Barcelona turns out to be a hipster candy heaven, while no one wears a Fez in Istanbul.
Right, so I must officially declare that this blog will now be happening bi-weekly(ish). It’s become obvious that making time to get into a writer’s ‘head-space’ (i.e sitting in a quiet place with a glass of wine) isn’t something I can easily achieve weekly. Not when there are store price signs to print, POS buttons to activate, sugar-ridden orders to import and a crawling baby to try to yell “don’t touch that” at.
However, rest-assured, my dedication to sharing Sarkara’s journey has not waned, and I’m hoping the extended time will result in even better dazzling tales for Business, Babe & Bonbons.
So with that said I’ll pick up where I left off in my last blog post, glamorously winging my way from Bournemouth to Barcelona.
In reality, I was catching a bus at 5am on a FREEZING cold morning to Heathrow, where I got yelled at by Easyjet staff about my overweight hand luggage and provided a public spectacle as I fumbled around unpacking and repacking my belongings in order to pay a large fee to check-it in.
Despite my chaotic embarking, I made it to Barcelona, a city where hipsters, artists and pickpockets thrive. I had visited Barcelona on my O.E (many, many years prior, so long ago that I think Aqua was still playing in the clubs); and it remains one of my favourite cities in the world.
Barcelona is old, and yet modern, with people sitting outside cafes at all hours drinking sangria and smoking. Women drive scooters and men wear sweaters draped around their shoulders. In short, it’s everything you expect Europe to be just with waaaaay more tourists and the aforementioned pickpockets than you’d like.
After indulging in a breakfast of ham and coffee I set off down the nauseatingly winding streets to find a small little candy store called Papabubble. When I say small, I mean in terms of metres. Papabubble is a rather successful artisanal handmade sweets shop with locations in New York, Barcelona, Tokyo and Sao Paulo (and more, I just can’t be bothered typing them out as they are clearly more successful than I, and you get the picture).
They make their simple (yet yummy) sweets in front of you, and have done a great job at making candy something more refined and special. They are in a nutshell inspiring.
After my whirlwind visit to Barcelona’s boutique bonbon bombshell of a store, I sadly downed my last brunch sangria and headed to Turkey to meet with a potential supplier.
Ahhhh Istanbul, a city I’d been craving to visit, so I could breathe in the history-steeped smells of religious sackings. A crossroads of Asia and Europe throughout time, and the home of kebab meat, pretty much Istanbul was my potential utopia.
It actually surprised me how put together Istanbul is (for some reason I expected everyone to wear a Fez). Public transport is excellent, safety seemed as much of an issue as it does in other European cities and people were friendly. Although men can be a little too forward and flirty it’s nothing a stern look can’t handle. The only downer was that it was full of more tourists than Rome and Paris combined and after five days of kebab meat I started getting sick of it, which is a phenomenon I never thought possible.
Anyway I spent five days going back in-forth with a supplier only to be stood up, yet again. But this time, unlike in Bournemouth I got to take the edge off my disappointment by eating far too much baklava and walking through one of the oldest bazaars in the world (sigh, the candy business is tough).
I’ve just realised I still have Japan and Korea to go, and I’ve already written the equivalent of 20 tweets, which means I’ve far exceeded the modern reader’s attention span. So I’m going to give you a break and stop here, as I’d hate to short change Asia, because their candy deserves a pedestal, rather than a rushed mention in a potentially un-read blog.