Foodie in Firenze

This past weekend, for my last trip before spring break, I went to Florence. I was so excited to go because I have so many friends who are studying abroad there and I have heard such amazing things about the city itself.  Upon my arrival, my friend took me to the notorious, Gusta Pizza. IMG_4183We ordered pizza with pesto and it was honestly just as good as everyone says. After this though, it was safe to say that we were extremely full.  After this, we went off to “Massimo Leather”.  Here, I purchased an awesome leather jacket (made in Italy) for myself and additionally a bag.  I also purchased gifts for my parents and my sister, which I am sure they will love and be so thankful for! After this, we went to the Duomo although we just viewed it from the outside because we were to climb it the next day, and then went to the Gucci Museum.  All of these sites were really awesome and authentic and I felt like a true tourist in Florence.

 

On this night, we went to a famous restaurant that everyone says is a “must-eat” in Florence, called La Giostra. Here, we ordered great wine, their famous pear ravioli and a balsamic steak. I truly understand why people say this is a must eat because it was one of the best meals I have had abroad and the balsamic steak was one of the best things I have ever eaten as well.

 

On Saturday, we arose early in order to make sure that we had enough time to see everything as the weather was beautiful, 65 and pleasantly sunny.  Our first stop of the day was to climb the bell tower of the Duomo and additionally go inside. The inside was cool but the best part of this was the climb. We climbed all 414 stairs of the bell tower, which was extremely exhausting, but definitely well worth it.  We were able to view the city from up above and see unbelievable views. I would ultimately recommend this climb for anyone who is physically capable and in Florence as although it was exhausting, it was worth it!

After this, we went to Antico Noe, which is a panini place that everyone abroad in Florence always will recommend, and then were off to the San Lorenzo and Central Markets.  Central Market is an enclosed market that is similar to La Boqueria except it has food that are traditional to Italy including various olive oils and truffle oils, on top of the fresh produce and meats.  On the other hand, the San Lorenzo Market is the leather market where you can purchase unbelievable leather goods for great prices. These are major tourist spots that are must-sees in Florence, as well. Last on our agenda was visiting the Ponte Vecchio which is a famous bridge there that is beautiful and also another must-see when in Florence.

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Florence was amazing as I loved all of the tourist spots that I visited and it was great to see many of my friends but the end of the trip was not so pleasant.  Because I purchased many things in Florence, my bag was overweight and the airline made me check my bag.  Because of this, I had to 50 euros to check my bag and believe me, from here on out I will ensure that my bag is NOT OVERWEIGHT. This was such an annoyance and was the first and only time that an airline has made me do this and pay for this abroad.  Because of this, I decided to lend some advice and give you all some travel tips, since traveling in Europe is a bit different from traveling around and across the United States.  Below, here my advice!

 

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How to Podcast

Although most people know what a podcast is, not many people ultimately have the knowledge to create their own podcast.  There are many different ways that you can create your own, personal podcast and this week in Journalism 2.0, we learned how to do just this.

 

 

When creating a podcast there, there are multiple ways to do this. If you desire to create a podcast that seems rather professional, there is a high-tech type of software that you could download for Windows or Mac. It is called Audacity and it is a great way to create clear and coherent podcasts while being able to edit them easily.  Other options to create a podcast include using the well-known, SoundCloud.  Many people know SoundCloud as a source to listen to music and/or download music but it is awesome that this website and tool could be used to create your own podcast either using a smartphone or your computer.  When creating my own personal podcast, I used the SoundCloud app on my iPhone because it is was easy and convenient to use and ultimately ended up sounding great! I would definitely recommend using this app or even the website on your computer when creating a podcast because it is a great option. Other options on top of Audacity and SoundCloud include YouTube, Blip.TV, and Ivoox which are all other websites that podcasts can be uploaded on but many of them are mainly used for video content.

 

 

 

After uploading a podcast, you must then distribute it so that others can view the content that you have created.  This can be done through services including Blip.TV, Podomatic, and Feedburner which is through Google. It is important to distribute your podcast so that others can see it and hear what you personally have to say about any given topic.

 

 

 

Although podcasts are pretty well known, especially in the Internet world, not many people know how to create one. It is an awesome thing to know how to create as it is a form of blogging that is just simply more personalized.  Additionally, podcasts can be syndicated making it different from any other audio file and especially different than a simple video uploaded to a website.

Podcasting: Yet Another Way to Inform

This week in Journalism 2.0, we began to learn about podcasting.  Podcasting is a new, generally speaking, type of phenomenon that has been used by people in recent years.  The earliest references to podcasting only began in 2004 which is just a short, ten years ago. Podcasting can be seen as a type of blogging but instead of being written, it is a type of audio in which you hear a speaker’s voice.  I believe that this method of communication and informing is extremely efficient as the listeners are enabled to hear the speaker’s voice and ultimately personality,  and it is also more personal than just reading a blogger’s post on the web.

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Additional benefits to podcasting are as follows: you can listen to those shows when you want, where you want and as you want since they are portable and can be listened to on basically any electronic device. Although many people may believe that a podcast is simply just audio, since this is the way that the podcast started out, there are now video podcasts. These are podcasts in which you can even see the speaker, making it even more personalized as you can see everything including the speaker’s facial expressions, making it seem as if you are there with the podcaster.

 

 

I was really interested to learn about this topic because I have never listened to a podcast and ultimately, I do not know much about podcasting. PodcastI was always aware that it was used for various purposes such as to inform and for people to follow some of their favorite celebrities or podcasters, but I was never aware of the true extent. I am intrigued to create my own podcast next week and I hope that you are all excited to hear what I have to say. Below, view what a podcast truly is without all of the sugarcoating.

 

 

 

An Inside Look at the Food in Barcelona

As my time in Barcelona is wrapping up, I believe that it is time for me to recommend some of the best restaurants that I have encountered in my time here.  While I have tried a broad range of restaurants, there are ultimately various restaurants that stick out more than others and are must-trys for those who visit or live in Barcelona.

 

Tapas

Tapas are a major delicacy in Spain but in Barcelona, they are not as big as they are in other places in Spain such as Seville or Madrid.  The best tapas place in Barcelona, I would say, is Cerveceria Catalana. This place, located on Carrer de Malloraca, has an amazing and wide variety of choices for all different eaters.  There is also a specials menu every night that is where all of the amazing dishes are.  My recommendation for this fun restaurant is to get there when the restaurant opens!! They do not take reservations so you will always have to wait but believe me, it is worth the wait for sure. My food recommendations for this amazing, authentic tapas restaurant include the grilled codfish, grilled prawn and calamari skewer, the mini hotdogs and much, much more!

 

Brunch

Brunch in Barcelona is found many places.  This is a major surprise because in most places of Europe, especially in Italy, many people just simply grab a pastry for breakfast such as a croissant.  The brunch is Barcelona is pretty much to die for.  My favorite restaurants for brunch include Milk, Brunch & Cake, and Federal Cafe.  Milk and Brunch & Cake are definitely two of my absolute favorite restaurants that are in Barcelona. I bring all of my visitors to these places because they have amazing quality food.  At Milk, you absolutely must get the eggs benedict. They have a regular eggs benedict and also a salmon eggs benedict. The salmon eggs benedict are one of the best dishes that I have eaten in Barcelona. It is cooked to perfection and served with amazing, crispy potatoes. At Brunch & Cake, you must try the bagel with eggs, turkey and avocado mash or the quinoa salad.  Both are amazing options and of course, the coffee is too good to be true.  Lastly, at Federal Cafe, the vegetarian burger is great. It has a fried egg on top and the burger itself is made of pumpkin and couscous, YUM!

 

 

Sushi

In Barcelona, there is an abundance of fresh fish. Any restaurant that you walk into will likely have a lot of fish on the menu and all of it is typically great.  Although many people recommend various sushi restaurants, I truthfully believe that the best two are Matsuri and Ikibana.  Matsuri is located right by Milk, in the Gothic Quarter, and has some amazing options.  The sashimi salad is so fresh and has an amazing Japanese-style dressing and the temaki, or hand rolls, are also insane.  Ikibana has a more upscale vibe and definitely more exotic choices than any other sushi restaurant in Barcelona.  Here, the miso soup, roll with tuna and asparagus, and the “tuna bombs” are must-trys!

 

 

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WHEN IN BARCELONA, TRY ALL OF THE DELICACIES THAT YOU CAN. ADDITIONALLY, MAKE SURE THAT YOU FOLLOW PEOPLE’S RECOMMENDATIONS BECAUSE WHILE THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF GREAT RESTAURANTS, THERE ARE ALSO AN ABUNDANCE OF NOT SO GREAT RESTAURANTS.

       KEEP CALM AND EAT ON! 

