Monday, April 21, 2008

Barca - Barcelona Tips

Actually I have tried to write this post twice now, once in Barcelona hotel and once in Dublin after returning, but both times, publishing crash. I try once more, hopefully it will work.

To begin with, its an impressive city :), no surprises there. Offcourse, if I could speak spanish, it would be much more fun. It was my first trip to Spain, and now I'm debating which language course to join during summer ie. French or Spanish. I think I'll give Spanish first try :).

We did pretty much most of the touristy stuff in the city (next time, some local stuff). One thing which stands out in Barcelona is the architecture of the city. First thing which I noticed was, the buildings, all around, were much taller taller than rest of european cities I have seen, min. 5-7 stories. And secondly lot of architecture is heavily influenced by genius of architect and designer Antoni Gaudi and his work can be seen all around the city.

And no trip to Barcelona would be complete without visiting atleast one of Gaudi's work esp. Sagrada Familia (or El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família). Its quite a magnificient building and the design inspiration of using nature's shapes into his work. As its still unfinished and inside its still a construction site, which was bit disappointing but nonetheless, its brilliant.

We also visited Casa Batlló, which in my opinion would be the work of Gaudi's style and modernism. Its so detailed in design that would amaze you, don't forget to take the listening guide along to know about each an every section of the building and how much thought and detail Gaudi has put in restoring it, the shapes, the design, natural ligthing, natural ventilation etc.
I like the design of the ceiling on the pic cool, isn't it the coolest design you have seen :) .. great work

Our next stop for Gaudi's work was Park Guell, high above the city and gives stunning views of the city and park itself is a network of naturally twisted pathways and buildings. Def. worth the visit. Ah La Casa Mila is another fav. tourist destination thou the lines were never-ending.

Also, beware and avoid eating n drinking on this street (i think its called Passieg de Gracia), they will totally rip you off for food which you should anyway avoid. Better try stores around or nearby smaller streets, much better value for money and good quality.

I'm not a big fan of museums, not becoz I don't like art, but I feel trapped :) and sorta forced upon to see it by myself. Anyway, Barcelona has so much to offer in terms of museums, arts, culture. We went to see the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was quite good. Our friends also visited the Picasso Museum, I didn't so can't say much, but they said its was ok.

Palau-de-Musica-de-Catalyunia is another site to visit. We went to see Spanish Folk music concert there. The normal tourist gudied tours were booked for 3/4 days in advance. And i think its better to see a concert in there than just a site visit. It has an amazing glass roof, which they don't let you take pictures off :). But there are places of eaveryone's taste.

No trip is complete without visiting the main city cathedral, which for Barcelona is Cathedral of Barcelona. Its a quite big from inside and has Gothic architecture. More here.

Def. not to miss. And even more so the surrounding areas of the cathedral are called the Gothic Quarter with small alleys and paths. Very good to spend some time walking, window shopping, or just having a good tapas. Highly recommended.

Another nice part of town to visit is the sea front, I miss something of that sort in Dublin. Its quite nice during day or night, depending what you want to do. During day its has nice resturants, markets, shopping or at night, leisurely walk or some night life with pubs and clubs nearby.

Not to miss, the La Ramblas Street, the main street to the city, and its amazing how it changes its character from day to evening to night. It has lots of pubs, clubs, food joints, etc. and extra stuff you may wish to try ;).

I can keep on going, I would try finish off about the visit to Montjuïc, one of the two mountians, the other one being Tibidabo, you can go to them with a cable car if you don't wish to walk. We went to Montjuïc and the castle on top and it has amazing views of the city & the harbour. While returning, you can also go to the Olympic village and stadium and the Museum of Joan Miro, both not to miss.

Ah, this post won't be complete without the mention of FC Barca / Barcelona, one of the best teams in football and with the history like that, if you are football fan, you can't miss the Camp Nou or FC Barca Stadium (esp. before its being completly renovated by Norman Foster). We went there and it was one of the highlights of the trip :) and we took a very worth guided tour of the stadium.

