Sunday, February 25, 2018

Adeu Barcelona

Winter landstcape from Kuopio
I have returned back to Finland from Barcelona after two years and one month. The cold weather of Finland did not feel as cold as I expected after comparatively warm winter of Barcelona. This was my third return from Spain back to Finland, previously I had lived in Alcalá de Henares and Madrid. At the moment I am in transition phase so I have not yet found a permanent place to stay. Another chapter is starting.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What is the most worn flag in Barcelona?

The jacket
Recent political movement towards independence of Catalonia has increased the number of visible Catalonian flags on the balconies. Also some people are showing support to Spain by having a Spanish flag on their balcony. But these flags are not worn by the people on the streets on ordinary days. You can see many people wearing a jacket with a Norwegian flag on the middle of the chest. Jackets with Norwegian flag are especially popular among the teenagers. The jackets seem equally popular among girls and boys. When I walk 20 minutes to the local shopping mall, at least five people will pass by with a Norwegian flag jacket. The jackets are with text of Napapijri or Geographical Norway. The brand is originally Italian. Another sign of the popularity is that the copies of these jackets are sold next to the copies of Barcelona jerseys by the street vendors.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Copa del rey - Derby of Barcelona

Camp Nou
I went to see a Spanish cup match Barcelona against Espanyol in Camp Nou on Thursday evening. Espanyol had won the first match 1 - 0 and the match being a local derby there was some extra tension. Still it was possible to get the tickets one day before the match for 42 euros which were not even the cheapest ones available. Matches of Barcelona tend to attract a lot of tourists so I was not expecting much from the atmosphere in the stadium.

The stadium was almost full and right away I was positively surprised by the atmosphere. The crowd sang along the official hymn of Barcelona when the players entered the field. Also during the match chants started by the small section of fanatic Barcelona supporters were joined by the people all over the stadium. One chant was naturally for Messi and his name got sang few times during the match. At one point someone pulled out a Spanish flag in the crowd which caused right away friction and small brawl, that got some people removed from the stands. I have to say that the seats were narrow. It was not possible with normal shoulder width to lean back and relax. Every other has to lean forward in order to fit.

The match was Debut of Philippe Coutinho in Barcelona. The crowd welcomed him by extra cheering when he touched the ball. Barcelona won the match 2 - 0 comfortably. The referee got criticized during the match with various whistle concerts. To sum up the match was a good experience.

My previous football match report I wrote about Spanish third division match.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


View from Sant Jeroni

Montserrat Monastery
End of December I went to Montserrat which is about one hour train ride from the plaza España of Barcelona. Once I got out from the train, I took cable car to the Montserrat mountain. Montserrat offers different routes to hike on the mountain or just casual stroll around the monastery area. I decided to hike to the point called Sant Jeroni which was estimated to take about 2 hours one way. Sant Jerroni offered a great view but due the windy weather I could not fully enjoy the view on the top. After returning from the hike I had a look on the monastery area where most of the tourists stayed. If you decide to hike you can nicely spend a full day in Montserrat. Though in my opinion you can also spend full day not so nicely if you decide queue hours in order to touch the virgin "La Moreneta".

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Top Posts 2017

In seville

I spent another year in Barcelona. Here are the top articles from 2017.

1. I wrote three articles about working in BPO/SSC and abroad. I wrote my thoughts what makes people stay abroad for the long term
2. Keeping my spending low has made changing location easier for me
3. Invonceniencies of siesta
4. Expenses of renting a flat in Barcelona
5. Introducing parks worth visiting in Barcelona

Top posts from previous years 201620152014201320122011 and 2010.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Meeting friends in Barcelona

Passeig de Gracia
By living in a popular tourist destination like Barcelona I have had chance to meet many friends as they have decided to come for holidays to Barcelona. In that sense staying in Barcelona has been great place to catch up with old friends. For example yesterday I met with my Spaniah friend Chencho who I have known since 2009. It is hard to imagine many other cities where you have as good chances to meet friends from all around Europe as in Barcelona.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

More parks of Barcelona

One year ago I introduced five parks which are not the most touristic ones in Barcelona. Here five more parks that you might want to see and visit in Barcelona.

