Hello! My name is Emily Faller and I am in my junior year at Point Park University. I am majoring in photography to earn my Bachelors degree in Fine Arts as well as minoring in entrepreneurship. I am currently the owner of my own business, Modern Photography by Em, where I specialize in senior and family portraits as well as fine art photography. I have interned with Trey Thomas Images where I shot weddings throughout the year to learn more and expand my profile. I am extremely excited to be heading overseas to see the foreign media outlets as well as the various works of creative art.
Monday May 11, 2015
Holy cow!! The day is finally here! I must be honest though, it doesn’t feel like today is the day I am leaving for Spain. I guess it just hasn’t hit me yet, but I am sure it will.
Let me back up just a tad bit. Yesterday, Sunday, I spent the day with people who are family to me. My parents and I went to church Sunday morning like we always do and after church was over we all headed to my boyfriend’s parents place for a Mother’s Day brunch. It was such a relaxing afternoon just sitting around the table, just talking and eating. Later that evening Chris and I went to do Painting with a Twist. It is such a fun experience and we came out with a great painting as well! It was a nice stress reliever before this big trip! After he dropped me off back at my place and before he left, he had a little gift, something that would remind me every day of him while I was on my trip. When Chris was younger he received a necklace pendant of Saint Christopher. He later got another one but held on to the one he had from his childhood. That was his gift me, it touched my heart, and I will admit, it made me cry. And as I am sitting here on this plane writing this post, I occasionally grasp it and rub it between my fingers, knowing that he is right here with me, right by my heart.
Earlier that day, after we got home from brunch it was just my mom and myself at home. I was lying on my bed watching TV and my mom comes in. With her she has two objects in her hand; one is a guardian angel stone and one is a guardian angel pin. It warmed my heart when she gave them to me and they now sit in my wallet, going everywhere I go. It is a comfort knowing I have these sentimental pieces with me.
So back to today’s fun events, we get to the airport, get checked in and head to our gate. As the time nears for us to board our flight, we learned that it has been delayed about an hour. So now instead of departing at 1:15, we were now departing around 2:45. But hey, that’s okay because it cuts down on the waiting time in the Philadelphia airport. So we finally board the plane, and boy is it a small plane. It is one of U.S. Airs express planes, which are super tiny. They are so tiny that if you had a big piece of carryon luggage that needed to be stored above, it has to be transported to underneath the plane. The flight itself was short. Only about 45 minutes in the air, quick and easy. After we landed in Philly, got to our gate and got settled, Ash and I went to grab something to eat. We ate and sat at a charging station to charge our phones and before we knew it, it was time to board again. This is where my nerves start to kick in, it is getting real now. I am going to be on this plane for about 8 hours, its nerve racking to think about. We board the plane and get settled in. Ash and I are completely separated and all we wanted was to be next to each other to survive this flight together. Needless to say we weren’t too happy. Our unhappiness turned to having to patience when we were stuck on the runway for over an hour, that is how backed up Philly got. Our flight was supposed to depart at 6:45pm we finally departed around 7:45.
I must say for the first two hours, the flight has been really smooth and makes the flight that much easier, so here is to hoping it stays this way! It is about 10:00 pm right now (U.S. time) and I have about 20 minutes left of my movie. I think once this finishes up, I will prepare myself to try to and catch some sleep. I’m not exactly sure how well this is going to work, but something is better than nothing. One thing is for sure, my butt is starting to get uncomfortable from sitting for so long.
Continue to pray for all of us, and by the time this email gets out, I will have landed (would have been sent in flight but no wifi).
Let the adventures begin!
Hasta la proxima!!
(Until next time!!)
Tuesday May 12, 2015
We have finally landed! And just in time because I was getting extremely uncomfortable and let me tell you airplane food is not that great. It felt so good just to get off that plane and walk around. After about 10:00pm when I finished up my last blog post, I tried to get some sleep. That was an adventure in itself. I was all in that seat trying to get comfortable as I would fall asleep, wake up and fall sleep again. Nothing significant.
So we got off the plane and headed to customs to get our passport checked. When we think we have all gotten through, we realize that we are missing our one professor and one student. We learned that the one girl could not find her passport, so she had to go all the way to back to the plane to see if it was there (she used it to get on the plane so we knew it was in the country), so while she went back to the plane we proceeded to get our luggage. We did a lot of standing around and waiting when we got off the plane and that did not help our bodies which wanted to sleep. Thankfully the girl found her wallet and could continue on with the trip! After about a half hour of standing around, we got to our bus and packed our suit cases underneath.
When I finally sat down on that bus seat, I got hit with a wave of exhaustion, but we weren’t going back to our hotel anytime soon. We had a bus tour with a wonderful lady named Olga, she was so sweet and super helpful. One of the places we stopped at was the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but is only used for state ceremonies. King Felipe VI and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency. The palace is located on Calle de Bailén, in the Western part of downtown Madrid. Each of the rooms we went into had a color theme, whether it was green, blue, red or cream, everything, and I mean everything in that room was that color.
