Barcelona Update

Barcelona Travel Blog

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The Barcelona stock exchange.

Been here for almost 3 weeks so I guess that means I am do for an update.  While there haven't been many great stories to tell, that doesn't mean that I am not having a great time.  We have a great group of exchange students and I am enjoying life in Barcelona (most of the time).  I have started to book trips for later in the summer including a week in Portugal and about 6 days in Southern Spain with Ana.  I'll also be making some weekend trips to Valencia, Toledo and Andorra in addition to running the Paris Marathong right before I leave.

About life in Barcelona...

Weekends are suprisingly dead outside of the city center.

Some of the damage done by the large windgusts on Saturday. Elsewhere windows were blown out and 3 children died when the rough of a sports complex collapsed.
  I tried to find a cafe this afternoon to have a cup of coffee and study and walked a mile and a half until I found one that was open other than Starbucks.  Even Saturdays are pretty quiet with only grocery stores, cafes and restaurants which open up for dinner only.  I will need to plan my weekend trips carefully to make sure that I can actually get something when I go places.  While I do most of my laundry at my apartment and hang my clothes outside to try I have struggled to find an open laundromat that wants less than 4 euros($5) to do my shirts. Other than that most prices are comparable to the United States. 

The other thing that I have found odd is people obedience to traffic signs.  While on runs I can comfortably cross the street if I have the green light without worry rather than being in the USA where cars will only stop for pedestrians if it is clear you are willing to risk your life by getting in front of them.  I was walking home from the cafe today and the woman in front of me suddenly stopped before crossing the street.  I was confused and walked around her as she stood there.  When I got to the other side I realized the crosswalk light was red, but there wasn't another pedestrian or any vehicles within sight.  I thought she must be waiting for somethign else, but when I got 100 yards ahead of her the light switched to green and she went ahead.

People do go out late here.  A school party last weekend started at midnight, but nobody showed up till about 1:30am and when I left close to 5am the place was still full.  Somebody did explain to me that the subway doesn't start again till 6am so you might as well wait if you don't want to walk or take a taxi.  The traditional siesta is a requirement if  you are going to take those hours and yes people still take a siesta.  While all stores don't close, small shops, banks, laundromats and other locations will close up around 1:30pm for two hours.  Apparently this is so the owners can home, get lunch and take a nap.

About school..

School has been pretty good so far and I have been shocked by the diversity of people.  All the exchange students went out to dinner one night and I looked at our table and out of the 8 people, 7 different countries were represented (USA, Mexico, Japan, India, Columbia, Czech Republic, Israeli).  I am working on paper with a Moldavian. I am writing a paper on the Mexican economy with 3 Mexicans (I am not planning on contributing much). My finance group consists of a Russian and a Spaniard. My other group consists of a Phillipino, a Portuguese and me.  My rooms are from India and Pakistan.  And yesterday I ran with a girl from the Bay Area of California and an Estonian.  Good luck finding all of those countries on the map.  I am working harder at Michigan, but probably putting more effort than I need.  The plan is to work hard at the beginning so I can slack off at the end when I am working more.

About day trips...

I have become the travel agent for the exchange students. Yeah, they don't realize how scary that is.  We have had our first two trips and visisted a looked winery (45 minutes away) and a monstary built on top of the hill.  We have had about 12 people on each trip and things have worked out well so they have high expectatations for future trips.  I hope to provide them with a more detailed travel options later this week, but now others have stepped up to plan some of the trips so I am counting on getting some help.

That is it for now....hopefully I will find some good stories for you before long.

 

dlillback says:
Good to see you aren't totally slacking off....booking flights for Finland soon!
Posted on: Feb 10, 2009
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The Barcelona stock exchange.
The Barcelona stock exchange.
Some of the damage done by the lar…
Some of the damage done by the la…
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm