Inger's Portfolio Weblog

dilluns, de novembre 22, 2004

A frightening experience

This friday we went out to have a good bye party to the Maastrich students. First we had a really nice time at Hard rock cafe, eating a three course meal and drinking some wine. After that we went up to placa Catalonia and sat down on a bench there for a while. Then three or four boys came over to us, they could not have been more than ten to fiftheen years. And even thoug we were about twelve girls we couldnt chase them away. We could clearly smell and see that they where sniffing. And then all of the sudden, they nabbed Sofies purse and run of! We should have know it would happen sooner or later, even though Mieke clearly told us to hold our purses tight ( she has already been robbed, and had a feeling..)

The worst experience was later, after we had got the police to come. They run after the boys, and came back with three boys for us to identify. They throw the boys down to the street, and started to hit them and handcuff them to keep them still. It was so bad to watch!!! And it wasn't them, we could of course not be sure, because as the police said they could already have been changing clothes. But we didnt recognise them. After a while they brougt in two more, which we had to identify, but it wasnt them eighter.

Now we started to feel really insecure at the street, because all the guys who had been "taken" by the police, and then let loose again where all standing there watching, and looking quite ready to "come and get us". So we spilt up and some went to the police station with Sofie, and the others went home. With a new and very sceary experience in mind. So the good bye evening for Anne Fleur, Mieke and Inge didnt really turn out the way it was supose to do. But I will miss them a lot, thats for sure!

dimecres, de novembre 10, 2004

My dream time in Barcelona

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 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

dimecres, d’octubre 20, 2004


Beggars in Barcelona
When I'm walking around the streets of Barcelona, and mainly on La Rambla, I notice a lot of beggars sitting by the side of the road. A quite normal sight in any big city I guess, but something is anyway different with the beggars here in Barcelona- they are all (or some..) missing a part of their body! Either a hand, half their foot, an arm and so on...why is it like this? Why is it so many peolple here who has amputated some part of their body? And why do they have to sitt in the street and " show of" their missing part to get money?
So I wonder- how are the sosial system for people like that, or for people in general here in Barcelona who has no job. I have tried to search on the internet, but I cant find anything- or maybe it doesn't say. I will have to find out during my stay..

dijous, d’octubre 14, 2004

Catalan vs Español

"Spanish or Catalan?"

Me and one of my friends went out together to "interview" some people about there feelings about Catalonia. If they felt catalan or spanish, and if it was important for them that Catalonia got independent from the rest of Spain. We asked six people because we needed three answers each. We saw that there is a great difference in the importans of the catalan independence, but also that most of the people we asked felt catalan and not spanish. We tried to ask the questions in spanish, and got all the answers in spanish, so this is what we think they answered(didn't really understand everything, but we think we got the most important parts...)

The librarian at school, Margarita (?) is born here in Cataloina and has lived here most of here life, exept from a few years when she lived in Mallorca. She feels catalan and has strong feelings about the catalan cultur and language. But she doesn't really think that catalan independence is important. Its "fine" by here to be a part of Spain. She thinks that catalan independenc is more important for younger people. That there is growing a stronger catalan feeling now. Her kids are half catalan and half french, but they still have a really strong feeling about catalan independece.

We asked a woman who worked in a store close to " Tomas bar" in Sarria. She was also born here in Barcelona and has lived here all her life with her family. She felt very catalan, but she thought there were people who were much more "extrem" than her. It was not important at al for her that Catalonia got independent.

