Come With Me and You Will See: | Barcelona Past and Present

Forever in DEBT

Here is a thank you note I wrote my parents. I am not sure how i will ever read this to them without crying but as I am sitting here typing and reminiscing on my entire semester I am just so thankful words cannot describe…

Dear mom and dad,

As long as you have known me I have always had my mind made up. I am quite stubborn, very assertive, and pretty sassy to say the least. In most occasions  my lack of uncertainty and my relentless determination to get my way has given me a strong sense of independence and will power throughout my life.

I am sitting here now in my living room of the apartment, Avinguda Josep Tarradellas 3, 3-2a, and I am recounting all the times where I was unsure, nervous, scared, happy, excited, shocked, mind blown, lost, sad, grateful, hungover, tired, and lastly blessed. These past four months have taught me more than I could have ever thought to expect.

I think I will forever be at a loss of the perfect words to say thank you. But I will try. Thank you for sending me early to Barcelona to  a beautiful hotel with the most amazing showers. Thank you for watching youtube videos of the craziness of Ibiza and still sending me there.  Thank you for sending me to Dublin, Ireland where I truly learned the beauty of a landscape and how easy it is to fall off a cliff. Thank you for sending16949_1204491479124_1680451_n me to Berlin, where I took a train to Munich, where I learned drinking hofbrahaus beers was more of a task in of itself, to only learn that trains are unreliable and missing a flight in the Berlin airport was actually terrible, yet needed experience. Thank you for sending me to daydream along the Southern French coast and pretend to fit in at the Monte Carlo Casino. Thank you for sending me to Amsterdam where I pedaled along the canals and even into the ever fearful red light district. Thank you for that really expensive concert ticket to see two of the worlds most renown DJ’s and become a youtube sensation. Thank you for the chilling and humbling experience of listening to a beautiful choir in the West minster Abbey in London. Thank you for sending me to the city of love, Paris, and eating the best crepe of my life and being enchanted by the walls of the Versailles Palace. Thank you for sending me to the motherland where I was able to eat the best food of my life and know I can still come home to my amazing Italian family food. Thank you for sending me to Switzerland where you told me not to skydive but as your stubborn, assertive, determined disobeying child that I am, jumped out of a moving plane over the Swiss Alps only for you. Most of all, thank you for my lifestyle in Barcelona. Thank you for letting this place become a home to me. Thank you for putting a large and annoying time difference between us to let this paradise become a reality for me. Thank you for appreciating my sense of adventure (and funding it) Thank you for still loving me with all that I put you through. There is no possible way for me to repay you for all the memories I have made, all the people I have met, all the places I have seen, and all the things I have done. You have let me live in a dream with my most favorite people and have been more generous beyond words can describe.

But on top of everything I just listed to be ever grateful for, I know I am forever grateful to be blessed with parents who did this for me. You have given me something so precious that I hope one day I can give back to you. Maybe I should say thank you one more time……

THANK YOU FOREVER!!!! xoxxo, lulubelle

News Spot

International: Nelson Mandela death: World mourns South Africa’s first black presidentimages

The world is reacting to Nelson Mandela’s death. All South Africans mourned the death of their first black president, crying, singing and gathering near Nelson Mandela’s homes and other landmarks linked to him nationwide. Mandela, 95, died in Johannesburg and was to be buried in his birthplace, Village of Qunu. Due to the emotional experience, the funeral lasted two hours which was longer than expected.  There were 5,000 people in attendance, including family members and presidents from different countries.

Before the funeral, various events to honor him are planned in major cities. Sunday will be a national day of prayer and reflection, and people will gather in places of worship to pray and meditate. In recent years, Mandela had battled health issues that included multiple hospitalizations for treatment of a recurring lung infection.

Nearly 8,000 miles north of Johannesburg, in Paris, leaders from 53 African countries attending a summit on peace and security observed a minute of silence for him Friday. Memorials popped up from Los Angeles to Chicago, where mourners placed flowers and candles in front of murals bearing his likeness.Mandela helped South Africa break the practice of racial segregation and do away with white minority rule. Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against state-sanctioned racial segregation, he was freed in 1990 and quickly set about working to unite the nation through forgiveness and reconciliation.

Mandela will be remembered for many things, but his message of forgiveness and reconciliation may resonate the most.

