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Eduardo Ruiz :: Blog

October 01, 2010

After Spain won the semifinal against Germany with a goal of Puyol, I decided I wanted to watch the final in the capital. So I got a plane ticket to go to Madrid.

 I spent the first day in the Madrid downtown. Starting from Plaza España, I walk to the Royal Palace. There is a good discount if you are a student, but you cannot enjoy the guided tour. The palace shows the Rococo style that was very famous in the XVI, XVII century. Pictures are not allowed in the rooms so you need to see this by yourself.


From the palace I got to the Calle Mayor. The San Miguel market is just before the Plaza Mayor. This is a good place for a tapa and some wine! Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol were the next to stops. Here you can see the Plaza and the "Bear" the symbol of Madrid.



 The Cibeles was already prepared for the final. You can feel the world cup spirit in Madrid with a lot of flags everywhere. The last sets of pictures are from the Park of the Retiro. This park was designed for the royalty and has been open to the public since then. It is full of beautiful gardens and sculptures. Please be sure to visit in spring, as 40 degrees is too much even for locals.




In the nigth I take a little walk around the Gran Via. This is the main avenue of the old part of Madrid.




Try not to walk in summer in Madrid :) At least take some water bottles with you as you will need it a lot. For getting a good deal in a hotel you can use Venere.com. I have a good room for myself with wifi, single bathroom and very clean for less that 50$ the night. The name of the hotel was Castilla and was very close to the Puerta Del Sol.

Keywords: El Retiro, Gran Via, Madrid, Palacio Real, Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol

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Barcelona is full of parks and squares. All the parks are accessible
by public transportation and are a vital part of the city. Parks are
shared by tourists and locals, making them great landscapes of the
Barcelona cosmopolitan culture.

The first park I visited is Montjuic. Starting from Pla Espanya, you
can get to the Palace of Catalonia through mechanical staircases. Of
course this is the easiest part of the trip. From the palace there is
a great view of the city. Behind the palace are the Olympic Complex
and the Palace of Saint Jordy. In the top of Montjuic is the castle.
From there you probably have the best view of Barcelona, with a 360
degree view of the City, including the port and the Prat.


A good advice is take bus line 93 to get to the castle and start your
journey top down. If you like to do some exercise you can also start
from the bottom :) .


Another park that I really enjoyed is Park Guell. Designed by Gaudy,
it is in the north of the city. Again there is a bus that will leave
in the front but as I like to suffer, I try to walk over there. This
is not recommended as the hill is to step for untrained couch potato
standards! The park itself is very arid with a lot of dirt so sport
shoes are recommended. It is one of the places you should go if you
want a short trip.



Last but not least of the parks I went is the Parc de la Ciudatella.
This is the equivalent to the Central Park in NYC or the Retiro in
Madrid. The park is much smaller but is very full of life, with people
playing ping pong, badminton and having picnics. Near the park is the
Catalonia senate building and the zoo.




Keywords: Ciudatella, Motjuic, Park Guell, Parks

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June 22, 2010

This is my first week in Barcelona. After a long flight with some delay in New York, I arrived on monday morning at 8 am. My first task was to find the apartment where I would be staying in the next nine weeks. This task should have been easy, but I had the wrong addressand wrong apartment number. After 30 minutes wandering around and walking with my luggage I got to my place. 
As this can sound as a terrible story, I thing it summarize my way of being around. Sometimes being lost and wandering randomly is the best way to know the place. Without a route in mind, I can wander around tourist spots, catching the differences between my culture and the culture over here. 
Using this strategy and taking advantage of the great weather, I walk for one or two hours after I finish my day in the office. Every day I pick a random station with some interesting landmark and walk around until I find another station. Using this heuristic I already know: The Ramblas, the Gotham Town, The Cathedral, Arc of Triumph and other spots. The fact that I speak Spanish helps me a lot when I need to get advices on how to get back to a metro station. You can see some of my trips in the pictures below. 



By the way I also have been working around. The first Monday I was in Yahoo! at 2 pm reporting for tasks. They must have seen my 20 hours flight face because they only gave me my access to the room and sent me home. The next day I had my first meeting with my advisor and we started a phase of brainstorming to define the project that I will be working in the following weeks. There are several interns from different countries that are all working in related projects including Data Mining, Retrieval, Web Search and Systems. 


157 Building

Get your apartment address correctly and check it before you leave

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