Finally don't miss all the good sea food and other spanish food like tapas, etc.

Enjoy your trip!!

Prof. Pausch "Last Lecture" - Inspirational, Awesome Life Lessons

Few weeks back, I posted about a TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor about the power to choose who we are and what we can achieve in this world. I just finished watching Prof. Randy Pausch "Last Lecture", he gave at CMU last year and probably many of you must have already seen it by now. Its truely one of the most inspirational talk I have seen and that there is so much more to learn and live life. I can't even begin to summarize the talk, every moment / slide of the talk has to offer something, and a lesson to be learn. And it had so many things which sometimes I think sub-conciously but somehow never show' and do. Things don't always turn out as you expect but we need to make the best of what we got.

Excerpt from Slides:

  • Show Gratitude
  • Don’t complain; just work harder
  • Find the best in everybody; no matter how you have to wait for them to show it
  • Be prepared: “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity
  • Listen to Others
  • Focus on Others and not just yourself
  • Help Others
  • You can't get there alone, "Karma"

  • Please do watch the talk, it will help us make this world a better place for us and everyone in the world. The stories / life lessons / life expriences / work / having fun / dreams / respect / friends / parents / family / mentors / loyalty etc. etc. told by Prof. Pausch are worth keeping and using in one life.

    The slides and other talks can be downloaded/viewed HERE.

    More Talk at CMU, HERE.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Live from Barcelona

    ola again

    ok, i just wrote a brilliant post about barcelona :) but usual internet crash at hotel n its lost now.. so you have wait now .. later amigo ..

    Live from Barcelona (Delayed Post)

    late post but i just saw that this post i wrote in barcelona but it didn't post due to connection problems but bloggger saved it .. so here it goes :)

    last two days have been awesome, so much sun, which sadly we don´t get much in Dublin. Anyway, Barcelona is a great city, its quite different from rest of cities I have visited. First of all, there is lot of influence of Gaudi architectural style. The night life seems quite crazy, its like an entirely different city at night. We went to one club last night, thou´ was dead tired from all day of sightseeing, was quite loud. There were signs all around not to smoke inside the club but everybody was smoking :). Reminded of German clubs with clothes stinking the next day but it was good fun. Def. not to miss if you are in the city. Walking around the city is quite good, everything is pretty much walkable distance. The sea-front is brilliant, with lot of stuff to see, things happening around (music, clubs, cable-car to top of hill), n ah we went to see Aquarium, was ok, the price was bit too much for 20 min. n no student discount but we did see some sharks.

    More later.. ciao

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    Opera - first time for everything

    Report Submitted. Afterwards I went out to see opera (i can't believe I sat thru' 3 hours of it, + 15 min. of clapping :); thou Bollywood movies are pretty much 3 hours too.. so I shudn't complain) with some friends. It was good fun. It was called "The Marriage of Figaro", its one of most succesful work of Mozart's. I must say, it was very pleasant exprience, didn't knew what to expect and as I was busy with work, didn't had a chance to read about it before going. So here I was, everyone in cocktail dresses n all. Anyway, it was different n nice, majorly due to the fact that it had a comic touch to it, some of scene were very funny, n the italian singing, reading sub-titles was nice, otherwise no clue whats going on (a friend mentioned they r not called subtitles, as they above the stage n not below.. forgot what she said thou'). For the first time, it was good, if you haven't been to any, start with The Marriage of Figaro, not so dramatic :)


    Last month was crazy busy, things really gets sorta out of hand when you need to write a report, 30-40 pages. Last week I submitted my transfer report for PhD n also completion of first year. It worked out nicely by the end of it and seems to have good outline for futre work also, or atleast work for next 6 months. Thou' am feeling bit disconnected or less busy, I think I need to get out of the country for sometime n take a break. More Later..