National:Laundering operation in Barcelona and Valencia twelve detainees

The National Police has made ​​several records in localities of the metropolitan area of Barcelona and the provinces of Castellón and Valencia, in the context of a ‘macro’ operation against money laundering linked to drug trafficking. troops have been deployed companies, banks and homes of Manresa, Terrassa, Sabadell, Castellar del Vallès (Barcelona), Castellon and Murcia. The transaction, which is open and is being made from this morning, is leading a trial of Terrassa, has decreed that the gag. Most of the arrested subjects are Spanish, but all are interconnected with large organizations.


Local: Barcelona renovará sus señales orientativas para vehículos en los próximos dos años

Barcelona will renew their guidance siCapturagnals for vehicles in the next two years. They will start with the areas near Llobregat and slowly move towards the Besos. Many complaints come from drivers who become lost because the directions are not clear enough. The Government in 1983 developed the first graphical image information signs with he unification of the roads, towns and cities. The Catalan capital pioneered placing order in this matter in urban areas. In 1999, legislation passed a first and in 2001 introduced a new model, which now for the first time, will be completely renovated. The new model will have a blue background, with reflective signs subject to a post that is on one side and still includes driving with the help of pictograms. This will not change because the council considers this proper, but they are going to replace all signs following new criteria on where to route, the routes to be followed, and the number of indicators that will be. The aim is to guide best avoiding information overload that can be overwhelming and confusing, something that is already happening in some places. This rerouting will cost 2.2 million euros.

This renewal promoted by the Municipal Department of Transportation that runs Councilman Eduard Freixedes is the result of a study of the current situation, that of the 2001 plan that has been updated as has been modified road-an example is Lesseps reform-or have been new catchment areas, such as the Forum.


We came, We saw, We Conquered

so what have I done with my time here in Barcelona and my traveling? Hang on and ill show you!!! My group of friends was pretty eager to say the least. My first few days in BarcelonaIMG_2330 I spent at the Renaissance hotel doing this ———> life was great!

As we settled into school we came to our first holiday La Merce. is an annual festival of the city of Barcelona, that has become an official city holiday as of 1871.  It celebrates Our Lady of Mercy, the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Barcelona.  The actual feast day is September 24th, although the festivities tend to begin a few days before it.  We were lucky enough to be present for the festivities within our first couple weeks of being in Barcelona.  It was an incredible experience and fun to engage in another culture’s holidays. The local government organizes activities all over the city that include, music concerts, wine fair, fireworks, and parades.

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We, as Ibiza, like to say “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” and that is precisely what we did. Our first trip was to Ibiza. I probably shouldn’t type more just for the sole fact that I could possibly have my parents read this and that would be awkward…

Next on the list was Catalonian Indepdence Day! Catalan nationalists organize demonstrations in honor of the people who fought in the war against Spain when Catalunya lost its independence. When going out into the streets on this day, I saw thousands of people wearing Catalan flags on their backs as symbols of Catalan pride and they were all lined up in a never-ending line on the main avenue by the port. This line stretched all the way from Barcelona to the border of France/Spain in order to form a human chain to show their desire for independence from Spain. Walking the streets was slightly dangerous and some of the activites going on were scary.


Nightlife in Barcelona:


One of my friends and I favorite spot is Pippermints. Pipperminsts in a small quaint bar that sells giant drinks. You can get liters on liters of beer, vodka mixer, sangria and much more. Its a great way to hangout with friends, meet locals, meet other abroad students, and get drunk. I think it is definitely the most bang for your buck…



Ibiza Booze Cruise

Ibiza Booze Cruise

Milk Bar and Bistro

Milk Bar and Bistro

Olympic Museum

Olympic Museum



Eze Secret Gardens

Eze Secret Gardens

W Hotel Barcelona

W Hotel Barcelona


Tiesto and Calvin Harris in Amsterdam

Tiesto and Calvin Harris in Amsterdam

London Bridge

London Bridge

Skydive Interlaken

Skydive Interlaken

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Lions Den Florence

Lions Den Florence

El Raval. The Model Barcelona

IMG_5136^^Such a fancy title huh? Well, I think it is quite suiting considering the city’s efforts in order to change the image for the OlympicIMG_5116 Games in Barcelona. Our class visited El Raval last week. El Raval is the right side of La Rambla that was most significantly changed by Model Barcelona. They did this in efforts to stop the prostitution and drug affected areas by sailors. This used to be a dangerous place and the city decided instead of sending these people to the outskirts of the city, why not reestablish the area and promote the city? The city create and promoted public buildings and spaces for people to meet, hangout, live, go to school, and shop. Because of the location of El Raval, it is one of thIMG_5117e most expensive square meters in Barcelona.

