Posts Tagged ‘gaudi’


La Vida en Bar-thay-lona, parte 2

October 26, 2011

Just because I’m a linguistic nerd and I’ve been doing lots of phonetic transcriptions recently, and since it makes a segway between last post and this one, here is the phonetic transcription of “Me encanta Barcelona” (I love Barcelona), in the peninsular dialect, of course: [meːŋˈkan̪t̪aβ̞aɾθeˈlona]. Don’t forget the “th” sound!

I’m sure you were dying to know how to phonetically transcribe “I love Barcelona”, and now your life is complete. You’ll thank me later. 😛

So apart from enjoying the fall weather, I’ve been spending a lot of time walking around the city with my housemate from Quebec, who is leaving in a little over a week! Therefore, I’ve gotten to know the city a little better (it used to be that I’d spend my time during the week after class doing homework in the library or in my room on facebook, so this is a much nicer alternative, although I have spent less time doing homework…). All that to say, my appreciation for this capital city of Catalonia, Spain is growing even fonder every day! 🙂 With that, here I will pick up where I left off on my Top 10 favorite aspects of Barcelonian life:

  1. Gaudí – Okay, so any list of great things about Barcelona has got to include its most famous resident, the innovative architect that is the face of the modernismemovement. Apart from the fact that his work is so innovative and important for students of art and architecture, even for the artistically-uninformed linguistics student that I am, I can appreciate that his works are really cool! I haven’t been to all of his famous houses yet (I still need to go to Casa Vicens and Calvet, and also the crypt of Colònia Güell before I can feel content with the amount of Gaudi that I’ve seen), but I’ve seen the main tourist attractions: Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà/La Pedrera. His work is overwhelming to see, and I highly recommend that anyone who admires art or nature visit Barcelona to see his works in person. The cool thing is that you can see famous Gaudí works of art just walking around the city–they’re right there in the middle of downtown!

    The view from Parc Güell - including the Sagrada Familia: center/left on the horizon

  2. Nature. Speaking of parks and horizons… Barcelona has such an incredible mix of magnificent natural scenery. From the sands of the Villa Olympica or Barceloneta, the grassy, tree-covered terrain of the many municipal parks, to the mountain of Montjüic, Barcelona has much more than just man-made art and architecture to offer; it also has the beauty of nature!

    Palm trees in Parc Guell!

  3. Català. Em dic Kristen. Visc a Barcelona. Parlo una mica de català. (Tr. My name is Kristen. I live in Barcelona. I speak a little bit of Catalan.) Okay, so you thought I had moved on from linguistics for this blog entry. False! It all comes back to language. Part of the reason why I chose to go to Barcelona was because they speak Catalan. It’s fascinating to hear and see the interplay of the two languages here. Nearly all official postings or safety warnings are written in Catalan first, then Castellano, then English. But sometimes they leave off either Castellano or English (it’s always funny to see something written first in Catalan and then in English, as if all the Spanish-speakers who don’t know Catalan or English aren’t welcome here). It’s perfectly normal here to hold a conversation where one person speaks Catalan and the other understands, but responds in Castellano. A large part of the Catalonian identity is tied up in their ability to speak their own language, and they aren’t happy when the government tries to take this away from them (as did Franco). For me, this city is sociolinguistically, psycholinguistically, and phonologically provocative, so it’s pretty much a linguistics nerd fest every day.
  4. Sangría. It’s true. Sangria is delicious. I would drink it everyday if it weren’t so expensive. Picture this: real fruit juice, cut-up fruit soaked inside, wine, sugar, fanta, and a bit of liquor. Result=pure paradise for your tastebuds. 🙂 Now imagine trying to NOT drink this every chance you get. Every restaurant in Barcelona sells it, and no two sangrias ever taste exactly the same, so it’s necessary to try it as often as possible, right?

