Monday, September 12, 2011

Catching up

Day 4 in Barcelona!

Things have been jam packed so far. Orientation just finished yesterday and I finally got some time to relax in my room and catch up on my blog.

Wednesday, was the first day of orientation and we had several presentations on the program and Barcelona. I met a lot of other students that day. In total, there are about 90 students in the Barcelona Business and Culture Program.  After the presentations, we broke up into small groups with our guardian angels, our group leader for the semester,  and went on a scavenger hunt around the city.  Walking around the city was amazing! I got to see what the city was like first hand instead of on pictures online. We saw the Plaza de Catalunya, La Casa (the   office of CIEE where we will be taking some classes), ESCI (escuela superior decomercio internacional, the host school), and the arc de triompf,  and learned how to ride the metro (which by the way rocks! The trains come often and it is really clean)

Later in the day on Thursday after more presentations and lunch with our groups, we all left the hotel for our own housings, either the residencia or home stay. I am living in a residencia which is similar to a mix of dorm and apartment.  I have my own room and bathroom with a shared kitchen for the floor.  The place I am living, the melon district marina, is a really new and our rooms and bathrooms are nice however small. After settling in a bit, I went with another kid in my program, Will, to get his bags from a hostel in the ramblas.  We walked around the area for a bit and it was very fascinating.  The neighborhood had really small streets where cars can't drive on (unless you're Jason Bourne). The buildings were an older architecture with most made out of stone.  One point we came across a large fancy building (which we later found out the next day was the palace of  King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the king and queen who funded Christopher Columbus).  Although this area was amazing to see, it wasn't a safe area.  There is lots of pick pocketing and smaller crimes in this area and I would definitely not recommend coming alone at night. After getting back to my room I went to bed early, partly because I had to get up early but mostly because I was jetlagged and didn't wake up from my "small" nap till the next morning.

On Friday, I went on a bus tour in the morning.  We traveled around the city learning about the history and its layout. We visited the top of the mountain, montjuic where the olympic stadiums of the 1992 summer are.  From the top we could see the entire city on one side and the sea on the other.  From there we went back to the city and saw the statue of Christopher Columbus pointing out to the Americas (however, although the statue is pointing out to sea, it is actually pointing to somewhere in Africa).  We saw the palace of Ferdinand and Isabella, the harbor of Barcelona, and some of the beaches.  The last place we saw that day was the Basílica y Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, but commonly known as la Sagrada Familia. It is a Church that was designed by the famous Catalan Architect  Antonio Gaudi.
That night we went with our groups for tapas (similar to american appetizers).  And after that we went out to experience Barcelona's night life, which is amazing!  The first thing to know about night life here is it starts late and doesn't end.  Normally, 1.. 2 ..3 am is late in American, however here the night is just getting started.  Mostly everyone in our program went clubbing that night.  We went to a group of clubs along the beach.  They were all free and we hopped between clubs the whole night which ended around 4:30.  I walked back with group of friends back to our residencia, because the metro closes at 2 am Friday night and doesn't open until 5am on Saturdays.

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