next trip and I will stay a bit longer this time.
17th April 2012, 08:47 AM
Will this be updated? pretty good read.
17th April 2012, 08:53 AM
barça amor d mi alma
tell us about the prostitution around camp nou and all over Barcelona ...
Originally Posted by LoveLaudrup
17th April 2012, 09:54 AM
Yeah I'll update it in a few days. I've gathered lots of new material, photos. I'm only waiting for my trips to El Clasico on Saturday and Chelsea-Barca next week, then I should have enough.
17th April 2012, 12:57 PM
Aight, looking forward to that.
Originally Posted by LoveLaudrup
Originally Posted by Ryan_Cule
29th August 2012, 02:10 PM
When we stayed in Abba Garden hotel last year (about 20 min walk to Camp Nou, more to the north I think), there were plenty of prostitutes along the road, all of them were Africans. Needless to say we (my GF and I) stayed far away from them
Originally Posted by Ryan_Cule
Btw, LL, are you still in Barcelona at the moment? Are you studying there?