My Someday is Today

Just living my life in Barcelona and loving it!

La Mercè 2009 Recap September 28, 2009

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 11:51 pm
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Merce

Well, I survived my first Mercè, this is definitely a week I’ll remember. During the day there are a bunch of festivals and family friendly activities, but at night it was pretty much a huge party in the streets of Barcelona. There were a bunch of concerts taking place all throughout the city with music and bands from all around the world. Streets and plazas were closed down and on Friday and Saturday the concerts at the Forum continued until five in the morning. After the concerts, the city was trashed, there were cans and bottles all over the streets, but what shocked me was that come the morning, it was all cleaned up.

I can't remember, but I think The Hives are on stage in this pic.

Programs were passed out a week prior, but all the events listed were in Catalan so with some of friends, I was able to decide on which events to attend. I made sure to see the traditional Mercè events such as the Castells (human pyramids), Gigantes (people walking in giant paper mache costumes) and catch some of the concerts in the park. Although there were some events that I stumbled upon that were unexpected such as, Correfoc. Correfoc is a Catalan tradition where people dress up as devils and parade down the streets while drumming and setting off huge fireworks. It was actually really scared when I saw it, there were sparks flying in the air and people watching were pushing trying to avoid the sparks from hitting them – I’m not a big fan of fire. There was also an amazing firework and fountain show that closed the Mercè events in Plaza Espana on Sunday. The fireworks show was themed around popular movie music and lasted for about 45 minutes. Sparklers were passed out when you entered the park and at 10:30 p.m. everyone lit their sparkler and held it in the air, it was an amazing sight and an awesome way to put a close to the week long event.

Bad picture, but you get the idea... everyone with their lit sparker!

Bad picture, but you get the idea... everyone with their lit sparker!

One of my favorite things was that a lot of the museums supported Mercè by offering discounted or free entrances to their museums. I visited both the Museu de la Xocolata (a museum dedicated to the history of chocolate and a bunch of chocolate sculptures) and Poble Espanyol (a mini Spain, with replicas of all the main attractions and streets throughout Espana).

A Wally sculpture made out of chocolate!

A Wally sculpture made out of chocolate! Museu De La Xocolata - Carrer Comerç 36, en El Born, Ciutat Vella

Poble Espanyol - Avinguda Marquès De Comillas 13

Poble Espanyol - Avinguda Marquès De Comillas 13



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La Mercè 2009 September 26, 2009

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 7:04 pm
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Merce

Mercè is the biggest weeklong festival held in Barcelona to celebrate their patron saint Virgin of La Mercè. Beginning on September 24, there have been over 500 free events going on throughout the city such as music concerts, firework shows, light shows, parades and many more activities. The whole city unites to put on this festival for people of all ages, it’s absolutely amazing.

Castells are human towers that just pop out of the crowd out of nowhere... a small kid climbs to the top for the finishing touch, so awesome! My video was really shaky, but click http://video.google.es/videosearch?hl=es&source=hp&q=castells&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=castells+barcelona&hl=es&emb=0 here to view some examples posted online.

Castells are human towers that just pop out of the crowd out of nowhere… a small kid climbs to the top for the finishing touch, so awesome! My video was really shaky, but click here to view some examples posted online.

Gigantes and cabezudos parade.

Gigantes and cabezudos parade.

The busy streets of Barcelona.

The busy streets of Barcelona.

One of the many stages set-up around the city.

One of the many stages set-up around the city.

 

I found a flat! September 25, 2009

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 8:02 pm
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I finally found a flat, phew what a relief, but it was a lot harder than I though it would be. Originally, my plan was to live with a couple of girls I met on Facebook from my program. We’ve all been exchanging e-mails for months trying to find a place. They all arrived two weeks before me and started looking for a flat for four girls, but they had no luck. A couple of days before I arrived in BCN, I got an e-mail saying that they couldn’t find a flat and decided that it would be best if we all find a place on our own. I was really bummed and nervous about having to look for a place and live with complete strangers.

