August 28, 2013
After 1,400km, we finally reached Barcelona. No matter what, I don’t like traveling by car. The fact that we stopped for a layover in Clermont-Ferrand (Central-France) made the trip more bearable. It was a cold, wet day, but this only increased my enthusiasm to arrive at the final destination – I mean, it was 26°C there at that time!
On September 1, I will move in with Cristina, my host mom, but until then my first days in Barcelona will be a real holiday: we will discover Barcelona like real tourists. I already visited lots of places during my first stay here, but there is so much more to do in this marvelous city! Besides, I wouldn’t call it a punishment to visit Parque Guëll again, or see the Sagrada Familia again, or the Port Olimpic, Barri Gotic or any of the other must sees. There is an infinite amount of things to see and do here. If you’d like to find out more about Barça, just look on Wikipedia, on the tourist website or check out my own list of useful tips here (in Dutch). Finally, I also read a funny summary about Barcelona:
Things I’ve Learned in Barcelona
1) Babies can have moustaches. Every baby in Barcelona looks like Pubert from the Addams Family.
2) Gaudi is their god. They literally don’t care about anything else.
3) People really love naps. I knew about ciestas, but damn if they don’t get annoying. Go to work!
4) There are a lot of old people. Barcelona seems to be home to the living dead.
5) They really will pick-pocket anyone. I saw someone run off with a stolen baguette.
Ok, so I have never seen anyone run off with a stolen baguette, but it is true that I was the only one of my classmates in Barcelona who went home with all of her belongings after her language course of one month. I hadn’t been robbed once. But the others… camera or phone stolen, money snatched out of their hand,… I don’t want to jinx anything, but I really do hope I get to go home with all of my possessions once again. With my paranoid tendencies, this might actually work.
One of these days, I’ll have to go and register at the UB (Universitat de Barcelona). I’m quite curious about how ‘Spanish’ going to school here will be and how it will be different from back home. It still seems weird that I’ll be going to school here, take classes and exams… Also, I always wanna say ‘when I go on my holiday’ when what I really mean is ‘when I’m away on Erasmus’. I guess that, until my classes actually start I’ll just stay in my holiday mood… Besides, it’s very hard not to think about vacation when the beach is only 2 subway stations away from campus!
What can I tell you so far about my new host institution? Founded in 1450 by Alfonso V of Aragón, the University of Barcelona grew out to be one of the 150 best schools of higher education in the world. It is the first university ever to be founded in Spain (and it used to be the only one in Catalunya until the foundation of the Universitat Politècnica de Barcelona in 1971). Up until today, the UB is still considered to be the best university of the country. I’m not at all saying this to brag. If I did, I’d say that, according to the URAP (University Ranking by Academic Performance), the UB is the 83th best school in the world – but I didn’t. Honestly, I just looked it up for you. This is also why I found out that more than 90,000 students have registered at the UB, while at the UA (University of Antwerp) only 12,000 students registered (although next year another 3,000 students are suspected to enroll). Will I notice the difference? Let’s hope not in a negative way… I mean, both at the UB and the UA.
Other things on my to do list are getting a Spanish phone number, meeting up with Esther (my previous host mom) and Albert, a friend of mine whom I met the last time I went to Barcelona. We actually met the month before I went there, because we were in the same English course in London. Albert showed me around a little and went with me to the Magic Fountain – it was a first for the both of us, which really surprises me because I like the Font Magica a lot! So, even though he showed me some ‘local’ spots, he also got the chance to see Barcelona like a tourist for once. But then again, how many of the tourist attractions in your own city have you done?
Now there’s nothing left to say, but to wish the high school students a great new school year and my fellow undergraduates good luck with their exams! And of course, ¡hasta la próxima!