Spanish Yoga Redeemed!

I have to begin by saying that I had a lot bigger plans for today than what I actually accomplished.  But, no pasa nada, that's just Spanish life! There is always tomorrow. I met our upstairs neighbor, Carl, yesterday at Alsur Cafe when I ran into Mark the apartment locator.  Mark introduced the two of us, and Carl kindly gave me his number and said to call if we needed anything at all.  So when I was home with all the roomies last night, I texted him and invited him down for a glass of vino tinto (red wine).  One turned into a few, and we all had a great time staying up chatting and getting to know one another.

One of many things that we learned about our new 30-year-old British stockbroker friend Carl is that he has a wireless internet connection in his apartment above us! Yay!  And he was more than willing to let us log onto his network.  Double yay!!  So we are live, ladies and gentlemen.  That's right, no more squatting in Alsur Cafe to post blogs and check our email.  It's so intoxicating!  I never thought I would think internet at home was such a luxury.

But back to today...  Since we were up pretty late last night with our new friend Carl, we didn't really stir until around noon.  Los estudiantes didn't have clase until 3pm, so we all (minus Shab - who went to a student organization meeting...way to go Shab!) decided to grab a bite to eat together before I begrudgingly headed off to my 2:30pm yoga class.

We ate at H3, a restaurant that Brian, Shab and I tried on one of our first days in Spain.  This is Tylor with his octopus salad (ensalada de pulpo) and sparkly water (agua con gas).  Since it was a menu del dia, this was his first course.  He followed the salad up with shark and a cafe con leche.  Brian and I opted for the more tame bocadillo de tortilla (basically a Spanish omelette of egg and potato on a baguette) and Chelle tried the octopus salad and the lengaudo (another type of fish).

Even as a vegetarian, I still enjoy seeing the slabs of jamon serrano hanging in all the restaurants.  The Spanish love their jamon almost as much as they love their olive oil.

After lunch it was time for YOGA!  Since I investigated the locker situation yesterday, I knew I could bring my handbag (with camera!) today.  This is the only signage for the yoga studio.  It's in a building above a shoe store on the Placa Universitat (near a university).

This is the door you enter to get into the stairwell of the building.  It's pretty much a normal apartment building like ours, except they converted a flat into a yoga studio.

The door to the yoga studio.  Yep, it's literally called Yoga Studio.  There is a small one-person elevator to get to the third floor (which they call the second), but I've opted to climb the stairs as much as possible in Spain.  Needles to say I'm pretty winded by the time I finally arrive.

This is the view right inside the front door.  The door you can kind of see to the left is the bathroom.  And through the door on the red wall is the reception.  Just off the reception area is the locker room and a small studio.  If you go straight down this hall, you get to the large studio, which is where we practice.

The locker room. The students all leave their mats at the studio and have written their names in permanent marker on one corner.  I was going to leave my mat and let her spend the night with the others as well, but I changed my mind at the last moment.  Silly, I know!  I just couldn't bear thinking of someone else possibly using it and getting their sweaty energy all over my mat.  Maybe I'll finally do it once I'm a real member and not just on the

semana prueba

(trial week).  The lockers are pretty cool.  You put one euro (which is a coin) on the inside in order to lock it, and it returns your euro to you when you unlock it.

This is the view of the studio from the doorway.  The back room is where more mats and props are housed, and students over flow into that area when there is a large class (like today).  We line up along each wall facing each other, making a narrow lane down the middle where the teacher walks back and forth demonstrating the poses.

This is the room with the two doorways from the previous picture.  I'm guessing those are more mats that students have left.  I was going to grab a block out of the drawers but they all had people's names written on them.  Same story, I guess!  You bring your own stuff and house it in the studio.

This is the view from the small room above looking back at the main door.  The door to the studio is just to the right by the shrine and the red wall.  Today's class was amazing!  Which was so refreshing considering the disaster that yesterday was.  The teacher, Emma, actually looked like she had done yoga before (which was a far cry from yesterday's teacher), and she was super accommodating when I told her about my language barrier before class.  She had the most beautiful voice, and it was actually really relaxing to just listen to the sound of her voice throughout class versus worrying about translating the words.

