Vino y Amigos – Day 24 & 25

Today was a big day as my girlfriend, Natalie, and friend, John, both fellow MBA’s at Ohio State were arriving in town. The morning started by checking out of the hostel and dragging my bags around the corner to the flat we reserved through AirBNB. For those that don’t know the service, it essentially allows you to rent someone’s flat, either a private room in the flat or in our case in Barcelona, the whole flat. When I checked in, I quickly saw the place was fantastic despite being a bit small. It is literally 20 feet off La Rambla, and for those that know Barcelona, you know this is where a lot of the action goes down. It also was clear the owner had recently renovated the place as it was all new appliances and cabinets.

 

Again, after the previous night, I have decided to avoid hostels if at all possible. The hostel was great socially and for a cheap place (but I’d much rather pay a bit more) but not for much else. Well, anyway, I grabbed some wine and when they arrived, we had a drink before heading out to explore.

 

The Ramblas area is full of narrow streets and sidewalks lined with shops, so you never know what great place is around the corner. I decided to rock my new custom shirt and we decided to walk around until we found a place that we thought was interesting … and we definitely found a good one. “The Box” is a tiny bar/restaurant in the Ramblas area that serves crazy good and cheap mojitos (3.50 euro) and has a very limited menu of amazing food. The mojitos had literally two handfuls of mint leaves, and weren’t overly sweet, which was great.

 

In terms of food, we had the quesadillas and hotdogs – seems pretty boring right? But it wasn’t. The food was based on the owners heritage, one being French and the other Colombian. The hot dogs were Colombian style (you don’t know what that means??) and had pineapple sauce, French cheese, and were on French baguettes. They also said it was their marquee dish. The quesadilla also had the same French cheese and was incredible.

 

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John with the Colombian hot dog

The owners were great to talk to and we helped them do more business by getting another one of classmates, Mark Steidler and his girlfriend, my Egyptian friend from the previous night, and randoms off the street to come in as well. We spent the entire night there.

 

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Emily, Mark, John, Natalie, me and Mohamed, our new Egyptian friend

The next day, we headed over towards the beach and were looking for a certain bar/restaurant that John’s GAP client (who was also in Barcelona this weekend) recommended. We walked along the Mediterranean to find it and the water was significantly colder than I was used to – not like the bath water of the Persian Gulf. When we found the place, it was just off the beach, and we enjoyed a couple bottles of wine between us as we enjoyed the atmosphere around us. It was perfect.

 

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Under the cabana at the beach bar

 

Next on the agenda was meeting up with John’s GAP client at a very fancy hotel in town here, the Mandarin Hotel. We had drinks on the roof and enjoyed the sunset as we chatted about the GAP program, life, and Barcelona. The view was incredible!

 

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Rooftop bar

As we left there, we went off in search of a champagne bar that he recommended, which unfortunately we never found. As a result, we ended up back at “The Box” for another round of mojitos and food with our new friends (the owners). Another great couple days in the books.

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