The caretaker at the gym here at school had a different view- he felt spanish and not catalan. For him it was not important that Catalonia was independent and in his opinion Catalonia and Spain were iqual. He has also lived here almost al his life, except for a few years. And he liked foreign girls asking him questinos :)


Dear diary...
I have been here for two mounths now but not until last week when me parents were here have i really felt like a tourist. We went everywere! There were just some much I wanted to show them in so little time..
One day we went to wissit the monastery in Monserrat. We took the train out there and I had the station we were going of on written on a note. But as we were getting there I was talking on the phone, and didn't really pay attention, so we went of one station to early.. It was in the middle of nowhere and it was one hour before the next train came..;( ( I suppose we could have walked,but the motorway was not really tempting..) but, the sun were shining and my mother brought coocies- so it was quite nice! The monastery was great- so peaceful and quiet. And the view from up there are amaising! The mountains there are so different from the ones home in Lofoten. Even though I ám not really religios you get a spesial feeling at a place like that. Seeing the black madonna, kissing her hand and hearing the choir sing..

Another day we went to Sitges, and its really a nice little village. I have been there ones before in august, but then it was so packed with people. My paresnt really liked it there- and wanted to come back another time. Its good sometimes to just relax at the beach and drink nice Piña coladas by the beach..;)
Thats some of the things we did in my family-week!

dimecres, d’octubre 06, 2004

Expectations & Experiences


I had really a lot of expectations before my stay here stay in Barcelona! I have been here ones before, five years ago. I was then i apperentic to become a cheef/cook,so me and four others stayed here for ten days-that was great!! We eat at a lot of nice restaruants,wissited many of the turist sights,but also wine yards and villages utside of Barcelona. I wanted to come back!!

Spain and Barcelona is not really know (in Norway anyway) for having the best hotel and tourisme schools, so it wasnt that who tempted me about taking one semester here.
I guess it was my last stay here, and also that the studens who were here last year said that it was great!
I really wanted to learn spanish, so that was my biggest expectation, I also wanted to meet a lot of great people. From Spain but also from the other Erasmus countries- I was excited to hear how the hotel schools are in their countries.

I expected the city to be huge, and that it would be a bit scary to walk alone, and i also expected to be robbed(!) I expected to become really brown..after living in a country with such nice weather. I had also heard that the spanish people were really "mañana-mañana",so I expected that i would get really tired of that,of the waiting.

From the school I expected to learn a lot, I didnt really know much about the subjects before I came down here. I knew the Erasmus course here were not so much fucused on hotel (which i´m studing back home) but more on tourism. I expect to have a great time in Barcelona!

I have now been in Bac.for almoust two months- and I really like it!! A lot! The first five weeks we went to a spanish cours at "Enforex". It was good, but a guess I had hoped to learn even more.. I still have three months to practice..;) But "la gente" in Catalona is very helpful if you try to speek a littel spanish, and I dont think they are as mañana as I though they would be, I actually like that they are not running around like people do in Norway- always in a hurry to get some were. I especially like the "siesta"..

The city is easy to get to know-and its not sceary at all- I havent been robbed so far! And its so beautiful!! Except from de Gaudis,the Cathedral and all the other famous sights, there is so much more! Every time we walk in the city we find a new littel street we havent been in before, with small cafees, shops and nice arcitecture. We havent really been to so many of the famous "tourist sighs" yet, because I knew we were going to se some of them with scool, but I have met a lot of nice people, from Catalona, but also from all ower. I have found out that Barcelona is a very internasional city, even now when the main tourist season is ower.

About school its still a bit early to say, but it seems nice so far. The class seems really nice, and I´m looking forward to get to know everybody better. Which I´m sure we will at school, at parties and at all the festivals going on in Bac.

And I like the weather! Its so nice to just walk around in shorts and t-shirt all day, and also when we are going out at night. An the night life is great- ist so different from Norway! Back home the nighclubs closes at 2.30 but here you can stay out all night if you like.
But one ting I cant get use to is the pee smell everywere in the small streets in the city! Back home you get a fine if you pee in the streets-i dont think they do in spain..

There are still so much more I have to excpirience here in Barcelona, that I think this three months will go realy fast! Today my mother and father is coming to wissit- and I look forward to show them the city that I like so much!!

posted by Inger Mari Voie

divendres, de setembre 24, 2004

Welcome to Catalonia!

Hello and welcome to the course!