Luckily, Anette made some awesome friends while spending her year here in Barca and they offered to take me in until I got settled. I was quickly introduced to loquo, the craigslist.com here and started looking at the postings online.  I knew I wanted to live close to my school in a neighborhood called Eixample Izquierda, plus it’s a really central barrio in the center of the city. I spent my first days glued to the computer looking for new flat postings and calling people to make an appointment to see the flat and meet my potential roommates. The awesome part of looking for a place was that it gave me an excuse to explore the city and get to know the different barrios in Barca. Where I struggled, was when I would call to make and appointment and get the address people would speak really fast and they pronounce the street names in Catalan and half the time I had no idea what they were saying. I would look on the map to find the street or look on Google maps, but I couldn’t find the streets. I quickly learned that the best thing to do was ask for the closest metro stop, get the cross streets and write everything phonetically so that I could look it up on a map and figure it out. Google maps was my savior and the best thing about Barca is that people are helpful so if you ask where a street is they will point you in the right direction. Well, during my first three days I looked at about 10 different places, but the rooms were either too small (no joke, honestly – just a bed fit in the room), I didn’t like the location or I didn’t like the vibe I got from my roommates.

At this point, I was really frustrated and a little discouraged. I talked to Anette and she made me realize that I was restricting myself. I was only looking for all girl roommates and it’s really common here to live with guys. I decided to be more open minded and looked at a couple of places with guys, but the best part of it all is that I got my first ride on a moto! I went to look at my first flat with guy roommates and as we were leaving, he asked me where I was going and he offered me a ride, I was a little hesitant, but then I decided that I’m in Barca to live my life and take a chance so why not. He handed me a helmet, I jumped on the moto and off we went. It was a little scary, but I’m glad I did it… it was definitely an adventure and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I can now cross that off my to-do list.

So anyways, I found my flat, it’s perfect for me. The second I walked in and saw my room and met my new roommates it felt like home. It’s really simple, but I’ll make sure to make it my own, click here to check it out. I’m living with a married couple and a guy from Argentina, I haven’t moved in yet, but they’ve already made me feel welcomed. I actually almost missed out on this place, I made an appointment to come see the flat at 9 p.m., but there was a huge thunderstorm that came out of nowhere. I had to buy an umbrella since I was already out and about looking at flats and in the area. I had my handy map and Google directions, but because of the rain and my effort to try to stay dry, I made a wrong turn and got really lost. After walking around for 30 minutes and with no one on the streets for me to ask for directions, I found a little ledge to hide out in as I looked at my map. I almost gave up and cancelled, but I’m glad I didn’t, because I found my new home for the next year, it was worth the challenge and definitely an adventure I’ll remember.

I can’t believe I’ve only been here for a week, Barcelona already feels like home and I couldn’t be happier. Once I move into my new flat on Oct. 1 and start school, it’ll start to feel real. I wake up with a smile on my face everyday and in shock that I’m really here, I’m definitely living my dream.

 

AHHH I’m FINALLY in BCN! September 20, 2009

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 11:47 pm
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La Sagrada Familia (L2/L5 Sagrada Familia)

La Sagrada Familia (L2/L5 Sagrada Familia)

Casa Batllo (Metro L2, L3 or L4 Passeig de Gracia)

Casa Batllo (Metro L2, L3 or L4 Passeig de Gracia)

It hit me today that I’m really here, I got off the Metro at Sagrada Familia to look at flats and this was the first thing I saw. I had to contain myself, I wanted to scream and jump up and down when I saw La Sagrada Familia. I had another moment and got all teary eyed when I walked past Casa Bastllo. I love Gaudi’s architecture, it’s breathtaking, I could stare at it for hours. I made a promise to myself today, I’m always going to take the time to look at and appreciate all the amazing sites in BCN, I don’t want to take my time here for granted.

 

Foto del dia – 18/09/09

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 11:16 pm
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www.sotaventobcn.com

Raquel made me an amazing tapas dinner and then we met up with Brianna at her work, Sotavento, http://www.sotaventobcn.com, a popular restaurant/nightclub on the beach (Metro - L4 Vila Olimpica).

 

Foto del dia – 17/09/09

Filed under: Barcelona Life — dianepadilla @ 11:01 pm
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El Xampanyet - Barrio Born

My first tapas dinner in BCN with Brianna and Miquel - yummy!

Foto del dia - 17/09/09

El Xampanyet in Barrio Born (Metro L4 Jaume I) Carrer de Montcada 22