And I will walk 500 miles…

September 2, 2013

I hope you are as excited to hear about my moving in with Cristina as I am to tell you about it. Since it was impossible to share all of the details over Skype with my family, I’ll give you the complete summary right now.

Cristina has been a widow for a few years now – I haven’t asked how old she is (don’t ever ask a woman about her age and all that). I guess she’s at the end of her 50s, but she’s still an energetic woman who likes to hike in the mountains once in a while. The day before I arrived at the metro station of El Putxet in the neighborhood known as San Gervasi, she herself had only just returned from a trip to Girona. As soon as I had said my goodbyes, she gave me some time to unpack en make my new room my own. Then I joined her for a stroll around the neighborhood and Cristina showed me some parks, tapas bars, bakeries, supermarkets etc. Even though I got a tour, I was quite disoriented. I was mostly dealing with going up and down some very steep hills in the Spanish summer heat. Maybe you can imagine how steep the streets are if I say I live one stop from the Tibidabo metro station? Anyway, walking around in this heat, in the middle of the day, is not for everyone. Even Cristina, the experienced hiker, gets tired after half an hour.

The living room and dining table

The kitchen is quite small – but that is actually very common in Spain. I tried – with emphasis on ‘tried’ – to warm up a slice of pizza, but of course the microwave was unplugged… #blondemoment

Maybe you’d expect a comparison of my first host mom, Esther, with my new one, Cristina. I’ll try not to do that. Cristina seems to welcome mostly female American students studying abroad. Next week, the other bedroom will be taken by two American students, from Arkansas and Virginia. They have one disadvantage: I have good Wi-Fi up to my desk, but in my bed it usually already loses the connection. The girls, who sleep further down the hall, might not have any Wi-Fi at all… For now. Cristina is on top of it. She really is… This morning, an IT-guy was already grumbling and muttering in Cristina’s bedroom/office, which is next to mine, while he was trying to solve the problem. I had gone to bed late the evening before, so I wasn’t too happy with that. Nevertheless, she had warned me the day before!

My bed, that almost makes me bounce through the roof. Besides that, it’s totally fine.

The American girls’ bedroom

My desk and little terrace

I was planning to go to the beach in the afternoon, but I had to skype so many people that I decided to just stay in my new room. I did take a stroll around the neighborhood again, but in this heat and with all those hills, it’s just unbearable. Besides, everything was closed because it’s Sunday. I had a delicious homemade dinner with Cristina. Obviously, I didn’t feel like going to bed yet, so I took the metro to Plaça Catalunya and walked to the Ramblas. I love the atmosphere there at night and the last time I was here, I always took a stroll down this infamous street – infamous because of the rising amount of pickpockets that walk among the tourists – on Friday or Saturday night. Traditionally, I would go to Starbucks first, until closing time and if my coffee wasn’t finished yet, I’d take it with me on the rest of my tour. This time, I took a left to the Via Ferran – one of the bigger shopping streets – got a little lost and ended up in the Barri Gotic and eventually, at the Cathedral. Now that I knew where I was again, I felt comforted in that, so I didn’t mind sitting down on the stairs of the Cathedral to listen together with some other people to two guys who were making music (which didn’t sound all that bad actually).

This morning, I got an extensive breakfast (compared to Spanish norms): cereal, a mini-croissant, some toast with chocolate spread or jam. And coffee of course. After breakfast, I hopped on the metro to visit the faculty of Philology on the inside for the first time. As was to be expected, I took the wrong entrance and ended up in the wrong faculty. Pretty soon, though, I realized I only walked one door too far. In the line to get registered were only Germans. Seven of them. Registering went really smooth by the way. After fifteen minutes I was already outside again, now breathing in the Barcelonean air as an official student at the University of Barcelona, with an information pack (mainly in Catalan unfortunately) under my arm. The only thing left to do now, is finishing my Learning Agreement and everything will be fine. For now.

In the afternoon – around 3pm – the sun finally broke through the clouds. The heat had already been oppressive that day, but because of the clouds, I hadn’t felt like going to the beach yet. So when the clear blue skies finally appeared, I jumped into my bikini, filled a beach bag and hopped on the metro. And then I was under the ground for a whole hour. Yes, a full 60 minutes. Just because I didn’t want to go to Barceloneta. I didn’t want to lie down on my towel on a dirty beach between hundreds of people with a higher chance of being robbed. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? So I went to Bogatell instead. I suppose I must have taken a whole detour, because the way back didn’t even take half as long. But in the end, it certainly seemed worth it!

The beautiful beach where I spent my afternoon

Sea-selfie – and the water wasn’t even that cold!

The Port Olimpic boulevard

Tonight, I’ll watch a movie and tomorrow I’m getting up in time to go to Montserrat, one of the most appreciated sights in the Barcelona area. This will be my first out-of-town excursion and I’ve been looking forward to see one of the former candidates for the Seven World Wonders with my own eyes.

Well, that was it for now. Don’t worry, you’ll hear from me again very soon!



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