It was great. Time for Seville is getting over but before to leave I have to mention things which I won’t forget:
CALOR: Incredible heat of Seville. The test on extreme weather was passed but I have to say it was really tough!
The beauty of the city: Seville is amazing city with old churches, cozy streets and warm atmosphere.
 
Beaches: Andalusia could be a paradise. And the surfing was one of the best experience here. 
Leisure: after work was always something to do. I found capoeira group, had chance to enjoy flamenco performances, have seen sevillian dancing at Feria in Utrera and many many other exciting things in Seville. 
 
And the main  appreciation goes to Spain Internship company and all their cool collective!
P.S. Special thanks to Susanna for delicious fondue!
Hasta luego, amigos!
To know a place better you should absorb into a  local culture. Culture of Seville is all about flamenco. No wonder because its motherland of it. 
 
Music of Andalusia includes traditional and modern music, the people and the composed music, and hesitates from flamenco to shake. On the other hand, a certain metrics, melodious and harmonious features consider Andalusian even when is written or executed by musicians from somewhere. But anyway, flamenco, it is probably most characteristic an Andalusian genre of music and the dance generated in the 18th century, but, is based in earlier forms from area. Influence of traditional music and dance of people of Romani or Roma are especially clear. A genre the excellent vocal (flamenco cante), a guitar (a current flamenco), and dance (flamenco baile) covers styles. Fundamental in the history of Andalusian music composers Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, Francisco Correa de Arauxo, Manuel García, Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Turina, and Manuel Castillo.
The show I’ve been last weekend in Museo del baile flamenco was spectacular. It was so called “El baile flamenco” known for its emotional intensity, proud carriage, and expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet.  The passionate Spanish woman and man were dancing one by one with beautiful singing of gypsies and playing on guitar and piano on the background.
 Incredible energy of motion and passion had mingled in all: in the clatter of boots, creaking strings and burning moan male voices. Even not being so familiar with the whole content of the performance in lyrics or details of production, flamenco show captures your eyes and heart from the first minute. Throughout the action does not let a shiver or from the passions, or the tragedy of what is happening, or the strength of the beauty of emotions go away.
 
If you look at the Spanish culture through the lens of the traditions of flamenco, is a lot to explain and understand about this country.
 
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Photos by Lena Kilina
Although I was already talking about Cadiz and closest places to Seville I would like to get back to these places. And the excuse for it is finding my film camera and old expired films. It has become by obsession for couple years now and being in Spain isn’t exception. 
Views of the refreshing sea in Сadiz, neighborhoods of the southern a little ragged small town Dos Hermanas, dense concentration of churches in Seville - improbable inspiration for my involvement into film photography. 
Scuff of expired film rolls, treasured click of analog photo machine (hehe lets call it like this here) and expectation of developing process are too precious. Also colors of Andalucía dispose to a dying esthetics and grace of film photography more than to digital (though its use is inevitable) expressions.
If you ask me about content of images I can’t sum up cause still slightly more than a month in Spain. However, shots of birds and passersby, morning churches and evening train stations, a tender beach and cozy cafes, the Spanish candy stores and the flamenco skirts hanging on a balcony already do this short period of stay a little nostalgic. 
 
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 Photos by Lena Kilina
I had this idea for a long time, namely to hitch-hike to the sea. Being already a little bit capoerista when I had known that there would be capoeira workshops with Brazilian mestres in Cadiz on the weekend, I and my Peruvian companion decided to try hitch-hiking from Seville to Cadiz. Let’s call it adventure from nothing.
 
Hastily had packed my bag, drawn a poster with inscription CADIZ, hoping on friendliness of Spanish drivers, early n the morning we had been begun to wait for good luck on a gas station. Hotness of course was the main enemy for us- artificial Bedouins! And as more sun went up as more our smiles to drivers became fake. However, the mantra consisting of the one word “Cadiz” had encouraged us. But when we were about to give up the old-school van with Spanish family picked us up! Being happy like kids that hitch-hiking turned to be possible they drove us to the direction of Rota.
 
