Day 6

Earlier today my husband and I took a trip to the beach, Marbella, and enjoyed a couple hours in the sun. After our time in the sun we grab a taxi and head back to the hotel to get ready for a delicious dinner.

Arriving to the restaurant we see a large door with the name of the restaurant, ABaC, on the front.

We buzz in to let them know our group is here. A door opens and we enter this beautifully landscaped entrance.

We sit down at this table that’s already set up with plates and glasses. Manolo has recommended this restaurant and as I’ve said before he doesn’t disappoint. He knows great food!

Looking around we are the only ones in the room. The waiters cater to us and we look at the menu that’s been prepared for tonight.

A group of five waiters in black suits take our plates and we are told this one waiter is assigned to our table to take care of all of our needs.

He describes every plate as it comes to us and how we should enjoy it. As we finish our glasses of wine, they come around and fill you back up- your glass is never empty.

I look around I feel like I should see the Kardashian’s sitting next to me, everything is so formal and undoubtedly expensive!
I know my brother in law, chef Andrew, would’ve enjoyed this meal so this post is dedicated to him!

Lime cactus, tequila and green leaves

Crunchy bread with spicy tomato sauce and basil

Galician Salmon and cured egg yolk, trout eggs, soya butter and Nori textures

Gilda de mar

Bloody Mary on the rocks with Clams and cockles

Whipped hazelnut butter with bread crusts and caviar

Almond foie gras shaves with honey, vanilla and miso

Chinese box: Chinese bread, fried broche, grilled eel and wasabi

Roasted turbot suquet and picada with citronella “all i oli”

Tuna rice, Mediterranean tomato stew, tuna belly and pecorino Romano

Parpatna stew and veal with hazelnuts like chickpeas, crispy kale and citrus

“Our pine cone”: cured lamb tea and pine leaves to drink and roasted, cured and dried suckling lamb meats, apricot confit, pine shoots, pistil crud and caramelized jus

Camomile “pillow”, milk and buscuit roll with a touch of lightly spicy citruses

Chocloate fragile crate

Violets egg with yoghurt, blueberries, and buscuits

“Sweet Pumpkin” A berry flavor frozen lipstick is brought out to everyone along with a silver platter served with desserts. We were instructed to coat our lips with the lipstick each time we eat a small dessert off the platter.

I’ve mentioned before this trip is a lot of food firsts for me and tonight it definitely was. I can say that I enjoyed every single item that was brought out to us.


Day 5

As I sit here writing the beginning of Day 5, I’ve only had two hours of sleep. I force myself to get up and get my things together so we can catch a train at 5:15 am to Barcelona. The only song I can’t help hearing over and over again in my head is Ed Scheeran’s “Barcelona.” I know, I know, cheesy but what do you want me to sing, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas?”

At this point in our journey, life slows down a bit and we exit the party scene to enter a more relaxed tempo. This part of our vacation is really for sightseeing and relaxation.

We arrive at the train station and I was amazed at how efficient everything was; from arriving to boarding. The bell rang, and it was like Wall Street, everyone sprung into action. Waiting to board, one line forms and everyone makes their way through one by one. They scan our ticket, check our bags, and we proceed to the platform all in a matter of 10 minutes. How come we aren’t this efficient in the U.S.?

My husband and I always wanted to travel together and see the world so I’m excited to finally be on this trip with him. Looking out the window I see rain and lightning off in the distance. I use the next three hours to finish writing Day 4 of my blog as everyone else closes their eyes. 

Throughout the ride, there is a scenic theme combining old and new structures from town to town. I can tell we are heading to a different elevation since my ears are popping.
With one hour left of our train ride, I attempt to close my eyes.

We exit the extremely large train station, where I can’t believe they make you pay to use the restrooms, and make our way to the hotel via taxi. Today is the first day out of our trip I’ve considered taking a nap seeing as I can feel the previous late nights catching up with me.

When we arrive in Barcelona it’s 9:30 am and we aren’t allowed in the hotel until 3 so we look for a breakfast spot around the city. Since our hotel faces the beach we look for a little restaurant near there to admire our surroundings. There’s a wide and long boardwalk that runs down parallel to the beach. Bikers, rollerbladers, people walking their dogs, and motorize scooters populate the boardwalk while taxi’s and traffic zoom by us as we eat. 

The weather here in Barcelona is different than Madrid. In Madrid the temperature was a comfortably dry 80 degrees with a constant cool breeze. However, in Barcelona, I notice there’s a bit more humidity which makes for a sweaty afternoon. This weather feels more comparable to Virginia’s summers.

