A year in review: Aug 2016 – present

It’s been quite some time since I made a full blog post. Life has been pretty exciting and there haven’t been too many free moments to actually recount everything. My wonderful friend and new mommy Liz sent me a message yesterday that inspired me to write this catch-up post which I’d do through pictures. So this ones for you Mrs Peek!!

August 2015: Vacations in Lyon and Paris with MBA friends
& London with my best friend and my cousin

September 2015: Enjoying Catalunya with a trip to Waikiki Beach (real name: Platja de la Mora), an almost girls weekend in Cadaques, and the Bunkers of Carmel

October 2015: Fist time bouldering outdoor in Albaracin (and solidifying the most amazing friendships) and a weekend in Lisbon before starting a project in the US

November 2015: Enjoying some weekend fun while working in New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Miami and LA.

And on the trip home my first time lead climbing outdoors in Mediona! (though I don’t have a picture of me!)

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December 2015: Weekend trip to Mexico City and my first (and last) ever NBA basketball game

January 2015: A magical disney wedding from which I had lost all picture. 😦

February 2016: A 4 day trip to Brazil ruined by work and phone being stole in a parade (notice no picts) and a much better weekend bouldering in San Joan de Vilatorada

March 2016: A work trip to Lugo where no one showed up for interviews and celebrating 1 year climbing at Sala de Escalada Magnesi!

April 2016: Bouldering competition in Targassone, France

May 2016: Climbing in Vallirana, kayaking in Mont Rebei, climbing in Tenerife

And  a work trip to Dubai to kick off a 4,5 month long project in the Gulf Region. Getting to see my best friend while she was also on a business trip to Dubai was the best part!

June 2016: Celebrating 31 as many times and in as many ways as possible in Barcelona and Lisbon!

As you can see it has been a jam packed year. Here’s to another amazing one with lots of adventure!

 

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Catalan Christmas Traditions!

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I learn something new every year that I am in Spain about the traditions during Christmas time (not to mention all of the festivities during the rest of the year). Above is a picture of a giant pasta shell, that is a symbol of Christmas because it is use in a Catalan soup made for Christmas day. And the city has decided to place many of them around the city. It’s not quite holly, but it is quite interesting. You can find them “hidden” or placed rather, all over the city.

As of course is our old friend Caga Tío. The log that poops out presents for little kids once feed sufficiently and beaten. Last night, I had a little christmas gathering with my friends where we did a pongo (like secret santa/white elephant, but with silly gifts) and participated in my first beating of the Tío. My Tío is quite small (and I think it’s time to invest in a bigger log) but you can see the amazement on young Miguelitos face as miraculously, after we went to the kitchen to wet the stick with which he would beat the Tío, a present was pooped out under the blanket for Miguel to enjoy. (This was Júlia’s family tradition to wet the stick, because of course that makes the poop come out faster!) Holidays in Catalunya never get old.

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Timesburg: Amazing Burgers in BCN!

IMG_7102I have sought far and wide to find an amazing burger in this town and with my trip this afternoon to Timesburg in Poble Nou, I think my search has ended (or atleast reach a high note!). Because I can’t resist queso de cabra I chose the Cabra – 200 grams of beef, queso de cabra, caramelized onions, tomato, rucola, cranberry jam, and the special Timesburg mayo. Absolutely heavenly! Real beef, cooked well and the branded bun was hilarious. There was a bit too much bread for my liking (especially since it was a massive burger!) but that was easily solved by eating my second half sans bun.

IMG_7100The fries were similarly delectable. Obviously fresh-cut and sprinkled with sea salt. The chili ketchup on the table went really well with them (and was in no way spicy. If we were hungrier we would not have shared just one ration.

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And adding to the experience was of course the ambiance. Great decor, comfortable eclectic seating. You queue to place you order from a sheet with check boxes and pick a table, but it didn’t feel like a fast food experience in any way. There is even an upstairs to accommodate spillover from the first floor. Absolutely highly recommend. I can’t wait for round two when I try the location closer to my place next week. Yum!!