Nevertheless, the family advised us to take off highway before road goes Rota, so we appeared on the highway under the scorching sun. Standing, sometimes walking with poster in our hands, widely smiling didn’t make cars stop. It took around 2 hours of walking on highway; my arms were burned but fields of beautiful sunflowers and clean sky made our pastime unforgettable. Second time for this day was the moment of losing hopes, when suddenly old farmer had seen us on the middle of the road and waved. Super worn out car full of vegetables looked magic, or at least I was feeling myself like in movie. However, the lovely farmer offered us option to take a ferry to Cadiz which was only 30 minutes from Rota. After 6 hours in total on the road and actually really wanted to get Cadiz capoeira event we were happy to travel with ferry!
 

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Photos by Juan Carlos Pimentel

 
Inexpressible feelings of “completed mission” and tiny pride of ourselves to prove that everything is possible! So, the Spanish roads passed check!

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What a surprise, yesterday a friend of me asked me if I want to buy a ticket for the match FC Barcelona vs. Benfica Lissabon to go there with some other Erasmus Students. He couldn’t go there so he wanted to sell me his ticket. This was really nice because I got the ticket a lot cheaper that way. After I bought the ticket from him I met with some other people in the city center to eat some tapas, after that we went to the stadium. I’ve never been there before. It was amazing. The match started at 20:45 o’clock. The first minutes were not so interesting but then it started to be a really exciting match. Benfica was fighting to win, the fans of Barcelona were shouting for Messi. It was amazing to be there. Then the blast of the whistle for the half time and it was still 0:0 Benfica missed so many chances to score. For Barça it was not so important, the let their best players rest because the way to the next round was already for sure.

The second half time started and after three other missed chances of Benfica and two of Barcelona, the shouting of the Barça fans were answered and Vilanova sent Messi to join the match instead of Rafinha. Ten minutes later the next change took place and the last one around ten minutes before the end of the match. But the last 5 minutes Barça was only playing with ten players because one of the worst things every Barça supporter can imagine happened. Only a few minutes after their last possible switch Messi got the ball and ran into the guest’s keeper.You could see him stumbling a bit but everything seemed fine. But after his shot on the goal which was saved by the keeper Messi fell down on the ground in pain. The medicals came to carry him on a stretcher and by a small car off the field. We were surrounded by Barça fans and we could see how shocked they’ve been starting to pray. No one knew what was wrong with him only that it was something with his knee. The Superstar of Barça injured in the last match of the round only around five minutes before the final whistle, when it was not necessary to send him to the match. The whole procedure took only two minutes but after it everybody next to us was so nervous. 

After we arrived home I was checking the internet and the press officers of Barça told that it seems to be only a bruise but that they want to make more checkups to be sure. I also read that Messi is close to beating the record of our famous German football player Gerd Müller who scored 30 years ago 85 goals in official matches in one calendar year. Messi already scored 84 goals this year and if he’s in the condition to play there are a few games left to beat the record. I recognize the big coincidence, Messi wanted to score his 85. Goal and was injured in the 85th minute trying to make it. We will see how it’s going on. But I’m really happy that I could be at the stadium yesterday to see those emotions and the exciting match.

I can call the recent Sunday project with crew of Spain Internship “catch the white water”. There was a surfing class in splendid place nearby Seville- Cadiz.
Considering that I train capoeira and snowboarding, there was a confidence the surf board will be given in to me from the first. Especially, after our charismatic trainer explained everything very intelligibly. The main thing was to remember a magic word: paddle (lying on a board and imitate rowing).
 
Then we smoothly got over on the coast and tested the boards on the sand. Something like scrabbling. Feeling as the surfing queen (I always have rich imagination) in a cool swimming costume with a heavy board under the arm, I was ready to fight against the waves. However…
Huge waves, gigantic board, ultimate sea saltiness in a mouth and this intolerable string attaching foot to a board pushed off me from a surfing throne immediately. Long ago I so wasn't so angry with nature, sea, weak knees, but especially the scream PADDLE freaked me out! Every time predictably the brought-down by wave, I heard only this from our coach´s mouth. Nevertheless, I could manage to stand on the soft board for couple seconds feeling like a bird (of course it was a miserable illusion haha).

But despite on the sharp pain in hands and shoulders the next two days, impossibility to get rid of sand in my hair, eye cutting pain from sea salt, surfing is unbelievable invention! No advises only want to quote the coach Willi`s sacramental phrase: “the main thing in surfing - to catch white water!”

