User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 33

Thread: LL's Experiences in Barcelona

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    LL's Experiences in Barcelona

    So now I finally find myself in Barcelona where I'll stay until September next year (unless I can find some form of education down here).

    The Funride
    It took a lot of courage to make the move down here since I don't know anyone in the city. To try and undermine that sense of insecurity that comes with moving to a strange place, I went on one hell of a bender the day before I left. What should've been 3 hours of playing pool with a good friend became 6 hours of beer and vodka. I couldn't even stand on my own legs at the end. I got home, slept 5 hours and then got up and left my home sweet home (which is actually my parents house. Been living there since I came home from Singapore in May. I think they were quite happy when I finally left since I spent most of my time dozing off in front of the tv, eating, drinking or just annoying the hell out of my moms cats). I got to the airport all in good time. I was stopped in security and had some fat fart grope me because of my awesome brand new metal jaw. I guess I just gotta get used to this kind of loving treatment anyway.
    Taking the plane down here was as fun as it could possible get when hungover.

    Barcelona airport was oddly silent and dark. Turns out there was a major strike going on in the city due to the ongoing economic crisis. Most stores didn't open until five o clock in he afternoon.

    I got to my house and faceplanted on my bed where I fell asleep to the Man City - Villarreal game (golgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolgolg olgol!).

    Next day
    The next day I got up and went to the nearby language school to take a Spanish test so they could find out at what level I belonged. Upon taking the test I found out that my Spanish was nowhere near as good as I had expected. Maybe it was because I was hungover and confused or maybe I just hadn't learned that much. Point taken, they decided I should start at the lowest level possible (looool yeah my Spanish sucked that bad). I have to start tomorow at 12:30 and school ends at 17:00. I was pretty pleasantly surprised at this (because I love sleeping) and didn't make any complaints.

    TV
    I got home and watched some TV. Now, if you're from Scandinavia then you know that your language is insignificant, which is why there's a few English channels even at home. Here it's all Spanish and Catalan TV. It was pretty funny to listen to a Spanish dub of a Bruce Willis movie and the entire Friends crew spoke in deep Spanish, but after awhile it got a bit tiresome and I'd kill for some English TV. It's sad to think that new Tintin movie is coming out and I probably won't be catching it with it's original language.

    There was a couple of channels that were pure awesome sauce for a Barca fan, like 24/7 BarcaTV, MarcaTV, Esport3 and so on which included everything from parodies on Mourinho and Ramos to asking people in the streets what they thought about football. Football updates whenever possible and long talkshows that delved in nothing but pure football. BarcaTV was pretty hard to understand what with Catalan being a lot different than Spanish (I understand maybe 20% from Spanish, 10% from Catalan). I watched the Plzen press meeting and Guardiola's speech. What I got from it was that Plzen was gonna defend like all hell would break loose and that Messi this, Messi that and Messi is the big bad monster who'll come out to get you. It made me suddenly go "oh shit. Messi is actually out there somewhere right now!".

    Guardiola always seem like a press meeting is the most boring thing in the world. You could just see him sigh on the inside for every question that was asked. He's also a very different type of coach who prefers to let football speak for him instead of words. Unlike Mourinho and Ferguson who revel at the chance to speak their minds and who use press conferences as a tool of war, Pep has always given the press exactly what they expected to hear. Except of course back before the 2-0 Clasico. God, that was awesome. Of course you all know this.

    FC Barcelona
    Where to even start? The importance of this team to Catalans and the city itself is absolutely immense. For everyone who loves good fooball and for every Barca fan around the world this team is exactly what it is on TV: One of the best teams to ever play football. To the people of Barcelona and to the city itself this team is on another level. The players are not just players, they're the pride of the city, they're the very image of the city. The players themselves are held in so high regard it's like they're demigods. They're role models, they're fashion idols, they're incredible beings of mystical power and yet they are just your average people of Barcelona. The people of Barcelona love them and they love to show them off. Their faces are everywhere in the city, Xavi with mineral water on big posters, Pique wearing the latest in fashion, Adidas and Messi, Puyol and helping the children, Guardiola here and there, and Iniesta advertising for ice cream in the local kiosks. I'm telling you: Hollywood and it's stars don't come close to this. This is no place for a hardcore Madridista. Good thing I'm a cule who would never speak ill of the team.

