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6 February 2016

My First Week Living and Working in Barcelona

My first week in Barcelona has been quite hectic. Not that the quick rhythm of the city gives you any other chance, but you know, sometimes you need to stop and relax a bit (which is what I'm super duper looking forward to for this weekend).
I have found a flat!! I actually had an appointment to view it while I wrote the flat hunting post but I wasn't sure if I wanted it or not. I had viewed it and wasn't convinced about it, but eventually went for it. The good things about it are:
A- the nice housemates, who enjoy hanging out and practising Spanish. We are getting along quite well and have had a flat dinner and went out together once (yesterday was my first night out in Barcelona!). Katya is from Russia, Izel is a Mexican-American and Sara is a Korean from New Zealand.
B- The living room is very bright and spacious and we like doing yoga and dancing in there :) and I basically have the bathroom for myself as the girls use mostly the second bathroom.
C- The location is very handy.
D- It's cheap.

The bad sides:
A- my room is tiny and it has a single bed. Also it's not bright at all because in Spain it is very common that flat windows overlook the interior patio and hence don't get any light in, and only one or two rooms will. I can't even open the window because people smoke a lot and the bad smell would get in my room.
B- There is no sofa in the living room.
I'm only staying in this flat for a month, as next month I'll be moving to an upper floor of the same building where I'll get a larger room with a double bed and a sofa in the living room for the same price. I'm excited because although it will still be dark, I'll be able to invite friends and family over. The landlord even said he doesn't mind!

I have started my internship! This is my first full time job, and thank God, I made a good choice. Thinking that I was indecisive between an internship in Barcelona and one in Lanzarote is crazy! I mean, I can be both in the city and roasting under the sun on a Spanish beach in Barcelona, whereas Lanzarote would only have meant sun - beach - tourists. Here, I'm working for a destination management company, that is, a company that organises events for groups (like conferences, trips, matches, etc.). I'm finding it quite fun, as it's not too hard for interns: in the morning I usually work at the office, then in the afternoon I go check out restaurants, hotels and other places in order to see if they are ok for our clients and to get to know the city well, which is a vital part of the job. So far I've seen something like 20-30 restaurants and a couple of hotels and man, Barcelona has some really awesome places to eat at! On my first day I looked at the restaurants and bar along Olimpic and Barceloneta beaches, and even though they were often touristic, they had an amazing view and customer service.

The best experience so far was the ham tasting at Jamón Experience, a ham museum and restaurant where Annie and I (Annie is also from Bristol uni and is working with me) were sent to a blind-tasting ham session! In the museum, the way ham is made is explained through audiovisual material wih a voice over; they didn't explain how the pigs were killed, which was raised in the second bit of the visit as a rather controversial issue. Personally, I didn't feel great as I am not vegetarian but eat very little meat as the awareness on the topic is being raised more and more every day. However, I focused on the experience and tried not to think about the meat issue. Later, the ham tasting session started: we were given five different types of ham to taste and a glass of cava (yeahhh!), then were asked to use a blind-fold and guess three types of ham based on the ones we'd just tasted. We felt so pampered and left the place in a very good mood :)

Other amazing places I've been visiting were the posh restaurants on Passeig de Gràcia I was sent to view. I really want to go and eat at some of those when my family and friends come and visit. My favourite ones were El Nacional and Mandarin Oriental, which looked so posh and unique. El Nacional on the other hand has a different concept of cuisine and space, and it looks a bit like a traditional Spanish version of Flax & Kale (my favourite, but not part of the restaurants we had to view).

Now I only need to find good yoga classes and a place where to dance salsa and I'll feel even more settled. I am falling in love with this city every single day more and more. It's got to the level where I am wondering if I prefer Barcelona to London, which has been my favourite since my childhood. The different people on the streets, the atmosphere, the vibrant restaurants and bars are things I will always notice until I live here. This city is magic, and I am ready to live it fully in the five months I'll be spending here. <3

8 comments:

  1. So exciting!!! Please, keep on sharing! I LOVED Barcelona, but I have just been there on holiday, so it doesn't really count as an experience...

    Good luck!!

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/welcome/

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    1. Thank you so much Arianna! It is completely different when you travel there as a tourist or live there, but I think that both are interesting experiences :)

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  2. I'm so looking forward to reading your next adventure, Assia! Congrats on your internship as well! Best of luck in all you do :)

    -Lor // https://acozyspace.wordpress.com/

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  3. Really curious to hear more about the cultural differences that you've picked up while working in Spain! I've found this area fascinating since starting to work abroad. :)

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    1. Thanks for passing by and commenting Karen! I will write more about it, and yes, I also find Barcelona very vibrant and unique as a place to work in. :)

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  4. So wait, you're done with school in Valencia? If I come to Spain next summer, will you be in Barcelona -- with all the best tips for restaurants and things for visitors?

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    1. Yes, I took my exams in Valencia uni so my Erasmus study programme is over :( No, I will leave when I'm done with my internship, but you should go! Barcelona is the best. And of course, I will try and make a list of my favourite places to eat and drink + artisty sites.

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