Barcelona we love you!
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Barcelona is a beautiful city that arguably rivals some of the best cities in Europe, it has a certain charm that cannot be put down into words but needs to be experienced for oneself. Finding out Jesper and I would be spending over 2 weeks in this city we were both beyond excited. I was to fly into Barcelona from Istanbul and Jesper from Amsterdam, after saying our goodbyes in Kos we would finally be reunited for the adventure of a lifetime. Arriving at the airport I navigated myself onto a bus that would take me to Plaza Catalunya and from there a short walk to Generator Hostel. Having picked up wifi from a nearby hotspot, I messaged Jesper letting him know I had arrived and to meet near the fountain, unfortunately after a 30 minute wait I decided to just make my way to the Hostel.
By the time I arrived to Generator I was sweating quite a bit to weather that resembled Summer, I was in the midst of checking in when out of the corner of my eye I caught site of Jesper. He’s a hard guy to miss as he generally stands a foot taller then most people. We greeted each other with a flurry of questions, as up until now we had taken relatively different paths. Filling each other on all that happened between the two of us, over an hour had passed and it was time to go for a little walk around the city, a city that Jesper had lived in earlier this year. Having no need for a tour guide we walked the streets of Barcelona until we came upon Parc de la Ciutadella, a beautiful park that Jesper told me EBS Barcelona uses for flair practice. It was a beautiful green escape from the buildings around us, we sat down next to a fountain and spoke some more about our experiences since Kos. Breathing in deeply we both took in our surroundings and realised how this whole experience we were about to start would be a chance of a lifetime.
As we were close to EBS Barcelona we payed the guys a visit, and it gave me an opportunity to see what other schools looked like. We arrived around lunchtime so there were only Instructors that greeted us, but slowly a gentle trickle of students came back from lunch and we introduced ourselves to them. It was a nice experience seeing them and only having completed the course myself in August I could relate to the stress they were under. It was their 3rd week in the course, it was coming down to the pointy end where they needed to know most of what the course had to offer. As Jesper and I didn’t want to intrude on the time they had we said goodbye and made our way back to the Hostel.
Before arriving back to Generator we came across a little bakery that would prove to be a daily stop for us. They sold a ride range of deliciousness but the thing that caught both our eyes were the churros, they didn’t just have the plain ones, they had chocolate coated, caramel and custard stuffed churros. Initially we started with the original churro then over the course of the next few days we made our way to what would be our favourite churro, the caramel stuffed one. When we first tried it, it was so rich we both swore to never try it again. A hollow promise as the very next day we bought one more, and soon it become our daily ritual. As we would have to pass by the bakery every time we left Generator and wouldn’t feel right unless we bought one.
We arrived back to the hostel late afternoon and decided to call it a day, It was a perfect start to our Barcelona stay, the weather was amazing and so far the food was nothing short of delicious. We had a few days before we would start our responsibilities that came with Ticket to the World. And we used those days to explore Barcelona even more, visiting Sagrada Familia, which in my humble opinion is undoubtably a wonder of the world, no photo would ever do justice to what the eye can see. We also walked down Las Ramblas a boulevard that apparently a million tourist visit annually, we also ventured into the Gothic Quarter admiring the beautiful architecture and sitting down to a drink or two.
The days flew by as we explored the city and before we knew it was time to actually start working in Barcelona. Our first job was working behind the bar at Generator Hostel. The day of our first shift we met Norman the Bar manager who had a few drinks for us to try as he wanted to add some new exciting drinks to the cocktail menu. He talked us through each and every cocktail getting us to make everyone and of course taste them once they were made. The standout drink for both Jesper and I was a smoked whiskey cocktail that we couldn’t put down. Having tried the various cocktails we told Norman our thoughts on each of them and it was time for us to leave and get ready for work.
Working with the people from Generator really made made our experience in Barcelona that much better, all of the staff we met were beyond accommodating and helped us with whatever we needed and answered whatever question we had. It barely felt like we were working when we were behind the bar, it was just Jesper and I having fun and enjoying ourselves.
The day after our last shit we were guess bartenders at an Aperol Spritzer event where Jesper and I made Spritzers for the event. By the end of the night I’m sure we could of made one blindfolded, it was a fun night and the people were more then happy to have a chat with us. After we finished, the night was still young and we decided to be on the other side of the bar at Generator and put the bartenders through their paces, ordering all the cocktails on the menu and a few that weren’t. Being pleasantly inebriated Jesper and I decided it would be a good idea to call it a night and start the next day fresh, as we had a meeting at IES Consulting, a company that recruits people for hospitality jobs and internships.
We arrived at IES the following day to be greeted by Izabela who talked us through the jobs that were on offer, they had selected two for us, Collage which was a cocktail bar and Bombon a salsa bar. Izabela talked us through each different bar we would be working at. We used this opportunity to ask a range of questions about how difficult it is to find a job in Spain and what are the best best options for someone who just arrived in Spain. The answers confirmed what Jesper and I already knew and that is IES Consulting took the guess work and difficulty out of finding a job in Spain, especially for foreigners. They would find the best job to suit your capabilities and make the transition from being in a new country seamless as generally the hardest thing is finding a job in a place you don’t know. Izabela made everything crystal clear on what IES did for people and we left IES ready for what was ahead of us.
Besides working at these two bars we filled our days full of sightseeing and exploring what Barcelona was about. We hired motorbikes with buggies on the side and zoomed around the streets visiting places that very few people beside locals see. Even driving up to a beautiful lookout that let you take in the whole city, it was very much a different way of seeing the city and it certainly beat being on the metro or even the bus. As you could really savour the scenery around you and go places that neither could take you. It is an experience that I would recommend to anyone visiting Barcelona.
We also received a masterclass on how to host an event by André an Instructor for EBS Barcelona. As Jesper and I were to privately host a Licor 43 event at the Penthouse suite of Generator. We were to present two drinks an Old fashioned with a Licor 43 twist, which definitely brings a delicious vanilla twist and also a Crush 43 which is a nice refreshing cocktail consisting of fresh lemon, soda water and Licor 43. Having showed us the finer details about hosting such and event, being knowledgeable on the product you present in this case Licor 43 and also how to engage the people you are hosting, Jesper and I were ready.
Thanks to André’s training the event went by smoothly and both Jesper and I were prepared for the range of questions that were being asked, I chose to make the Old Fashioned as it is one of my favourite cocktails albeit a labor intensive drink and Jesper was to make the refreshingly delicious Crush 43.
Our stay in Barcelona brought me great memories, working at each of the bars evolved both Jesper and I. We picked up little bar tending tricks that although don’t seem important add up to make you a truly all rounded bartender. We learnt so much at each bar we worked at and gladly recommend anyone who visits Barcelona to stop by and have a drink. The weather was always amazing and while most parts of Europe were very much showing signs of Winter, it hadn’t reached this beautiful city yet. The beach front proved to be one of our favourite places to visit, and will always hold a great memory for us as it was where we learnt how to surf for the first time. If ever we had spare time we would always make our way down to the beach to take in the sun, sand and water.
I can not speak more highly of Barcelona as a city to visit, a sum of all its parts it culminates into an amazing city. With almost perfect weather for most of the year and amazing food and nightlife on offer, its a must see destination for almost everyone. It was the perfect start to Jesper’s and I’s journey on Ticket to the World.
Next stop London!