Oct 31 2005
All the things you’ve heard about Barcelona are true: beautiful architecture, relaxing siestas, people and road signs communicate in Catalan, fabulous seafood, great weather, great shopping, late night partying… all of that. But none of it means anything unless you’ve experienced it yourself. The near 3 days I spent there were ridiculously fun and exhausting. I had to return here, begin the new period at INSEAD at 8:30am just to take a break from my “break.”
Our holiday from INSEAD started innocuous enough – four of us from the chateau took the 12-hour overnight train from Paris to Barcelona on Thursday night. It was just the perfect number because we had our own cabin with four pull down beds, which we didn’t use until the conductor insisted on pulling them out before he went to bed at 2am. Before then, we enjoyed some nice wines, snacks, and had some real conversations. It’s on these long road trips that you really get to know people beyond a superficial level. The flip side is the brutal alcohol hazed sleep deprivation upon arrival at 8:30 in the morning. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it.
Later that day, another INSEAD friend of ours joined our gang in our rented apartment for the weekend, completing our party with healthy mix of two gals and three guys. Other than spending the stereotypical amount of time women do in the bathroom and her over-zealotry towards shopping – of which we gave her grief to no end – we welcomed her addition. Even though the saying goes “misery loves company,” I say good times do too.
Back to the nocturnal activities – the typical Spanish dinner starts around 10pm. Naturally we had to observe these local traditions. So after a day’s worth of walking around town and taking a siesta to recover, we filled up on delicioso Spanish cuisine and wine to kick start the evenings. On the first night, we moved from dinner to this cozy little bar, Mas i Mas, to meet up some local friends of PGuy. We then hopped on over to this crazy night club called The Sutton, where we were at first barred from entry, something about it being too full. But being the cool VIPs that we are, which we eventually proved time and time again, they let us in after our local friends dialed up an inside acquaintance. Inside, it was absolutely thumping, people everywhere. After a few drinks and getting bearings of the club, we discovered a reserved section for special guests only. Again, we were inexplicably barred from entering until yours truly talked our way in to mingle with these guests. To top off the rest of the night, three of us displayed our moves with light shows and hot dancing on the platform - VIPs till the end.
Five hours of sleep afterwards, we went back downtown in the afternoon. It’s one thing to hear about these Spanish siestas, where people take 2 hours off in the afternoon to lunch and sleep, but then you witness it and realize how nuts it is. The city literally shuts down from around 2-5pm everyday. In broad daylight, you find few people on the streets, stores are closed, and don’t even bother finding taxis. Good thing the tourist bus kept running and we took advantage of it to visit the beautiful architecture of the city, namely the various works of Gaudi.
Later that evening, we enjoyed an upscale dinner at El Trobador with the friends we met the night before. Fabulous food and company, which was a perfect lead to our reservation at Carpe Diem Lounge Club on the beach. This place is serious business, owned by a former football player. The biggest draw here are the beds, where you are “seated” on beds instead of chairs and couches. Once again, we closed down the bar and even strolled a bit at the beach, feeling the Mediterranean waves before heading home.
On the last day, we had a quick lunch with another close friend from INSEAD before hopping on a cap to the airport. Leaving Barcelona was really difficult, and despite sleeping even less here than during finals week, there’s still so much more left for us to do. But alas, our break reached its end, but Barcelona awaits our return!
Pictures coming soon.