When we arrived to Barcelona, we were greeted with brisk wind and abundant sunshine. After all the rain and fog Italy had been receiving, it was a nice change of pace. We embraced Barcelona’s sun with open arms and decided to capitalize on its perfect weather by staying outdoors. We walked along the main streets, took a short boat ride gaining an incredible view of Barcelona gems, and then relaxed with cold cider on the beach.
To dress for the occasion, I wore bright, bold colors and paired them with equally bold prints — a polka dot collard tank and a cheetah print belt. Take a look:
Magical dusk at Barceloneta Beach.
This week was filled with several special moments, including celebrating a friend’s birthday, visiting Vicenzia, finding a new favorite cafe, and appreciating time for rest. I leave for Rome Saturday and friends of friends have graciously welcomed us to stay at their home for the night and even offered a ride to the airport. On Sunday, we leave for Greece where we’ll spend the rest of the Easter Break. Hopefully I’ll return with some color on my skin! It actually feels a bit strange that I won’t be celebrating this Easter at home. My church hosts a “passion week” revival and an extravagant Easter dinner each year, and although I can’t join them, I will keep this holiday in mind and be joyful nonetheless. Jesus has risen, people! Hallelujah! (:
Here are my five favorites of the week. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
Sail boats were everywhere in Spain and it ignited a new desperate desire in me to find a sail buddy. Where’s a Nolan when you need one? (“Revenge”, anyone?)
Coffee gelato + girl talk @ Amorino.
We celebrated a friend’s 21st birthday with 21 gelato pops! (Scoops of gelato dipped in chocolate, then frozen) I tried the custard and mint — both were delicious. Now I’m looking for a reason to make my way over there and try more flavors.
A new store has opened in Verona; it’s comparable to a Nordstrom or Whole Foods. The first floor is a sophisticated eatery complete with an oyster bar, sandwich counter, fresh produce, and more. The design is phenomenal and I found myself equally enchanted by both the food AND branding. I plan on copying this hanging clipboard design to showcase print in my future apartment.
Spain’s most popular dessert is churros with a side of hot chocolate. Walk through the main streets and you’ll be able to find it offered at almost every dessertery. It is, however, more of a day treat, so when we were looking for the cure to our dessert fix after dinner (which was around 11 pm because Spaniards eat late,) no one was serving it anymore. We made just fine with waffles and cream, though. We’re easy.
We ate churros three times throughout the duration of our stay in Spain, but my favorites were the ones in Madrid from Chocolateria San Gines. The venue was recommended to us by a friend (and TripAdvisor), so we set time out of our day (before Taco Bell and after Starbucks — I know, the culture just oozes out of us,) to pay a visit. We ordered our own individual churros, but shared the hot chocolate. Hot chocolate in Europe is not like American’s winter favorite. It’s thick, with the consistency similar to rich fondu; and I’ve noticed most people use it for dipping, not drinking.
I love my American chained goodness, I do. But I adore how European cafes and restaurants all possess strong, unique branding. Or in Korean, “con-cept.” Little quirks – wallpaper, color combinations, type, presentation – when integrated to create one theme, have the ability to transport you to a new world.
My friend is currently studying abroad in Barcelona and was able to free up some of her time to show us around her city. (: Knowing my weakness for cute cafes and desserts, she led my roommate and I to a magical little dessertery called Pudding.
The entrance to a walk-in storybook. (:
I wasn’t joking when I called this place magical. The strung lights on red/white really made the entire room glow and charming wall decor added to the surrealism. Artificial trees completed the storybook theme – I was just waiting for a trail of gumdrops to fall from the sky and singing blue birds to start sewing my clothes.