Politics 2.0

As I have learned throughout this entire semester thus far, every industry has begun to not only use social media but also blogs in order to endorse products and people. This includes politicians such as presidential candidates who use social networks and blogs in order to gain a following and persuade people to vote for them.

Barack Obama will always be remembered as the first to use social networks to his advantage in an election.  For example, Obama created accounts on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Flickr, Instagram, Spotify and Twitter.  These tools helped him to gain the following of the younger generations who are social media obsessed because as they became more and more exposed to Obama, they likely began to follow him more.  As you can see, Obama strayed away from not only using the generic social networks, Facebook and Twitter, and moved toward also using the not so generic social networks in order to make him see more personable and for people to feel as if they are comfortable with him because he is just an ordinary person. This might have been a major deciding factor in the election as Mitt Romney only used the more generic social networks and likely did not reach as large of an audience and definitely not all of the younger generation.  Studies found that Obama’s accounts were more effective and generated more interaction with users.   Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 3.41.01 PM   Not only did Obama use social networks but he additionally began to update a personal blog over 10 times a day. You can only imagine how personable this made him seem because although he is such a busy person, he still found time to update his blog and reach out to his followers.   Ever since the 2012 election in which Obama and Romney used social networking tools in order to attract people, social networks will always be used in elections. These social networking tools allow for more exposure and additionally help to create a brand around the candidate.  For example, Obama’s “Hope” brand was brilliant and was solidified through the use of various social networks.  As president, Obama has continued his tech-savvy ways and continues to use social networks and has the youngest staff in White House history with an average age of 29 years old.  He additionally has replaced most of the technology in the White House with updated computers in order to have the best tools possible in order to carry out and continue his successful brand as a president.   Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 3.44.23 PM

Passionate about Paris

It was about time that I made my way to the city of love, Paris.  I arrived on Thursday night in order to ensure that I would have enough time to see all of the important sites in Paris and to have a full day on Friday.  Upon our arrival, we immediately checked into our hotel which was conveniently located right off of Grand Boulevards, near the Opera. IMG_3780 As I have a friend from Paris, I asked him for some advice on sites to see and restaurants to go to.  Due to this, Alyssa and I made our way to one of his recommended restaurants, L’Entrecote.  We took the metro here because the metro is extremely easy to navigate in Paris and we used this to travel everywhere across the city.  When we arrived at the restaurant, we observed a huge line out the door of the restaurant. We had no idea why this was so but we soon realized that this was the wait for the restaurant…great! There was a huge “que”, as they say, outside of the restaurant and we qued for about 40 minutes before we were seated. Boy am I glad that we waited! We indulged in one of the best meals that I have had in Europe so far consisting of steak, frites and a salad.

 

 

On Friday morning, it was time to see what the city of Paris had to offer.  We woke up early and went straight to The Louvre in order to see the Mona Lisa.  I was in shock upon seeing the Mona Lisa in person.  Not only is it so famous but it was extremely small, much to my surprise.

After exploring the museum a bit more and additionally seeing Pont des Arts, the Lovelock Bridge, we got hungry and took the metro over to Le Marais, The Jewish Quarter of Paris.

We went to a famous place called L’As du Fallafel and had an amazing pita filled with falafel, hummus, tzatziki sauce, cucumber and radish and it was so delicious.  Since Le Marais is also known for its great boutiques and shopping, we spent most of the rest of the afternoon shopping around and enjoying Parisian boutiques.  I ended up completely satisfied with all of my purchases and was exhausted from all of this! Because of this, Alyssa and I decided to go for a more casual dinner filled with Escargot and Crepes and went to sleep on the earlier side.

 

 

When I woke up on Saturday, I was so upset. IMG_3878I become obsessed and in love with the city of love and did not want to leave. This was one of the first times since studying abroad that I was in a city that I never wanted to leave. Saturday was filled with major tourist attractions including both the Eiffel Tower and climbing the Arc de Triomphe. Let me just tell you that climbing the Arc d’Triomphe was so exhausting and if you are planning on doing this, be prepared for the 1000 steps on a winding staircase. Also, bring water! After these major attractions, we headed over to Laduree on Champs-Elysees.  Here we indulged in unreal croissants and macaroons that I am still dreaming about.

 

 

 

 

I now understand why Paris is now called the city of love because 1. you will fall in love with the city right away and 2. of of course, it is extremely romantic. If you have the chance, Paris is a must-see. Make sure that you have enough time there to see all of the famous sites as I was upset that I was unable to go to Versailles.  Also, make sure you try all of the French cuisine you can because it is truly amazing and authentic and there is no better place to try it than Paris itself.

