Our place in Barcelona

We returned to warm and sunny Barcelona for two days after our southern Spain excursion. We pretty much spent the whole time packing up our things, going out one last night, and saying goodbyes. As we were doing so, I realized I never took any pictures of our apartment or studio work space. So, here you go.

Our apartment was located near Plaza de Sants, in the Sants district of Barcelona. A 3 minute walk to the grocery store, 5 minute walk to the metro, 10 minute walk to the main train station, and a 20 minute walk to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s home stadium. Pretty awesome location. Out apartment had 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, one entry foyer (mainly just a hallway), and a living room / kitchen.

When you walk in, this is what you see – the entry is to the right of the frame, and the door to Michael and my’s room is directly behind the camera. Ben and Yoav’s room is the door on the left, bathroom in the middle, and living room / kitchen on the right.

The tiny room that Michael and I shared:

The (much larger) room that Ben and Yoav shared:

Walking into the living room / kitchen area. That’s a futon (folded back) underneath the window:

The rest of the living room / kitchen area. We spent nearly all of our time sitting at that tiny glass table on our computers:

The apartments were very nice, but they also had a lot of problems:

1) You can’t tell in the pictures, but the kitchen sink is placed in the corner of the counter space – so you can’t ever stand directly in front of it. You had to wedge yourself in the corner of the kitchen to use it – so annoying.

2) The washer/dryer combo unit didn’t actually dry anything, hence the drying rack on the right from the euro store.

3) There was only enough hot water at any given time for about 1.25 quick showers. Nowhere near enough.

4) The front door had no operable knob, so you had to use the key to open it every single time. As a result, we left our doors ajar a lot, and subsequently got yelled at by the management for having our doors open and “talking too loud and letting our food smells out into the hallway”…

5) The beds were terribly uncomfortable.

6) The air conditioning broke during a heat wave, so the inside of the apartment was about 90F for a little while.

7) Bad lighting – not good for when we had to work a lot – which was pretty much all the time.

But despite all of that, we were grateful to just have all of those things in the first place.

We spent 99% of our time split between our apartment and our class space – studio. Located in the old town very near the historic Las Ramblas street, our studio was in a great place. On average, it would take about 30 minutes to get there from our apartments, with about a 5 minute walk to the metro station, 12 minute metro ride, and then another 12 minute walk to studio. I filmed the journey one day, and Michael processed it into a short time-lapse video, with real audio as well. It turned out super shaky, but you get the idea of our daily commute as we leave our apartment and head to studio for class one day:

Studio, from Yoav:

The room was twice as big as this picture shows – the other end  was a our lecture space, with a projector and rows of chairs. In between, on the side, was our printing room and the professors’ office. Here’s the view from the balcony, overlooking Portaferrissa, our street that connects to Las Ramblas down to the left:

That pretty much sums up our daily life in Barcelona. Lots of class, lots of work in the apartments. There was a little time for fun in between too, I guess.

We all went our own ways on December 8th, when the program officially ended. Some people flew out to Italy, others to France, and some stayed in Barcelona. Michael, Yoav and I didn’t have flights out until the 9th, so we booked a room in the new Toyo Ito hotel for the night:

It’s only 10 months old, so it’s pretty much empty. I think there may have been one other room booked in the entire hotel while we were there. It was super nice and fancy, but it was very reasonably priced because it’s so empty. Our room was up on the 17th floor, right by the gym and spa. Unfortunately we waited too long and they were closed when we tried to use them. But the room was great and modern, with very comfortable beds.

The bathroom was probably the coolest part. It was basically two fritted glass volumes (one for the shower and one for the toilet) on either side of the vanity in the middle. The doors to the shower and toilet swung 180 degrees, so you could either use them as separate rooms, or fold them all the way back and conceal the vanity, making the shower, toilet and vanity all part of the same private bathroom. Pretty cool.

The next morning, the three of us took a cab to the airport. We weren’t expecting it to be a ton of money, since we deliberately booked a hotel that was closer to the airport. However, we were a few minutes late down to the lobby, so the meter was already running when we got into the car. The fee had grown to around 22 euro by the time we reached the terminal. But then the driver added all of the charges for the extra bags that we had. The total? 35 euros. They charge for every bag that they have to put in their car. Considering we each had 3 bags, with everything we lived with for the past 4 months, we had a lot of stuff. Not cool. So we had to pull together all of our remaining money to pay the guy. And I mean all of it, down to the 20 cent pieces.

Anyways, we all made it to our flights, after being forced to pay for an extra checked bag (which somehow wasn’t a problem on the way over…).  And back to sunny Los Angeles I went.

Adios, Barcelona.

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