    mmmmm... 🙂

  5. Anti-Rush. The people take their time here. You literally never see a native Spaniard walking down the street, a cellphone in one hand and a coffee or half-eaten sandwich in the other. In contrast, that is the definition of the majority of people walking around in cities in the US. (perhaps a minor exaggeration, but you get my point.) Here, most businesses close for several hours in the middle of the day so people can enjoy a nice midday meal and a siesta. Going out to have coffee with someone usually means staying and talking for hours. It’s very important to really enjoy good food and good company. I like that. In America, it’s too easy to make hurriedness and busyness a priority, when that’s not really what matters. It’s better to just sit back and relax a bit, take time to enjoy yourself, and really invest in the place you are at the moment, not worrying about what’s next.
Well, there you have it. I could probably easily pick another ten, but these are some things that really stick out to me and warm my heart to this beautiful city.

Un Dia de Puta Madre en Barcelona!

August 27, 2011

Yesterday was, as they say in Spain, “de puta madre” = “freaking awesome”. It was long and full and fun! I crammed enough stuff into it to make it feel like a lot more than just one day.

First, of course, I had class. 9-12:30, every day. Then my friend Lauren and I walked over to my house because I was gonna get my bathing suit in case we wanted to go to the beach (but that didn’t end up happening). Then we took a bus/walked to her house for her to drop off some stuff, and then we went out to lunch. On the way, we walked Paseo de Gracia–quite the tourist street–and we passed two of the famous Gaudi houses. I’m so jealous–she lives a couple blocks from them!

Casa Batllo by Gaudi

Casa Mila, aka La Pedrera (The Quarry)

It took us a while to find a place to eat. We wanted someplace to sit down inside, but we didn’t want to pay a ton or be surrounded by tourists. We passed a couple good places, but we hated the fact that the people who worked there greeted us in English. No! We don’t want to be freaking American tourists! But finally we found a great place. We ordered a liter of Sangria between us, and I got a Barbeque Pizza–of which I only ate half, even though the waitress assured me it was for a single person. All the better b/c now I have free lunch today! 🙂


My friend and I drank this by ourselves--so delicious!! 🙂

Yum. 🙂

After lunch, I walked all the way home–probably like 45 minutes away. I thought it was better that way because I wanted to see the city better and I didn’t really have any special commitments. It started raining which was so much fun. I got so wet but it was so refreshing! When I got home, I talked with my host mom, and she took me out to buy a “movil” because everyone else in my group had one and the kept pestering me. Plus, I really did need a way to communicate other than email and facebook. I ended up getting “happy movil”, because it was the cheapest. I spent like $35 total, in US currency, and I got a free phone.

After we bought my phone, my host mom showed me around and took me to this cool market: The Market of St. Anthony. I bought some cool catalan-style sandals. Then I went back to the house and got ready to go out for Tapas. I met with my group for tapas, and we ate delicious food and drank delicious sangria, and we also each got a shot of “crema catalana” which was really sweet but good. Then we went to this bar and ordered huge towers of cerveza, which we split with a ton of people, so it really didn’t end up being all that much per person. It was fun, though.

And then, Razzmatazz, one of the most famous clubs in Barcelona. Partying it up, all night long. From about 1:30 until 5:45. It was pretty intense. And I’m still really tired, even now.

So this post took me a lot longer than I was expecting it to take me, but I finally got it all out there. In sum, yesterday (which in Barcelona time is now the day before yesterday) was one of the best days ever. And there are many more to come. 🙂


Wrapping things up

August 18, 2011

So here I am, still in the US. But not for long. I’m leaving in three short days for possibly the most life-changing event of my life to date.

Spain. For 4 whole months. A different world.

I have so many different emotions. A twinge of guilt for leaving my family and friends for so long, with little contact apart from this blog and maybe a few skype dates here and there. A good dose of sadness about leaving my family, my newborn adorable little niece, my friends, my college (granted, I’ve been gone from there for a good three months, but I’m not returning until spring so it’ll really start feeling like I’m gone when school starts there in a couple days),  my hometown, the wonderful little bubble in which I live in a small town in Virginia, USA. But I’m also, of course, immeasurably happy. Inexplicably excited. Along with that comes a fair amount of nervousness and anxiousness.

