Posts Tagged With: sun

A bright day in Brighton

Hello!

I figured I should use the few hours I have this evening to write about my trip to Brighton before the impressions get layered over with uni experiences.

Friday and Saturday evening, I had the au pairs over for movies and pizza – we ordered from Domino’s for the first time! Pizza, cider, a good movie, that’s all you need for a good evening. I went to bed at 4am on Friday and 1am on Saturday, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately, the alarm went off at 6.30am due to the Brighton trip.

Geez, I was so tired I was basically sleepwalking to the meeting point at Baker Street. I wasn’t the only one who had some problems with getting up early on a Sunday, so we mostly slept on the way to Brighton on the coach (it took about two hours).

When we arrived, all tiredness was forgotten for the sun was shining and the sea provided a lovely breeze tousling our hair. We walked along the pier for a couple of minutes and then decided to have lunch in one of the parks nearby. There was a motorbike festival of some sorts, so the place was completely crowded with machines and leather-clad people. We kept looking out for a motorbike we would like to have for ourselves and discussed the different colouring (since none of us have any real knowledge of the technical stuff).

After lunch we went to the Royal Pavilion – it just looks so graciously grand! We didn’t go in, however. It seemed a bit pricey to do so. So instead we took a look at the shopping/pub street and then strolled back to the pier along the beach. There is a small amusement park on Brighton Pier with a few rollercoasters, merry-go-rounds and that sort of thing. Obviously, we went for the rollercoaster with the looping! It was fun, but rather short and bumpy. Still, worth it!

Some people in my group got hungry again after that, so we went in search of a restaurant where we spent the last hour of our stay. We sat outside of course, relishing the sun burning down on us. (I actually got sunburn on my nose, as always…)

At around 4.30pm we got back on our coaches to return to London. This time, it took almost three hours! I fell asleep again for there wasn’t much else to do. Back at Baker Street I took the bus (weekend closure on the Northern line, yay!), so I was home at half past eight. Since I had to get up rather early today again, I went to bed almost straight away.

In summary, I really enjoyed the trip to Brighton. It wasn’t guided, so I probably didn’t see much of the city itself, but being at the sea was nice and the weather just perfect. Actually, it hasn’t rained a single drop since I arrived in London. I’m completely amazed! Brighton is a lovely city and the Brighton Pier is one of the main attractions. Apparently, people go there to eat fish&chips. Since I don’t eat anything from the sea, I didn’t try it, but a few of the students did, I think. If you get the chance to go there, you should do it. There are trains and buses going directly from London.

Here are some pictures:

DSC02019 DSC02021 DSC02028 DSC02031 DSC02041 DSC02061 DSC02065 DSC02067 DSC02072

Well, so that’s basically what I wanted to tell you. Today started the first week of introduction to my course. But I’ll write about that at the end of the week, I guess.

Stay happy and healthy until then! Cheers!

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Verano en Barcelona

Hola. Phew, el calor esta demasiado para mi. Ahora hace más de 30°C fuera y en mi habitación hace 28°. Solamente hay una solución: apagar la luz y el ordenador y leer un libro en my ebookreader – esto no causa más calor. Por fin, el verano ha empezado.

Seriously, it is too hot. I tried to go out on the balcony a bit earlier but after 10 minutes I gave up an fled back into my room, which was considerably cooler at 28°C. So after posting this, I will shut down the laptop and everything else, grab a book and open a window, so that maybe I can sleep in here tonight. It was a good thing I was shopping this morning, when it wasn’t THAT hot. It was my first shopping tour since arriving and I mainly looked around to see what they got. the sales have begun and are in stage 1, which means some stuff is cheap but other still isn’t. I didn’t buy anything but I sure went into every shop along the way: Zara, H&M, C&A, Pimkie, Bershka, Stradivarius, El Corte Inglés… They have a lot there. Stradivarius is one of my favourites, they have great clothes for low prices – and we don’t have it on Germany as far as I know, which makes it special as well.

Apart from running in and out of shops and constantly shifting from being too cold to being too hot (yay, air conditioning!), I also had my first helado in Barcelona. It was a bit expensive, but I just had to get it. I have three favourite ice cream flavours: amarena, which is with cherries; stracciatella, which is which chocolate chips; and the blue one, which is called differently everywhere I go. Blue heaven, Schlumpf, which is pitufo in Spanish, Blue angel – whichever it is, I love it. And this is what I had here. Oh, it was so good! Perfect in this weather.