When we stopped for the introduction of the area, I observed a playground, benches, people walking and talking, stores opening, and a library. The renovation was evident and did not present as a “sketchier” part of the city by any means.


Many of the old buldings are restored and used for other purposes.

This is a picture of ‘La Central Del Raval’ wIMG_5133hich is an old church building that was transformed into a cultural store for the area that mostly sells books and there is a cafe inside. This is just another example of the renovation and amenities for the community in this area. Its on a really charming street and looks inviting even to tourists!

Another example is a church bulding to the right. They were restored and kept because of the beauty and character it gives the area but provides a different meaning for hte community now.

After walking a bit, Xavi put a strong importance on the public spaces El Raval provided. Examples that we saw were the MACBA, CCCB, a dog park and bar area, and UAB. The MACBA museum is Barcelona’s most infamous modern art museum.  Inside the museum, MACBA has temporary collections of modern art. On the outside, many skater and young people meet and hangout. It seems like a fun area to meet local kids around my age. IMG_5124IMG_5123

Next we saw the CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. This cultural center is not a museum, which I learned in my museum and perspectives class. It is place that holds exhibitions that feature different artists around the world. IMG_5130They research and put a team together to make unique temporary exhibitions. I took a field trip to this museum for my ‘Museums in Perspective’ class and it was a very interesting building with cool exhibitions of art and culture. The exterior of the building is just as unique at the interior.  This side of the building was designed in order for people to look up and see the whole skyline of Barcelona on a clear day all the way to the ocean. This was meant to be contemporary since it featured such a beautiful aspect of Barcelona for the transformation. I took a panorama picture to display the square. It is a tad blurry because of my iphone quality.IMG_5132Behind the CCCB there is an open square that is a dog park with a bar on the side. We saw at least 6 to 7 dogs there, running around enjoying their afternoon with their owners close by enjoying a mid morning coffee or beer. IMG_5134

Neighborhood Spotlight

1234168_10200728410640347_1555383059_nI have been fortunate enough to live in the neighborhood Sants. Heres my apartment to your left! With my apartment located on Avinguda Josep Taradellas, I am located in perfect proximity for all public transportation. Because of this, I have been able to travel to school fairly easily, take the train to other cities, and even have access to main lines of the metro. Sants is a very safe and clean, residential area to live in.IMG_1749

For my neighborhood presentation, my roommate, Molly and I presented information about Plaza Espanya. The reason we had to present about Plaza Espanya was because of the amount of people living in Sants. Sadly I think this takes away from the purpose of the project but there just wasnt enough information. Plaza Espanya is about a 10-15 minute walk up Carrer de Tarragona in order to reach the plaza. People are frequently out in Plaza Espanya because of the shopping mall, restaurants, public transit, and tourist attractions in the small area. Plaza Espanya is one of Barcelona’s main squares of the city. The plaza was built and redone for the 1929 International Exhibition which sits right at the bottom of Montjuic.


The large museum on the hill is called the National Museum of  Catalan Art. This beautiful piece of Catalan architecture is one of Barcelona’s magnificent symbols of the city and its culture. This is a real picture taken by my roommate, Molly. She likes to run the stairs of Montjuic and has dragged me along with her a few times. Needless to say, the beauty of Montjuic is mesmerizing but the stairs are terrifying!!


Below the museum there is a giant display of a  Magic Fountain show. Every weekend, this gigantic fountain performs a show with colors, music, and different water levels which is a truly beautiful sight to see. This show draws a lot of people from all over the city and many tourists. Its normally extremely crowded so come early! The summer hours are more manageable to make but obviously as it gets cooler, less and less people wait to see the show. It is quite popular during the summer but it can be disrupted by any concerts or events happening in the giant courtyard of the fountain show.


