Archive for March, 2009

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All About Barcelona…

March 31, 2009

If you only had a week to see everything in Barcelona, what would be your top priority to see? Of course you can follow Frommer’s or some other guide book but you can’t really answer that question without knowing about the history of Barcelona and what the city consists of.

            Barcelona is the second largest city in the country with a population of around 5.5 million people. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and houses the seat of the Catalonian government. Barcelona is located on the Mediterranean Coast between the mouths of the Llobregat and Besós Rivers. Originally founded as a Roman city and named Barcino, Barcelona became the capital of the counts of Barcelona. Barcelona is filled with rich cultural heritage and is an important cultural center and tourist attraction. Barcelona is known for its famous artists Gaudi and Picasso, the beautiful sites, the 1992 Summer Olympics, and the headquarters for the Union for the Mediterranean.

Districts

Barcelona has been divided into ten administrative districts, each one with its own council led by a city councilor. The districts are based mostly on historical divisions. Several of the city’s districts are former towns annexed by the city of Barcelona in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that still maintain their own distinct character. The official names of these districts are in the Catalan language.

Barcelona Map

Districts:

1)       Ciutat Vella (“Old City”): El Raval (also known in Spanish as the Barrio Chino, (“Chinatown”), the Barri Gòtic (“Gothic Quarter”), La Barceloneta and the Barri de la Ribera.

2)       Eixample: Sant Antoni, Esquerra de l’Eixample (“the left side of the Eixample” facing away from the sea), Dreta de l’Eixample (“the right side of the Eixample”), Barri de la Sagrada Família, Fort Pienc, Sant Antoni

3)       Sants–Montjuïc: Poble Sec, La Marina, La Font de La Guatlla, La Bordeta, Hostafrancs, Sants, Badal.

4)       Les Corts: Les Corts, La Maternitat, Pedralbes.

5)       Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: Tres Torres, Sarrià, Vallvidrera, Bonanova, Sant Gervasi, Putxet-Farró, Galvany.

6)       Gràcia: Vallcarca, El Coll, La Salut, Gràcia, El Camp d’en Grassot

7)       Horta-Guinardó: Horta, El Carmel, La Teixonera, El Guinardó (Alt i Baix), La Clota, La Vall D’Hebron, Montbau

8 )       Nou Barris: Can Peguera, Porta, Canyelles, Ciutat Meridiana, Guineueta, Prosperitat, Vallbona, Verdum, Vilapicina, Roquetes, Trinitat Vella, Trinitat Nova, Torre Baró, Torre Llobeta and Turó de la Peira.

9)       Sant Andreu: La Sagrera, Congrés, Trinitat Vella, Bon Pastor, Sant Andreu, Navas, Baró de Viver

10)   Sant Martí: Diagonal Mar, Fort Pius, San Martí de Provençals, Poble Nou, La Verneda, El Clot, Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.

 

Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter consists of narrow medieval streets and is also known as Barri Gotic. Here, you can see buildings dated from 15th century BC. Throughout the streets you will stumble upon lively bars, tapas restaurants and trendy boutiques. Alongside Barcelona’s medieval buildings are the remains of the ancient Roman city and the Temple d’August, the best preserved Roman relic in Barcelona. You can also visit the Placa del Rei, where you will see many medieval buildings, including the Palatine chapel of Santa Agata. Muralles romanes. The Gothic area is not only a fabulous to walk around, but has rich culture to take in.

Placa del Rei

 

This is the most stunning section of ancient Barcelona. It is in a square shape and outlined by Gothic buildings, topped by the facade of the former main Royal Palace and the watchtower. The King Square is the most dignified urban space of old Barcelona. On this grandiose square some of the most significant medieval buildings stand, such as: the Palau Reial Major containing the delicate Saló Tinell banqueting hall, the Chapel of Santa Agatha, and the Palau de Lloctinent.
 
La Rambla

La Rambla is full of street theaters, cafes, and market stalls. You can walk on La Rambla, visit the Gothic Quarter which is very close by, watch the excitement on the streets, and visit the shops and markets. The Boqueria is located on La Rambla. It is a tremendous market with anything and everything you could imagine. Dried fruit, candy, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and more! Whether just taking a stroll on La Rambla or spending the day exploring it, you are bound to encounter an amazing experience.

El Borne

This area is definitely known to be one of the trendiest spots in all of Barcelona. Calle Montcada, which is a medieval street, also houses the Picasso Museum and the Textile Museum. While wandering around El Borne, there is also a beautiful Cathedral that you come across. The Borne area is also known for its stylish boutiques and cute shoe shops, for that one of a kind item. Although somewhat pricey, these shops are definitely worth it! El borne is a picturesque part of Barcelona and has both great cafés and fun bars to drift around to at night.