I went back home before the great heat set in and watched Iron Man 2. Go super heroes! I think I’m almost through with all Marvel hero movies. It is really nice to watch them while sewing. As a few of you know, I’m working on some decoration and costume for this summer and it is great fun! I just finished sewing a banner with a lot of little blue flags. They are not very elegant but considering the circumstances – no sewing machine, only the bed for a working space and no helping hand – I think I did well. I would show you, but there’s no way I can hang it up in my room to take pictures. Anyways, those little projects have kept me busy for a time.

The past week – no, weeks, I haven’t written for a while! – have been quiet. I had some interesting new tasks in my internship and the people there appreciate my help very much. Even small tasks like preparing the mail and bringing it to the post help them a lot, because then they can focus on more important things. And I don’t mind preparing the mailings because then I have a break from staring at numbers and figures on my screen trying to get them into nice graphs using Office 2003. We’ll see how things develop but so far I’m happy with what I do.

Last weekend I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything interesting apart from sewing and chilling. My roommate had another friend over and they were out most of the time, so it was quiet around the flat – my landlady wasn’t there either. By the way, did I ever mention that I now shower with cold water? Not because it is actually better in this kind of weather but because for some godforsaken reason I can’t get the hot water to work. I know how to turn on the boiler, and it works for washing the dishes, but every time I shower the water just stays cold. Even after 10-15 minutes – still cold. So now I’ve given up and have resigned to showering with cold water. It’s just not very nice when washing my hair. My poor brain almost freezes. Those are the little joys of daily life here.  

Yesterday I went out for dinner with my roommate; we found a cosy little Italian restaurant not far from here – great pizza and good prices, too. We enjoyed the food very much and afterwards rolled around the streets a bit. Sagrada Familia looks interesting at night, a lot more mysterious and you can actually see the coloured windows. I would say it feels more like a church at that time, not like a huge construction site for tourists to look at. There was just this one bad thing happening yesterday – I found out that mosquitos get up to the fifth floor. I have no clue how it happened, I never saw or heard the beast before or after, but it bit me on the arm. I scratched once before realizing that this was not the average itching and the emergency instinct kicked in – I took my globuli and smeared Fenistil on the bite immediately, sprayed around with Autan and put the anti-mosquito smelling device into the power outlet. And guess what, I got lucky. Within one hour, I watched the bite grow wider to the size of almost two centimetres, but it stopped at that and started receding. It doesn’t itch and I don’t really notice it much. It still looks worse than your average bite, I guess but for MY average bites, this is nothing. Phew! It’s just that now I’m paranoid and keep my eyes open for those little beasts and I can’t keep the window open the whole day as I used to – that’s why it is getting warmer in my room as well. We shall see how the situation develops. I hope there won’t be many mosquitos and that this was the only incident.

 

Oh yeah, one last thing. I stumbled across this shop today and thought: “Yeah right, try to get some London style. You’ll never get it. And the station is called CAMDEN TOWN, idiots!”Bild

I did feel a bit homesick for good old London again. Well, this is it for now. Please check out the weekly vocabulary, I uploaded more than usual because I forgot to do it last week. Cheers!

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Vamos a la Playa!

Perdona el retraso. No tenía internet desde ayer, pero ahora todo se ha resuelto. Pues, aquí mi post:

Buenas tardes! La primera semana fue muy interesante y ahora mir segundo fin de semana termina. Tenemos 28 grados hoy! Que calor! Durante la semana, no hize mucho porque tenía que aclimarme al nuevo ritmo de vida. Pero el fin de semana he hecho algunas cosas interesantes.

The first week of my internship went well, I really like it there. I didn’t do much in the evenings, mainly watching series and reading on the balcony. Yesterday, on Saturday, I went to the flea market just around the corner. It is bigger than any I’ve seen before. It was loud and full of people, but I loved it. I got some fabric and stuff for a costume I’m working on, but I could have bought so much more. Clothes, Shoes, electric stuff, antiques, whatever you want. It is incredibly cheap, too. Most of the fabric cost no more than 3€/m, which is almost nothing. Some vendors sold a shirt for one euro, but I didn’t buy anything of that. I’m a little bit suspicious about the quality and such. I guess I’ll go there at least one more time during my time, just to see everything that is to see.

In the evening, I went out with my flat mate and her sister, who was here for the weekend. We saw those famous man towers, where people stand on each other’s shoulders, you know? It is a tradition here, they do it all the time. We had dinner in a bar that had Pintxos, another local thing. Those are tidbits and you can eat as many as you like – in the end they count the spikes on your plate and you pay for the number you’ve eaten. I had three, one with a sausage, another with mushroom mash or something and one with goat cheese. They are really tasty! We walked quite a bit before and after dinner, so we were all tired when we got home.