    Food
    I broke the spell of the TV and went out to get some food. I live up in Gracia so it took me a bit to walk down to La Rambla. I ate a bit of tapas and smoked some cigs (despite officially stopping the day before lol). I also had a bit of sangria to ease up the hangover. You can say a lot about Spanish food but practicality and deliciousness is what makes it awesome. I still stuffed myself to the brim (we vikings eat good portions). It made me think about that bread in Lord of the Rings and how much one little bite could do. It also made me regret eating so much. The waiter was awfully nice but I was a bit embarressed by my lack of Spanish so when he said thank you for the tip I completely forgot what to say and just stayed silent. It's also times like these I get pissed off at the fact that Danish people don't have that awesome word that just says it all. The Spaniards say "Por favor", the English "Please", the Germans "Bitte" and the danes nothing at all (except maybe the occasional plain "thank you"). It's not because I want to be unfriendly, I'm just not used to add those kind of words to sentences.

    Life in the City
    The city itself is vibrant with life. Catalans really know how to enjoy themselves here and now. You see a lot of both old and young people chilling on benches, reading, smoking, eating and just enjoying the moment. If you're from southern Europe it'll all seem normal, but if you're from northern Europe it's less common to just enjoy life in that way. Maybe it's because 2/3 of the year it's just too cold to sit and chill, maybe it's because if we sit outside it might actually encourage people to talk to us and burst our bubbles. Either way, it's good to be in a society that's not closed off and where social interaction with strangers isn't outright frowned upon or considered awkward.
    It's also interesting to see that the people here are not as fashion consciouss. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely one of the fashion capitals of the world but compared to back home where everyone and their mother has to dress trendy in designer clothes, with fake glasses and that weird slick hair, it's obvious that people here just want to be comfortable in what they wear with jeans and chillax T-shirts.
    Scooters are extremely popular here. At home it's a general rule that you ride a scooter until you're old enough to buy a car or otherwise you just rely on your bicycle. Here I've seen more guys in suits on scooters than I've seen in a lifetime. It's pretty cool.

    I saw quite a few Plzen fans around in the city. I don't think many of the Catalan people pay them much heed. After all their team is barely a threat to mighty Barca.

    There's a lot of pretty girls in the city and they love to show it. The ratio was 50-50 hot and meh. Back home it's usually 60% good looking to hot and 40% .... yeah. But then again Scandinavia is an absurd place in the world when it comes to beautiful women. Beautiful but cold as ice.

    The City itself
    It's a fantastic city, with lots of pretty architecture, landmarks, plazas, small cozy alleys and lovely apartment blocks. I just knew I'd have to explore a lot and I'd probably still find new stuff even after 5 months. There's a whole load of shops as with any big city, where you can get almost anything your heart desires. For an architecture nut I'd imagine this city would be a holy Mecca in itself. Lots of gothic buildings with sculptures the like I've never seen, sprouting from the buildings like flowers. Catalan modernisme was also evident everwhere and I came across several of Gaudi's buildings on my way. Gaudi has always fascinated me. The very first day of school back when I was 6 years old, I remember we had art class and Gaudi was the very first artist we learned about. Probably the very first artist I ever learned about before I heard about Van Gogh, Magritte or Dali. I remember we had to paint that kind of organic structures, stuff that just sprouted out of the ground. I think my mom still has that painting I made at home. Yeah, I've known of Gaudi since I even knew about FC Barcelona. Most buildings had been build so creatively that I felt it gave a whole new meaning to architecture. Back home it's like a blend of square grey castles and Soviet-esque buildings. Here it was colours and shapes. When I walked around in the streets it was a pretty common sight to see a Catalan flag hanging from a balcony. Most street signs were written in both Catalan and Spanish. There was never any doubt: Barcelona is Catalan, not Spanish.

    So now I'm just chilling on my couch, waiting, waiting and waiting for the game against Plzen to start.

    I get the feeling there was something I forgot to add but who can blame me? There's just too much going on to get down on paper.

    Here's a few pics from my apartment balcony:





    Yeah, no biggie but it's still decent.