 

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The Wonderful World of La Boqueria: A Multimedia Story

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Step inside the core of Barcelona, Spain and find one of the most famous landmarks in the city, La Boqueria.  The prime location of La Boqueria makes it the perfect destination for locals and tourists alike, as it is located on arguably the most famous street in Barcelona, Las Ramblas.  La Boqueria is more formally known as “The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria” and is both a large market and major touristic spot that offers a large selection of fresh produce, fish, meats, candy, nuts, prepared foods and more.

 

History

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La Boqueria can be dated back to the 1200s when people used to sell meat here.  Later this space was also a pig market along with a straw market. At this time and up until the 1700s to early 1800s, the market was not an enclosed space and ultimately was just an extension of the Placa Nova market where traders congregated and traded the goods that they produced.  Later on, a separate market was constructed where La Boqueria now stands but it was not until 1826 when the market was legally recognized by the government and not until the early 1900s when the space was constructed to the way in which it now stands.

 

Basic Information 

La Boqueria is simply a market that offers almost anything that people could possibly want in terms of food. Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 1.33.51 PMAlthough there are various farmers markets located around the city of Barcelona, the amount of stands outnumbers any other market in the city and the location of the market definitely adds to its popularity, as it is located on a major touristic street called Las Ramblas.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with the city, Las Ramblas is comparable to Time Square of New York City and is constantly busy and filled with tourists.  The exact address for Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria is Rambla 85-89, in the Ciutat Vella area of Barcelona.  Once inside the market, there is something available for almost anyone and everyone there, even the pickiest eaters.

 

The Stands

Upon first step into La Boqueria, one may be intimidated by the amount and variety of stands.  At this point in time, there are currently more than 270 stands that encompass the market so the intimidation is quite understandable. Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 1.34.32 PMThe first stand encountered when entering the market is the famous candy stand that will sure cure anyone’s sweet tooth. Here one can find candied nuts, dried fruits, chocolates and any sour gummy imaginable.  Moving along back into the market, enter the world of fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, prepared foods including stuffed peppers, paellas, sandwiches, pizzas, freshly squeezed fruit juices (a favorite among many people) and additionally butchery, seafood and poultry alongside various restaurants.  Although La Boqueria can be a bit difficult to navigate, there are multiples of similar stands so it is not difficult to find the product that you may be looking for. Additionally, it is worth aiming to get to La Boqueria in the morning, before lunchtime, because this is when each stand is open and you will be able to find the best variety of products. Also, make note that the market is not open on Sundays.

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The Bars

In La Boqueria, it is easy to spot the various bars that encompass the famous market.  These bars produce dishes that are worth boasting about that include the freshest paella you could possibly ever taste, various tapas and authentic Catalonian wine. These bars include the most well known, El Pinotxo, which is located right near the entrance of the market, adjacent to the candy stand in the center.  466webAlthough it may be difficult to find a stool at the bar at most of these restaurants, it may be worth the wait in order to try one of them. Sit down, enjoy a glass of wine and indulge in one of the freshest meals that you have ever had in your life!

 

 

 

How to Get There

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La Boqueria is located conveniently on Las Ramblas near the famous Liceu, which is Barcelona’s opera house.  It is easy to get to due to the convenient location of the Metro L3, Liceu, located directly in front of the market.  La Boqueria is also extremely close in proximity to Port Vell, Barceloneta and Placa Catalunya, making it in a prime location in the city of Barcelona.

 

Interview

Here you can see an interview with a student who frequently goes to La Boqueria to purchase products.  It is interesting to see the point of view of a tourist and what she typically purchases at this major tourist attraction in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Final Tips

La Boqueria is hard to describe, as it is the type of place that must be seen in order to believe.  When in Barcelona, it is ultimately a must-see for every tourist and even when living in Barcelona, it is important to visit here, as there are so many amazing products available for purchase at great price points. As people also say, the best prices may be found in the back of the market so definitely check this out! Additionally, make sure to try one of the bars that are located inside of La Boqueria as they apparently include amazing ingredients and produce amazingly tasteful dishes.

 

Thomasina Miers, chef at Wahaka Restaurant in London, summarizes La Boqueria best as he states, “At the Boqueria people eat, shop and gossip together doing what the Spanish excel at, living life well and enjoying a sense of community”.

 

                                                                   There is truly no place like La Boqueria.