Today I finally managed to sleep in (on Saturday I had been awake before nine, horror!) and had a leisurely morning with my ebook reader and breakfast. At 1.30, I met with my flat mate and another German girl from her Spanish course at the beach. Yay, my first time in ages being on the beach! It is a man-made beach, so there are no shells and the like, but I don’t mind. We had a nice spot somewhere in the middle between sea and promenade. We lasted not even an hour before I went off to buy a parasol, because I know my skin and how fast it reacts to the sun. I got one for only 12€, which I think is a fair price. It’s light and easy to transport and I didn’t have to worry about extensive sunburn or sunstroke. We were joined by a co-worker of that other German girl and an American they had met a couple of days before – so we talked mainly English, to be polite. The girls went into the sea as well, but there were warnings of jelly fish and I’m not fond of swimming in the sea (any more – as a child I was very eager, I believe). We stayed about four hours in total, and then we headed out to find some food. We settled down in a tapas bar in Barceloneta and enjoyed a light meal. No pasta this time! It was only my flat mate, her friend and me, though. The other two had stayed on the beach.

Well, I just got home from that and now, after a shower I’m happy and clean again. I have slight sunburn on my right shoulder, I guess there’s always a spot you miss, but for four hours in the sun – or under the parasol, I guess that’s not too bad. I’m still hoping I might develop a shy tan, so I don’t look completely foreign. Right now, with my white skin and blonde hair, it is extremely obvious I’m not Spanish. It’s not really bothering me, but there is an ad that is stuck in my head and every time I compare myself to others, I’m reminded of it. I saw it back in my hometown before I went off to Barcelona. It is a poster that shows an unbaked pretzel and the slogan says “Nur gebräunt ist lecker” (Only tan is tasty). It is obviously an ad for a tanning studio, but I think it’s not very nice. Well, anyways. I just hope I’ll get some colour during my stay.

For some reason, the internet is not working right now. I am writing this in word and I hope I can upload it soon. I have no idea what’s wrong, but we are working on it. If it is not better in an hour, then you’ll get this post tomorrow or so, sorry about that.

Oh yeah, there are some things that are weird around here that I will have a hard time adjusting to. Apart from the flat and surroundings being loud, my room is getting stuffier all the time. I have a window, but there is no fresh air getting in because it is looking out to a small patio. All the kitchens are on that wall as well, so when somebody cooks I cannot open the window at all because of the smell. I have no clue how that will work when it gets really hot, but I guess we’ll have fans and the like. I am still afraid of the metro exits – there are those door thingies that open when you walk through. Normally they stay open when many people go through, but occasionally they try to close on you and I am afraid of that. I hope I’ll get over that at some point. The metro is a topic in itself. Everybody is paranoid because things get stolen every day. So far, I have never witnessed it, but I won’t take risks. I always clutch my bag and don’t take out my phone – somebody could just snatch it from my hand, since there are no security bells on it (yes, my bell system HAS a reason!) I will do my best not to lose anything on the metro.

Compared to the tube, the metro is extremely uncomfortable. The people are noisy and smelly and move too much. In London, you get in and stay where you are. You politely keep your mouth shut and if you have a child with you, you keep them quiet as well. I really like this apathetic atmosphere and the metro is anything but. Last week I had a group of kids in my wagon and their teachers were cheering them on, clapping and singing with them. I was close to killing. Seriously, show some respect! Everybody is shoving and talking and moving, eugh. The metro is also designed differently. The tube is designed to hold many people, with the seats along the sides and places to hold on everywhere. In the metro, they have sometimes those four seats, two facing each other. There is no way that you can hold on to something in between, so that space is not used much. I could go on and on, but the essence is – I’m homesick for London. And yes, I know that is part of the culture shock and I am now in the phase of everything is awful. I’ll get over it. Though I guess I’ll never get used to the streets smelling of piss. I really hate that.

Now I have rambled on enough. Please don’t think I’m miserable over here, I’m not. I still enjoy being in Spain and I like my work. It just takes some getting used to. Talk to you soon!

 

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La llegada

Hola amigos y amigas!

Pues, es el tiempo para una nueva entrada. Me parece un poco extraño escribir en inglés porque ahora vivo en España, no? Tengo que practicar mi español más. Yo sé que casi nadie de vosotros habla español, por eso voy a escribir en inglés sin embargo.

