Roamin´ Europa

Spring Break. April 19, 2009

During my spring break, I traveled to three different places. First, a few friends and I traveled to Lisbon, Portugal for four days. When we first arrived in the city of Lisbon we were very confused by the set up. It took us a while to adjust to the steep hills that almost resembled San Francisco. While we were there the weather was beautiful and three out of the four days we traveled an a half hour outside of Lisbon to a small beach town called CasCais.060912aWe had to take a metro then a train there, but it was definitely worth it. There were shops and restaurants everywhere with two beaches that weren’t very crowded at all. After four days in Lisbon we had to take an eight hour bus ride to Sevilla. Although it was very long, when we finally got there I was happy to be back in Spain. We lost an entire day to traveling, so the one full day we had there we walked around, and ended up spending most of the day in a park. The next day, we took a train to Marbella and stayed there for the last four days of our spring break. Marbella is a very beautiful place, but I don’t think the hotel likes Americans very much because they were extremely rude and not accomadating whatsoever. My spring break consisted of a lot of traveling,marbella but once we arrived at our destinations all my friends and I did was lay by the pool or the beach, so it ended up being a very relaxing time. Spring break was so much fun, but I was very happy to get back to Barcelona by the end of it all.


Podcasting. April 15, 2009

Among all of the new technologies available to us these days, podcasting is another social tool that is up and coming within society.images A formal definition of a podcast is, a series or digital media files, usually digital audio or video, that is made available for download, via Web syndication. Like the term broadcast, podcast can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which the content is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. A podcaster is the person who creates the content. Interestingly, the term podcast was originated from Apple´s product the Ipod. Amongst the world wide web, there are numerous amounts of websites that one can go to in order to find and view other people´s podcasts. An example of this can be found at this website.

Many people are under the impression that you need an Ipod to podcast–this is VERY untrue! You can use programs such as Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, or any brand of MP3. Some people have even been known to download the podcasts, burn them to CD and play them in their car stereo, home stereo or portable CD player.

images1There is also a term called a ¨podcatcher¨ which is software that allows you to subscribe to your favorite podcasts using their RSS feed.
When new content or episodes are available, your podcatcher will automatically download them for you, and then you’re ready to listen to them on your computer or transfer them to your MP3 player! Here is a website that gives you step-by-step directions as to how use this tool.


The Sagrada Familia. April 2, 2009

Throughout my stay in Barcelona, I have been very fortunate as to the location of my home. I live in Avenida Gaudi, and my metro stop is “Sagrada Familia”. My roommates and I have a huge window in our living room that gives the perfect view of the actual Sagrada Familia.  I wake up and look at it everyday, whether I am on my way to class or just staring out the window. I feel very lucky that I am able to take in the beauty of this church every single day, while people from all over the world travel to Barcelona to see this main attraction.

jill-sagrada1 The formal name of this church is Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, which means in English, “Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family”. It is a Roman Catholic church, which has been under construction since 1882, and still is to this day! The Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who worked on the project for over 40 years. Gaudi devoted the last 15 years of his life entirely to the building of the church, and it is scheduled to be completed in 2026 (although this does not seem likely!). Many people have questioned as to why the construction is taking so long. When Gaudi was proposed with this question he would say, “My client is not in a hurry”. After Gaudi passed away in 1926, the work continued under the direction of Domenech Sugranyes.

The Sagrada Familia is an extremely detailed work of art. It is rich with Christian symbolism, because Gaudi intended the church to be the “last great sanctuary of Christendom”. One of the most striking aspects is its spindle-shaped towers. In total there are 18 and they ascend in order of height. Each represents the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and the tallest of all, Jesus Christ. The church also has three grand facades: the Nativity façade to the East, the Glory façade to the South (yet to be completed) and the Passion façade to the West. The geometry of the Sagrada Familia is a very important aspect of why it is so unique and popular. The towers on the Nativity façade are crowned with geometrically shaped tops that are reminiscint of Cubism. Also, Gaudi used hyperboloid structures in later designs of the church. img_15932The reason for all of the construction on the Sagrada Familia is due to the idea of “A New Church”. The idea of a new church was launched by an organization whose goal was to bring an end to the dechristianization of Barcelona, which had started with the industrialization and increasing wealth of the city. A plot of the land in the new Eixample district was bought in 1877, and the architext  Francisco de Paula del Villar designed a neo gothic church and lead the construction starting in 1882.

Even though the Sagrada Familia is far from finished, the remarkable church is well worth a visit. You can visit the crypt were Gaudí is buried. A museum tells the story of this great architect andthe history of the church.You can also visit the towers. A lift and a long walk will lead you to the top of a tower from where you have a magnificent view over Barcelona.view2 The climb is not recommended for those with fear of heights or for people with claustrophobia. When my family visited Barcelona, one of the first places I took them to was the Sagrada Familia. Although my mom is very scared of heights, she still climbed it! My family was extremely taken back by its detailed beauty, and we also went inside and climbed to the very top. The view of Barcelona from the top of the Sagrada Familia is also breathtaking, and well worth the trip. Below is a video which includes an interview with my roommate Jillian Shifrin. She speaks about her thoughts on living so close to the Sagrada Familia. People travel from all over the world to see the Sagrada Familia, and to me it is remarkable that my roommates and I get to walk past it every single day.