Finally, after what seemed like a tour that took two days, we were arrived at our hotel. Hello nap-time! Nope, we were told we shouldn’t take naps because we needed to get use to this time schedule and the six hour time difference. I am not sure anyone listened listened though. I know that as soon as I got to my room and I got settled in, I went to take a shower. I just felt so gross from being around all those people and being on the plane for that long. After my shower though, I laid down on my bed and that was the end for me. I was out, wake me before we have to leave again. Oh, did I forget to mention that we still had more touring to do. No offense, I already love this city and I want to explore it, but I have been up far too long to process this much information. And have I mentioned that I was starving? Yeah, I just had a small sandwich for lunch around noon and it was already 8:00pm. If you know me, I am always hungry and when I am hungry I usually get cranky.
So now onto this dinner, it was a tapas dinner, which is basically a sampling of different food in small quantities. We started off with this delicious goat cheese and cured ham, let me tell you, this is what I have been waiting for, this is why I came to Spain. It was just so good, I couldn’t stop eating it! We were brought a few more samplings such as a salad with a light dressing and potatoes that had two sauces, one was a semi spicy sauce and one was a garlic sauce. The garlic sauce was very potent and strong, but very delicious. We also had croquettes, which had melted cheese and cured ham. Oh man, that was too much for my taste buds to handle. All of the food we had was exceptional and I cannot wait to eat more of it.
Finally after a long day we headed back to our rooms for some much needed sleep. Thankfully Wednesday morning we were able to sleep in a tad bit and we did not have to get up early. We all needed as much sleep as we could get.
Tomorrow is going to be Wednesday all ready and we have a busy day ahead of us.
Hasta la proxima!!
Wednesday May 13, 2015
I must say that when I got back to my room for the night on Tuesday, it didn’t take me long to fall asleep. Luckily I brought my own small pillow because these ones they provide are super thin and are like bricks. Hopefully the next hotel has better pillows. Oh, and have you ever been in a European bathroom? Their showers, they don’t have curtains, they just have a half piece of glass. At first I tried pulling it, thinking it like slid out. Nope, I was wrong, you should have seen the look on my face! Very interesting to say the least. All in all I didn’t sleep too bad. I woke up a few times but the time difference is still throwing me off. It is so hard to believe that when it is 12:00 pm here, it is 6:00 am back home. I don’t think that will be something I can get used to.
Trying to get going the first morning was rough. I didn’t want to move from my bed, but I had to get my butt moving if I wanted to eat breakfast and make it to check in on time. So I got up and got a shower so I could curl my hair. I got ready and everything and I went to use the hairdryer and it just heated up, but no air came out, so I immediately put that back in its place. I knocked on the room next to ours to see if I could use their hairdryer (don’t worry, it was girls from Point Park) and I have never seen a hairdryer like the one they had! It was incredible, it was almost like a vacuum, except it blew air out. It was this big box on the wall and had a hose coming from the side of it, and the hot air came out of the hose. It was the weirdest thing! So I made do with what I was given.
The day started out by heading to the University of Navarra, located right in Madrid. It is Spain’s fashion business school and very well known. When we arrived we met with Professor Gustavo Garcia- Mansilla, a man that has a wife and three kids, one boy and two girls. He has a hobby of playing instruments, anything from the guitar to the drums to a harmonica. Professor was also the Vice President of Conde Nast. We would be visiting Conde Nast later in the day. Professor talked about how Spain went into a depression for 2 plus years because of the Lehman brothers and their actions. Spain is now recovering from that depression and they have been growing steadily ever since.
Now to the main event, the visit I have been waiting for, drum roll please…. Welcome to Conde Nast! Conde Nast creates some of the world’s best known magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour. It is a life style magazine and Conde Nast pretty much created the genre of a life style magazine. It was founded by the Newhouse family in 1905. Conde Nast is located in the best spot in the city, right in the heart of Madrid.
While at Conde Nast we had multiple journalists and editors come and talk to us. By far my favorite was a women name Beatriz Palomo and she worked in the photography department, now she wasn’t a photographer, but she is a researcher. Beatriz looks and searches through photographs to help build the storyboard and concept for their next main image. Beatriz is such a key person in helping to make the different magazines a success.
There are times where the magazines do an article on an individual that may have passed away, Beatriz goes and searches for pictures of that individual. It is not an easy task as most of the time she needs to contact the originals photographer directly to see if she can get any images that the photographer has taken. It is a great day when she is able to receive the photos and sometimes she gets more than she expected, but that is never a bad thing. As she was finishing up she presented us with a book and it was, Vanity Fair 100 Years Masters of Photography. Let me tell you, my eyes have not left that book. Our one tour guide, Jan, she gave me the book to transport back home, and I am in my glory! The book will be given to our library and put in our photography section. How cool is that!?