 

Olympic Stadium

The Barcelona Olympic Stadium was home to the 1992 Summer Olympics. This stadium is open to visitors and is a very interesting site to see because of its history there.

Olympic Stadium

Spanish Village

El Poble Espanyol was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition as the pavilion dedicated to art, it is the most typical regional architectural styles in Spain. El Poble Espanyol is a replica of all the towns and villages in the peninsula. This village is an ideal model and has 117 buildings, streets and squares which were created to the tee. Here you can taste Catalan Cava and their famous local sparkling wine! You can see a full multitude of craft shops and work shops and buy interesting pieces! At night there is a famous Flamenco show which you must see.

Monumental Bullring

La monumental were first inducted in 1914 with the first bull fight here. The building is bricked, made of Moor and Byzantine architecture. Not only can you watch a bull fight here, but you are able to attend music concerts and circus extravaganzas here.

 BULLFIGHTING-BARCELONA

Parks

Barcelona has over 68 parks. 12 of them being historic, 5 are thematic (otherwise known as botanical parks), 45 are urban parks, and 6 are forest parks. Of Barcelona’s parks, Montjuïc is the largest, Montjuïc can be walked up by foot and once there, you are able to see a panoramic view of the city and harbor. Ciutadella Park is the second largest park in Barcelona and lies in the place of the old military citadel and houses the Parliament building, the zoo, a boating lake and multiple museums. Other very famous parks throughout Barcelona are the Guinardó Park, Park Güell (designed by Antoni Gaudí and stated to be a world heritage site), Oreneta Castle Park, Diagonal Mar Park, Nou Barris Central Park, and Labyrinth Park named after the garden maze it contains

Beaches

Barcelona in total has seven beaches. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches are the largest, oldest and the most visited beaches in Barcelona. The Olympic port separates them from the other city beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Marbella, Nova Marbella and Levante. These beaches opened as a result of the city restructuring to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, when a great number of industrial buildings were demolished.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso lived and worked on his art in what would be considered bohemian Barcelona. Picassos favorite sites throughout Barcelona would be considered Quatre Gats, Frisos del Col legi d’Arquitectes, Sala Pares, Escudellers Blancs, Carrer Avinyo, and you can visit Museu Picasso which exhibits works from the blue and pink periods of the world-famous painter. The museum is located at Montcada 15-23 and very close to Park Ciutadella

Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi was one of the most famous architects known in Barcelona. Gaudi’s major works would be considered Casa Vicens, College of the Teresianas, Crypt of the Church of Colónia Güell, Casa Calvet, Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Park Güell, and Sagrada Família. Gaudi´s designs were almost always Modernisme or Art Nouveau. Throughout Barcelona you can see how beautiful his architecture is.335583039_e753f8844a          Park Guellla-sagrada-familia

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EL PERIÓDICO

March 31, 2009

Periodico CatalunyaFor class, we visited the news room of El Periódico. El Periódico is a successful newspaper that is commonly read in Spain. El Periódico is different from American newspapers because it possesses many unique characteristics.

El Periódico is a morning daily newspaper that is owned by Grupo Zeta that started around thirty years ago. The uniqueness of El Periódico is that it is published in two languages. The Spanish edition which is the red nameplate and the Catalan edition which is the blue nameplate, both editions combined sell more than 150,000 copies each day. El Periódico uses many graphics and is also a serious newspaper. El Periódico creates every page in color and makes uses many charts and pictures. El Periódico uses unique covers for its newspaper. For example, when President Obama was elected, the cover was Martin Luther King Jr. and it said “It’s not a dream.” El Periódico is a well thought out newspaper that is the third most popularly read newspaper in Spain.

The New York Times was founded in 1851 in New York City and is an American daily newspaper. The New York Times is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the U.S. and is nicknamed ´The Gray Lady¨ after its demure appearance and style. The New York Times is considered a national newspaper of record. The New York Times is a conservative, radical newspaper and has been family owned since 1896. The New York Times is owned by the New York Times Company which is also the publishers of the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, and sixteen other newspapers. The motto of the NY Times is “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” The NY Times is organized into eight sections: News, Opinions, Business, Arts, Science, Sports, Style, and Features. The NY Times is a very old and successful newspaper, it has won 98 Pulitzer Prizes and it one of the most popularly visited news website.

