Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Montserrat

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Referendum

The referendum on independence of Catalonia is approaching. The voting is taking place 1st of October and the campaigning has started on the streets. People passing flyers on the streets and campaigning tents on certain places. Besides the Catalan flags decorating balconies you can also see flags supporting voting in favor of independence of Catalonia. I expect the campaigning to increase.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Renting a flat in Barcelona

Finding a flat can be challenging in Barcelona. Especially finding a studio is difficult and you have to act fast. I went to see one studio apartment of 35 square meters in Central location beside good public transportation connections. The landlord was asking for a rent of 500 EUR including the electricity. Various people were ready to pay the rent so landlord was able to pick the person to who he wanted to rent the flat. Second potential flat was available for 580 EUR and as nobody had not yet decided to rent, I decided to make the decision right away and pay the reservation fee.

The rental agencies tend to charge 10 % yearly rent + VAT (21 %) from the tenants. Then you also need to pay 1 - 2 month rent as a deposit and the rent of the first month. Therefore you better be prepared with few thousand euros if you want to rent a flat. In Finland the landlords are paying the fee for the agencies to assist with flat rental. Normal rent contract is for 3 years which you can terminate after 6 months with one month notice period.

Since living here for over a year I have received almost every day a flyer to my mailbox from different housing agencies that they are ready to evaluate the price of my flat or help me to rent it out. If you want to rent a flat from certain neighborhood I suggest to a walk around and see the offered flats in the housing agencies of the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Vandalism


Vandalism
During the past year I have noticed vandalism towards the banks three times in the same street. All the other shops or businesses on the same street were untouched. One bank had writings how the banks are stealing from the people. On other days there have been posters against capitalism or just small writings. There seems to be going on a movement against the banks/capitalism which I have not witnessed before. Occupied flats and homeless people are also signs that not everything is going well in the Spanish society.