Brian and me before the group ESADE dinner last night.
Hello bombshells! The ladies, Shab and Chelle, before our ESADE dinner.
Our dinner was at El Mussol just a few blocks up from our piso near Placa Cataluna. El Mussol means a type of owl in Catalan. The blurry person pouring wine next to me and Brian is Joanna. She's a full-time ESADE student who helped organize the welcome dinner.
Some of our new friends. I was sitting next to the woman, whose name is Nyain. She's from South Africa.
Roomies! Tylor, Shabnam and Michelle. Tylor is bunking on our couch until he moves into his apartment on Sunday. I think he's actually moving in with a Spanish family, which will be super cool. I'm itching to make some Spanish friends and practice my espanol so I might be inviting myself over for a few dinners....
The camera was sitting on the table and Brian clicked the shutter to take this photo. Love having a fancy-shmancy new camera!
The guy in the far right of this pic is David. He's from Emory in Atlanta and is living in a huge shared apartment with 10 roommates. He has his own room but on his floor is a doctor (from Peru I think). He also lives with a couple Swedish girls, some Frenchmen who love watching Scrubs in French, and a few Spaniards I think.
There were probably 40 people at the dinner. We arrived at 8:30pm and didn't get a morsel to eat until 10pm when I finally asked the waiter if we could have some
(bread). We were all dying of hunger! From there, the food finally started coming out and I think we ate until about midnight.
The bill was about 1000 Euro, which is $1350. I thought it would be fun to see Euros...our new colorful currency. Each bill gets incrementally larger, so the tens are larger than the fives, the twenties larger than the tens, and so on.
After dinner, we went to an ESADE happy hour called "TGIT"...Thank God its Thursday. Kind of like "Think and Drink" for the McCombs MBAs. It was at a restaurant/club called Monk. The DJ was really good, but the place was pretty expensive...5 euro for a beer ($6.75) and 9 euro for a cocktail ($12).
Today Brian and I had planned to "subir" the mountain to see his castle-church, but the Universe had other plans for us. We just couldn't seem to make our way in that direction after several restaurant follies and no suitable menu del dia, so we decided to give in and head to the beach instead. You just can't go wrong with the beach.
On our walk Brian saw this place called The New Orleans Coffee Shop and wanted me to take a photo. This old couple is so quintessentially Spanish.
The beach!!!! I can't believe it took us this long to finally get here!!! It was everything I hoped and more. Even though the beach is technically man-made, I was totally charmed by its beauty.
Brian loved this bungee cord jungle gym. He planned to go down there and play on our way back, but I guess we forgot. There's always tomorrow.
These cement chairs were full of Spaniards enjoying the sun and the beach. We saw a sign flashing the time and temperature today that said it was 21 degrees Celsius. That's almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit! The breeze off the water made it kind of cool though. Our jackets kept coming off and on, off and on.
I DEFINITELY plan to make these chairs a part of my to-do list.
This is the above-the-beach boardwalk (paseo). After going down this ramp, we found out that there was also one directly below us that was right on the beach! It looked like in the summer there are probably lots of little shops down there as well. But they were all just closed garage doors at this time of year.
Another cool architectural sight, this time from the beach. This city is full of unexpected treasures!
We finally found the beach-side restaurant we were looking for from my Timeout Guide called Bestial. They didn't have an outdoor table available immediately so we sat on their tiered terrace surrounded by ancient olive trees and watched the sailboats go by.
What a view, right?
After almost a week and a half in Spain, this was our first bottle of Cava! What is wrong with us? Better late than never. It was absolutely delicious, and we serendipitously ended up getting an amazing discount because they didn't have the actual bottle we ordered on hand. So they charged us for one glass instead of a whole bottle. Thank you Bestial! We left our waiter a healthy tip, especially considering tipping isn't really a habit here. People just leave their change to round up to the nearest euro because the waiters apparently get paid a fair wage.
Enjoying my Cava with the ancient olive trees behind me. I'm on an olive hunt for a good friend of mine and Brian's, and these trees made me think of him! We had the best wood-fired pizzas and tiramisu with our Cava. It was an incredibly scrumptious meal, and my heart soared with the sounds and smells of the "mar" (sea). Oh, how I love the Med. I think Brian and I decided today that a Mediterranean cruise is definitely in order sometime on our trip.
Cava deliciosa y sabrosa!
The Columbus statue is probably one of the most prolific Barcelona landmarks and I think this was the first time Brian and I had seen it since living in Barcelona. Even though from afar, I still thought it was pretty spectacular.
The walk home from the beach through Barri Gotic was amazing. We continue to stumble upon breath-taking ancient buildings and seemingly-secret passageways.
We've also been noticing the flora and fauna a lot more as well. Today we stumbled upon some sort of pine trees in Barceloneta near the beach, and in this plaza we loved the magnolia trees overlooking this beautiful statue. It's so mesmerizing being in such an old city with so much history. We had the best time today making up stories about the people that used to walk these tiny ancient streets. Sigh, we love it here. I feel so lucky to be exploring with Brian. We make a good team.
Tomorrow the roomies are all planning to travel to the Dali museum in Figueres. I am optimistic we will actually make it!! We're staying home tonight to make sure and get a good night's sleep to get up early for the train station. It's just an hour or two on the train, so we'll head back after just a day trip.
Of course, Brian and I had also planned to visit the castle-church today, so I'm not married to any one plan or idea. The mode in Spain is definitely go-with-the-flow. No pasa nada. Happy fin de semana (weekend)!