I started reading a book in Spanish the other day, and for some reason it got me reminiscing about the summer I spent in Barcelona with my friend – working in an Indian restaurant…So why not do a wee blog post about it?!
This was in 2006 if I remember correctly – which means it was a time before smartphones when people aren’t constantly taking photos of everything. I was still a little surprised when I started going through the pics we’d taken that summer and realised there were very few – of which around 50% were blurry and the other 50% were just party pics of ours and other random people’s faces haha. Luckily I managed to find a few from the restaurant we worked in as well!
My friend and I met when we we both started studying Tourism in Helsinki when we were 19/20 years old and soon became inseparable. 🙂 We spent 6 months in Alicante doing our Erasmus exchange together in 2004/2005, and decided we wanted to learn more Spanish and see more of Barcelona, so we just booked our flights with the intention of finding work in Barca. We were so young and optimistic haha.
However, we did manage to find waitressing jobs – in the same restaurant: a fine dining Indian restaurant that was about to open its doors. The salary was better than in many other places, and the owners were quite laid back. As it was a small restaurant the only waitresses were me and my friend as well as an Argentinian and French girl who worked there for a short while.
We also found a flat quite easily – a big place in Eixample Izquierda with a massive terrace that we shared with around 8 other people. It was fine though as there were clear rules about what you can’t and cannot do and a cleaning roster. My friend and I wanted to save money so we shared a tiny room – don’t know if I could do that now!
This is how we were dressed. We had to wear Indian clothing and jewellery – including bindis on our foreheads. The bindi is also called sindur – hence the name of the place. (Don’t tell anyone, but due to the sweaty circumstances we were working in I might have had to pick out the bindi from the food a few times…)
We also had to greet all customers with a little Indian bow saying “Namaste Benvinguts” (Indian greeting and welcome in Catalan). I had to practice quite a bit to avoid bursting out laughing when doing it – just felt really silly! Being a fair Scandinavian working in an Indian restaurant in Spain was quite the conversation starter as well as you can imagine.
In the beginning there were hardly any customers, so we did a lot of polishing and just standing around. But slowly the word started getting out about the tasty Indian food served in the restaurant and we started getting busier and busier.
The owners had invested a lot in the interiors to make sure it all breathed fine dining – this beautiful swing from India was one investment.
As you probably know, siesta is a big thing in Spain – which meant that we worked from around 1pm to 4pm and then again from 8pm to whenever the last customers left, which could be as late as 2pm in the weekends.
We worked 6 days a week with Mondays off. This didn’t allow us to spend much time exploring Barcelona, so after a couple of months we quit, spent a couple of weeks enjoying the city before flying to Venice from where we started inter-railing our way back through the Balkans and Eastern Europe – but that’s another story!
Just googled the restaurant – it seems to still be up and running and doing quite well judging from the reviews. So give it a go if you ever want nice Indian food when in Barca!
We still managed to make time for some visitors, so here are a few blurry photos 🙂
We had our fair share of mojitos that summer…
In a bar with some of the best drinks in town – just can’t remember what the bar was called…
Beers during the day is allowed when it’s sunny and hot and you’re in Spain!
If I have the time this summer I’d like to do posts about all my other travels that I’ve done apart from that 1,5 year away that I’ve already written about. It will be nice to reminisce about all the amazing trips I’ve had the privilege to make – especially now when I have a little baby and the only travelling we seem to do is between Finland and the UK!
x Nina x