We decided to sit in the sun room so we could have more natural light and also people-watch through the window. Exhibit A:
PS. Do you see how much CAKE those people left on their table?! Unfortunately, the people escaped before we made our entrance so I didn’t get to see exactly what kind of people in their right mind would deliberately leave behind perfectly good cake. Lucky them, because some dirty, dirty looks would have been sent straight their way. Whoever can’t finish their slice of cake is weird in my book, AND SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED! Maybe even more so than people who don’t like dessert at all, because these people know better… (We were THIS close to scooting over and rescuing the left over pieces. Spoiler alert: We didn’t. Yeah, that was kind of a low point.)
White chocolate mousse pie.
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
How did the cakes taste? Oh, even better than they LOOK. Each bite proceeded with a loud, dramatic “MMM,” because it is impossible to enjoy your dessert without an expressive, “MMM.” Ya just can’t. Cake was not meant to be consumed in silence.
And the three of us together before we curtsied to the dog posters and said farewell.
Thanks so much for showing us around, Kristen! You were a lovely host. (: Check out Kristen’s blog here to follow her Spanish adventures. Her photos on food and landscape are reason enough to check it out. And the hot dog on the left? My roommate! You can read hers here, where you will find ample posts on humorous vignettes, honest rants, and even more odd, disoriented photos… I know she’s kind of socially retarded and weird, but she’s my friend. So, just promise me you wont make fun of her! (“Mean Girls,” anyone?)
Date: March 2, 2013 | London
I decided not to carry a purse that day because I didn’t need much. Just my coin purse, cell phone, and lip balm. And my camera, but that usually hangs around my neck. I was wearing a green utilitarian jacket with button pockets, and so I figured it’d be safer to throw in the items and button the wallets, versus carrying an almost empty purse. (Mistake number one.)
And the plan worked, for majority of the day, at least.
We walked around London — King’s Cross, British Museum — and while the sun was still up, we made our way over to Camden Market. Since it was a rather crowded area (pic) I was even extra cautious of my belongings and aware of how close I was standing with people. My phone would sometimes end up in my hands and out of my pocket just to snap a few pics or use the calculator app to convert pounds to dollars. We listened to live music, made googly eyes at Starbucks, snapped pics near the river front, and found ourselves at the food market. Our favesies. Stands on stands on stands PLUS free samples. And at that moment, is when I completely lost all reservations and awareness of the possibility that evil pick-pocketers could be lurking in my vicinity. It was just me, my camera, and the food.
I went from stand to stand, both hands remained glued to my camera, determined to capture every bubble of jam and steam escaping the rice pot. I was at the fourth stand when I realized this was TOTALLY instagram-worthy and I just had to not only share it on Facebook, but to my fellow Instagram friends, as well. So I reached my hand into my left pocket to grab my iPhone, and all my hand came back with was a wrinkled sugar packet and lint. And after I checked every pocket and retraced my steps 30 times, I faced the fact that some evil man took advantage of my vulnerability and appreciation for food, and snuck his hand into my unbuttoned pocket, taking my iphone away with him forever.
And on that day, I vowed to never instagram or eat food as tribute to my kidnapped iphone.
Another lesson learned: Find my iPhone SUCKS and Apple should really come up with a more genius way to resolve stolen phone issues.
Anyway, so then, my superhero of a mom persuaded AT&T to send us a new iPhone for only $99, as opposed to the original marketed price of $399. I got my phone two weeks later when a friend came to visit. I had my phone for EXACTLY four days before it was to be stolen again.
My second day in Spain, we were resting on the beach when this shady man came up to us with a green grocery bag asking to buy whatever shady foreign objects were in his green bag. We all curtly said no but he kind of lingered for a little bit, and finally when he got the message that we didn’t want his foreign objects, he walked away. And I noticed my phone wasn’t where I left it. We searched all our purses, dug through the sand, and came to the conclusion that that evil man must have taken it. We walked along the shore to find the same man, but noticed that the same green bag, the only indicator we could use to trace this man, had been tossed to the curb.
So that is the story how my iphone was stolen twice. My parents enrolled me for insurance after the first incident, so we were able to replace the stolen iphone for a much cheaper price. I just received that phone today! (: And I will never let it out of my sight again.