    I'll try and update this thread weekly to give a thorough and insightful look into the city.

    Edit: BarcaTV is awesome. Goals both in colour and black and white (back from the old days). I'll probably be a walking Barca encyclopædia within a month.
    Last edited by La LL; 19th October 2011 at 03:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Barcafan 2304's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    England
    Posts
    5,326
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That is class, could read about people's experiences of this city for hours. Keep em coming, thanks LL
    roberto's number one fan

  3. #3
    Hoy, mañana y siempre traductor
    10Rivaldo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,642
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Just curious, what are you in Barcelona for? Job, school? Or did you just want to move?

  4. #4
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by 10Rivaldo View Post
    Just curious, what are you in Barcelona for? Job, school? Or did you just want to move?
    Learning spanish here. If you really want to learn a language then you must move to a place where it is spoken.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Barcafan 2304's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    England
    Posts
    5,326
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Lol, that aint an option for many
    roberto's number one fan

  6. #6
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by stokebarca View Post
    Lol, that aint an option for many
    I know but I'm a perfectionist when it comes to a lot of things. If I have to learn a language I'll be damned if I don't learn it a 100%.

  7. #7
    Barcaman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold... and I don't know the names of the players.
    Posts
    26,219
    Blog Entries
    1
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great stuff mate.

    Maybe you could have checked on some other school before deciding your level of Spanish wasn't as good as you thought? Second opinion and all.
    How far away are you from the city center and do you have some long term plans regarding Barcelona or is it just to learn the language?

  8. #8
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan View Post
    Great stuff mate.

    Maybe you could have checked on some other school before deciding your level of Spanish wasn't as good as you thought? Second opinion and all.
    How far away are you from the city center and do you have some long term plans regarding Barcelona or is it just to learn the language?
    It's all in all a good school. Went there today to study. It was nice, friendly people apart from some young ukrainian guy who just wont shut up in class.

    I think I'm about 45min walking distance from the city centre. It's not bad but Gracia is so full of cozy little shops, cafes and bakers that I've camped here all day.

    So far I guess I just plan on learning the language. Maybe I'll take up catalan in some 8 months time if I find that my Spanish is sufficient. If I can find a university in the area then I'll definitely try to stay. Of course, further education is very important for me so if I cant find anything then I might go elsewhere.

  9. #9
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I didn't go out much the last couple of days because I was a bit sick but today I felt a lot better. So I decided to do a bit of exploring in the city. I grabbed the last bit of toast I had and made some pan con tomatera y jamón (bread with tomatoes and iberian ham). For those of you who don't know, Spain is famous for making the very best ham in the world. Spain is also famous for meat in general, everything from good steaks to chorizos (a little orange-ish sausage with a spicy taste). The right Jamón Ibérico comes from black pigs in southern Spain who are raised on nothing but nuts. This gives the ham a unique peppery-nutty taste that tickles the back of your tongue and leaves you wanting more. It's one of my favorite foods and it's very popular in my family. My dad used to import it from Spain so I've had it ever since I was a wee kid. It comes in varying degrees, the very finest being very expensive and very dark. After slaughtering the pig, it is common to cut off it's hindlegs and let them hang for several months until a thick layer of mold or fat covers it. Then you put it on a special cutting board where you cut off thin slices from it. It's often served as a starter or a fine snack where you have a whole plate of thin ham slices.

    After eating I went out into the city. The weather was nice, a few clouds and some sun. Must've been around 20-23 degrees.
    I walked from Gracia until I reached the higher end of La Rambla de Catalunya. There's a lot of stores here and it's a lot less crowded than the lower areas of La Rambla. I sat down on a bench and smoked a cig. A pretty girl came by and asked for a lighter to light up the joint she was holding. I'm kinda used to joints being rather common in Spain (it's also common to see someone light one up in the train at home). If you take notice then you'll see quite a few young people running around with a little inconspicious joint in their hands. Of course I'm never one to turn down someone trying to have a good time so I handed her the lighter and commented that it looked like a fine one she was smoking. Had this been a year ago I probably would have asked her for a puff but I got tired of smoking up (I thought it messed with my head more than I liked and made me quite paranoid). To each his or her own of course.