There you go, people. Who understood that? It truly feels strange to write English while being here in Spain. Therefore, I will keep writing in English most of the time, but there will be Spanish parts as well. Who knows, you guys might learn Spanish alongside me this way.

I arrived safe and sound two days ago in the evening. The flight was actually too early and we had to circle above the sea for a quarter hour before we could land. The airport in Barcelona is big and I had to walk quite a while to get to the baggage belts. But I didn’t have to wait long for my huge suitcase to arrive. I am still surprised at how smooth everything went. I asked for directions to the bus at the information – in Spanish of course – and found the bus easily. I had to change to the metro at some point, which was a bit complicated with all my stuff, but I managed.  I had tried to message my German flat mate, but I wasn’t sure if it got through. When I arrived at my metro stop, I called her and she came to collect me. How nice!

The flat is comfortable enough, the living room is bright and we have a balcony, but it is rather loud because it looks out to the street. My room is next to the hall, so I hear quite a lot of what is going on at the staircase. The room is small but cosy, I have just enough space for all my stuff. Luckily for me, I’m small – otherwise, the bed would be too short.  So far, I like it here. I have my own space in the fridge and a small cupboard for pasta, cornflakes and the sort.

The day I arrived I didn’t do anything but unpacked and fell into bed. It was late enough. The next morning I first went to do some shopping, getting all the necessities such was bread, milk, cheese and so on. There are several supermarkets just down the street, so it’s not too bad to go shopping. And compared to London, it is quite cheap, too! In the afternoon, I went to find an office to get my student travel card. You can buy it at the ticket machine but they require an ID with only numbers and since the German ID has letters as well as numbers I didn’t quite know what to put in. I researched the office on the internet and took the metro to get there. They then told me there was a number on my ID that I could use, the one printed in the middle of the front – I have always wondered what that is for, so know I know! It’s for Barcelona Transport! (Just kidding) I managed to get the student travel card with that information and know I can get around for 90 days without worrying about travel expenses.

I had the big camera with me as well and I took some first pictures of my street and the surroundings. I still have to get used to that thing, but I’m sure I’ll manage soon enough. The weather is pretty nice by the way, it’s sunny but not too hot, I’d say around 20 degrees. It is supposed to be raining soon, but we’ll see how the weather develops around here. I watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey yesterday and just tried to get used to the flat. I had pasta with tomato sauce for dinner, a pretty safe meal to cook on an unfamiliar hearth.

Since my landlady wasn’t there the evening I arrived, I met her for the first time yesterday. She is lovely, she speaks slowly for our sake and if she talks about numbers, she writes them on the wall so we understand exactly what she says. I think that is very nice of her. I understand her very well in any case; I just have to get into answering with more than Muy bien or something equally intelligent. She invited me to a concert this evening, but I’m not sure yet if we’re going or not, she hasn’t told me about the details yet. I hope we go, though.

Today I tried to get my NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros), but it is so much harder than I thought. Spanish officials don’t seem to tend to their websites much, so the information on there is mostly outdated and contradicting. I managed to find an address and went there this morning, but the officer outside told me that I have to go to the main office or something and call them beforehand. I really don’t get all that bureaucracy. I might try that main office thing tomorrow, if I feel like it. Otherwise I’ll have to ask at my workplace if they know how it works – it was their idea that I get that wretched NIE in the first place (Yes I know I need it and it’s not their fault, but it is still annoying).

I encountered a few small shops on the way though, so that’s not too bad. There are so many shoe shops, little markets with fruit and vegetables and clothing shops around here, it’s quite nice. There are even draperies, which is great should I decide I want to sew something. I bought some cherries because, to quote my English landlady, I have to eat more fruit! So once I got back home, I sat on the balcony, had some cherries and read a book. I started a Spanish one – there are some on my ebook reader that had come with its purchase. I don’t understand much, but I get the general idea of it and I’m sure it will get better over time. I try to listen to Spanish songs and maybe I’ll even find a nice series to watch and to practice.

Ok, I think this is it so far. We’ll see what else I’ll be doing the next days before work starts. I am happy everything has worked out so smoothly and I will have a great time here. ¡Hasta luego!

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Impressions

Hi, it’s not a new entry, I just wanted to share some photos I took today – it was an amazingly beautiful day, I have never seen such a blue sky – let alone in London! Hope you enjoy it, the next written entry will come soon. BildBildBild

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