 

 

Becoming a Maruja

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Over the past 4 week I have slowly accepted that I am becoming a maruja, the castellano word for housewife (the non-rich kind) that has become oddly relevant vocabulary, albeit with no husband or children. Being unassigned after a jam back 2,5 months in Africa has been a bit to cope with, but I’m starting to get the sensation that I would enjoy this for a year or two when having children and a very established life. I have been using my free time to re-decorate my apartment (to the extent that I can in a fully furnished place), cleaning absolutely everything, and that Singer sewing machine above…I used that to make my very first pillow. Maruja. It does help that I have a good friend/intercambio buddy who is in the process of looking for a new job and free during the day like me. But she’s a real maruja with a family.

There's my pillow! Africa themed. Tanzi really rubbed off on me.

There’s my pillow! Africa themed. Tanzi really rubbed off on me.

It has become a great opportunity to focus on developing my life in Barcelona more (meeting new people, working on my language skills, learning new skills, taking classes, getting more fit, really refine my Spotify playlists), but also given me time to do some close travel to visit friends from the MBA who became very near and dear to me. Here are some shots of London where I went to visit Marilyn. I absolutely love the Christmas decorations everywhere! Covert Garden was particularly beautiful. I think Barcelona does Christmas lite (apart from the funny traditions), so it’s great to visit a place where you feel consumed by Christmas. It really gets you in the spirit.

IMG_6943These are Ben’s cookies. So fluffy and almost cake like. If you have never had these please stop by the next time you are in London. They were amazing. We had a hard time deciding between the buy 5 get 2 free or by 10 get 5 free. In the end we settled on less excess. The mulled wine made up for that though. 

IMG_6942 IMG_6944And Paris wasn’t half bad either. We had a very French time, over paying for coffee, getting rude waiters, eating lots of cheese, baguettes and pate by the Eiffel Tour, duck confit, amazing wine, loads of rain, Laduree…But the best part was getting to see these crazies. I miss having them around so much. Unfortunately, I’ll be in NY when they come back to visit Barna! Post-MBA real life responsibilities come before vacations. ::sigh:: Oh how life has changed in the last 7 months.

IMG_7033I’m getting in the holiday spirits now. My apartment decorating has extended to Christmas decorating. (Look at this little pink tree I got in London! Ridiculous! I love it!) I’m preparing for hosting a small holiday party next weekend.

IMG_7055Tomorrow morning I’m off early for an IKEA visit. Time to cozy up into my bed and crack open Neruda’s Cien Sonetos de Amor.

JD I miss you loads! This post is for you!!

Vall de Nuria Camping

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After constantly seeing signs for Vall de Nuria on the FGC I was a bit skeptical that our camping weekend was going to be a tourist trap. But upon arrive (fully by public transport!) we ended up in an amazingly underrated campground at the base of the Pyrenees with the most vibrant, lush nature and animals roaming free all around us. On our first day we planned to take is easy with a 2-3 hour hike, but ended up going hard for 6 hours. A restaurant meal and some botellóning were the ideal end to the night before tucking away in our tents. Despite my over packing of food, we would have run out the next day.

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Cesar and I awoke the next morning to the most beautiful sight through the window of his tent, four beautiful full-grown horses grazing on the hill not more than 15 meters away. Unfortunately, his super fancy camera died the day before (lesson learned!) and we didn’t get the capture just how fantastic and awe-inspiring the view was. It really made our day start off the right way. After another jaw dropping, beautiful 3-hour hike we were exhausted and satiated from our time spent in nature. I can tell you with certainty that we will be back before you know it!

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Catalunya is so Effin’ Beautiful!

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The more time I spend living in Barcelona the more I realize just how beautiful this area is and how much there is still to enjoy! I cannot believe that I never took a trip to the Costa Brava in the 1.5 years of business school (well those were a bit hectic…), but day tripping to Begur was worth the wait. Just a two-hour hike got us to some of the most beautiful coast line and beaches we have seen in Catalunya.

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And the beauty is you’re just a 1,5 hour ride away from the city.

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I love living here 🙂