The following post has been inspired by my first assignment I had to complete for my journalism seminar. We were asked to create a Powerpoint Presentation of the things we like and don’t like so far on our trip. At the end of the semester we will make another Powerpoint and compare the two presentations.
I have been in Barcelona for 2 weeks 16 hours and 36 minutes, and these past 2 weeks have flown by! I have seen a good portion of the city of Barcelona and have discovered several things I like about the city, as well as some things that I’m not so crazy about.
To start off, I will talk about my residence hall, Torre Girona. I like that we get our own bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and study area.
But what I don’t like are the showers. These showers are some of the most temperamental showers I have ever used. Honestly I would take my nasty community style shower from my dorm freshman year over this extremely sensitive shower any day. Just a refresher from my last post, the shower (or even maybe just the electric in general) is so sensitive that if you turn on the shower and stove at the same time, you will lose power. And let me tell you about the water temperature; if you turn the shower on too fast, you’ve lost all hope at taking a hot shower. After two weeks I think (fingers crossed, knock on wood) I have finally mastered the shower, but we’ll see.
We are provided with one meal, breakfast, at our residence hall, and this is something I like and don’t like. I like the server who greets us each day by saying “Buenas días mis cariños,” as she places our sandwiches and cafes con leche on our trays. I don’t like that our breakfast is the exact same every day: one glass of water (no ice – I miss ice), one cup of coffee, one baguette, one cup of orange juice, and one sandwich (sausage, cheese or ham). But I must say I do like those sandwiches and often find myself craving them at night.
Moreover, the location of our residence hall is again something I like and don’t like. It is located in the Westernmost part of the city. We are located in one of the nicer, more upscale residential areas of the city; this is something I like and don’t like. I like it because we are in a generally safer neighborhood where lots of families live. I don’t like it because we are so far away from many of the tourist attractions, school, beaches and nightlife. Typically, to go to school it takes us anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. It’s been a bit of an adjustment to adapt to the longer commute, but it has also given us the opportunity to become familiar with the metro system.
This brings me to the next point, public transportation. Those from St. Louis will understand that taking the metro isn’t in everyone’s day-to-day commutes. Experiencing the overcrowded, rush hour metro has been something I don’t like. The thing with Europe is there is no such thing as personal space. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person next to you on the metro, because during rush hour you’re almost guaranteed to be should-to-shoulder with complete strangers. Something I do like is getting on the metro when it’s almost completely empty and you are guaranteed a seat to yourself during that 30 minute commute.
Another thing I like about public transportation is the bus. When I told the people at my internship that I love the bus, they laughed at me. But again, I think this has to do with being St. Louis where it’s not your everyday activity to ride the bus. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a bus in St. Louis. Therefore, my first couple times on the bus in Barcelona, people must have thought I was crazy by the way I grinned and gawked as I rode the bus to and from work. I will admit that my first couple of times on the bus were a bit scary, and involved both missing my stop and missing the bus. But after a week of taking it to and from work, I now feel comfortable enough to ride the bus to other places besides work.
Moving on to my next point, is how much I like getting lost (don’t panic yet mom and dad.) Upon our arrival in Barcelona, our program director, Carolina, told us to explore and get lost in the city. The more and more I get “lost” in the city, the more I become comfortable with my surroundings. Yesterday, I did a tour I found in a guidebook (thanks dad) that took me down Passeig de Gràcia, which consists of shopping boulevards lined by modernist buildings. It was on this tour that I happened upon a modern art museum at Fundació Antoni Tàpies, which happens to be free because it was the first day of their new exhibit. The exhibit, “Sunday” displayed 34,000 postcards collected from all over the world; in fact, I even found a postcard displaying the Gateway Arch. And all of this would not havebeen possible if I hadn’t gotten lost in the city.
Another thing I like about Barcelona is the food. Something the Spaniards have figured out that I wish we had back home is the concept of “Menú del Día,”or “Menu of the Day.” The menu of the day is relatively low in cost, anywhere from 9-15 euros, and consists of a first course, second course, dessert or coffee, and a drink. Almost all of the restaurants in Barcelona have menus of the day, and it’s great because it allows you try a variety of different foods.
I’ve already liked so much about Barcelona in the past 2 weeks 16 hours and 54 minutes, I can’t wait to see how my impressions change in the next 87 days.