Finally after a long day of media visits we headed back to the hotel. Earlier that day we were talking about where we wanted to go to dinner and we found out that there was a futbol game that night. So we decided why not go to a bar and watch the game? Futbol is the number one game over here. So we got back to our room, changed and headed to the market to eat. The market has an assortment of all foods, so we got some tapas to fill our stomachs before heading out to watch the game. But there was one thing I needed to do first, I am in Spain, and I did play soccer and there is one player I adore, Cristiano Ronaldo, so of course I had to get his jersey while I was here. After getting his jersey we then headed to the bar to watch the game. I must say it was a new experience as the Spaniards really get into their game.
Over these past few days I have noticed some things that have been striking to me
o People walk their dogs everywhere in the city, and about 20% of those dogs aren’t leashed and walk right beside their owner.
o Green neon crosses outside of a building means that it is a pharmacy
o They accommodate for Americans, we went to a restaurant and they realized we weren’t Spanish speaking and they came back and gave us menus in English. A whole menu, in English!
o Everyone smokes. My lungs are going to be shot after this trip. I have walked through so many clouds of smoke.
I am exhausted and it is so hard to catch up on sleep as we are taking naps every chance we get.
Hasta la proxima!!
Thursday May 14, 2015
I am starting to think that the people of Spain never sleep. We hear them at all hours through the streets, talking and screaming. Even real early in the morning we hear them. Our days start early, so we can get to our media visits on time and today we were leaving at 9:00am to Ketchum Spain.
Ketchum Spain is known for promoting brands and are the leading public relations company. One of the brands we learned about is Rochas Paris, a perfume line for women. They promote it as a top French luxury. The team members working on this promotion strived to reach people’s emotions and originality.
It was very interesting hearing about the different products Ketchum promoted and how they went about promoting them. It is an in depth process that requires time and productivity. Some of the ways Ketchum has worked to promote products was to hold public events to get the community involved and from that they were able to gain a positive response and to help the
After sitting through about six case study presentations at Ketchum, we headed back to the hotel for about three hours to ourselves. After only getting about five hours of sleep that night it was fair to say I was going to use that time to take nap. So we got back to our hotel and Ash and I ran to a little 24 hour mart to pick up sandwiches to eat for lunch. This was just the cutest little place and everyone who works there is always friendly. They are patient with us for our lack of Spanish. Plus, they have these delicious fresh juiced smoothies, I would get one every time I went in.
I have noticed that most of their food is very fresh, from sandwiches to these fresh juice smoothies. It makes my tummy very happy.
After I was full, it was time for a nap, Ash and I took a solid hour nap that afternoon. It helped us to get through the media visit we had for that afternoon.
Our second media visit for that day was to Havas Media Group. The Havas Media Group is all about building brands that have meaning to its consumers. There was a recent study that was done in 2014 that showed that 74% of people would not care if brands disappeared, and those at Havas are trying to change that. In the Unites States only 7% of Americans trust what brands are telling them. The Havas Media Group wants to transform the industry and shape the future, inspired by human purpose, to improve people’s lives and building public relations that last.
These past few days the temperature has been about 90 degrees, and after going to these different media groups and talking people, they all have said this isn’t normal. Spain right now is going through a heat wave and we are right in the middle of it. The nice thing is that it is a dry heat, the humidity has not gotten above 25%, which makes the heat bearable.
So finally after sitting basically all day I was itching to get my legs moving again. Madrid is such a pretty city to walk through. I love seeing little kids in a circle kicking a soccer ball around, that immediately puts a smile on my face. I was pretty hungry when it came time to get dinner, Ash and I debated back and forth where we wanted to go. We weren’t sure if we wanted to go to a bar and get tapas and a drink or a nicer restaurant and a meal. We made our decision as we walked through the streets of Madrid and came across this cute little restaurant called Dehesa Santa Maria. We sat outside at this little table under an umbrella and our waiter brought us our menu, to start off we ordered a tapas of jamon y queso, which is cured ham and melted cheese and a classic mojito for each of us. For dinner, I ordered a pork filet with roasted jalapeños peppers and caramelized onions with potatoes as a side and Ash got a potato pie with pork shoulder. That was by far the best meal we have had for a while in Madrid. For once I wasn’t getting mass produced food for our whole group or eating sandwiches out of a plastic container. I was eating what I wanted to eat and I loved every minute of it. It was nice just sitting down to relax. Ash and I talked about everything and anything and we were probably at the restaurant for two hours. After dinner we came back to our room and just relaxed for the rest of the night.
Here are some more things I have noticed about the people of Spain and Spain itself
o If you are married, your wedding band goes on your right hand
o Spain is in this phase of double daylight, I do not know know all of the details but long ago Spain pushed their clocks back an hour to have more sunlight during the day. Well for some reason they did it again, so they basically have two hours of daylight savings time. Which means that it doesn’t even start to get dark until about 9:00pm.
o People are always on mope-heads, so many people drive them around town
o Their stop signs, they are just like our stop signs, they say stop on them. I would have thought it would have said stop in Spanish
I apologize in the delay in getting my blog posts out, the Wi-Fi in this hotel is terrible and nothing will upload or post. Hopefully when we go to Barcelona the Wi-Fi will be stronger and I can update you guys almost every day.