    Here's the bench where I sat and drank coffee:


    If you squint your eyes you can just make out Sagrat Cor, a famous church at the top of Tibidabo mountain in the background. When looking up at it I knew I had to go there some day.

    I must apologise beforehand for my photographing skills. I'm not too adept at taking pictures and how I usually go about doing it is just to go "oh how nice" *click* and move on.

    The Starbucks I went to was less crowded than I expected (back home you can't breathe in that cursed place). I tried ordering a black coffee using my rusty Spanish. "Un cafe solo por favor" to which the female clerk replied "Cafe Americano?" with a smile. I nodded and got my coffee. It was nice to feel a bit of appreciation for trying to use my Spanish. The locals love it if you try it and they're very helpful and understanding. The same warmth I'd never receive if I had tried to order something back home (even in perfect Danish). But now you know: Black coffee is Cafe Americano sin leche.

    I walked 20m and found myself at La Placa de Catalunya (yeah sorry to you Spaniards out there, my keyboard doesn't support ç).



    A lovely place with a big fountain in the middle. Lots of people (most whom I suspect were tourists) sat around it or on steps where they talked, read or slept. It was so lovely I just had to sit there and smoke another cig.

    After getting a sense of the atmosphere I went to Corte Ingles. For those you who haven't been in Spain before, Corte Ingles is a chain of shopping malls popular all around Spain. You can find anything there from food, perfume, clothes, kitchen stuff or toys. Bought myself a nice shirt. Again I stubbornly tried getting what I wanted in broken Spanish. When that failed I just reverted to English. The guy at the register didn't mind and simply replied in Spanish which was fine although it took me a few seconds to remember how much "cinquenta euros" was (it's 50).

    I moved past the Placa and came to the lower part of La Rambla. This part was very different from the one where I had walked a few minutes earlier. Crowded with tourists, tourist traps, stands and street performers. A haven for a crook and a fine sight indeed. You could hear everything from Slavic languages, American and British English, Swedish and German among the constant buzzing of tourists. The birdcall guys that we all know from major European cities were here as well (I'll never get away from them it seems). Also, the living statue dudes made their presences known (making the ones we got home on Strøget, the main street in Copenhagen, look like amateurs) alongside South American street hustlers tricking tourists with their magic tricks. Ah, the ignorance. Last I had been here was back in 2008 in a drunken haze with my highschool.
    I walked down to the end of La Rambla and the harbor. Originally I had wanted to go down to the beach but I decided to wait for another day.



    I took a U-turn and walked up through some of the side alleys parallel to La Rambla. This was where the fun started. So many pathways, alleyways and streets I didn't even know where to begin. This city is an absolute nightmare when it comes to this. It's not finding your way around thats the problem: it's deciding which streets looks the most interesting to be walking. All the streets looked like they might lead to cool new places so I decided to just walk down whatever alley looked the most interesting. It was impressive. Some were dark, decrepit alleys where the light of the sun barely made it through from above, some had an occasional antique shop, others small cozy panderias (bakeries) and bars. I zigzagged through the streets until I came to Placa Reial, meaning Royal Plaza. It was quite nice. In the middle there was a little fountain, in the corners and to the sides there were several small cafes. It was quite popular to both tourists and locals. There was a crew of Brazillians playing music, doing acrobatic backflips and capoeira (the famous dance-martial art). There was a Gaudi-designed lamppose in the square but I didn't notice until now when I'm back home, reading up on it.

    Carrer de Ferran which lies next to Placa Reial was my next stop. It was a breath of fresh air after all the alleyways, full of candyshops and what not. Several curvy street lamps hanged over the pedestrians below. Very interesting design. Far down to the south-west I could barely make out La Rambla.

    (Yes, I would also love to know who that girl in the front was).


    Suddenly I was in the famous Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, a place that might've stood still in time since the medieval days. Beautiful, yet oddly quiet. Lots of museums if you fancy that (I don't... yet).

