Admittedly, I have not been very good about keeping my blog up-to-date in recent weeks. These days, it’s less a question of “Where’s Matthew?” than it is a question of “Where isn’t Matthew?” In short, I have been doing a lot of travelling.
Looking over my frequent flyer statement for the past month, I count:
- 5 visits to Barcelona
- 1 visit to Dublin
- 1 visit to Geneva
- 2 visits to London
It feels like more than that, if I am honest. These days I seem to be living on a plane. The Barcelona flights leave early in the morning and usually involve a 5am start. As Aude can attest, I am not exactly man-at-his-finest at 5 in the morning, no matter how many times I do it.
I am getting better at negotiating CDG airport, though. I have learned all the little shortcuts that means I can make it from taxi to gate in less than five minutes. I know which security lines are consistently shortest, and I can fetch myself breakfast in the lounge on autopilot these days.
I’m also getting to know Barcelona a little better. As the weather gets cooler, we have traded our hotel by the beach for a series of hotels downtown. We are discovering good restaurants and bars, and I have finally been introduced to real, genuine, proper tapas. It is a million miles away from anything I have tasted elsewhere.
The system is pretty straight-forward. The tapas are placed on large plates around the restaurant, and you help yourself to whatever you like. New, different tapas comes out all night. Each one is held to a piece of bread by a toothpick. At the end of the evening, you return to the bar and pay your bill. It’s all based on an honesty system – you hand over your toothpicks, they’re tallied up, and you confess to however many beers you’ve had to drink. Depending on how long you have been at the tapas bar, this may be more difficult than it appears – in which case, they’ll usually work off an estimate! I can’t imagine this system working in England, but it seems to work fine here.
It looks like I will be spending most of my time back-and-forth between Paris and Barcelona until mid-November, after which I hope to reduce my involvement in the project, spending more time working in Switzerland (just in time for ski season – no coincidence!) and less in Spain.
More updates to come. Just wanted to put something on here so that people knew I wasn’t dead.