Hasta la Proxima!
Friday May 15, 2015
After repetitive days of media visits we finally get a day off. We still had to leave the hotel at 9:00am though. I am just looking forward to the day that I can sleep in.
Our first stop was to the Valley of the Fallen, a monument to the Spanish Civil War and those who died. It was a beautiful monument, as we were heading to the mountain we were able to see a cross that stands about 50 stories tall in the middle of the mountain, to commemorate the Spanish Civil War. Once on top of the mountain, we experience a beautiful view that could not be forgotten. We went into the sacramental space onto the mountain as well. It is neat to note that there are still services that are held within these spaces. Believe it or not but there are masses of nuns that come to these services religiously (and yes that terrible joke was intentional).
After spending about 45 minutes at the monument, we headed back down to the bus to head to a town called Segovia. The city of Segovia is located 50 miles from Madrid. While we were in Segovia we stopped to take a look at the Cathedral. The church was started in 1525 and construction ended in 1768. The Cathedral represents the highest spot in the city. It was the last gothic church built in Madrid.
After touring the city Segovia we had just a little bit of time to ourselves to shop. I do wish we had more time because there were some shops I wanted to go to but didn’t have time to stop at. After meeting up by the Cathedral we headed to our restaurant for dinner, El Bernardinos. On the menu tonight, suckling pig! It is called a suckling pig dinner because it is literally a baby pig that is still suckling from its mother. I have been looking forward to this dinner for a while now!
So we arrive at the restaurant, sit down and we are immediately served a soup. They came around and put two scoops in everyone’s bowl. I must say that it looked unappetizing, but I gave it a try anyway. I wasn’t going to come to Spain and not try something. The consistency is just indescribable, and quite frankly I don’t want to eat it again. After taking a few bites I needed to know what was in the soup, I honestly thought it was chunks of fat. After learning that the soup did not contain chunks of fat and was merely soggy bread, I gagged at that ( I hate soggy bread ). The soups also had chunks of ham and the broth was from ham bones. I will say that the broth was absolutely delicious, but it was the other parts of the soup that turned me away. It was a relief when they finally took the soup away from in front of me.
Now, for the star of the show, the suckling pig! They cook this baby pig whole and present it to you on a platter. The group just shared one pig (although we should have gotten two, because I was still hungry after dinner). The meat from the suckling pig is pale and tender and the cooked skin is crisp. The meat is so tender it can be cut with a plate. Don’t believe me, just watch.
The meat from this pig was just so juicy and tender and the skin added a nice contrast of being thin and crispy. Given the chance, I would sit down with that pig in front of me and just eat away.
After finishing our meal we headed back to the hotel to pack because the next day we were leaving for Barcelona. The one thing about packing this time is that we didn’t have to worry about the weight of our suitcases because we were taking a train, which is nice because when we went to Conde Nast we got about 10 pounds of magazine. Now I will have to figure out how to get those home. It shall be interesting.
Continuing on my list of things I have been noticing while in Spain
o I am not sure that the Spaniards know what deodorant is, they just smell so bad
o Gas here is super cheap, it is about $1.50 euros
o The towns also have a bunch of roundabouts
Well tomorrow we head to Barcelona, and you will hear from me when I arrive.
Hasta la proxima!
Saturday May 16, 2015
There is no rest for the weary. The days just seem to flow together at this point, get up, go to media visits, dinner and back to the hotel. Although today was a bit different. Today we were heading to Barcelona by train, so we needed to pack our luggage for the morning departure. Still departing at our usual time of 9:00am, we headed to the bus to drop off our luggage and we headed to Toledo to visit the local town.
The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150 degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River.
While we were in Toledo we stopped at a local sword shop. While there we watched the craftsmen hammer our swords into their shapes. We then proceeded upstairs to watch men hand etch designs into pieces of the sword. The talent they have and the concentration used is unbelievable.
After leaving the town of Toledo we had about a 45 minute drive to the train station. Since we were going by train to Barcelona we did not have to worry about a weight limit on out suitcases. Therefore, I loaded my bigger suitcase which was pretty heavy, topping off around 60 pounds. Note to self: Distribute the weight of my stuff evenly through my two bags. Lessoned learned.
After arrive at the train station we were all hungry, breakfast at the hotel was lacking every morning, usually there was just some bread, fruit and croissants to eat. It became very bland after the first day, and we needed a change of pace. So when lunch rolled around we were all pretty hungry. We had time before we had to board the train to grab something to eat. So Ash and I headed over to this little sandwich and each grabbed a sandwich at eat on the train. After meeting back up without group it was time to head down to board the train.