Very early in the morning I got a phone call from my parents, that they found a really cheap last minute flight and that they are coming to visit me the next day and that they are bringing my little sister with them because she had one day off from school. Immediately a big problem appeared in my mind – my mom loves museums but my sister hates that and I knew my mom wanted to visit one. At work I asked my bosses if they know where to go to fulfill my mom’s wish of going to a museum where even my sister has fun. And serious they knew a place: Cosmo Caixa a well recommended scientific museum. I checked it at the internet and it’s really cheap because it’s run by the social foundation “la Caixa”.

 The next day after their arrival we went to visit the museum. My sister was grumbling the whole way to the museum. 

In the foyer we were welcomed by a Albert Einstein. A figure of him was sitting at the information desk. 

Albert Einstein

In the middle of the big stairway down to the 5th basement there was a big tree from the Amazonas area hanging in the air. Arriving at the lowest levelwe saw a glassed moving staircase up to another floor so that you can see how it works. My sister was still grumbling so we went on hoping that there is something interesting for her. In the first hall we found science to touch. Even my sister was excited about the different possibilities to take part in experiments. We could produce a sandstorm, see how it builds dunes and even produce a tornado and touch the rotating air column. There were so many things to see, to touch and to hear.

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Then we saw the jungle. Through a big, a really big, wall of glass we could see recreation of over 1 square kilometer of flooded Amazonas rainforest with its animals. From this floor we could see fishes, turtles and so on. The forest is split almost invisible into different parts;

I think to make sure that incompatible species don’t come in contact. From a higher level we could see the rainforest as well and see other animals. Than the rain started, it      was so amazing; we were standing there completely dry watching the tropical rain.

 Amazonright-handsection

 surfacemainsection 

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In the outside area we found the biggest experiment: two satellite dishes with a distance of something around 80 meters showing how sound is transferred. My sister loved it; she was standing close to the one dish and talked into it and I was able to hear it standing close to the other dish. It was a really nice day and everyone was happy. 

 

Que calor!
Que se derrite de calor!
 
streets-of-sevilla
 
You have to know only these two phrases in Seville which all are about how hot it is. But it’s true. Melting brain can’t think about something else. The best periods of time are early mornings and late evenings. You can feel wind. Oh, I pray for it every day now. Anyway while I was melting in office my brave friend Balázs without fear to be burned (its more than possible here) had been crawled around the city and made these shots about center of Andalucia.
 
I want to start to discover hot and beautiful Seville from this visual portrait: objects of Andalusian Contemporary Art Center, night La Alameda de Hércules, spacious island La Cartuja, dim lights of Seville Expo’92 buildings.
 
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Photography by Balázs Tóth

Last weekend a friend from Germany was visiting me. Because of the good weather we decided to go to the Tibidabo Mountain, because I heard that it is amazing. For the half way up the hill we took the recommended tram called Tramvia Blau. It is a really small, cute historical looking, blue tram. The tram is the survivor of the old Barcelona from 1901. I read that it runs 1276 meters up to the Funicular.

tram blau


At the middle of the hill we had to we left the Tramvia Blau at Plaça Dr. Andreu, where you have a nice view over the city. From there we took the” Funincular del Tibidabo”, a funny cable car through the woods to the top. At first we were planning to visit the Tibidabo amusement park. This park was built in 1889 and a lot of the attractions are still from this time. This gives the park its peculiar charm. But we thought that it is a little bit expensive to spend 25,20 € for each only to spend a few hours at the amusement park. Because of this reason we decided to see the church “Temple del Sagrat Cor” instead. This church was built in 1806. We went up with the elevator and could see the city from a height of around 575 meters above the sea level. It was great.

 church

 

 

 

 

After the really nice trip we decided to make a break on our way down the hill. There is this one bar-restaurant named Mirablau with a stunning view over the city.
We got a table at the open window side and we could see most of Barcelona from there. It was really amazing to see the sunset over the city. We saw Sagrada Familia and even the sea and after the sunset the city started to light up. The food was ok, I ordered a Tapa of croquetes and my friend “ensaladilla Rusa”. After 11 pm we were really surprised when restaurant started becoming a kind of a club downstairs.