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Hotel Arts…

March 29, 2009

hotel-arts-signThis past weekend we celebrated my friends twenty first birthday. Since we weren’t traveling this weekend we decided to get a room at the Hotel Arts. Hotel Arts is a chain from the Ritz-Carlton. The hotel was gorgeous and very accommodating. You choose whether you want a water front or city view. Our hotel overlooked the city and was right in front of La Sagrada Familia. Before going out to celebrate her birthday, we made use of the hotels facilities. They offer a fitness center, casino, massages, a jacuzzi, Turkish/steam bath, and an outdoor swimming pool. As for rooms, you can get a standard room, a suite, or rent the apartments. We got a suite which had an extra living room because we wanted to be able to have people over. The hotel was very obliging to all of us. In the morning they offer room service or you can go downstairs for breakfast. We had the American breakfast which was delicious. When choosing somewhere to stay in Barcelona, I would certainly recommend considering Hotel Arts!

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Paris, France

March 24, 2009

paris2This past weekend I travelled to Paris, France with my friends. We arrived in Paris late Thursday night famished looking for somewhere to eat. We ate at a local place by our hotel called Hippopotamus. This restaurant was casual and good. We were expectant that we would be viewed as Americans and immediately discriminated against, but it wasn’t as bad as we thought. We went back to the hotel and rested up for a full day of site seeing. On Friday we visited the Eiffel Tower and climbed it. You can take the elevator up and walk up it; the view from the top is incredibly beautiful. After this excursion we headed towards the Musee du Louvre. There we saw le Louvre from the inside and outside and visited the Mona Lisa which is such an exceptional work of art. We also saw the Venus de Milo which is a unique piece sculpture with an interesting story behind it. We walked through the gardens and shopped along the Champ d’elyse. After hours of shopping we ended our day at the Arc d’triumpf which is situated in the middle of a huge traffic circle and very pleasant to look at. That night we went to a small French restaurant which we enjoyed very much. On Saturday we went to the Jewish Quarter in the morning which was very cultural. It was very nice to see how this little section of town could be so detached from the center of the city. You must try the falafel in the Jewish Quarter and the callah! We walked around here, there were cute vintage stores and trendy boutiques that we shopped in and adored! We ate lunch at Breakfast in America which was created by a man from Connecticut and the food really hit the spot. After this we visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame and Montmartre. Both were striking and Montmartre was fun to just sit and listen to people play music and relax in the sun. Sunday we had an early flight out and didn’t make it to the Palace of Versailles although I have heard for several people that if you have the time to definitely make the trip there because it’s worth seeing!

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Marketing, Advertising and Business 2.0

March 23, 2009

person20at20computer20could20be20teacherIf you have a business should you have a blog? Well nowadays blogs are one of the most popular things on the internet. A Corporative Blog is a blog created by an organization to reach a specific objective, people write as an official or semi-official worker or partner of the enterprise. The author is absolutely connected with the organization and everyone can notice it. The blog is then used to communicate, advertise new products and information, and to promote their business. The blog is maintained through the director of the business, the communication department, or you can hire a specialist to create the blog for your business. Advertising through a blog is much less expensive than other forms of advertising. Experts say ‘that when two percent of the audience is reached through advertising, the campaign could be considered effective. Millions of dollars are spent each year with the incentive to reach its audience, but through a blog you can talk to the people in a more personal way and for a lot less money. Once you have a corporate blog there are many profits that come along with it such as how cheap it is, its proximity, feedback you can get, you can manage your calamities, learn about your customers and competitors, update it when you want, network, and make improvements at your leisure.

To Succeed with a Corporate Blog:

1.      Have your own server and URL

2.      Give content under creative commons license

3.      Use pictures in every post and have links home from every point or section

4.       Divide your information and put it in order by section

5.       Define objectives

Attached is a list of ten corporate blogs that are worth taking a look at, they are well developed and interesting to read about.

Before you create a corporate blog you should ask yourself these questions… Does your corporation need a blog? Once your blog is created will you be able to regularly maintain it?

There are many types of viral marketing. Sending it through SMS, which is a very easy way to reach a large amount of people, viral (incentivized) where you get money or some type of compensation if you send the message to someone else, and them to someone else, masked marketing where you send mysterious information which doesn’t seem to be an advertising campaign and you spark peoples interests. There is rumor marketing where we read incredible things such as a breaking story about an actor or actress that just happens to occur two or three days before their new film is presented, social database where your online service offers a database so that clients can add contacts, Firefox which was created and downloaded twenty five million times in ninety nine days, and invitations which is how Gmail was created and made so popular. Seth Godin, an expert and writer in viral marketing wrote the book “Permission Marketing,” Godin gave out two million copies of his books for free and weeks later he made his book with a hard cover for people to buy and it went into the top five in Amazon. Then again, there is always that evangelist customer, the kind of costumer who falls in love with a product or enterprise and tries to share it with other people.

