Dear lucky student!
I have to start with saying that this is an experience I will always remember!!
This semester has just past by so super fast, there is now just a month left, and there is still so much more waiting for me to come and explore.
To write a short summary of what I have done and experienced here is hard, because its so much...
But I will tell you a bit about the things I have appreciated most.
You must go and see the festivals- as many as possible, because there are a lot of them, and they are great!! The first festival we went to see was the " Grasìa festival" which is in the beginning of august. This is a great start of getting to know the Catalan culture, because you experience the "neighbourhood- feeling", each street working together to decorate the nicest street. There is such a good athmoshere with music, people, food, drink, dansing and so on.
The next festival we went to was the " La Merce", which you probably will here a lot about later, its a fantatastic experience! And at each of the festivals they have this great fireworks in the end. I think fireworks must be less expencive here than back home, because they use that a lot here.
Another thing I love about Barcelona is the food. I am a chef myself, so is so nice to experience and to learn about another cuisine. We have wisited a lot of nice restaurants in different "categories". My favorite tapas place is in the "Del Born" district. Its called "Sagardi", and serves the best "basq" tapas in town and a good cider! Also in " Del Born" there is a place called Champagneria, where they serve nice tapas and good cheap cava. There are also so many nice seafood restaurants with totally fresh fish from the markeds- I like that a lot!! Last week when my friend from home visited me, we went to eat in a very nice ( and expencive..) restaurant called " OOM". Its a gourmet restaurant with a trendy minimalistic interior and food.. It so great ones in a while to spoil yourself to go to a place like that! Feel like a king for a night!
And the markeds- I love the markeds!! Especially the "Boqueria". To just walk around there and look at all the fresh vegetables, fruits, fish etc. Thats one thing I am going to miss back home.
I have also tried to travel a bit while we have been here. To see some of the nice places close to Barcelona. Tarragona is a really nice city, with a lot of history from the roman period. And they have great tapas! Another nice place I recomend to visit is Sitges. A littel village about 30 min with train outside of Barcelona. Its so good if you sometimes want to "get away" from the noise in the city. Walk in the small streets, restaurants and the beach...
To learn spanish is something I have really appreciated! I just wish I had time to learn it better, and practise it more. It so easy to just speak english insted when you are a big group of international students. And the spanish speaking people I have got to know also speak english..so its so much easier to explain myself in english then. But I have learned a looot more than I could when I came!
Besides this things I have also seen a lot of "happenings" that has impressed me. The " Castellers" or human towers are really impressing, the street preformers in " La Rambla", a flamenco show that we saw, which was simular to Juliet and Romeo. The street sellers who run away with a really "domino effect" if anybody notice the police.. A football match at Barça stadium, to experience the amazing atmosphere. The " coca cola, agua, cerveza-frio" sellers down on the beach which you get so tired of during the summer, but really miss now when there is no beach weather anymore. All this things and so many others are part of making this Barcelona stay something really special.
One thing I advise you not to do is to have to many visitors from home! In our flat we are five people from Norway, and everyone have had so many visitors, that I can count on one hand the weekends we have been alone. It can get to much, because when you are going on a exchange program like this, is for meeting a lot of new people and have some quality time for yourself. And you also can get kind of tired of seeing the same things a hundred times... Of course, " La Sagrada" is incredible, but it gets enough after visiting it three times..
I am looking forward to my last month here, and experience how Barcelona "dress up" for christmas!
Hasta luego, Inger