Remember how I told you my luggage was about 60 pounds? I had to pull that 60 pound suitcase onto that train. I definitely got my arm workout in for today. So while in the process of picking my suitcase I bend over and my sunglasses fall, right on the tracks. I had them hanging on the collar of my shirt and down they went. I looked at ash and she looked at me and knew exactly what happened. Thankfully they were cheap sunglasses, but let me tell you I did contemplate trying to grab them. And before I get a bunch of comments saying “no that is dumb”, hear me out. The train was stopped and was not leaving for another 10 minutes or so, so I would have had time. But I didn’t so you all can breathe a sigh of relief now.
We got our luggage all put up where it needed to be and sat down for a three hour train ride to Barcelona. The train ride, to my surprise was very smooth and went pretty quick and I actually enjoyed. It was a different way to travel than I am used to. I worked on some blogs and Ash slept for part of the ride. I found myself staring out the window just looking at the scenery zip by.
About 15 minutes before our stop a few of us went to grab our luggage from the back so we could get off the train quickly, because they don’t give you much time at the stops. We were able to get everyone and their luggage off the train smoothly. After leaving the station, we headed to our next tour bus and repeated the same process of load it up. We got to our bus around 5:00pm and it took us a little bit to try to get to our hotel. Barcelona is a bustling city, there are people everywhere and we also hit traffic. On our way to our hotel, our tour guide informed us that we were not able to be dropped off right in front of our hotel, the road is only open to pedestrians only. After looking out the window and seeing all the people in the streets I got a bit nervous. Then we learned we were going to be walking through this crowd of people to get to our hotel.
We had to have walked about a half a mile with our luggage, all of our luggage. It is something I never ever want to do again. Whoever picked this hotel, I have a few choice words for you.
Finally after a grueling 20 minute walk, we made it to our hotel. We had to wait to get checked in, then we were off to our rooms. We got this cute little purple room. We got into the room, dropped our stuff on the floor and flopped on our beds. We had a half hour to kill before we had to meet in lobby and go to dinner.
We had to take the metro to get to our restaurant and then walk a few hundred feet to get to our destination. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but it was almost like a fish and meat market. There were whole fish resting on beds of ice in coolers and pig legs and shoulders hanging from the ceiling waiting to be carved.
We took our seat and we were immediately served salad and bread, and ordered a glass of sangria as well. Following the salad we received the garlic potatoes we have been eating throughout this trip, and as always, they were delicious.
Tonight was our fish dinner night, and we received our perfect piece of fish on our plate. After taking a few bites of our fish, we started wondering what kind of fish we were eating. Tilapia and cod were a few that were named, but it turns out that it was a fish called hake, and it was absolutely delicious.
After dinner we headed back to our room to get some much needed sleep. We are all looking forward to tomorrow because it is a free day for us. I can explore the city and get up when I would like, thank goodness.
Hasta la proxima!!
Sunday May 17, 2015
Let’s just say I slept till about noon today, and I enjoyed every minute of it!
So remember how I told you yesterday that I dropped my sunglasses on the tracks? Well today I needed to go get new ones. So Ash, myself and this kid named Anthony (one of the two guys on this trip), went out for an afternoon in Barcelona. Throughout the trip it has pretty much been us three hanging out together, plus it helps Ash and I out so we are not just two girls walking the streets. So we took to the streets of Barcelona and headed out to grab some lunch.
Following lunch I needed to look for sunglasses, so we stopped at this pharmacy and I found a pair that I liked. As the lady was helping, we began talking and found out that she was in New York a few years. In addition to that, we found out that her family had a bakery in Pennsylvania and her sister worked there. What a small world we live in!
As we were walking back to the hotel, I just happened to glance to my left and I see this big building with the words Sophie Calle. I looked at Ash and Anthony and told them we needed to check it out. Turns out it was an exhibition of some of her work.
For those of you that don’t know Sophie Calle is a French conceptual artist. Since the late 1970’s she has been active as a photographer, combining text, image and conceptual installations. Her work amounts to a systematic laying bare of reality, whether it be her own or other people’s, with a limited portion left to chance. Absence of others is a central theme in her work. However Calle’s own existence plays an important role in her works. The documentary manner in which she presents her work suggests a high degree of factualness. Calle grapples with modes of perception and identification by portraying life in all its diversity, handing over all the problems and questions to the viewer – and thereby, closing the loop, back to life itself – to find the answers. Her works are distinguished by the directness of her formal approach, her narrative skill, the conceptual enrichment they undergo over the course of their creation, and their power to draw in the observer with all his or her abilities and experiences. The uncertainty expressed in her works is what makes them so compelling.
Before we knew it, an hour or so had passed by while we were at the exhibit. We headed out and back into the busy streets of Barcelona to our hotel.
