A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: AnneO

NWTC Students Will Study Abroad in Barcelona!

Hi everyone,

I am so excited to be leading another study abroad trip, this time to Barcelona! The students on this program will be law, business and engineering students and we will be gone January 1-14. My co-leader is Joe Barker, who teaches Engineering and I teach in the Paralegal program. We cannot wait for the adventure to begin tomorrow! This has been in the works for over a year now and it is hard to believe the time is here.

We are working with a study abroad provider in Barcelona, called Barcelona SAE (https://www.barcelonasae.com/). They have set up a really great itinerary for us and I think it is going to be a wonderful experience for everyone. Tomorrow will be a long day, however. We leave NWTC mid-morning and take a bus to Chicago. We fly from O'Hare to Paris, where we have about a four-hour layover before our flight to Barcelona. We will arrive in Barcelona at 2:20pm on January 2. I hope everything will be on time! It looks like the weather should be ideal for travel.

We will be spending 12 nights in Barcelona and are staying in apartments in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona. They look like they will be a really nice and comfortable home away from home for almost two weeks. If you are curious to see where we will be staying, click this link: https://www.mhapartments.com/eng/Apartments2/Barcelona-Apartments/Barcelona/Eixample-Area/MH-Barcelona

My goal is to blog each day during our trip to the extent possible. Please subscribe to this blog or bookmark the site to follow our adventure. Please also feel free to "like" our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/nwtcstudyabroadbarcelona2017)where I will the posting this blog and the students will also be posting pictures and videos.

Wish us luck and save travels!

Anne

Posted by AnneO 07:00 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Travel and Tapas


View Barcelona 2017 on AnneO's travel map.

Well, me made it safely to Barcelona! It was a really long travel day and we are all exhausted, but we are excited to be here.

Our day started off at 10:15am in Green Bay when we met our bus in the NWTC parking lot. The day was perfect for travel and we got to Chicago O'Hare in no time. We checked in for our flight, went through security and got on the plane. However, we were late boarding as it was, and after we were all on the plane the pilot told us that they were going to need extra fuel so we had to wait for them to come do that. The plane got fueled but apparently they guys who brought the fuel failed to provide the appropriate documentation so we had to wait for them to come back with that. But we were eventually on our way. We had an uneventful flight to Paris, and no one slept much.

When you land in Paris you have to go through a border patrol station. After about 2/3 of the group passed through, suddenly the border patrol officers got up and left. We were told that someone "lost their luggage" and the officers had to deal with that so the border was closed. I am guessing what they meant was there was some unattended baggage that needed to be checked out. Eventually we all got through though.

We went to our assigned gate and waited. When it was near the time to board, something didn't seem right. I looked online and found that our gate had changed. So we hurried up to get to the new gate, and found the flight was delayed. When it was time to go we had to board a bus that took us out to the tarmac to board our plane. It was a short flight over the Pyranees to Barcelona. A bus was there to pick us up and take us to our apartments. They are quite nice and very comfortable! I will post pictures tomorrow.

After having a short time to get settled, we met with Clara from Barcelona SAE to have a short orientation. Clara told us about how to be safe in Barcelona and also what to expect while we are here. After that, we headed out for a walk through the city center and eventually to our dinner location. We ate tapas at a restaurant called Qu Qu. We had maybe a dozen different tapas to try. We all agreed the food was really good. One of the favorites was a crab salad on toast. My favorite was patatas bravas. We even had mussels, which I think just about everyone tried. That was maybe the most "exotic" thing we had.

It is now time to get some sleep after being awake around 24 hours. But so far so good! Starting tomorrow I will add pictures to these blogs.

Adios,

Anne

Posted by AnneO 12:38 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

Gothic Quarter Tour

Our first full day in Barcelona


View Barcelona 2017 on AnneO's travel map.

Here are some pictures of our apartments:

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It seems like everyone got a good night's sleep last night, which means jet lag has mostly been beat! Today was our first full day of sightseeing. The weather here is beautiful -- sunny most of the time and in the 50s. The locals think this is cold but we are all loving it!

One thing we do is have students take turns being leaders for the day. Song and Jared were our leaders for today. They have a number of responsibilities during the day. The first one is to brief us on what we are doing that day, so Song told us about what we would see during our walking tour. She did a really great job and set the example for what the other students will do. We then took the subway to the Barcelona SAE office where we met our walking tour guide, Dan (at least I think that was his name; I am terrible at remembering names), who is from England. We learned about events in Barcelona history from Roman times through the Spanish Civil War. We saw a church that still has the marks from shrapnel from a bomb that landed nearby a church. They left it as it was because a lot of children died from that bomb and they wanted it as a memorial. Below are some pictures from our tour.

