After settling in the first day, I wandered around my neighborhood to find a cute tapas place, since the few I heard about were slammed for Friday evening ( who knew it was Friday?). I went into one that wasn't too much or too little, just about right. The waitstaff was wonderful about working with my broken Spanglish, my lo siento's, and apparently could tell that I was in need of a beverage to keep the edge off. The gin and soda was the size of my head, and soda was the after thought, muchas gracias mi amigo!! I was also given a *bonus/free plate: of potatoes to eat with my better then almost everything in the world salad and my grilled calamari. That is step one of my love of Barcelona.
The next day I awoke to have breakfast at the hotel, and headed out by foot to the start of my bike tour. I didn't panic or ever worry that I would get lost or anything I normally get weird about. This city was already my friend and I was stoked to hangout with it.
I found the red bike that I was instructed to via email, and the first person I came in contact with was speaking English. HOLY CRAP, what!? Her name was Kate, and she was in Barcelona with her husband Chris for the weekend. They moved to London a week and a half ago from San Francisco, and the guy next to them named Michael was from Dallas. We were instant friends for the next 4 hours.
Our tour guide Crissy knew everything about the city's history in every which way, the current events, political stances of various parties and was lovely helping me pick out a juice at lunch...next to the sea. In the sunshine.
The people in the streets and boardwalk moved effortlessly and without a thought about the future. It seemed as though they were truly enjoying that exact moment in time. The child running and jumping after huge blown bubbles, taking a row boat ride wile wearing a huge grin, the older couple dancing to swing on the corner, or simply the super cool dressed woman walking leisurely to somewhere that she would get to at some point in time. It just feels calmer in Barcelona, even when cars zip past you, it's not tension, it's just a car going by. Yes, yes, I was on holiday. I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt like that in a city, or even an island, besides Eleuthera. It seemed somewhat effortless to live, unlike the States where it seems to go go go go to your next next next.
I walked home in my bubble of New Love watching cute couples, petting many small dogs (no big ones were anywhere besides a couple of Whippets, and they don't count), smiling by myself, and walking without a deadline. Didn't even bother me that I wasn't exactly sure where I was and my phone was dead. I liked this person I was, and was so blissful when I was suddenly in front of my hotel. I didn't really think about the way I got there, I found it by just chilling the hell out. Who knew?
I have this big romanticized story in my head that people in Barcelona rise out of bed looking gorgeous with no creases in their faces feeling very well rested. They stretch looking all cute & bed heady, and consume a fabulous cup of coffee in a sunlit room that looks like an Anthropology add, but slicker. They throw on some "old, effortless clothes" that I would pay any amount for if if could look like them, and walk to their lunch date of boisterous, loving, well styled, smiling people. The event will probably last about 2-3 hours because they want to revel in each other's company, not simply move on to The Next Thing. They end the meal with another fabulous cup of coffee that does not disrupt their sleep or send their minds into a tizzy of lists, and they leisurely leave to wherever they decide to go next. Again, I know, I am on holiday and everything is shiny and lickable, but just let me have it.
The next day brings me to my final Spain destination: Olivella, via the train stop in Stiges ....more to come.
ps. The trains are immaculate, they let you bring dogs on and smooth as butter.