Later that around 7:00p.m., there was a futbol game between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and of course we needed to find a spot to watch the game. We weren’t just going to sit in our rooms like losers. So we headed to the bar right across from the hotel and took seats to watch the game. FC Barcelona needed to win this game to win the league, so needless to say everyone was hyped for this game. We sat down and ordered a few drinks as well as some food. The game was close the whole time, remaining 0-0 until Lionel Messi (who is arguably the best futbol player in the world) scored for FC Barcelona to make it 1-0. The bar went crazy, it was truly something to see.
After the game we headed back to our hotel to unwind and go to bed.
Tomorrow is the day I have been looking forward to when we are going to Camp Nou, the stadium where FC Barcelona plays.
Hasta la proxima!
Monday May 18, 2015
This is the day I have been waiting for, I woke up with pure excitement running through me. All I want to do is get to the stadium.
Yet again this morning as we leave our hotel we have to fight a crowd of people just to get a bus. I am getting real tired of walking through all these people just to get to a way of transportation.
But before we could get to the stadium, we had to stop at TV3, a network who has channels like ABC. TV3 is the primary television channel of Catalan public broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya. TV3 was the first television channel to broadcast only in Catalan. Daily news information is served by Telenotícies, which usually gets the highest ranking in both timeslots, and the Telenotíciescomarques, which simulcasts four versions, one for each of the four provinces of Catalonia. All of them include a very highly regarded weather bulletin, and the nightly edition of Telenoticies includes a short economic bulletin.
We were able to take a walk to the different buildings that TV3 has. We were able to go onto the set of a live broadcast and watch the hosts interact with each other. It was pretty enjoyable to see the behind scenes of a live television broadcast. I guess in a way that it’s not what I expected, I mean I saw the camera crew but I guess I just expected it to be more hectic than it was. As we finished up, I looked down at my watch and realized that we were about 45 minutes past the time we were actually supposed to leave. I wasn’t very happy because this was cutting into my tour of Camp Nou.
Camp Nou is a football stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, which has been the home of Futbol Club Barcelona since 1957. It has a seating capacity of 99,354, it is the largest stadium in Spain by capacity. It is also the largest stadium in Europe and the 2nd largest association football stadium in the world in terms of capacity. Although it was originally going to go under the official name of ‘Estadi del FC Barcelona’, it soon came to be popularly known as the Camp Nou or the new ground.
The Ricard Maxenchs pressroom at the Camp Nou is a large space where the media can attend press conferences. The area is designed like an auditorium and is located right alongside the mixed zone and the dressing rooms.
Wait till you see this dressing room. Now it is not the home team’s dressing room, it is just the visitors, but it is still spectacular. The players changing area includes the place where the players get kitted up, with each of their lockers, while the rest of the area contains baths and showers and a storeroom for sports materials. The water area includes a pool, two jacuzzis, a sauna, a steam bath, a cold bath and a relaxation area. The treatment area is used by the doctors, and those that give massages.
After the tour I had to stop at the gift store, there were a few things I need (but I won’t say what they are because they are gifts for people, this is highly top secret information).
After getting on the bus, we headed back to hotel to get ready for the Flamenco show that night. A Flamenco show is a form of Spanish folk music and dance from the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. It includes singing, guitar playing, and dance, which is the vocalizations and rhythmic sounds of handclapping and finger snapping.
I found myself staring at the stage constantly while they were performing their show. The only down side was when they would sing, we couldn’t understand what they were saying. We felt as if we were missing such a huge piece of the show. The dancing alone was great though!
I must say I enjoyed the show quite a bit, and the food hit the spot as well. It was a nice way to end our time in Barcelona.
I am getting pretty tired of packing over and over again. It became hard to keep track of everything and making sure that our suitcases are the right weight. When we go to Lisbon tomorrow, we have to make sure that our suitcase carry-on is less than 22 pounds and that our regular suitcase in under 50 pounds. After this trip, I will be a master at packing.
Hasta la proxima!
Tuesday May 19, 2015
After spending just a few days in Barcelona, we head to Lisbon today. But first we have one media visit to La Vanguardia.
This morning we had to make the dreaded trip through the streets of Barcelona to get to our bus. The only good thing was that there weren’t many people in the street this time as we dragged our luggage to the bus. So we hopped on our bus and headed to La Vanguardia.
La Vanguardia is a Spanish daily newspaper, printed in Spanish and since May 3, 2011 in Catalan. It has its headquarters in Barcelona, but it is Catalonia’s leading newspaper. La Vanguardia, despite being mostly distributed in Catalonia only, has Spain’s fourth-highest circulation among general-interest newspapers, trailing only the three main Madrid dailies, El País, El Mundo and ABC, all of which are national newspapers with bureau and local editions throughout the country. Its editorial line leans to the center of politics and is moderate in its opinions, although under Franco it had followed the francoist ideology.
The newspaper prints daily in two parallel editions; one in Spanish and another one in Catalan. The Spanish name La Vanguardia is used for both editions.
