Sascha's Portfolio Weblog

La meva foto

I am an English teacher and social media consultant who lives and works in Barcelona, Spain.

Most of my work is for the British Council and I am coordinator of the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. 

I blog at and at

dimarts, d’octubre 19, 2004

Cava, cafee con leche and the history of barcelona


I´ve been doing/seeing a lot tipical Catalan things the last week, but i forgat to wright them on my weblog, untill now.
Saturday 9 october we (Inge, Sanne, Merel, Sophie, Jet and I) went to San Sadourni d´Anouia (I don´t know how to wright it). San Sadourni is the Cava place to be. Espcecially on that saturday because that saturday the week of the Cava started.
When we arrived ther by train, there was nothing that looked like a big Cava party, but only a few other people. So we desided to walk there were the other people also were walking. After some time walking we entered the centre of the little village. In the little center was one street full of little white market things, were the owners of cava ´factory´s´ were selling their cava. There were lot´s of people on the street, but I believe we were the only ´tourists´.
After a little bit wandering around, we became hongry and dived into the nearest supermarket (without tasting any Cava yet) When we were eating our buyings, and asking a man to make a picture of us, his friend gave us some coupons!! With those coupons we were aloud to taste cava wherever we wanted!!!! The Cava was lovely, and during the taste session another man who was selling some kind of tapas, offered us some tapas for free to try that also.....was it so obvious that we were tourists....
After that we wanted to see how cava becomes we went to the only cava ´factory´ were they had a English speaking guide...Pere Ventura. The factory I was speaking about turned out to be a lovely Villa/Landhouse, and the English speaking guide a very kind, sweet, funny and happy only Catalan speaking man from I guess 60 years old (especially for us he would try to speak some Spanish..). He had a very caracteristic face, full of rincles and he kept saying that his boss was such a *!#??#!, because he kept all the money for his selve. We had a wonderful tour through the wine ´basement´, and we were also aloud to try some of the Pere Ventura Cava. The guide really made us laugh because he kept repeting every sentence he said, and try to make hisselve clear with a lot of non verbal sign lenguage.
After this experience none of once will ever forget, we wanted to eat something. Tapas...of course. But the only tapas bar in whole San sadourni served us not exactly what we expected from good tapas. To be very was discusting....The tapas wich was suposed to be warm was cold, and it didn´t taste really nice, there was a hair on my plate and the table wasn´t clean...but anyway...After our ´lovely´meal we wen´t to the central placa were the party was about to start. On some big screans we could see what the Cava party was about in 2003.
Than the music started and a line of dancing giants and music making horse riding people the Cava queen entered the placa and went up on a big balconie to wave to all the people and speak some words in Catalan.
As I said it was an unforgetteble experience. And when the party only was starting in San Sadourni we went back to Barcelona.

The sunday after our cava experience we wanted to do another typical thing. Drink Caffe con leche in the morning. Normally I don´t drink cofee that much, but I wanted to try this. We went looking for a typical small cute bar in our neighbourhoud (l´Eixample). After some walking we found one and dronk the caffee and eat a croissant. It was half past twelve so a little bit to late but the caffe con leche and the croissant tasted lovely. I really think I´m going to do that more often.

Saturday the sixtheenth we went to the Museu d`Història de la Ciutat on Plaça del Rei. The first part was nice but a little bit boring. We really were curious how the rests of the old city would look like. With an elevator we went down to this part of the museum. We could walk through it on some kind of bridge. We could hardly believe that the things we were walking over were so old. ´Isn´t it just fake?????It was very interesting to read what the people on those specific places were doing (like painting ´clothes´, salting fish, preparing wine etc)many many many years agoo. We also met some pro tennis players who were practicing for winning Wimbledon. We have a picture of them so when they´re going to get famous onces we can say that we ´know´ them....But besides of the tennisplayers, the museum it selves was alsoo very interesting, and I think it is very good that those very important thing got saved for such a long time.

That was my Cava, caffe con leche and the history of Bcn story. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it wasn´t too difficult to understaind it because of my English grammatical and vocabulairical mistakes.

divendres, d’octubre 15, 2004



The assignment was to intervieuw two people, and ask, how they think about Catalunya.

The first intervieuw I did was with Albert. Albert (23) is from Barcelona, he studied here on St. Ignasi and I know him from the Autumn Course in Holland.
The quistions I asked were:

We´re you from?
I´m from Barcelona.

Do you speak Catalan?
I speak Catalan and Castellano. My parents and grand parents are also from Barcelona, so I grew up speaking two lenguages. First I learned to speak Catalan and when I got a little bit older I learned to speak Castellano.

