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I've got a reservation at El Bulli in a few weeks, and the Wife and I decided to build a 10 day trip to Spain around the dinner. We're spending a couple of days in Madrid first, and then taking the AVE to Barcelona. Our plan is to stay in Barcelona for a few days, head down to Roses for a couple of days, and then come back to Barcelona for a few more days before heading home.

 

The question is, what's the best way to get to Roses from Barcelona without driving? It looks like there is a bus, but you can't buy tickets in advance and obviously I don't want to risk getting stuck without a way to Roses.

 

Thoughts?

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No. He's approaching it from an artist's perspective.

I've got a reservation at El Bulli in a few weeks, and the Wife and I decided to build a 10 day trip to Spain around the dinner. We're spending a couple of days in Madrid first, and then taking the AVE to Barcelona. Our plan is to stay in Barcelona for a few days, head down to Roses for a couple of days, and then come back to Barcelona for a few more days before heading home.

 

The question is, what's the best way to get to Roses from Barcelona without driving? It looks like there is a bus, but you can't buy tickets in advance and obviously I don't want to risk getting stuck without a way to Roses.

 

Thoughts?

 

I'd take the train to Figueres and then cab or bus from there

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Agree on the train suggestion. Brought back some memories of driving around in circles in Rosas (Tuckerman RIP was pilot) trying to find our (crap but cheap) hotel. Might want to consider John Tseng's rather cool suggestion up at the top of this thread of travelling to the restaurant by boat. Must be better than the scary switchback ride in the taxi over the mountain.

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I took the bus from Barcelona in 2007 without any problems, we just showed up at the bus station about an hour before it was scheduled to leave.

 

I would also re-think spending a few days in Roses, there is an old fort you can tour which is nice but we didn't find that much to do. I would go back to Barcelona or go somewhere else on the coast in the morning.

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I took the bus from Barcelona in 2007 without any problems, we just showed up at the bus station about an hour before it was scheduled to leave.

 

I would also re-think spending a few days in Roses, there is an old fort you can tour which is nice but we didn't find that much to do. I would go back to Barcelona or go somewhere else on the coast in the morning.

In '04 I spent a week a little bit futher up the cost in Cadaques and it was absolutely lovely.

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I took the bus from Barcelona in 2007 without any problems, we just showed up at the bus station about an hour before it was scheduled to leave.

 

I would also re-think spending a few days in Roses, there is an old fort you can tour which is nice but we didn't find that much to do. I would go back to Barcelona or go somewhere else on the coast in the morning.

 

Dinner is on the 24th, so we're planning on arriving in Roses on the 23rd and then leaving on the 25th.

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  • 5 months later...

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

The WSJ adds some additional information to this decision. Adria and several other chefs will be teaching and running workshops at Harvard. He's looking for high level partners in his creative process (PepsiCo is mentioned). He doesn't want to be on the "guide circuit" of restaurants.

 

He doesn't want yachts or Ferraris or to open 40 restaurants around the world.

 

I made this decision because I want a better balance in my life. I've been very clear that we want to continue to maximize our creativity and share our discoveries with the culinary world in the coming years. We're going to invest a lot in R&D and this R&D will be focused on sustaining and growing our brand however possible. A brand with goals like ours requires a big capital investment, and even though the point isn't to make money, we still need to figure out how we're going to pay for all of this.

 

WSJ: What type of funding are you looking for?

 

Mr. Adria: We're looking at a variety of revenue streams going forward. We plan to operate like a foundation, but it will be a highly creative, highly expensive format to support. Right now El Bulli costs me €300,000 a year to sustain. But it's never really been a business in the traditional sense; it's been funded by other resources. I've never done this because of money, otherwise I'd have 40 restaurants opened all over the world. I do this because I love it. We'll get the resources we need one way or another to make this dream viable.

 

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have sponsors on their jerseys. Why can't El Bulli? It could be called El Bulli "X" or whatever. It's possible we'll attach El Bulli to another brand.

 

WSJ: Can you still continue to have the same impact on the culinary world that you've had thus far with El Bulli closed?

 

Mr. Adria: We don't set out to impress and we don't set out solely for impact. Our goal is to advance the cuisine and share what we do with younger chefs so that the food they make is better than the food we make today. In order to do that, you don't need to have people eat your food. You can do it through conferences, books, other means. Think about the guy who won the Lucky Strike [Designer] Award, [graphic artist] Stefan Sagmeister. Every six years he closes his company to rework his concept. To see what he was doing was really important to see that it's possible to achieve our goals.

 

WSJ: How will this decision affect your research going forward?

 

Mr. Adria: Right now we only have five people working on creativity, and to continue to grow, we'll need to add to our team.

 

Consider what PepsiCo spends on R&D. It wouldn't be illogical for PepsiCo to take an American or a Spanish chef and invest in them to develop a project together. Creativity has to be financed.

 

WSJ: Will you have any trouble being removed from the critical limelight?

 

Mr. Adria: I don't need the recognition going forward. When El Bulli or whatever we call it reopens, it's not going to be in the guide circuits. With all the respect to the guides, I don't think it's in the future for us. It won't be logical enough for a restaurant guide to actually judge. It may be open on different days, different hours. We're talking about developing an entirely new restaurant format. So clearly our relationship with the press will change. I'll be judged on creativity, on whether I help people better understand food -- but not on how good the food is.

 

WSJ: You talked a lot about your family during the press conference on Tuesday. Did they play a role did in your decision?

 

Mr. Adria: They've had a bit of an influence. They want me to be happy, so they wanted to see this change. I've worked 15 hours a day for 25 years straight. I want the freedom to be able to pick up and go visit my friend [chef] Jose Andres in Washington whenever I want. But I also realize I can't live without activity, I can't be sedentary. My family is humble. They live simply. We don't have Ferraris or yachts. It's not about extravagance. So we'll be fine.

 

WSJ: You said you also plan to teach courses on the science of cooking at Harvard this fall. What type of material does Professor Ferran plan to cover?

 

Mr. Adria: It's a dream that Harvard is doing this for gastronomy. We [Mr. Adria, Mr. Andres and other chefs] plan to cover everything that has gotten us to where are today in the kitchen -- the relationship between physics and cooking. We plan to put a lot of love into this relationship and I think Harvard will be happy with what we bring to the campus.

 

WSJ: You still have two years of service in front of you before you close El Bulli's doors. What do you hope to accomplish in that time?

 

Mr. Adria: People want to talk about 2014 but what about 2010 and 2011? That's why I announced this so early. On the first of February, we begin to work on the new menu with tons of passion and excitement. I believe 2010 will be an amazing year, just like 2009 was.

 

WSJ: Think it will be even harder to nail down a reservation in 2011?

 

Mr. Adria: The reservation system has always bothered me, and that's something that we have to deal with. If we could fit everyone in, we would. If there's a more democratic way to do it, I'd love to. After 2011, the most important thing is to know how to do this better in 2014. If you have any ideas, I'd love one.

 

 

WSJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

well, really, if you didn't get in those first few years, you know you were missing the peak.

 

Hell, I wanted to go back in '98-'99. Chefs at this level of the game may or may not keep their restos open, depending on their mood. LOL

 

Interesting though, that they've been losing money. I guess being at the tippy top doesn't guarantee an income.

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