After we finished, we headed to the La Sagrada Família. We were originally supposed to go to a park, but there was rain in the forecast and didn’t want to risk it, so we traveled to the church instead.
The la Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, designed by Catalan architect AntoniGaudí. Although the church is still incomplete; Gaudi was taking his daily walk and he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. A few days later he died, a large crowd gathered to bid farewell to him in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Família.
Anyway, back to the la Sagrada Família, Construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project right up until time of his death in 1926 at the age of 73 with less than a quarter of the project complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
It is a beautiful structure to see and tour, but I would have rather seen it when it is all complete. (Guess I will need to make another trip back here!)
We got back on our bus and headed to the airport to depart to Lisbon. Our flight to Lisbon wasn’t that bad and remained relatively easy. The only downside was that we arrived in Lisbon later in the evening. So we pretty much arrived, packed the bus, headed to our hotel and went to bed. It was a long day and we were all ready for bed. Me personally, I was looking forward to comfy pillows, considering the ones we have had have been terrible. But hey, when I am tired I will take anything I can get.
Hasta la proxima!
Wednesday May 20, 2015
Well last night we arrived in Lisbon, and that is pretty much all that has happened. So this morning we got our tour of Lisbon.
The hotel we are staying at this time is more located in the business section of Lisbon, therefore there isn’t that much to do or to see. We stopped at few places that offered us a great view, but other than that, that was it.
After our little guided tour, we headed back to our hotel to read for our afternoon media visit.
This afternoon we had three people come talk to us about the Spanish media, the up and coming generation and the relationship between the United States and Portugal. It was interesting to hear how one woman, Lara, talked about how she studied in the United States, then moved to Portugal to work. Portugal is a growing city that is on the rise with the new generation. This is great to hear considering the financial crisis they have recently went through.
Our last media visit finished around 6 p.m., so we headed back to the hotel and had the rest of the night to do as we please. Ashley, Anthony and myself decided we wanted to find a local restaurant to eat at. But remember how I said we are in the business area of Lisbon? This area is practically dead after 7pm! Our tour guide also had minimal information for us on places to eat at. So with that at hand, we ventured into the city, on foot, to find something to eat. After about a half hour of walk, and passing about a dozen restaurants that were already closed, we came across this quaint little restaurant. As we go in and sit down (this is a little two part restaurant), one section is for those getting coffee and pastries and the other is the dinner section. We went to the dinner section and were the only ones in that section as everyone else was having their coffee and pastries. I guess, just like in Spain, here in Portugal they eat late dinners as well. We might as well have signs around our neck that says tourist.
But we didn’t care, we just wanted some food. I ordered this shrimp and crab risotto, it was so good, plus there was a lot there. I couldn’t eat it all, so I shared it with Ash and Anthony who helped me finish it. I must say that we all enjoyed our meals and left with full stomachs.
Tomorrow is a bitter sweet moment because it is our last day of media visits. I have learned a lot but definitely looking forward to the time I have on my own to explore the city!
Hasta la proxima!
Thursday May 21, 2015
Today is our last day of media visits!
Our first stop was to RTP. RTP is Portugal’s public service broadcasting organization. It operates four terrestrial television channels and three national radio channels, as well as several satellite and cable offerings. They focus on radio and television.
RTP has many radio stations such as:
RDP Antena 1, news, talk and sports station with a strong focus on Portuguese music
RDP Antena 2, cultural programming, classical and world music, featuring live performances
RDP Antena 3, an up-tempo, youth-oriented station with focus on contemporary and alternative music
RDP Internacional, the international radio service
Their international radio service can also be heard in Massachusetts, a popular area for those who speak Portuguese.
After our time at RTP and a tour of the facility we headed to a little shopping plaza for a quick lunch before we headed off to our last media visit.
Our last visit was with the Global Media Group. The Global Media Group is a Portuguese media holding company. They are one of the largest media groups in Portugal, marking presence in the fields of press, radio and Internet.
One of their newspapers is Diário de Noticias and in English that translates to Daily News. The Daily News is a generalist daily newspaper, complete, comprehensive and reliable. The Daily News wants to uphold certain standards such as judicious journalism, true information based on reliable journalistic investigation and reporting of vivid stories of the world. Also this is a newspaper in the history of the country and society that guarantees, a public service excellence and precision.
This was probably one of my top three favorite lectures I listened to this whole trip.
We finished up early from our media visits today, so we got back to our hotel around 5:00 p.m. The rest of the night was ours to do as we pleased. We had the option after our last media visit to have the bus drop us off at an area to go shopping, but the only thing was that we had to find our own way back and we were not about to do that. So Ash, Anthony and I headed back to the hotel to decide what we wanted to do for the rest of the night. We finally decided that we were going to head up the rooftop pool and spend a few hours up there.
What an amazing sight from a rooftop and a whole new experience for me. There were not too many people at the pool, and it was rather windy up there so we stayed covered up. We found three lounge chairs and took our seats. After a day of media visits it felt so good to just kick back and relax. We went over to the bar and ordered a few drinks while we were up there and just chatted.
