Title: My First Week in Barcelona
Date: April 1st 2013
Location name: Jardins Princep de Girona
Local time, Time Zone:
4:44pm, Central European Time
How far did I travel this week?
I traveled all around the city, over 25 miles of walking
How far have I traveled on this journey so far?
I’ve travelled from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam (5 hour layover in the airport), Netherlands, and then to Barcelona, Spain. Once I got to Barcelona I haven’t left the city. The city is big and I’ve taken the Metro back and forth to school (school is about 3 miles from my apartment) and I’ve walked a lot.
How did I get around this week?
I’ve walked the most, and I’ve also taken the Metro (Barcelona’s Subway).
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
We visited La Sagrada Familia with my class. It is a famous and very large church that was designed by Antonio Gaudi. Even though they started building the church in 1882, it is still not completely finished. But it is still an amazing place to visit. http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/
Other Travel News from this week:
Number of sunny days this week: 3
Number of cloudy days this week: 3
Number of rainy days this week: 2
Number of windy days this week: 4
How was the weather this week?
The first four days started out cloudy in the morning but then the sun came out. It’s very warm when the sun is out. In Portland, even when the sun comes out it takes a couple days to warm up. So being so warm in Barcelona is different for me.
What animals did I see this week?
I saw dogs, dogs, and more dogs. There are a lot of dogs in Barcelona. It seems that if people aren’t working or out with friends, then they’re walking their dogs. There are also a lot of pigeons and in the park I see small birds (I’m not sure what they are, not very different from birds we might see in the United States in a park). Every once in a while I see a seagull. Oh yeah, I did see a cockroach in the apartment yesterday, yuck! So, I cleaned the kitchen. I haven’t seen it since then.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?
The Sun! Besides that, my group (15 students and 2-4 teachers) went on a walk up to a restaurant on top of this big hill. From there I could see the ocean on the other side of the city. It was cool because the city goes right up to the ocean. I haven’t been down to the beach yet. Hopefully I will next week.
Other News from this week:
What main languages are spoken here?
Spanish and Catalan are the main languages. Catalan is spoken on the west side of Spain. It is very similar to Spanish.
What type of money is used here?
In Spain they use the euro. The euro is used in most European countries. It will make it easier for me when I travel to Italy for a weekend in April, because they use euros in Italy too. One euro equals about $1.30.
How much does a bottle of water cost?
You have to buy all your drinking water in Barcelona, even the water you drink at home. So there is tons of bottled water everywhere. When you go to a restaurant and ask for water, they bring you a small bottle of water. I bought a big 8-liter bottle (2.11 gallons) of water for the apartment where I’m staying. If you buy water at a small corner store, a big bottle costs 1.75 euros. If you buy it at a bigger corner store, it can be as cheap as just one euro. As far as personal-size water bottles, I bought one for .68 euros the other day.
What was the best meal this week?
The Calcotada that we had on Tuesday was delicious. I could eat it every day.
What music did I listen to this week?
I’m surprised that I haven’t heard any local music yet. I thought that there would be musicians on every corner. That’s not the case. Maybe when I visit more places around the city I will hear more music. People in Barcelona don’t blast music from their cars either. The only music I hear is background music in a store or restaurant. Also, in the Metro there will be people playing guitar for change, but it’s been rock n’ roll, not Spanish music.
What activity was the most fun this week?
Walking around has been the most fun so far. On Friday, I must have walked over 10 miles. I got lost on purpose. I want to see the back streets of Barcelona. I want to see what people do every day. I also want to see the popular attractions, and I will get to do that over the next few months. This week was really about getting settled in. Although we went on a big walk with the group and visited La Sagrada Familia, there’s still so much more to see.
What did I read this week?
I’m reading a book by a Barcelonan author titled The Shadow of the Wind. It’s a very fun story that takes places in Barcelona.
What games or sports did I play this week?
I haven’t played any sports this week. Every TV in a restaurant or bar has a soccer game (they call it football in Europe) on. Soccer is very popular in Spain.
Other news from this week:
I’m surprised by how quiet it is in the apartments. People don’t really hang out at their homes. If you want to hang out or eat with friends, you meet at a cafe or a restaurant. It’s normal for people to leave their apartment in the morning and only come home when it’s time to sleep.