Five Main Types of Blogs…

1.      Brand blogs: introduce new brands or insist on existing ones

2.      Product/Service blog: test product or service (gain feedback with customers)

3.      Employees blog: Corporate blogs (boss, employer)

4.      Blogs for special happenings: prepare and talk about special happenings

5.      Sector blogs: promote specific blog or specific market

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Vamos a la playa…

March 17, 2009

barcelona-003This past weekend, we experienced beautiful weather in Barcelona. As a result, the ports and beaches were swarmed with tourists, families, and people just trying to enjoy the day. I had many friends visiting me this weekend and knew it was a perfect day to have lunch on the water. We went to el Bestial on the port for lunch and just enjoyed the fresh air and the view. After that we walked along the beach and then the port. As you approach the Olympic port, a giant bronze whale is positioned. This area of Barcelona is very modern and beautiful. There are superb restaurants and fun bars and clubs to check out. Later on we walked near Barceloneta. This is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and a beautiful beach. It’s very fun to walk in this region and see all the excitement that goes on around here when the sun comes out! Around here there are great sea food restaurants and places where you can eat the catch of the day! If you walk all the way along the Barceloneta beach, you reach Icaria beach, which is just as beautiful yet less crowded if you are looking to escape for the day. This area of Barcelona is definitely one of the most attractive and pleasant to just kick back and relax and enjoy the view!

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Politics 2.0

March 16, 2009

american_flag_2Politics 2.0 is a relatively new concept. It was deeply used by Barak Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign in the United States. What is special about micro targeting on the web is that it allowed Obama to identify his electors individually. What helped Obama was that he realized that every single person is a universe; each voter has their own particular interests and worries. The future of politics has to be addressed to individuals, maybe specific groups, but not the whole society. Obama branched out using Politics 2.0 as his “friend” Obama used other forums such as facebook which he joined in February 2004 and has contracted nearly six million friends it is also a key tool because ¨It strengthens his connection with his constituents and their connection with the causes they care about´´, my space, twitter which he never missed responding to one question, youtube, online advertisements, sms/call centers where voters were able to download wall papers, ringtones, etc., and was the first president to have a blog. These tools allowed Obama to reach the y-generation. The y-generation was an important group for Obama to get through to because they are considered the most skeptical when it comes to believing a campaign. Another website Obama used was http://www.mybarakobama.com throughout this website, its users could read about Barak Obama, create events, create fundraisers, create a blog to express your feelings, read Obama´s blog, connect to Facebook, reach out to other voters, and create their own profile that can be viewed. Although the web alone is a useful tool, Obama was very precise with his details, had a well designed web page and regularly updated his websites.

 Barak Obama spread hope. With two wars going on and a severe economic crisis, Obama gave people more than just a speech. He used the internet, something most people are addicted to these days and spread his campaign to show the people that he is just like them. He loves his blackberry, blogging, twitting, etc. This let the people know that he was there to be there president and help the people not just win over a campaign. Once elected, Obama has kept up with the use of internet as a president. “Obama campaigned by the internet and now is governing by the internet” Obama is the first president to have a blog in the Whitehouse. http://www.whitehouse.gov is a 2.0 website used by Obama. There is an official bog on this website and each Saturday Obama uploads a new speech. People can watch this video, read the blogs and comment. This is something that no one has seen before. It keeps the people connected with the president. We can now see deeper into the White House than ever before and it gives people a comfort in knowing that they have access to this.

Obama successfully won the presidential campaign in more than one way. Most of all, he excelled in the online campaign. Obama´s use of web 2.0 helped him to raise money from people throughout the United States which helped him immensely in the long run. The way Obama ran his campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents. The web was used to collect money, spread messages, and create a net of activists involved in the campaign. Another key to Politics 2.0 was to inform. Obama´s blog was updated more than ten times a day and throughout the campaign, more than two thousand youtube videos both informative and promotional were uploaded. Obama connected people with one another. Obama collected over thirteen million e-mail addresses and postal codes and sent them Google maps so that they could locate other Obama followers. Obama asked people to work with him which allowed the voters to feel involved. Once registered at http://www.mybarakobama.com users could create events promoting Barak Obama. Voters were given pins, t-shirts, posters, etc. and given a place and time to have an event. One extremely important thing Obama did was have testers. He constantly had people testing out all the online things he did so that he knew if they were effective and helping his campaign.