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After the tour we had a break for lunch. Most of us went to a sandwich shop. Mine was a Spanish omelet sandwich, which is one of my favorite things to eat in Spain. There is also an interesting snow globe display in the square near our meeting point after lunch. It seems to be related to a poem of some sort, but everything is written in Catalan so I couldn't read it and Google Translate wasn't making sense of it either. But, for example, one snow globe showed a guy fishing, but instead of a worm at the end it was a nose, and instead of a fish it was a beer bottle. And there were noses all over the floor of the snow globe. So I don't get it, but maybe I can find out somehow.

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After lunch, Jared led us back to the Barcelona SAE offices where a professor gave a lecture about the history of Spain since 1975. We learned about Spain's political and economic situation, and talked about the issue of many Catalans wanting Catalunya to be independent of Spain. There may even be a referendum about this later this year. Or there might not be. It's complicated.

When the lecture was over at 4pm, that was the end of our planned activities. But first, Song and Jared each did a short video about their experiences so far in Barcelona. If you would like to see those interviews, they will be posted on our Facebook page. This is the first time the students have the opportunity to have free time in Barcelona. We hope they have a great time exploring their new surroundings!

Adios,

Anne

Posted by AnneO 13:18 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

Day Trip to Tarragona


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When we met up with the students this morning, it was good to hear they had a fun (and safe!) first night out on their own. Blanca from Barcelona SAE was at our apartments to take us on our day trip to Tarragona. Today's leaders were Lukas and Stacie and together they informed the group what we could expect to see in Tarragona. Our bus trip to the city took a little less than an hour and a half. There, we met up with our walking tour guide. During the tour, we saw Roman and Medieval structures such as the Cathedral, the Roman wall, and the amphitheater. We also saw some beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the City of Tarragona.

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Our lunch was a buffet with many items to choose from. I was glad to see that a lot of people tried a little of everything.

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After lunch we had about an hour and a half of free time. I went with a group to see an excavation of tombs. Joe went with a group that stumbled upon an ice rink. One student, Tanner, tried ice skating for the first time!

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The group got back together in a square with a statute representing the human towers that are often seen in this part of Spain. Everyone seemed to have some fun with this statue.

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We then took the bus back to Barcelona, where everyone was off to explore the city some more. You can see videos of Lukas and Stacie on our Facebook page.

Joe and I went to the Placa Catalunya, where we saw a little festival in preparation for the Three Kings' arrival on the 6th. It was amusing to see the little kids sitting on the Kings' laps, just like kids in America sit on Santa's lap. Guess the lap-sitting thing is pretty universal! This King even waved at me when I took his picture.

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That is one thing that has been great about being in Barcelona this time of the year. Christmas here is in full swing all the way through Epiphany on the 6th. So it has been fun seeing how everything is decorated and visiting the Christmas markets.

All in all, another great day! And the weather continues to be absolutely perfect.

Adios,

Anne

Posted by AnneO 14:33 Archived in Spain Comments (3)

El Raval and Chocolate Con Churros


View Barcelona 2017 on AnneO's travel map.

Yesterday's leader was Heather, so she began the day telling us a little about the Raval neighborhood that we would be touring. The area was once pretty seedy and tourists were advised not to go there. But since about the time of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona it has been gentrified and it is a much better area that it used to be. Below are some sights from the area. One really interesting building is all glass on the side and at the top it it tipped just perfectly so it reflects the sea at the top. You could see the reflection of the cable car moving across the area. A number of students hope to get down there and ride that cable car while we are here.

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After our tour we stopped at a cafe to eat chocolate con churros. This is a very traditional snack in Spain. A churro is basically a fried dough, and the chocolate is thick to it coats the churro when you dunk it in the chocolate. It is really good.

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After our snack we had the afternoon free. Some students went to the zoo, some to a museum and others who knows where. I went by myself to Parc Guell, which was really cool. I am going to encourage the students to go there if they have time. Below are some pictures.

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We also got to experience a major cultural activity last night, the Three Kings parade. In Spain, the children get gifts on the morning of Epiphany from the Three Kings. The night before, the Kings arrive at the port in Barcelona and travel through the streets. The parade is really cool because it tells the story of the Kings coming and how the kids need to go to bed so the Kings can deliver their presents. The floats are pretty high, so you don't need to be right in the front to be able to see. One interesting thing to see was that people bring step ladders to the parade so if they are in the back they do can get above the crowd to see. It never occurred to me to do that! Below are some pictures of the parade and you can see a short video clip on our Facebook page.

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Today is a holiday in Spain so we have the entire day free. We will be doing an Epiphany celebration later tonight as a group. We are doing gift exchange, eating tapas, and trying the cake traditionally eaten on Epiphany. You will hear more about that in the next blog entry.

Adios,

Anne

Posted by AnneO 04:21 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

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