Call it the plan of the universe or a coincidence, but my first task out of my BTR Jar was to “Go out on a long Sunday Brunch” and guess what, today is Sunday! Last night, I was pumped up and motivated to take the reins of my life into my own hands. I promised myself to get up early to a completely new experience. With a sense of renewed enthusiasm, I woke up at dawn and finished my work in a few hours. Sipping on orange juice and munching on toasted bread, I started looking for brunch places in Sant Cugat.
Going to Barcelona for brunch didn’t seem feasible given the fact that I had to get back by 4 PM for a Skype meeting. I found a cafe named Somewhere Cafe which was a 15-minute walk from my place. I had often seen it on my way to elsewhere and always made a mental note to visit it but I never did.
I had anyway decided to explore the town that I live in and thanks to Marta, my building manager, I had a map of Sant Cugat with all the interesting places to see. To be honest, I have had this map for the last one year and I have never paid attention to it and stashed it somewhere inside one of my drawers. I pulled it up today and stuck it to the wall.
Sant Cugat, named after Saint Cucuphas who is believed to have been martyred on the spot where now the medieval monastery stands, has many wonderful places to visit. It plays host to beautiful natural parks, neatly lined houses and a famous mercantic. Art galleries, gastronomic centres, vintage flea markets, concert halls and shopping centres are sprawled over the town. It is an open gala of experience for anyone who wishes to venture outside of their house.
Pumped up to experience something new, I headed out for brunch around 1 PM, wandering the empty-Sunday streets of this historic town. I decided to take a longer route to drink up the architecture and atmosphere of the town. I passed by an ice-lolly station right next to the park that is close to ESADE, some children bursting crackers in the park as a post-Sant Joan ritual and a tall glass building making Sant Cugat what it is — a modern suburb with medieval history.
It felt nice to be out in the sun and wandering around aimlessly. Although I had a destination to go to, I realised I was in no hurry. It was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt at peace.
Somewhere Cafe is a beautiful, quaint restaurant with a wide-open window overlooking a calm street of Sant Cugat, whose walls displayed numerous Spanish fliers in and around town. At the entrance, I was greeted by Laura, a super sweet waitress to whom I asked a table for one. This was new to me because I’ve never eaten alone in cafes and restaurants outside so naturally, I felt a little awkward but apparently, it is okay because Laura promptly (while still being sweet) showed me to my table and brought me the menu.
Somewhere Cafe is a bistro-chain with branches in Barcelona and Sant Cugat. They are inspired by famous cafes in Melbourne, Portland, Brooklyn (NY), London, Berlin or Copenhagen. The goal of the cafe is to serve attractive, varied, healthy and seasonal gastronomic experiences combined with extremely high-quality coffee. They’ve also been featured as the Best Baristas in Catalonia for three consecutive years.
Somewhere Cafe has an international menu — a relief as well as a first for me in Sant Cugat. If I had known earlier that there was a place where I would have my fill over an assortment of food which is not just European, I would have made it my place of worship.
They had burgers, fries, shakes, pizza, Thai rice, Indian masala curry and more. Much, much more. I was in heaven. There was food from five continents and the menu had a twist of its own. Lucky for me, I had vegetarian options and not just a vegetable explosion. There is a difference, you know? The best part was their amazing cocktail-list that had the option to go non-alcoholic on any drink.
I ordered a Strawberry Mojito, recommended by Laura and some fries called “Somewhere Fries” that came with sauces from three continents. It was a built-in challenge where I had to guess the continents the sauces belonged to. The foodie in me took one bite and I knew where they were from — South America, South Asia and Europe. I made sure I was right and confirmed it with Laura. I then waited for my Pancakes which were delightful and made a mental note to visit this cafe often and try most of the items on their menu.
After hogging unto my heart’s (and tummy’s) content, my next move was to go see the Voltes del Carrer Major, the square that housed the famous medieval market and meeting halls for city councils. It is loosely translated as the Domes of Major Street.
The structure is now modified and replaced with tiny, beautiful restaurants and turned into a town square with live food counters, ice cream and art stores, giving the entire street an old rustic look among the modern architecture. The journey to the top-most dome was a mini-hike and thanks to Sant Joan, the roads were prettily decorated with colourful ribbons, crowded with people wandering around, celebrating and dwelling in the festivities.
I learnt two things that day.
One, to always look around and be mindful of your surroundings. Take the view in, let the sunshine spread warmth over your face and experience love and friendship when a stranger pats his dog or when two old ladies meet over lunch to share their stories. We miss out on many beautiful sights without meaning to do so just because we are busy looking into our phone or are focussed to catch a train or hurrying to a meeting or a class. Stop. Breathe. Live.
Two, the most efficient way to do something is to simply just do it. I had time to do everything that day. I went out, I ate good food, I came back to finish my tasks for the day and even got a head start on my work for the next day. It really is weird how our brains are wired. The pressure and the thought of “I have so much work to do” wastes much of our time than the actual work itself. Remove the pressure, break it into chunks and remember that no matter what happens, the day will get better.
While it is important to just embrace all the good things in life on any single day, it is equally important to take things slow and explore life, one task a day, because with the fear of “the world might end tomorrow” there is also the hope of “we will all live a 100 years!”.
We should build the courage to do what we want with neither internal nor the external pressure because that’s the only way to deal with whatever life is throwing at us. We must remember to wake up every single day with motivation and smile through your day and write stories — not of successful dreams of other people but of our own whims, fantasies, aims, goals, successes, failures and our own lives.
Because no matter what happens, in the end, you are important.
This is a story from 2018 when life was much simpler but I had not known it then. Break The Rock was an ambitious self-designed, fun and intuitive project that I designed for myself when I was at my extreme low, back in 2018. Although the excitement to achieve this was high, my mind, at the time, was not in its proper place and so, eventually, I had to abandon the whole project.
But I promised myself that one day, whenever that might be, I would get back to this. I now have the time and the mental strength to carry this on but with the pandemic looming, it seems I won’t be able to do everything the BTR Jar asks of me. But the idea — no matter what happens in life, you can always pull yourself from your darkest periods — still stands true.
So, this is me, giving it another shot at making things better for myself and in the process achieve some mental peace and learn some valuable lessons. Because no matter what happens, if you are not strong up there, you won’t be strong anywhere :)
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