Every day a new adventure. Today we took the S1 metro from Gracia to Sant Cugat, to check out the campus and location of the Agora Sant Cugat, a school we had been considering for the kids. The underground station was very clean, and even smelled fairly good.
It was an easy 20 minute ride from Gracia on blue cushioned seats, and when we got out of the train it was refreshing to see so much of the sky. Sant Cugat is much less dense and urban than Barcelona. It has a small city center, surrounded by much housing - a mix of brick apartment buildings and fancier homes. Most of the housing turns out to be very expensive, even more than we would pay in a nice area of San Diego. The area is not just a suburb of Barcelona, it is also a mecca for people working in business.
We ate some sub-par patatas bravas and cheerfully Google mapped our way to the school. Everyone was full of smiles until we realized that the school was not actually located in Sant Cugat, despite its name. It is actually located in the neighboring town of St. Joan, about an hour's walk away. The train had already departed. Whoops!
No pasa nada, Señor Aventura and I decided to make the walk. Los niños grudgingly obliged. They complained for only about 35 of the 55 minute walk. It was actually a lovely walk along the edge of a forest, until we crossed over a very busy freeway and got to the industrial complex where the school is located. We even saw a men's futbol team practicing on a beautiful green field along the way.
Flanked on all sides by vast companies (Mapfre, Accenture) the Agora International school is a quiet little haven in a sweet wooded area. We loved its vibe, and knew it could be a great place for education. It's also about a 45 minute walk away from any houses, and completely removed from anything remotely fun to do. None of us could imagine a life centered around that school and area.
"If we were going to be here for four years, and living outside the city, this would be a fantastic school," Señor Aventura and I agreed. We took some photos and then turned back, embracing the hour-long journey home via the S2. Two of our children slept on the train. Señor Aventura amused himself by reading a book about the history of Spain. Most notable quote of the trip from our 8 year old son:
"Daddy? You're reading? I've never seen you read a book before!"
So? We consider this day, in its own way, a success. One more school now off the possibility map. I've now got two of of four appointments to cancel next week. We may even take a little road trip for fun on Thursday, we'll have wrapped up all of our business here in town so early.
La familia is now almost completely convinced that Gracia is our place. I'm only a small bit worried that we will get tired of gritty city living over the course of a year... I remember well my one summer living in NYC with no easy exit from the big city... but here with a car and the ability to travel on weekends I think we will manage to enjoy plenty of sea, forests and mountains! Weekends will be full of adventure. Las noches will be full of musica y la comida riquísima. (Delicious!)