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Feliz Dia de los Reyes Magos!

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Today is Epiphany, the feast of the three kings. It is a holiday in Spain, so there were no planned activities by Barcelona SAE for us today. Therefore everyone was on their own the most of the day. Some people went to the beach.


The one thing we did have planned was a celebration. Joe and I wanted to give the students some idea of the way Spaniards were celebrating the day. When we were on the bus to Chicago, everyone drew names to be a "Secret King". They were to spend up to 10 Euros for that person. We scheduled our celebration for 5pm and each apartment was to bring a tapa or two to the party. We would also provide the traditional cake Spaniards eat on Epiphany, call the roscón de reyes. We had quite a spread! I think everyone enjoyed the giving and receiving of gifts.


After our meal, we went to Placa Espanya to see the Magic Fountain. Below are some pictures and I am also posting a video on our Facebook page.


That is about it for today. It was good to have a more restful day where everyone could recharge a bit now that we are hitting the midway point of our trip. I hope you all have a great Dia de los Reyes!



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

Weekend -- calçotada and last full day of free time

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On Saturday, the morning was left free for the students to complete a scavenger hunt created by Barcelona SAE. The students went to various parts of the cit to explore some differences between Spain and the US and to see some additional sites not otherwise on our itinerary. We then met back at the hotel and went as a group to the restaurant where we would participate in a calçotada. Vaughn was our leader for the day so he led the way.

A caloçotada is also known as a Spanish barbecue and is something they do this time of the year. It features a calçot, which is basically a large green onion. It is cooked over a fire and wrapped in newspaper to steam. When you get it, you peel off the charred outer layers and eat the white part of the onion dipped in a delicious romances of sauce. To eat, you hold it above your head and drop it into your mouth. Below you can see a Tanner and Lukas demonstrating. There was a lot of food served at the meal and we were really full at the end. It was a fun experience, and some students found some new foods they didn't expect to like.


After the meal was complete, we had the rest of the afternoon and all day Sunday free. I went to Madrid to visit a friend. The rest of the group did a number of things around Barcelona. With the trip now half-way through, everyone is making sure to get to all the places they want to make sure to see. A number of people also took advantage of the free time to rest, which is also very important.

Sunday night, most of the group went to a bar to watch the Packers beat the Giants in the playoffs. The game was on here at 10:30pm so it was a late night for us, but we were glad to see a win!

Go Pack Go!


Posted by AnneO 12:31 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Brewery Tour and Sagrada Familia

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Today's leaders were Tanner and Jake. Tanner gave us the overview of the day and we boarded our bus to go to the Estrella brewery. It was interesting to see all the machinery used to make the beer, and everyone enjoyed the samples at the end.


The bus then brought us back to our apartments. Some students went out and some took advantage of the siesta time. Our next appointment for the day was the Sagrada Familia church, which is one of the places for which Barcelona is most known. It has been under construction since 1882 and isn't scheduled to be completed until 2026. It is really beautiful inside. It is supposed to look like a forest with the columns inside and the way the light shines in thought the stained glass windows. I definitely will have to come back to Barcelona after it is completed!


You can see videos by Tanner and Jake on our Facebook page. Tanner reviews the day's activities and Jake tells us what he likes best about Barcelona.
After our church tour, the students were free for the rest of the evening. I know some were going to find a labyrinth they read about in some of the materials provided by Barcelona SAE.



Posted by AnneO 13:41 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Spanish Food, Born Neighborhood and Catalan Parliment Visit

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Yesterday's leaders were Jordan and Erik. Jordan started off with our summary of what we would be doing for the day. Erik then led the way to the classroom where we had a lecture about how culture is reflected in food and drink. We talked about what people eat in the US and why, and then compared and contrasted that with what people eat in Spain and why.


After the lecture, we went down the road to tour a market. Markets like this one can be found in every neighborhood. Local people shop every couple of days in these markets so they are eating really fresh food every day. This is definitely something different from how we eat at home. We toured the market and sampled a number of local favorites.


We then had a few hours for lunch. One popular way to eat here is a menu del dia, or menu of the day. You have a few choices for a starter, main course and a dessert at a fixed price. These meals are a good value and showcase what is fresh and available that day. Several students tried a menu del dia for lunch. We then met up back where our classroom was where we began a tour of the Born neighborhood. Following that, we toured the Catalan parliament. Following the parliament visit, we walked to the Arc de Triumph, which completed our tour.


Everyone is started to get tired, and many of us have colds. That is what happens when you have gone over a week with not much sleep and with a lot of running around. Everyone is starting to rest more in the evenings, which isn't a bad thing.



Posted by AnneO 09:06 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Business Tours

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Today was a bit different from all the days up until now because we split up into two groups for business visits. I was with the the law and business students. Evan was our leader and he made sure we got where we needed to go to meet with Clara from Barcelona SAE. We first went to a law firm and met with an attorney whose main practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, many of them international in nature. The students asked a lot of really good questions and we found that the practice of law isn't significantly different from that in the US. The big difference we learned was that there are not paralegals in Spain. Junior attorneys do a lot of the work here that paralegals would do. This is because is Spain, there is a long delay between when a person graduates from law school and when they become a member of the bar. So during that period, they are doing the work paralegals would do in the US.


We then had time for lunch. After lunch, we went to the Roca Gallery. Roca makes bathroom fixtures. We really enjoyed looking at the innovative (and in some cases very expensive) fixtures. Unfortunately, most of us will never be able to afford some of the high-end things we saw. They had some that were combination effort with Armani. I am pretty sure I will never find an Armani fixture in my home!


Joe went with the engineering students and Race was the leader. They first went to an engineering college where they visited with a professor and toured a biomechanics lab.They then went to a business incubator for tech startups, and they net with entrepreneurs from two different companies.


Tonight Joe, Tanner and I are going to a Barcelona soccer game. It should be a really interesting experience.



Posted by AnneO 10:17 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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