How do you think about Catalunya?
I think Catalunya is and has been very important for the rest of Spain. For example lot´s of tourists are visiting Catalunya, wich is good for the Spanish economy.
Catalunya is also a beautifull place to live. The Costa Brava has lovely beaches and Barcelona is a very dynamic and nice city.
And I really think everybody should speak Catalan, that would be much easyer.

Do you think Catalunya should be independent?
I don´t know. I like my live right know and I don´t know if it would change very much when Catalunya would be independent. It would be nice, because everything would be in Catalan. Catalunya would be able to keep the money she would earn for example in the tourists sector, and spend it on other things than the Spanish governement is spending its money on. But I think there also would be some negative points.
But to be honest, I haven´t thought about it a lot.

The second intervieuw was with Peter (18). Peter was born in Barcelona, his father is from Barcelona, but his mother is from New Zealand. I know him from my holiday in Spain this summer, and we still have contact.

We´re you from?
I´m from Barcelona, my dad is Catalan and my mom is from New Zealand.

Do you speak Catalan?
Yes, but my first lenguage is English.
But you also speak Spanish?
So you grew up speaking three lenguages? Wasn´t that difficult?
No, it just went the same as somebody who learned to speak one lenguage. And I learned to speak Spanish a bit later.

How do you think about Catalunya.
I find Barcelona a nice city to live in. And the people are very kind. But I prefer New Zealand. I´ve been there for half a year with my mom when I was little and I´m visiting my family there a lot.
I really respect the Catalan people and the Catalan lenguage, but when everybody here would be speaking Spanish and Catalunya wouldn´t exist I wouldn´t mind eather. My mom and dead learned me to speak Catalan because it would be easyer for me in the future, and not directly because of my dad is very proud on the Catalan culture.

Do you think Catalunya shoud be independent?
Some Catalan people really want an independent Catalunya, and as I said I respect them. So when they really want that so bad, why not. But I don´t mind. For me it wouldn´t make any difference. Because I think that when I´m older, I´m going to live in New Zealand.

I chose to intervieuw Albert and Peter because I already expected they would have totally different opions about Catalunya and it´s independency.
But I think that the thought about an independent Catalunya is only really ´alive´ under the older Catalan people or younger people who are more ´extreem´ Catalan.
Albert is a real Catalan, but he isn´t thinking about an independent Catalunya very much.
But on the other hand, I only talked with to persons about Catalunya yet, so maybe my opinion will change.

Greetings Sascha.

dimecres, d’octubre 06, 2004

My expectations


Graham asked us to write something about the expectations we had before we came to BCN. About, the culture, the school, the city etc.
I don´t know if i´m doing this right (via, catalan culture, create a post..) but I´ll hear when it´s not.
I´ve been to Bcn one time before in january 2003. During that week I really fell in love with the city. It was beautifull weather (about 18 degrees and everyday sun) and I really loved how the city looked like (with all the old buildings for example from Gaudi, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, lots of nice shops, and much more) I was only here for a week so I didn´t really had much contact with the catalan people.
I expected that I would get lots of energy from living in such a nice area for 3 months. The people from our school who went to Barcelona last year told us, that it was a wonderfull experience, that they had a real good time here and they were very sad when they had to go back to Holland. When I spoke with some of them they didn´t quit talking about how nice it was. So my expectations are quite high. But not only because the other people liked it here so very much. Also because I love the spanish culture in general, because the people are very dynamic, expressive (the speak with their whole body), and laid back (that the people lot´s of times are late on appointments). I also like the lenguage a lot and I expected to learn it during my time in Barcelona. And when the sun is shining or when there´s a beach I can go to, I get more energy and it feals like I can handle a lot more than when it´s raining and the beach is like 3 hours driving away. So also because the things I just mentioned my expections where really high. I felt like those 3 months were going to be a hugh vacation with a little bit of studieing.
Before I came here I learned only a little bit about the catalan culture. During my vacation in Spain this summer, I discoverd that Catalan people are very proud to be Catalan and that they speak Catalan instead of Castellano. So I expected that the people might be a little bit arrogant and hard to reach. But now I know that they´re not like that when you respect them and try to speak Catalan a little.
I really had a lot of expectations, that there would be lot´s of festivals and cultural things going on in the city, and that it would be very easy to meet other new people.
And I think, untill now, I discoverd that some expections were right, some not, and some I still have to find out.


ps. Writing in English is sometimes a little difficult, so, sorry if you don´t understand what i´m writing.