From Newbie to Uber Geek

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Corrida de Toros

The first weekend in Barcelona, Dirk, my brother, and I went to a real Spanish, Corrida de Toros, bullfight with my (now ex-) roommate, a French girl and her (now ex-) boyfriend. And it was shocking!!

Sophie, my ex-roommate, grew up with bullfights, apparently that’s a tradition in the south of France as well, and she knew a lot to tell about it, which was good because I had no idea what they were doing! I had this image that one very brave (or crazy) man would have an one on one fight with the bull, but actually there were about 8 men in the arena torturing the bull! First when the bull is still very energetic there are two “Picadors” coming in the arena, that are horseman (of course they are high and safe on the poor horses) whose job is to weaken the bull by spearing it! Then there are several “Toreadors” – bullfighters who are basically there to exhaust and distract the bull after the “Banderilloros” insert the Banderillas (the special sharp stick) in the bull’s neck. After that, when the bull is weak and bleeding very badly the “Faena” (art of bullfighting) can begin, with one man and his red cape teasing the bull, this man is the “Matador” the leading toreador whose in charge of the killing the bull by sword. This spectacle is about 15-25 minutes, after the killing, the arena is cleaned, and a new bull is brought in!

It was amazing to see how much blood there was coming out of the bull and how people were encouraging the Toreadors! The only moment that Dirk and I were cheering was when one guy got seriously hit by the bull and had to leave the arena! But I have to admit that after 3 or 4 bulls you’re getting used to the blood, and can see the “art of bullfighting”.

After the fight the Matador made a round of honour, and the crowd went mad!! Everybody throwing flowers and screaming. Also people were waving with white a tissue, which apparently means that the fight was very exciting and good!

Anyway, I can everybody recommend to just to go and experience this real Spanish spectacle, even though I probably won’t be going again!

Vivo en Barcelona!!

Well, about four months later, finally a new post! A lot has changed in these past four months, most importantly of all, I’m living in Barcelona now since 3 weeks, and it has been amazing so far!

I’m here to do my internship (remember that I told about the year abroad, half a year internship and half a year studying), which will start in the beginning of September, but since I do not speak Spanish yet I arrived almost 4 weeks ago to take an intensive Spanish course!

My brother was sweet enough to bring me to Barcelona, which was really great since I had about 45 kg of luggage! We had an amazing weekend, the first night we had to stay in a hostel because there was still someone in the room I was going to move in to, (which I knew of course before I got here). On the first night in Barcelona we have been wondering around in the Gotic area which is really old, with very small streets and great lively plaza’s at places you would never expect someone to come. Of course we also had great paella, sangria and Cerveza!

My room and apartment are really cool! I’ve got great roommates (3 guys, lucky me ;) ) who are so much fun, one from Germany, one from Mexico and one guy, Robbert, from Holland! Robbert will still be staying for about 4 months and unfortunately both the German guy as the Mexican will be moving out next week. Carlos, the Mexican guy will stay in Barcelona though so we’ll definitely meet again (every Tuesday night Grey’s Anatomy night!!).
Right next to our front door there is a relatively big supermacado, and not even 50 meters further there is a metro stop for one of the main lines!! So within 10 minutes by metro I’m at the Ramblas, the heart of
Barcelona. Unfortunately the metro only goes till 12 weekdays and till 2 in the weekend (Fridays and Saturdays), which is very strange since (tapas)bars are so cheap everybody is going out for dinner, and Spanish dinner is around 21:30/22:30! But there are plenty of good bars/restaurants/clubs on walking distance from our house, so it’s ok!

I’m in my fourth week of Spanish classes now, 25 hours a week, it’s going ok, I just wish learning Spanish was going faster, but I’m doing what I can. I can pretty much follow people, just speaking it stays scary and challenging! The language school is called “Enforex”, and no offence, but I’ve got this feeling that there is totally no system there. The teachers are really nice and doing there best, but like for example; I had afternoon classes the first two weeks, which means you’re going to school from 1:30 – 6:30, so you wake up late, go to school, come home, and then there is not really time to go sightseeing, to the beach or whatever, you’re just going out for dinner, to a bar later maybe.. But it felt like I was wasting time, so I asked for a transfer to a morning class, which wasn’t a problem, but they placed me in a class who just got in their second week, while I was supposed to be in my third week! So last week was a bit of a waste. Anyway, of course I studied for myself, but it’s just weird. Still 3 and a half week of school to go! Time is flying, even though it feels like I already have been here for months!!

I love being here, I've met so many great and interesting people, the weather is great and the whole Spanish atmosphere is so relaxed! And Barcelona is so beautiful, with great architecture, museums, beaches, parks, shops, bars, terraces etc etc.

So far the general information, I’ll write about my adventures soon, and I’ll try to put on some pics!

Hasta la Vista!