This is me, in a couple days.

I don’t know what to expect about anything, really. I’ll be living with a host family for the length of my stay and I don’t know what it’s like to live in a Spanish home. I don’t know a whole lot about the food or the routine of the average Spanish person. Sure, I’ve heard a couple of things, but reading up on things or watching movies does little to prepare you for the actual shock of the cultural difference. And, really, living with a family that is not my own is not something I have much experience with. I don’t know much about international travel either. I’ve never been through customs… not that I’m worried; I have a passport and a visa and everything will be fine, but it’s still a bit nerve-wracking. And when I get there, if my flight is delayed and I can’t meet with my group I have to take a bus and figure out how to get where I’m going and it’s all a bit frightening.  And how am I going to let my parents know I’m safe when I won’t be able to use my US cell phone? And then there’s the whole group dynamic–how will I fit in with a bunch of other American college students who probably aren’t a whole lot like me? I’m not really your typical American college student, but then again I guess anyone who wants to go to Spain for a semester of intense Spanish immersion must have more than a couple things in common with me.

Anyway, I know I’m rambling a lot, but these are just a couple of the emotions that are coming up as the day draws near.

The Beach! 🙂


But, to try to steer away from the anxiety and fear, here’s what I’m most excited about for the first couple days of Spain:

  • The beach! I get to swim in the Mediterranean Sea! 🙂
  • The food. Tapas bars, here I come!
  • The alcohol. The drinking age is 18 in Spain. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not gonna go all crazy and get drunk or anything, but I’m excited to legally be able to drink in a public place. Plus, Spanish wines are supposed to be great!
  • The people. I’m excited to see the metropolitan city that is Barcelona and see how the locals interact.
  • Antoni Gaudi! I LOOOVE his work, and I can’t wait to see it for myself!

    Barcelona Skyline--Isn't it beautiful?!

  • Speaking Spanish. Even though I must say that I’m quite nervous to use my Spanish in an actual Spanish-speaking country, I’m excited to hear it everywhere and start getting comfortable with the idea.
  • Las Ramblas. Assuming I have time and I’m all read-up on the latest pick-pocketing avoidance strategies, I hope that in the first couple days I can visit one of the coolest marketplaces in the world, Las Ramblas. Even if I don’t buy anything, it’ll be a cool experience, and I can scope it out for maybe buying stuff later.

Well, there you have it. That brought my mood up quite a bit. See, I am gonna have a good time, once I get through all the scary stuff.


A Bit of Research

May 31, 2011

I’ve been reading up on things.

Barcelona is beautiful! I keep saying that when I go to Spain I’ll spend a ton of time traveling, but honestly I think I might just want to stay in Barcelona the entire four months.

Look at this, Barcelona tops the charts in best architecture

And this, Winter in Barcelona

And this, At least according to one  travel blogger, Barcelona is an incredible city to live in

Not to mention this, which claims Barcelona as Spain’s most beautiful city.

Can you tell I’m getting excited!? 😀

Also, I watched the European fútbol championship this past weekend: Manchester United versus Barcelona. So glad I watched it; Barcelona won 3-1, and it was a great game! Apparently the Barcelona football team is the best in Europe. I feel bad now that I didn’t keep up with the world cup, because Spain won. Maybe I’ll watch some Spanish soccer game reruns from the World Cup in addition to all the movies I’m watching. Football is a big deal in pretty much every civilized country except for the US (unless you want to talk American football, but that’s just silly), and I need to get excited about it. Hopefully I can see a game or two when I’m abroad. But I have so many incredible things planned that I don’t know if I’ll manage to do all of it! I’m wishing more and more that I’d opted to do a year-long abroad rather than just a semester-long one. But oh well, I’m sure I’ll manage just fine as it is. And besides, I hope to go back to Europe someday soon after I graduate.

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