Thursday, December 09, 2010


and too sick to post updates so go HERE for pichas!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


How is it already mid-November?? I feel like I was just in Madrid for Halloween complaining about how November was about to begin. I have so much to update on my recent travels so I'll try to keep it short.

We went to Galicia, a region in the Northwest of Spain. We stayed in the province of A Coruña and visited the capital Santiago de Compostela. Architecture majors might remember studying the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela. It's a Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is rumored to be the burial place of Saint James. I also learned it's the third holiest place in the world after Jerusalem and the Vatican. It was basically amazing and I couldn't believe I was there!

These pictures make the situation look quite pleasant but in reality, it was terribly and none of us were prepared. That whole day was pretty bad but we got over it and just accepted that we would be soaking wet and freezing. There really wasn't another option. We were there on a Sunday and lined up to go to mass. The ceremony was very cool, unlike anything I've experienced. Pictures were prohibited but I'm sneaky and caught a few.
While in Santiago, we also toured the construction site of Peter Eisenman's City of Culture of Galicia. Eisenman wanted to make the complex invisible and part of the natural hills of the rolling landscape. It was a nice concept but most of us agreed that the execution and materials used weren't suitable. I'm excited to see the finished building though.
We spent more time in A Coruña touring the old city, museums, and lighthouse but the highlight of this trip was definitely the cathedral. The following weekend, a few of us went to Valencia to visit Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences. The buildings, to me, resembled different spaceships. I was surprised to see the scale of the project..I had no idea it was so huge. Other than the attractive appearance of the exteriors, the interiors were pretty much a fail. The museums were terrible and the aquarium was the worst thing ever. Nothing like Monterey Bay or Seaworld <3
Our lovely hostel..which reminded us of a whorehouse (notice the purple room)
Terrible aquarium..poor animals :(
Trying agua de Valencia with unhappy Namon
Paella! Valencia's specialty
That following weekend Virginia came to visit! She's studying abroad in Berlin this semester and came to Barcelona with a few of her friends. It was so nice to see a familiar face and FINALLY another Asian person. I never thought I would miss hanging with Asian people so much. Here we are at Razzmatazz..not exactly the best place to go to catch up but it was fun nonetheless.

For Halloween weekend, we went to Madrid for a few days. Madrid wasn't as great as I expected. It felt like any other city and their nightlife wasn't exciting. We visited all the main tourist attractions including the Caixaforum, Reina Sofia, Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace, and El Prado. El Prado, Reina Sofia, and the palace were probably the more interesting things we saw. Seeing Las Meninas and Guernica live was like seeing a celebrity.
Reina Sofia
El Prado and go bears!
Royal Palace
The following weekend, we went to Bilbao and neighboring town of San Sebastian. We of course went to see the Goog, which made us appreciate Frank Ghery more. I expected another Valencia experience, where the exterior looks cool but interior sucks. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the museum. The Richard Serra exhibit was my favorite. We took the train that same day to San Sebastian where we spent the night. The town was so adorable! It was a cute little city right next to the beach. That night was very fun..our hostel recommended a long list of things to do (bars, tapas etc.) and we hit up allll of them haha.
Chuck and his new lover

Jeff Koons Tulips and bilbooing around in Serra's exhibit
Goooooog and my future landscape centerpiece on the left
I know I know..these resemble something else but it was delicious!
10 euros/10shots! and tapas afterwards right before something embarrassing happened heh..
My most recent trip was a program trip to Granada in the South of Spain to see La Alhambra. It was nice to finally see a different style of architecture. The Moorish palace was very interesting and the whole area including the garden was huge; it was like its own little city. We had a 6 hour tour and through it, we learned a bit more about Islamic architecture. One of my favorites was the Arabesque patterns of the canopies and everywhere else in the palaces haha. We also saw a flamenco show with dinner, which felt so Spanish. I could really tell that we were no longer in Catalunya. It was fun to see such dramatic and talented dancers.
Granada during the day and night
Flamenco show and Spaniards playing with fire once again..

Inside the Alhambra!
beautiful details in the corridors
Taj Mahal? and group picture!
Finally I'm back to Barcelona for a longer period of time. Next week is already Thanksgiving o_o.. I decided not to travel mainly to save money for my final trip and believe it or not, I have papers and projects to finish asap. I leave for London and Dublin next Thursday for a week and when I return, everything is due along with finals. Yippeee, need to keep reminding myself that none of these classes count! I know this post was massive but hopefully it was entertaining.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Keeping up with this blog clearly failed..and once weeks have gone by, so many things have happened that make it even harder to update. So this will be my extremely condensed version of my past 7 weeks in beautiful Barcelona and some other cities along the way.

My weekdays always start here, the CIEE center at Passatge Permanyer. It's a cute little street where all my classes take place. I'm really enjoying my classes here. Spanish is fun, studio is chill, and my other 2 on Gaudi and the visual culture of Barcelona are awesome because we take walking tours to actually see what we learn about in class.
Residencia Onix, my home for this semester. I have my own room, bathroom, and share a kitchen with a local Spanish student. The space is small but I'm not complaining. Our program organizes day and weekend trips for us and so far we've been to a Cava tour (Catalan version of champagne), Sitges, and Galicia.

The caves of Codorniu where cava is stored.
The lady pouring us some draaaaanks.
New friends getting buzzed off free cava at 12pm!
The beautiful beach at Sitges.
The whole city reminded me of Mamma Mia.
One of the first nights in Barcelona, we went to Razzmatazz. It was huge, sweaty, dirty, and very European. We got tired of the pulsing house music after about 20 minutes lol..never thought I would miss annoying American club music so much. They definitely do not play bay slaps here :(
Besides night time activities, we have done quite a bit of exploring around Barcelona. I love walking down the street here because I'll always see something appealing...architecture, food, people, etc. My birthday this year landed on a yearly festival, La Merce. It's a Roman Catholic holiday and the city organizes a series of events during the week.
The gigantes at the opening ceremony of La Merce.
Castellers! This was pretty crazy..basically a competition to see who could stack the most people...
People getting ready for Correfoc, the firerun. They run down the street throwing fire sparks at people.
In retrospect, this looks like a terrible idea. It was fun at the time though but also quite painful because I wasn't dressed right haha.
Now about the food. I wish I wrote this when I first got here, back when I thought everything was delicious. I'm slowly getting over the novelty of Spanish food but once in awhile I'll try something and be pleasantly surprised. Like today! We went to Euskal Etxea and had some great tapas. Fried goat cheese and jam..who would've thunk it??
We also had a Cook and Taste class where we learned how to make a traditional Catalan meal.
HUGE pan of paella to feed all 12 of us.
The tasty tomato, mozzarella, pesto, and garlic appetizer.
Catalan Cream!
Really good egg sandwich I had awhile ago..I still think about this sandwich.
So much seafood in Barcelona and it's soo good.
Patatas Bravas! A typical Spanish tapa. This was from Bar Tomas, supposed to be the best in town.
Suizo! Thick chocolate with fresh cream that you eat with churros. Looking at these again is making me a bit hungry so I guess that's it for now. I have too much to talk about that I'll do it in separate post. I miss you all!