I am jet-lagged, happy, delighted, inspired, humbled, exhausted, and home from Barcelona.
Or Barf-e-low-va, as Sage is calling it.
Thank you to all of you who sent amazing advice, good wishes, and excursion ideas. As for those of you reminding me how to order a cerveza in Spanish–as it turns out, they speak Catalan in Barcelona, which is a combination of Spanish, French, and I think Klingon. I was speaking all three at any given point, with a little Italian thrown in, just for fun.
I was so proud of myself, getting in the first airport taxi to the hotel, and saying we wanted to go to Carrer Mallorca due-ocho-ocho. Until I realized that due is Italian, ocho is Spanish, and hell, that’s why God invented pointer fingers anyway.
Aqui, senor. Aqui.
In fact getting around anywhere with Nate is always a comedy of errors. As in, a lot of errors which are probably comic to anyone except us at the moment. The good thing is that one of us always has a perfect sense of direction – we just never know which one of us, until we are completely lost. And in some sort of cruel joke, the person who insists the loudest that they know how to get there, is never the person who actually does.
So for example, we were able to make our way from Barcelona all the way to Girona without a map, find parking, get into the old city, and out again.
We were not in fact able to make it from Girona the short distance to Mas Pau with three maps. Because you know how Google Maps has these strange “blind spots?” Apparently Mas Pau is one of them, and instead we ended on some little dead end in a rural Spanish town, parked in front of a family’s home saying, “Um…is this the hotel?” But not before going way out of our way on the N-11. For about 20 miles.
When we came to a sign that said “Last exit before France” we figured it was a good time to turn around.
Of course that means that we did see France. We waved. It was pretty.
The real issue is that I pick up languages fairly easily. I can even pull off the accent just well enough to ask the directions, and sound pretty good doing it. So I ask on es Mas Pau? and I’m feeling pretty damn proud that the local guy says Ah, Mas Pau! And starts giving us directions.
Good travel tip: Asking directions is only helpful if you can understand the answers.
So when what he says sounds like bombalerondamasbreedelafooyaartoonyaesladeedah I realize that my Catalan really wasn’t helpful at all. I don’t even know the words for right and left so I can’t even pick up a single identifiable word in his response. But boy, I can say on es… like a pro!
In any case, we made it.
I will regale you with more photos and stories (I ate Ox! I got toe blisters the size of actual toes! ) and whatnot over the next day or so.
I did not eat fish heads.
Right now I need to catch up with my frightening email inbox. But not before I gratuitously plug the crap out of Voyage.TV and thank them profusely for sending us on a trip that I think we needed more than we could have imagined. Simply because I sent a drunken tweet about wanting to bring Nate there. (And you can too if you tweet your dream trip to @voyagetv.)
Four consecutive nights holding hands over bottles of Rioja, daydreaming over Gaudi architecture, and partaking in concoctions from the original molecular gastronomists? Heaven, people. It’s heaven.
Although the funny thing is, it’s never the same as traveling when you were single. There’s always a new mom rocking a baby in the carriage to distract you from the museum art, a child laughing who inspires a quick, overpriced call back home, or a time out to glance through your iPhone photo gallery as your heart aches for someone to call you Mama, too.
Even when they’re 3839 miles away, your children are always with you.