Around 6 p.m. we headed back to our rooms so we could get ready for dinner. Again, the three of us went out to dinner and wanted to find a nice Portuguese restaurant. Our tour guide for Lisbon seemed to lack the knowledge of the area, so trying to ask her where to eat usually didn’t help us out at all. So we went to the front desk to see what they could tell us. They showed us a restaurant that was only about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. That was easy enough for us. We arrived at the restaurant and we were greeted by a friendly waiter who showed us to our table.
We decided on an appetizer of shrimp sautéed in butter and it came out looking wonderful. We all divided the shrimp up and ate every last bit of it. The shrimp were tender and perfect. For dinner I got a whole sea bass. When I say whole, I mean the whole fish; head, eyes, bones, everything. It was the best tasting fish I have ever eaten and was such a different experience eating a whole fish right from the bones! For dessert we each split a cinnamon crepe with ice cream in the middle. That also was to die for. The ice cream took it to a whole new level.
All of the food I have eaten on this trip has been spectacular and a huge highlight of this trip!
Hasta la proxima!
Friday May 22, 2015
Well today is the last day before we head home. Yesterday we finished up the last of our media visits and today is ours to do as we please. While we have been in Lisbon we have had a hard time finding shops and restaurants to go to, but also a lack of time to do all of this.
So as today got started, all I wanted to do was explore some shops around Lisbon, and that is exactly what we did. This morning we headed off to Sintra, a huge tourist spot that had a bunch of little shops. I was pretty excited because I love shopping at these little shops around town. Looking around you can pretty much find anything you could want in terms of souvenirs, and not all souvenirs and cheap and poorly made. Here in Lisbon a good majority of their products they offer and hand made in Portugal. Truly unique and wonderful to see. I will say that I have found some great gifts that are just completely unique to Portugal.
After spending about two hours at the shop, we headed back to the bus to go to a great scenic spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The drive over consisted of going through these mountain areas and winding roads. Finally after about a 15 minute drive, we reached the top where we could overlook the ocean. It was a spectacular sight to see and took my breath away, and also for the fact that we were so high up! Our tour guide told us that a few years ago that a couple went past the railings they have up on the little cliff it gets very windy. So they were taking a picture together and a gust of wind knocked them right off the cliff and unfortunately they did not survive. Therefore, our tour guide warned us of not going past the railings, so I made sure to keep my distance.
Following our excursion to this beautiful spot for pictures, we headed down to the beach. Again, we had the afternoon to ourselves to get lunch and shop. Let me tell you, I am taking advantage of both of those! Portugal has wonderful seafood. Well of course they do because they are right on the shore. Restaurants literally have nets hanging off the dock right behind their restaurant to catch fish and other creatures in the sea for us to eat. It is as fresh as fresh can get, I am in Portugal so I am taking advantage of that.
It was Ashley, Anthony and myself, and we were on the hunt for a restaurant that had oysters (well just Anthony and I, Ash isn’t a fan). We found this cute little restaurant to eat at and started off with a dozen of their fresh oysters. They were the most delicious and fresh oysters I have ever eaten in my life. Plus they were huge too! Not the little scrawny ones you get in the states, these ones were plump. Anthony and I slurped them down pretty quick.
After looking at their menu, I couldn’t decide what to have and I wanted to try something I have not eaten here yet. Last night I had fish so I was looking for something different. As my eyes were scrolling over the menu, I saw an option for mussels Spanish style. Spanish style, has a thin tomato broth with onions and parsley. These mussels came in a kettle with the broth under them and topped with parsley. This dish was incredible and I will be forever dreaming of this dish! You better believe that I ate every single one of those mussels too. The broth was perfect for dipping my bread in. My trip to Portugal was now complete.
After eating we headed down to sit on the beach. It was warm but also very windy, so for that reason we stayed in our clothes and opted to not wear our swimsuits. It was nice just being able to sit on the beach and not having a care in the world. It was such a relaxing day. The three of us sat there for the afternoon and reflected about the trip. I truly wish we had more days available to us so we could go and explore each city more and take in the beautiful culture. I guess when I decide to travel again I will make the decisions as to where to travel, and making sure I give myself plenty time at each city.
Following our day at the beach we attended a Fado show to end our trip. A Fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation and fatefulness.
It is hard to believe that today is our last day here in Europe, I had some great experiences and can’t wait to explore more of Europe!
Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog!
We have arrived safe in the states and we are glad to be back! But we will miss it and each other!
The flight from Lisbon to Philadelphia was long, about seven hours. But the moment our wheels touched down in Pittsburgh, it was a bitter sweet moment.
I am still running on Lisbon time and have been up for about 20 hours so far.
So with that I bid you farewell, and thank you again for all of your prayers and keeping us in your thoughts. Buenasnoches y adios
(Goodnight and goodbye)