The entrance to the class.  Yesterday was Iyengar 1 (will NOT do again), and today was Hatha 1-2.  It was much closer to what I'm used to.  We started class with several sun salutations and then worked through poses from there.  The transitions were all much more natural, as in doing a flow and then transitioning to a pose from down dog to runners pose and into whatever pose you're getting to versus the legendary HOP that I will never quite recover from.  The sun was pouring through the far windows in the prop room and bathing me all throughout my practice.  This teacher was very big on the meditative aspect of our practice, and I began to understand the many cues she was giving us to observe our bodies in each pose.  It was absolutely magical, and I'm looking forward to taking more classes from her.

On the 20-minute walk back to my piso, I couldn't resist popping into a few of my favorite stores to check out the rebajas.  I'm still looking for a cropped black jacket to wear with my new uniform of leggings and oversized tops.  Cropped jackets are VERY

de moda

(in style) here.  As are tall boots over skinny jeans or leggings.  I bought a cute cropped brown leather jacket with Amanda before I left, but now I'm thinking I have to have a black one to complete my wardrobe.  The rebajas make things so CHEAP so it's hard to resist.  :)

I found the cute top I'm wearing today (see last picture) at Mango, along with a couple others.  Aside from yoga words (i.e. body parts), I'm learning a lot of SHOPPING WORDS in Spanish!  Like


, which are fitting rooms.

I had planned to do a little sightseeing today after yoga, but by the time I finished class, perused the rebajas, and bought a blow dryer at El Cortes Ingles, it was almost time for Brian to get home.  I had to buy a blow dryer because my American one was getting too hot for the converter.  Same story with Brian's new face razor, which is why he's starting to look a bit surly in the ol' face region.  He actually blew out all the lights in our hotel room the last night at the Holiday Inn from charging his razor!  Once Brian got home tonight, we decided to pop down to the fruit and veggie stores to grab a few things for dinner.  The produce here is soooo inexpensive.  I love it!!  It's the opposite of the States where meat is so inexpensive and produce is so costly.

Brian picking out a few necessities for our meal.  We decided to make pasta with zucchini, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, spinach and garlic.  They were apparently running a special, and we were surprised with a free head of romaine lettuce at the checkout for spending five euros (about $6.75).

Brian plating our beautiful creation.  That red bell pepper was probably the tastiest red pepper I've ever had.  All of the produce has so much flavor.  The piso smelled so great that Shab and Chelle went out pretty soon after we finished up and bought ingredients for their own pasta dish as well!

The chefs enjoying their meal!  We're drinking Solaz wine, which is one of our fave Spanish wines in the States.  Only here it's a little less than 4 euro and back home it's like $10.

Tomorrow Brian has to be at school at 9am like on Tuesday, so I'll have a full day to myself again.  I have an 11am yoga class with yet another new instructor, and then I'm hoping to hit up the rebajas again.  I haven't been buying something each time, just comparison shopping.  :)

I don't know how I ever got things done when I had a full-time job.  It seems like everyday I have a new item on the list that I have to go out and find, and I seem to be able to only get one thing accomplished a day.  Today was the blow dryer.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to finally find a soft cloth bag for my camera.  I get it in and out of my purse so often throughout the day that I don't like to carry the bulky case.  Instead I've been wrapping it in a piece of cloth to protect the screen.   Too much boring detail, I know, but these are things that are consuming my days.

We also have a group dinner tomorrow night organized by the MBA student group for the exchange students, which I'm pretty excited about.  There are a few other students with wives here, and I'm hoping to make a few friends.  I really want to meet some Spanish people so I can practice my Spanish, but it will be fun meeting the spouses too.  I'm hoping I just hit it off with someone, and it's not one of those weird, forced situations.

We're also starting to think more about our weekends and the getaways we hope to plan.  We had all wanted to go somewhere this weekend, but I think we may opt for more Barcelona sightseeing and perhaps a day trip out to the Dali museum.  I think Brian and I are going to see his church-castle for sure!