It was a really amazing day.

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Si, si, I am! But when you are still undecided (sometimes lost) graduate student always searching for cheap options, there are no many variants to choose. So, expectation: would be hot, stinky and crowded almost 12 hours Barcelona-Seville train. Successfully getting many times label “crazy” from my Spanish friends I’ve got to this train and surprisingly it was not so bad. And the chance to see interesting landscape from the window can be always the reason to justify tedious distance. Despite the theme was highlighted about train I was sleeping almost all the time, so let me say a few words about magic of Barcelona.

Many words are written, tons of poems are created, and million films are shown about the phenomenon of Antoni Gaudí Casa and his tremendous architecture, about unique Sagrada Familia and enormous Park Güell where you can literally touch casa of Gaudi, or blessing city view from Fortress Montjuïc.  So no need to repeat all those beautiful narrations but things which were around me my staying in Barcelona should be mentioned. Colors and sea-mountain core is the base of Barcelona. Impossible not to take off the eyes from old Catalonian houses with blue walls and red curtains, not to stuck in cozy tiny bars with tinto de verano and occasional flamenco sounds, not to get lost in Gracia area while of night riding bike., not to meet friends of friends in hidden bars of abandoned theater with the gypsum figure of Lenin in the center (btw weird) and finally not to enjoy the best Spanish concept-siesta.

 Photos by Lena Kilina
 
And when I discovered simply solemn little square of Barri Gòtic plaza de Sant Juan Neri and trying to account the rings in dark green mysterious fountain, I’ve understood all those dithyrambs devoted to Barcelona.

Follow the tagged mood:

 

On the way to Andalucía…

One of the best things in the world is definitely chocolate. I think every woman can understand that. When I was buying a huge amount of chocolate at the supermarket a man was laughing and told me that, if I love chocolate that much, I have to visit the chocolate museum. A chocolate museum? When I came home, the first thing I did was switching on the computer and searched for the museum. And serious, there is a great chocolate museum in Barcelona, called Museu de la Xocolata.museum

 

 

It took only one minte that day to for my roommate to decide to join me. We took a guided tour   because it was really cheap. Our guide was nice and  explained the whole process from the cocoa tree seed to the point when cocoa becomes chocolate. The origins of chocolate are in the Maya-Aztec world and chocolate was entering Europe later.

 

 

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We saw so many machines related to working with chocolate. When we entered the Barcelona Room we were overwhelmed by the great chocolate figures and started to understand, that they form a part of the confectionery tradition of Catalonia.

 

 

 

horses         choco

 

After our tour we went to the Shop-Café to have a drink, a cup of hot chocolate, what else? We tried a few different home-made pastries and I bought Spanish chocolate specialties as presents for my family in Germany. I really hope that they will last until I get back to Germany and I am not going to eat them. But even if I am eating them, I can go again to the museum and buy new one. At least I have a reason to visit the museum again.

I remember my first Spanish classes: the teacher said that the concept of the time in Spain and Latin America is some special thing. Basically, there is very different value of time for Spanish (for not all Spanish people of course). You just have to wait. Maybe for ages. And the process of getting Spanish visa had proved it clearly. Having the “fortune” of Russian passport I needed a visa to come to Spain. So…
Welcome to Spanish embassy in Stockholm! Later I realized that I’m lucky that was student in Sweden because this status makes all visa procedure much easier. However, it took time, money and certain degree of tolerance. But don’t worry; I won’t bother you with long description of application process just two things could be mentioned: embassy of Spain was really empty (probably siesta isn’t a myth hoho) and constant procrastination of embassy workers (whenever I called them I had to wait the answers on my simplest questions at least hour).
And short note for all future Russian interns in Spain: IN ADVANCED! Learn this expression and never forget it before you go to Spain haha
Vamos a explorar colorido España!

Yesterday I arrived at Barcelona and I’m really looking like a tourist: Carrying a camera around, holding different maps in my hands and so on. I’m going to stay here eight weeks and my plan is; fitting in as a local! The only question is; How? I watched the locals and now I know.

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 At first there is this thing with the fan and it’s so easy to get one. There are so many people outside in the streets selling them.

