We’re now in sunny Spain and have successfully completed day two of our classes. And we have seen the sun, afterall.
As we’ll be here for 4 weeks in total, and we’ve been in classes for 4 hours each day, we really haven’t seen much of the city yet. But, we are alive and well and having a good time. Amongst the highlights:
- Our flat. It’s located 5 minutes’ walk from the school in a nice, seemingly safe neighborhood in the North. It’s not in the Old City, but we LOVE having so many shops and conveniences literally downstairs from our flat without the worries of so many pickpockets that the main tourist areas seem to attract. Our roommates have been lovely so far. And we’ve now rearranged the furniture in our bedroom and I’ve now stopped obsessing about finding fresh flowers to freshen up the place after finding the perfect ones just up the street this evening (yes, these are the types of things that I stress about). Oh, and our roommates are lovely—young, but lovely. Our flat is not the loveliest, but it’s certainly a step about our first week’s digs in London…not bad….
- The food. Freshly sliced cured jamon and manchego cheese is available in every grocery deli in town. Yum! What more do we need?
- Our class. As you might expect — our 6 classmates are from diverse backgrounds — it’s a flashback to the MBA (except our cohort’s average age is probably 10 years lower this time) Classmates are from Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and Japan. This makes for an interesting, if challenging, Spanish-speaking experience, but we have already begun to learn a few things. So far, so good. Though it is a bit of a shock to our systems to ACTUALLY have other people in our class after 5 months of independent study with a dedicated professor.
- The City. Still admittedly settling in, and also because G’s working part-time, we really haven’t seen much of the city outside our school, the groceries, cafes, mobile phone stores and hardware shops. But we’ve been struck by how incredibly helpful and willing the Catalan people are. The shopkeepers have been so patient with our Spanish and incredibly willing to help us along without reverting to English.
On our first night, we did go out for tapas and had a great night out in a Spanish dive with the best octopus in town (the guidebook says so, anyway?). And today, we went out in the morning for a walk down the Ramblas and over to the beach. Tomorrow we hope to go for a run through the Olympic park early in the day…fingers crossed for sun because we all know I don’t run in the rain.
Perhaps the most surprising tale from our stay thus far is that at least 2 of the 10 people we know so far (2 roommates, 2 professors and 6 students) have been pickpocketed during their stay in Barcelona. We’ll do all we can to keep ourselves and our belongings safe. Fingers crossed my front facing satchel keeps us in the clear.
For more photos from Barcelona, click here…