Best of Spain - In Conclusion

The Best of Spain. Spain, the 4th country I have lived in since I left the US in 2008. I lived in Barcelona for 3 months. My buddy Marco persuaded me to come. I studied spanish for 1 month for 2 hrs a day everyday. I went to Valencia, Madrid, Pamplona, Costa Brava. I went to festivals. I went to Sonar, the biggest electronic music festival. I lived in a big apartment with 6 people. I rode my bike around everyday.

Barcelona is rated one of the best beach cities in the world. its crazy how i could ride my bike here in 15 minutes and be on the beach.

as with every new country going to the super market and having a whole new world of food and products available to you is awesome. especially when that means serano ham, chorizo, monchego cheese, spanish tomatoes, etc... I also fell in love with pan rustico aka those little hard bread rounds. tomatoes in spain are a million times more flavorful than what you get in NY or London

look at how horribly this photo was processed. I will leave it like this to shame myself. anyway my apartment was shared with 6 people in total but was big and had this balcony overlooking this barcelona street (Enric Granados).

Tapas/algo a pikar are awesome. there are so many and an infinite world of them out there but the super common ones like pan con tomate here are simple and awesome.

another common one, pimientos de padron

this beer held me down and everyone in barcelona down all summer. they are like 33 euro cents at the store or 1 euro on the street from your closest walking bar

the pipa club on the second floor of a building in plaza reial is hidden. they have random stuff going on there and i went on a night when they were doing tango dancing. the inside is decorated like a 1930's style old boys club

this square where they executed people against that wall during the spanish civil war is one of the most amazing things i saw there.

crema catalana is like creme brulee but not totally, so its a little different, I only had creme bruless in paris once but so far i have to say i would choose crema catalana if i had to.

Madrid was an awesome city, and it helps going with Marco who is from there and knows it well. the La Latina district really surprised me and you should go to this lively area anytime but especially on sundays.

its in Spain that I finally had access to tons of cheeses so i tried a lot. out of the manchego cheeses i like the mature older ones as opposed to the young fresh ones.

Pamplona is a city transformed once a year by the running of the bulls and it really kicked my arse. i got the most drunk i have ever been in my life because it looks like this all night and day for 7 days and everyone is partying and drinking in the streets all the time. What an experience, the parts that i can remember.

the festival de san juan is the biggest beach party of the year in barcelona and probably anywhere along the coast. it went til sunrise and was super fun. jumping over bonfires is part of the tradition

the churros at san gines in madrid are famous and delicioso

the Mediterranean, i love this view from the back side of mont juic for some reason

i finally got my 5D mark II. at $2,500 the most expensive thing i've bought in my life so far and my final camera upgrade for many many years. It's an amazing camera.

Catalan food including these huge toast with stuff on top dishes are awesome. Its unique to barcelona and a few surrounding areas so get it while you can. and La Taverna Llesca is the best place i had it in Barcelona

Friends in Barcelona, there are too many too name and there are many more that are not in this picture so I will just say thanks to all my friends in Barcelona!

plaza espanya, a place that i ended up at many times. mont juic is in the back

pepitos in valencia. i fell in love with this tapa from Valencia at first bite.

salmorejo is the cousin of gazpacho and is a cold soup. amazing stuff and im totally in love with it and eating it with bread.

Spanish women are hot. that's all there is to it.

this spanish woman is not hot. this is marco pardo doing what he likes to do. I went to school with Marco in tokyo for a year studying japanese. we were in the same class and shared the same hatred for the school and hung out everyday after class. thanks to Marco showing me Spain and getting me to come over. And thanks Laura for being one of my only Spanish friends that couldn't speak spanish but would still be friends with me.

bocadillos are an awesome invention and really hit the spot.

of the Antoni Gaudi stuff Casa Batllo is on the best of list

seeing picasso's artwork in spain is a must, especially seeing his guernica painting in person in its enormous size and enormous message. it really got me and hopefully it will get to you too.

a strange but fun night at jamboree in plaza reial. it was wednesday hiphop jazz night and was a strange but cool mix. it immediately literally 3 seconds after the jazz ended turned into a hip hop dance club that flooded with youths literally 5 seconds later. I don't know if i can recommend this place but it ended up being interesting for us.

of the Antoni Gaudi stuff la sagrada familia is at the top and for good reason. its amazing inside.

gazpacho the cold soup from Andalusia is also amazing and i'm in love with it.

Joan Miro's artwork and museum in barcelona

"teaching" Yuko's kids was great. teaching really is good for your soul and you learn things about yourself and your art when you teach. and its rewarding when you have students who really want to learn and enjoy it. i can see how you could get addicted to teaching (bob and mom). for teachers out there who have horrible students, sorry that must suck super bad.

this festival in Barcelonetta was unexpectedly fun. just drink something and dance like everyone else and don't try to fight it.

Costa Brava is such a beautiful place. this trail that winds along the coast all the way to france blew my socks off. you walk through peoples back yards, up and down beautiful gorges from beach to cliff, all while overlooking green waters.

horchata in Valencia, a drink made out of tiger nuts or something.

galleries and art. barcelona is absolutely packed with galleries and artists. 50% of the people you will meet in Barcelona will be artists, painters, designers, architects, interior designers, etc... there is always a gallery opening to go to or some art event

this is a best of that happened after I left. My buddy Illustrator Marco Pardo in Barcelona asked me to take part in a project put together by Spanish illustrator Elenio Pico (who is a professor at Escola Massana in Barcelona). He got a group of artists together and printed their art on sails for small boats that float in fountains around Barcelona.

Final Thoughts:

Spain is in Europe so it's got that European touch of class to it. Many people don't know anything about Spain and imagine it to have spicy food, be as hot as a desert, and be a dangerous place. All not true. It seems that the general attitude in Spain is work enough to enjoy life. That means no overtime and other work related stress. No stress at all actually. The general mood is chilled out, no one is walking fast, running up subway stairs to get to their next appointment, etc... People don't seem to care about money or material things here either. As long as they can chill with a beer on a terrace or go to the beach and have enough money to eat tapas they are cool. So this is why Spain is both a good and bad place for me. Especially Barcelona, one of the best beach cities in the world. Combine the beach with constant fair sunny weather, and the Spanish work ethic and it makes an environment that is very hard to work in. I did very little work basically for 3 months because everyone was always going to the beach or meeting for a beer at an outdoor terrace/plaza or something. There is no push or culture of working super hard for 12 hrs a day. You might say, that is F'ing awesome! and it is. But if you have dreams it can be bad because you have to have the determination and self control of a monk to advance yourself/career/dreams here. It seems that Spanish people don't really aim high, which is fine for some people, but I have things I want to accomplish in life. So in short, Barcelona is an awesome place for the sun, beach, parties, relaxing, de-stressing, etc... but not a place for me to further my artistic goals because, like it or not, your environment seriously effects you. Why do you think everyone moves to New York? I am sad to leave Barcelona, I will miss the glorious weather now that i'm trading it for London where you have to wear a jacket in the summertime. And on a final note being an Asian and especially an Asian male in Spain sucks. I was just another untouchable Chino in the street. Everyone says I am imagining things but I'm not. I have verification from a Chinese guy that lives here because I had to talk to him all the way to Pamplona because he randomly was assigned the seat next to me on the bus. I won't go into it again but I posted about the "Chino Factor" at the bottom of this post if you want to read my thoughts on being an Asian male in Spain.

Ok so in conclusion Spain: Weather is amazing, food amazing, relaxed lifestyle with no stress, but hard to do work if work is what you want to do, sucks being an Asian dude there.