 

 

 

 

 

Hungry in the early evening? Wait a little bit, only tourists are going out early. The locals don’t go to eat until around 10 p.m. In Spain is all about late nights. At the weekend they are going to the bars after eating. That means - around midnight. And I was really surprised to see everybody outside so late – young, old – kids, teenager, grandparents - everyone. If you are going to stay up late, you have to sleep. Take a nap and make Siesta from 2 to 5 p.m. as everybody else- at least if you are not at work.

 

tapas

Tapas – these cute small portions – I love them. You don’t have to decide one big meal; you can decide many small or change the Bar between them. Every time we are going out for some tapas we order a few different tapas and share so that


So carry a fan, stay up late, take a nap, eat small and you'll be a local!

Until now I haven´t been there and everybody told me I have to see it. My internship is going to end in a few days so I decided to visit finally La Sagrada Familia. After I´ve been there I know, everyone was right, this church is a place you have to see.  It is one of the projects of Gaudi and really amazing. Until this day I have only seen this building in the chocolate museum.

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I was standing outside and enjoyed the great view, but then I went inside and it was breathtaking. I decided not to take the guided tour and walk around by myself. I can´t say anything else then it´s amazing and everyone has to see it with his own eyes even if you will have a hurting neck after a long visit. Why? Because you will spend a really long time staring at the ceiling. I have never seen a church or basilica like that. Once I was visiting the cologne cathedral and I thought that was amazing, but it´s nothing compared to what I saw that day visiting La Sagrada Familia. I think I am going to visit Güels Park as well this weekend before I leave because there are more buildings built by this amazing man.

 

La-Sagrada-Familia-Temple

Sagrada-Familia

In my last blog text I talk about cultural differences and how my internship started here in Seville. In this blog text I tell you about my trip to Carnival of Cádiz what is one of the best-known carnivals in Spain and about my trip to Madrid to see El Clásico football match.

Carnival of Cádiz

Cádiz is small city in southwestern Spain. It is actually one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in all southwestern Europe. I decided to go visit in this famous carnival, because I heard a lot about it and it is something we don’t have at Finland. The carnival last more than two weeks in each year and during that there is a lot of visitors from all around Spain, so whole city is having fiesta in this time.

When I arrived to Cádiz I noticed big welcome sign at gates of city and a lot of people. There was actually so much people that it was hard to even turn around in mass of people. There was a lot of different kind of costumes. It tells something how popular this event is, when I had to wait over 30 minutes in line at costume shop to get my costume in Seville. My choose of costume was a Arabic Sheik costume.

I don’t know was this costume success or not, because nobody get the idea of my costume. Instead that people called me Druid, Monk, Priest and even Jesus (maybe because my hair). The Carnival itself was a great experience; something different I’m used to. I really enjoyed it.


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cadiz3Carnival of Cadiz


Trip to Madrid

Weekend was coming and I didn’t had any plans. I noticed that there was Real Madrid against Barcelona football match in Madrid at weekend. I’m not biggest football fan since in Finland ice hockey is the thing, but chance to see maybe two best teams in whole world playing against; I knew I could not miss it. I was lucky enough to get tickets so I started to find way to get in Madrid. Seville is very south part of Spain when Madrid is middle, so the distance is about 600km. Trains are very expensive in Spain so I decided to go with bus because it was only 40€.

I was already making my booking for hostel when my Greek friend send message in Facebook and offered place to sleep. I met this guy during my DIMA intensive course in Poland, so it was also nice to meet old friends.

Trip to Madrid last 6 hours and after that my friend kept short city tour. We visited many amazing bar/restaurants in Madrid and prices were low. My friend lived at Getafe what is about 20km from Madrid, but in Madrid they have maybe best public transportation network so it was not problem to get there even at night.


getafeGetafe

Saturday I finally went to watch football and I can say it was an amazing experience. There was about 80 000 people in stadium and noise was insane. Real Madrid fans were singing mockery songs about Lionel Messi and they went crazy when their Cristiano Ronaldo came to play at second half of game. Real Madrid won match 2-1 with last minute goal. Even I’m more Barcelona fan; I still enjoyed match and atmosphere at stadium.

madrid1City center of Madrid

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Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

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Real Madrid - Barcelona

In my next blog post I will tell about my trip to beautiful Granada.

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