    There was a big market in front of the Barcelona Cathedral. It was almost impossible to walk down the steps with all the high school students sitting there. I snatched a few pictures and pressed on. By this point I was getting really tired and hungry. When you've been feasting your eyes on the city you stop paying attention to your stomach I guess. The Cathedral itself was breathtaking but the ongoing construction kinda spoiled it a bit I thought. It was build on top of a Visigoth church. The Visigoths were a Germanic tribe (related to us Norse) who settled in Spain. I think they were the first to fully unite Spain into a Christian kingdom after the Romans. They made it as far as Morocco and Tunisia on their conquests. The Moors would later almost erase their early influence on Spanish society but the genetics remained. That's why you'll find that some Spaniards and Catalans look a bit like Northern Europeans, with long faces and thin, small noses.

    Pictures from Gothic Quarter and the Cathedral:








    On my way up to Passeig de Grácia I came across this building:


    I don't know what it is called but I just know I liked the engravings.

    At Passeig de Gracia (a long avenue parallel to La Rambla). I got myself a bocadillo (a baguette sandwich) while admiring Casa Batlló next door, one of Gaudi's famous buildings.





    I'm almost out of energy as I write this. I still gotta buy beer for the game tonight and groceries. Was thinking I'd take a stroll down to La Rambla again to experience the nightlife but I'm more and more leaning towards sitting at home and stay tired. Maybe next weekend.

    I'll finish by adding the Casa Milä, also situated on Passeig de Gracia and also designed by Gaudi:
    Last edited by La LL; 22nd October 2011 at 05:51 PM.

  10. #10
    Shukran Pep
    Catalonian Devil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,062
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great read mate, its one of my future plans to once visit the city, hope it works out well for you...
    Alfredo Di Stéfano, Real Madrid's greatest ever player and the honorary president, spoke out. "Barcelona's football was simply brilliant," he said in his weekly column. "Their superiority was there for the whole planet to see: the whites were cornered all game. Barcelona play football and dance. They treat the ball with adoration and respect, almost nurturing it. To see this team in action is a delight."

  11. #11
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Catalonian Devil View Post
    Great read mate, its one of my future plans to once visit the city, hope it works out well for you...
    Thanks a lot mate. As I get better at Spanish I will try to take a dive into the society of the city and the culture of the people who live here. I'll also add some restaurant reviews as I go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xassiesta View Post
    Very interesting read and useful for me as I might get to study my last year at university in Barcelona. And yeah, I agree about the things you said about our boring culture and lifestyle in Scandinavia /Norwegian man living in Sweden.
    A bit. Our culture has it's good sides as well. It all depends on how you compare it. For a Northerner this city is amazing to experience. So far, if I could marry a city I'd marry this one.

    I realise this update is kinda sloppy. It's simply because I'm so exhausted from all the walking and the thoughts that come along with it. This city is a big mouthful when you just want to take it all in and absorb as much as you possibly can.

    Edit: And sorry, forgot to take pictures of La Rambla. There was just too much going on and too many people brushing past me.
    Last edited by La LL; 22nd October 2011 at 05:49 PM.

  12. #12
    New signing

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    11
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by LoveLaudrup View Post
    A bit. Our culture has it's good sides as well. It all depends on how you compare it. For a Northerner this city is amazing to experience. So far, if I could marry a city I'd marry this one.
    Of course! The thing is that anything different often seems more fun and interesting.

    Also, maybe you should try and vlogging some? If you're good at speaking english then it would be a good idea as you wouldn't have to write so much and we get to see what you see in the city

    Will continue to follow your adventures anyhow.

  13. #13
    New signing

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    11
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Very interesting read and useful for me as I might get to study my last year at university in Barcelona. And yeah, I agree about the things you said about our boring culture and lifestyle in Scandinavia /Norwegian man living in Sweden.

  14. #14
    Scandinavian 101
    Deco 20's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    6,606
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Barcelona is such a beautiful city!

    Great architecture (especially the girl )

  15. #15
    Generally Delightful
    La LL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    238
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Unfortunately one of my teeth fell out earlier today as a result of a jaw injury a couple of months ago so I have to head home one of the next couple of days to get it fixed. A shame really, was really starting to enjoy it here and my Spanish was improving tenfold.

    But then again I'll be back in a month for good. The original plan was to go here, then head off to Argentina for two weeks (accompanying my old man to some business meetings he's got over there, which I don't mind) and then come back. I'm still heading to Argentina but I'll be dropping by the old country first. I'll try and take some pictures in Argentina and make another thread about it.