After days of partying and a minimum amount of sleep, we decided to save our legs and hop on a bus tour around the city hitting the major stops. I never been on one of these so I was very excited to try one for the first time. As we entered the bus, we were given headphones for listening to the audio tour and head upstairs to take in the sights.

Starting at the statue of Colon, we take the red line which is the longest around the city. As we ride, we see the World Trade Center, the Gothic Quarter, Casa Batllo and Passeig de Gracia containing two of the Gaudi structures, The Spain Square, National Museum of Catalan, Olympic Ring where they held the 1992 Olympics, Miramar and Sagrada Familia in the background. 

When we pass the National Museum of Catalan, my husband and I notice a Dali/Gala exhibit. Back when my husband lived in Tampa we went to the Dali museum and knew we had to go to see this one. 

Walking back to the hotel we pass a mercado and take a look at what the vendors have to offer. Many have a lot of the same items for sale, knock off Michael Kors bags and belts, decorative blankets, straw hats, and sunglasses.

I have no interested in any of these things so I head over to grab what I am interested in, olives! Beside the olives is a wine stand and I grab a glass of Cava to go as we head back to the hotel.

Unless I am going to a resort or beach, I don’t like to oversleep or take a lot of naps, especially if I’m on vacation. My philosophy is I can sleep when I get home. I’d rather use the time to explore and see what the city has to offer. 

However, with the limited amount of sleep this week, a small nap is in order as the hotel is ready for us and we are ready for it!

Having rested for a bit, we get ready, eat and grab a drink before the Cabaret show.

At 7pm the lines start to form and we head across the street to grab a great seat for our final entertainment of the night, Cabaret Maldito! 

Even though all of the show was in Spanish we were able to grasp most of the concepts as the actors and entertainers performed. Among the nights entertainment were contortionists, knife throwers, balancing acts, aerial silk acrobatics, and a ton of laughs!

After the show we head back over to the hotel bar to have a night cap before we turn in. 

Tomorrow is dinner at ABaC, a 3 star Michelin restaurant with a 15 course meal by chef Jordi Cruz.


Day 4- Anita Graduates!

We begin the main day for the whole reason we are here. The four of us stop at Carlos bar down the street to sit outside and have breakfast.

My choice of something for consumption has to be potato in nature in order to soak up the delicious beverages from last nights fun adventure and of course coffee with a glass of water.

In Spain, when ordering water at a restaurant it’s served in a glass container. You can get it as two options, “con gas” or “sin gas,” with or without carbonation.

We head back to the apartment to start getting ready for the graduation which starts at 5pm.

A classmate comes by to ride with Anita as we catch another ride a few minutes behind them.

The three amigos arrive to the graduation location and step out into a sea of people. Two thousand bodies have applied, worked hard, and will now be receiving their MBA degrees in various studies.

We enter the auditorium and see 5 large screens a top of a very long stage. They are also broadcasting this event live all over the world so friends and loved ones who couldn’t make it can watch.

Graduates with their cap and gowns stand in the back and await their long anticipated diplomas.

Since Anita’s degree is a Global MBA she been fortunate enough to meet and network with people all over the world. My new friend Laura from Uganda sits next to me as her fiancé is also in the sea of graduates anxiously waiting.

I feel so fortunate along this journey I’ve been able to meet so many wonderful people and myself made meaningful connections with folks who live all around the world. Both sides extend invitations to visit each other whenever possible: Kenya, Canada, Peru, and Columbia just to name a few.

This event was well done and felt more like an Oscars awards ceremony instead of a graduation. A live band plays to the right of the stage and piping upbeat music throughout the venue keeps the crowd and graduates going.

After the ceremony, the graduates, family, and friends head outside to tables serving a variety of wine and tapas for the next hour or two.

We hail a cab and head back to the apartment to get ready for the 1am-5am special party at club Teatro Barcelo.

Grabbing a VIP table upstairs, everyone begins to celebrate our old and new friends accomplishments.

I can safely say I’ve never partied this much even when I was in my twenties. However, I don’t think I would have appreciated living in those moments then as much as I do now that I’m older.

As everyone dances the night away, you can tell the vibe is much different. Everyone’s stress is over. School is done!

We leave the club at 6am and watch the sun come up over the buildings. This was another first.

We schedule an Uber and head back.

Anita heads to bed as the three us head out to find breakfast before we lay our heads down as well. This is definitely a trip I will never forget.

Congratulations my friend, you earned it!

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