Fira Barcelona is Barcelona’s largest trade show venue and is one of the most important in Europe. These buildings organize several trade shows per year that display companies new products and services which help businesses grow and expand. These building held the Universal Exhibition of 1888, which is why the plaza was built, and the International Exhibition of 1929.


IMG_3971Our third field trip was a place I had already explored!!! Finally, I felt a leg up on the history and layout of Barcelona for once! Nonetheless, I learned way more than expected. This field trip brought a better perspective of Via Laietana and the El Born district. As we started the field trip we were told the city was divided into four parts, or better known as the Political, the Cathedral, the Arts and the Merchants.

This area was the home of guilds all throughout the medieval period of Barcelona. Guilds, according to our book,  were the merchants and artisans of Barcelona that provided the city’s with its main source of economic growth. They determined trade, fixed prices, right for workers, enforced quality control, helped aid the navy and militia, basically they were a way of life for the medieval Barcelona. As a student for America, I would have never known what these buildings symbolized or meant to the city. Xavi told us this was the livelihood of the city. The Guilds lasted about 600 years from the 13th century to the 18th century. A Guild included one skilled man or master along with an apprentice. Guilds not only represented an economic organization, it included the ideals of family life as well. Each floor of the building had its own significance.  Obviously, the main floor would be the shop of the guild.  It would contain products of the guild’s expertise, for example, wool, cotton, mirrors, etc.  The guild master lived with his family on the second floor of the building, since it was the closest to the shop.  The floor above the master and his family was home to the guild masters’ assistants and finally, on the top floor was the home of the servants.

IMG_3967This first picture is particularly important because it was wool guild and the starting point for the stock market (La Llotja in Plaza Palau) The stock market was close to the sea so the traders did not have to travel far for items being exported or imported. It gave as easy way for travel. I’d like to think this street would be alot like wall street or the stock market in modern times, but most likely not. I doubt it had that craziness….

These next few pictures are other examples of guilds and the street names relating back to the origins. We visited streets where guilds of the cotton makers lived, or even where the women would meet and do all the laundry in the middle of the square. As Xavi was explaining it, I immediately was grateful for a washing machine. The labor women in the medieval times went through seems excruciating. Even our grandmothers having to wash things like that seems quite unfair.img_0593

After learning about the importance and significance of the guilds, we went to Santa Maria del Mar Church. It was built between 1329 and 1383 and is the only existing church with purely Catalan Gothic architecture. It was built for the working class by the working class. I believe this brings the church more character than ever. How unique to watch something and contribute to when you pray and worship in the same place.


We first admired the outside architecture of the church. It was exquisite. Luckily, I had already had the pleasure of seeing the beauty of the church but never knew the history it held. Xavi explained that the two front doors contain depictions of workers carrying stones on their backs. This showed which guild member who helped carry heavy stone from the quarry to their new church. Inside the church, you can see the tomb stones dedicated to those guild families who donated and help construct the church. This was a public display of who helped. IMG_3980

As you walk around the church, we were brought to the memorial plaza, or better known as Fossar de les Moreres. This celebrates and acknowledges the heroes that fought when the Catalans were invaded in the Spanish succession. Thiimg_2999s statue was built over the cemetery where the soldiers are buried. This hold a strong symbolization of unity and commemoration for the city.

Jewish Area, Gothic Quarters, Cathedral

The second field trip started at the Cathedral of Barcelona. This was my first time seeinIMG_2976g the Cathedral and boy oh boy was I shocked. The beauty of the building early in the morning is quite breathtaking. The sun hitting the old building in such a certain way gave me chills.The class met outside on the steps of the Cathedral before continuing on with their walking tour. Around the Cathedral, there are so many little alleys and could lead you to new and different parts of the ctiy. I had to stick close by or else I would have been lost very quickly.

Be prepared for the amount of pictures I have viewers!! This was such a interesting field trip for me- I went a little crazy. I cannot forget my immediate reaction of the design of the streets. The area around this massive building is comprised of small-narrow streets not wide enough for a car to drive down, literally. Each street was so unique and different, it was not just a name of a street that distinguished each of them. Some streets were enhanced by decorative graffiti and “artwork” that Xavi drew more attention to ( I will show later).

