It seems I've been slacking on my blog writing lately! Blame it on all the reports I had to write these last few weeks! They never stop coming.
In any case, let me start by telling you that the antibiotics did indeed work and that I'm now totally cough free! It's so relaxing to just be able to talk or even breathe without having to cough every 5 seconds.
I've already managed to get my NIE! Since it was rather annoying and tiring and I wasn't able to find accurate descriptions of the whole process (which, according to our university, has changed this year) I decided to dedicate a small little secion to explaining what is involved in getting a NIE if you live in Barcelona.
Getting a NIE in Barcelona (as of October 2012)
For those of you who might now know, the NIE is a foreigner number which every person that is expecting to live more than 3 months in Spain has to get. It is also needed to create a bank account, get a Bicing card (the public bike transportation system), among other things. It is issued by the Police at a very specific station, located at Carrer de Balmes 192. If you live at Vilanova or some other place around Barcelona you'll have to go to a different office. According to the information I got from my university, you need:
- A filled EX-18 form
- Passport (and photocopy)
- European insurance card or private insurance statement (and photocopy). Note that if your private insurance statement is in English and you aren't an Erasmus student, you'll probably have to get it translated to Spanish.
- I also needed to show proof that I was registered at the University (admission letter and registration certificate, and photocopies). Not sure if a non-student has to show anything related to the nature of their stay or not.
- Sworn statement saying I have enough funds to sustain me during my stay.
- Census registration certificate you can obtain by doing the "Empadronamiento" at the City Hall (though they didn't even look at this so it probably isn't necessary).
Apparently, they only issue 50 new NIEs a day so you have to get there early! How early you ask? The police office opens at 9AM. I went there at 6:35AM and got ticket A number 33. So REALLY early! Once you get the ticket A, you just have to wait until they call you. When it's your turn, you just hand over the documentation to the office clerk and you'll receive a document which you have to take to a nearby bank to pay 10.30€ (cash only, no cards). When you come back, you have to get a ticket B and once again wait (if you can get ticket B a little earlier, do it. Get it when your A ticket is still 20 or 30 numbers away). When it's your turn, you hand over the document which should now have a stamped or printed receipt by the bank. You'll have to show some of your documents again and you'll get the NIE card. By the time I got it, it was 11:30AM so make sure you don't schedule anything for the whole morning.
In other news, that same week we had lunch with the coordinator of our Erasmus Mundus. He was visiting Barcelona for a conference and we set up a meeting just to get to know each others personally. Really nice guy! He told us about a 20km track on the side of the Tibidalbo mountain, Carretera de les Aigües, which, apparently, has the best view over Barcelona.
Also, between the 5th and the 8th, two friends from Portugal came to visit me and another friend that is also here in Barcelona for the first semester. Since I had classes until 7, I couldn't really spend the Friday afternoon with them but then we all went out at night, first to Ryan's Pub and then some of them went to Opium (a disco near the beach). I wasn't feeling in the mood (nor appropriately dressed it seems) so I just went to my friend's house in Barcelona and slept over. This was also helpful because the ladies at my house dedicded to repaint the bathtub that afternoon and, as such, that meant I could only take a bath there on Saturday's afternoon (which wouldn't work because a bath is the only way I have to wake up since I don't really like coffee). On Saturday afternoon we went to visit Montjuic. Quite a nice place and the cable car ride is pretty awesome too (although it is a bit too expensive). Great view over the city and the port and a the park on the side of the mountain is also pretty big!
Later that day, I went out with my EMDC friends to Ryan's Pub and we had some beers and tequillas. Some of our group didn't really take it that well (won't reveal any names) so we had to call it a night and go home. On Sunday I spent most of the day working on some reports and homework I had left to do and then, at night, our Portuguese group went to 'A Casa Portuguesa' (Portuguese House in English - a bar in Calle Aragó) to watch the Barcelona x Real Madrid game and then the Porto x Sporting matches. I must say I was kinda disappointed by the bar since it was quite expensive and small so those of us who stayed at the back saw very little of the matches.
Nothing major happened during the rest of the week until I received my Bicing card yesterday. I can now complement my movement through the city with some biking: healthy and fun! Just yesterday, I took one of the bikes for a spin to go to the house of one of our EMDC guys for a small little party. Ended up getting kind of lost during the way there but eventually arrived (although I went over the free 30 minutes allocated to each biking trip). The way back was way smoother not only because there was less traffic (although there were more drunk people) but also because I managed to follow the Diagonal Avenue all the way instead of getting into some parallel avenue that looked exactly the same (that's what got me lost the first time!). 20 minutes was the time it took me back from Plaza de Glories until Carrer de Entença.
Today is a public holiday here in Barcelona but it is currently raining cats and dogs so I'm not really sure what I'll be doing. This weekend, however, I'll pay a visit to my friend in Sitges and see how things are going. I also wanted to try biking to the university but a friend of mine told me it's quite steep and you end up getting really tired. If that's the truth maybe I'll just take the bike on the way back home: downhill