Parc de Diagonal Mar
Parc de Diagonal Mar is near the sea and big shopping mall. You can see artistic metal structures in the park. Nice park to take a walk around. Around the park you can see recently built buildings and an old light house.

El parc del Turó del Putxet
El parc del Turó del Putxet is another park in Barcelona on a hill. You can choose a route to the top by stairs or road. From the top you have a city landscape view.

Mercat Nou
There is a nicely made pedestrian road near the metro stop Mercat Nou going on the metro line. This is not marked as a park but trees and no traffic in sight gives a chance for a pleasent walk or jog.

Parc de la Pegaso
This park is built on the area of an old truck factory. For example the entrance is preserved. You can find nice green area to take a walk, playground for children and area to play sports like football or basketball.

Parc de la Trinitat
Parc de la trinitat has a big area of green grass which is nice for picnic. You can also find area to do barbecue and two tennis courts which are available for free. Especially in the barbecue area you can see often groups celebrating birthdays.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Selling everything in order to go abroad

Path to destination
Media has written stories of people like Taneli Roininen and Ville Syväniemi who sold all of their belongings in order to go abroad. For example Syväniemi was able to sell stuff worth 10k Eur to finance his stint abroad. Funny coincidence is that Roininen was in Tblisi same time as me, during the tragedic floods where 19 lives were claimed and animals escaped from zoo.

These gentlemen are around same age as me, and had already rooted themselves in Finland before they got the idea to go abroad. Therefore they had accumulated good amount of stuff, what they got rid of, before leaving Finland. In comparasion to me, I have tried to live with as little stuff as possible, to be able to move easily and not to waste money on unnecesssary stuff, what I cannot bring with me when I move.

Though when I moved to Joensuu for my studies to live on my own, I bought a bed which cost 500 euros because I was expecting to sleep in it at least 5 years, which was the expected duration of my studies. As the the apartment was shared, I was able to avoid buying many other supplies and furniture for comfortable living. On the second year of my studies I got the idea to go for an exchange year in Spain, then I adopted the mentality to avoid accumulating too much stuff as I had to move out in one year. Since then I have been mentally prepared to change location and able to avoid wasting money on goods which cannot be taken easily inside a suitcase. During the past years I have chosen always to live in furnished flat, which means that I can avoid buying furniture, electrodomestics, dishes and other basic household supplies.

Thanks to minimalistic lifestyle, I never had to make drastic announcement that everything on sale. Owning less made the decision of going abroad or changhing the location easier. Though I can say that in my suitcase there are very few same items as I have replaced them or left out when I left Finland for the first time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Field Hockey in Barcelona

Field hockey in Monjuic
I set myself seven goals before starting my exchange year in Alcalá de Henares in 2009. I managed to reach all the goals except play field hockey. Finally after 8 years I found an opportunity to join field hockey training and play.

Having played floorball for many years, made the stick handling of field hockey stick easier. Short stick, a small blade and being able to touch the ball with only one side of the stick makes controlling the ball hard. I was satisfied with my performance and was not sticking out too much with my non-existent experience. I also received good feedback for my skills for being a first timer. Field hockey ball is heavy and getting hit by it can get you injured. I received a heavy pass on foot and it hurt. You do not want to block shots in field hockey like in floorball. Overall I am very happy for the chance to play.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

International experience

Plaza España in Sevilla
I have been living in eight cities in seven years so someone might draw a conclusion that I am not able to make a long term commitment and stay put in one place. The truth is that even though I have been living in many different cities I have been able to finish my long term goals during that time. I finished bachelor and master of science in economics and B. A. in five years and I was loyal to my two-year contract in Poland. Now I have been one and half years in Barcelona.

International experience is seen as an asset in current business world. What does one gain by working abroad and what does it actually mean if someone has international experience? I am going to share here my thoughts.
  • You communicate in English and other languages
  • You adapt to a new culture and habits
  • You have international network
  • You can work with people from different backgrounds. For example you learn how to deal with "mañana" attitude
  • You tolerate with change and unknown. For example you might not understand the language people speak around you in open office that might make you feel being left out