Passing down these narrow IMG_2981alleys also gave us the opportunity to observe the Cathedral from a different angle. The side of the building is amazing and I love the sculptures that are attached to the building. As we kept walking, we found ourselves in the center of Plaza Jaume, where the energy changed immediately. Around the Catherdral, it was more solemn, we did see old ladies begging on the street but that seemed to be the only noise. Around Plaza Jaume we witnessed the livelyhood of the city, or the huzzle and buzzle we call it in New York.

While Plaza Jaume was enjoyable to see, my favorite part of this field trip was the Jewish area. The Jewish Quarters of the city was a place that I was always hoping to visit, however, I struggled to find them on my own. Half of my family is Jewish, my grandmother was one of twelve and raised in a non denominational home. Becuase of that, many of my mothers cousins and my second cousins aIMG_2988re Jewish. My mom, a catholic, stressed the importance of other religions on my family a great deal.  This next picture symbolizes the bridge of faith. This bridge is a connection from the Cathedral to the Jewish quarter. The symbol of the bridge shows a connection between the two religions and two neighborhoods of the city during the Roman times. I was interested to learn and hear the relationship that people sharing my same religious background have impacted the city in many waysIMG_2990 such as business. This next picture to the left is an example of an apartment in the Jewish quarter, dating back to late B.C. and early A.D. The first floor had the highest ceilings and then they get lower as you increase floors. The rooms with the lower ceilings were generally where the maids and slaves lived. The rooms with high-vaulted ceilings wIMG_2996ere for the nobility of the time. Similar to the history I am aware of, it is not a surprise to here that Jewish people from Barcelona suffered similar struggles to Jews in other parts of the world. I would like to finish my post with this picture of graffiti. Alot of the time we pass this type of “art” up. We just are too busy with our own specific agenda to really be observant of the things around us. Xavi pointed this specpfic piece of art out and we all just took a few minutes to admire it. It was honestly one of the first time I should and stared at street art. It was beautiful to take that moment and just relish in it.

I started my four month journey in Barcelona by visiting The Roman Barcino museum. Right off the metro stop at Jaume I, I was anxious and skeptical to see what the museums in Barcelona had to offer. Were the museums in Barcelona vastly different from those in the United States? What history did they have that could be different? A lot of questions were running through my mind early in the morning and definitely a cappuccino from the local cafe near my apartment helped.

Prior to entering into the museum itself, I was immediately blown away by the exterior of the building and the Gothic area of the city. My best guy friend, Sam Harrington, who interestingly enough, is in my class, lives in the Gothic area. Before school, he would take me around these winding streets and I never had any idea of the history and culture I was walking through.

I couldn’t wait to enter the museum and begin to learn more about the city where I was now living in. We started with a introduction of the four roman columns still standing today. The four, nine meter columns represent what once was The Temple of Augustus, the heart of the Roman Forum.

Roman Columns

Roman Columns

Next we entered an elevator that brought us back in time and into the literal remains of what was left of the Roman heritage here in Barcelona.

I had no idea that these remains existed beneath the streets I had walked down several times in search of food, coffee, or even just to look around. The preservation and conservation of the rocks, aqueducts, and pathways was incredible. The guide showed us all around the area and this gave us a good picture of how life would be many years ago. We could imagine them cooking in their giant holes where stew of fish was brewed for weeks, the wine they would make, and even imagine the water flow of the city. Below you can see the pictures!



Not only did we see there sewage and water systems, housing structures, and ways to make wine, we saw cases and examples of hygienic items, headdresses, rings, games, items for spinning and weaving, sewing needles of all kinds. All the detailed explanation from Professor Xavi and our tour guide, we were really able to envision the Roman structure. Seeing the 3-D models of the house structure, with examples of the mosaic tiles and roman ‘dumus’, I was starting to see the history this city provided. But I wondered, would I have even known if I didn’t take this class?  I was not aware of history of Barcelona orIMG_2817 the sequence of events that created such a metropolitan area today. Could I be this naive? I was about to live in a city for four months of my life and was just grasping how important it is to understand what was buried beneath this city.

Currently, in CEA I am taking a museum in perspective course. I am anxious to see which class can provide me with the most history and relevance to this city. I think its quite interesting how these two courses have some overlap. Visiting this museum left me with great anticipation of what else I would discover. It left me feeling more positive of my skill set in Barcelona to navigate around and identify what I was seeing. I couldn’t wait to explore more of the city and try the restaurants Xavi suggested!!!!

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