Like kids waiting for the school bus, Gijón, Coruña, and Quito are leaning against the wall, huddled under the shade of a pink magnolia tree.
On the 15-minute trip up the hill, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who’s slightly nervous to set foot back in a classroom, whatever our personal reasons may be.
Walking into the lobby, Bogotá and Chicago are already waiting for us. We’re quickly joined by Caracas and Valencia, and lastly, Madrid. Meeting up with most of them last night was probably one of my better ideas, any tension having vanished after the second or third glass of wine.
Walking down to what will be our classroom for the next months, we effortlessly float towards those akin to us, only to find that we’ve been seated in alphabetical order.
Introductions are made, some briefer than others. Awkwardly smushed together for a customary group photo in front of the stacked-plate-inspired building, and we’re off to see the rest of it.
Five levels of labs, kitchens, workshops, classrooms, rest areas… It’s a food nerd’s paradise, in more ways than one.
The first of the little green areas between floors provides life, color, and rest.
A dining room classroom – a concept that has the same vibe as “I’m making jam” as an answer to what my plans for a Wednesday afternoon are – complete with a mirror so students can see and adjust their body language. Self-consciousness at its best.
The Experimental Workshop, a modern, innovative, state-of-the-art kitchen used as the behind-the-scenes for the pop-up gastronomic concepts developed by third-grade students…
…which then take place here, in a room that can be adapted to whatever the students imagine.
The Creativity Workspace, complete with a mural of La Concha, movable walls, and decorative pillows.
Empty hallways longing to be filled with memories, however short our time here may be.
An area on the top floor is split into two: a restaurant with tasting menus prepared by the second graders, who also practice running the dining room.
And a cafeteria with the best food you’ll likely ever have at any school, as well as beer on tap.
The entirety of the building is, as they would say here, interior and exterior. Every room and area has exits or views to the inside of the building and the terraces that surround the whole structure. The one from the cafeteria is my favorite, directly overlooking the Miramón forest.
Back in classroom 108, two glasses have been placed on our desks. One for Txakolí, a white wine, and the other for Sagardoa, apple cider. Both D.O.s of Basque Country. The perfect way to assuage any fears.
Happy first day of school indeed.