Lately I’ve been in a quirky mood. I’ve been moving my furniture around, eating one too many blueberry bagels with butter from Crumbs and Coffee, and missing warmer weather. I’ve realized that there are a lot of special moments I haven’t caught up on in my blog, and perhaps my lack of writing has also made me restless.
In May of this year I ventured back to my roots, and missed the opportunity to write about Spain. Despite my unforgivable tardiness, I’d like to offer photographs of Madrid and San Sebastian to you, for eye candy and inspiration. It was another glorious two weeks of Spain, where I celebrated my college graduation and revisited old dear friends. I revisited Barcelona for the third time with my beloved Daniela Reyes, watched several sunsets, uncorked many wine bottles, felt the beach sand of San Sebastian in my fingers and toes, and even took a train ride into southern France for a long stroll down the Andalle southern beach.
It was all surreal, really. Everything was so unchanged, and yet here I was, so different. My largest fear leaving Madrid was that I would return to Spain and it would be a completely new place. It would have already forgotten me. The truth was, I was different. I had evolved. Madrid was still the same, and I was a new person. To look inward like this, and see your new reaction to things that were once so puzzling is a feeling I cannot explain. The only thing left to be the same in Madrid was my solidarity, walking on foot through the same streets I had come to love. I understood Madrid in a new way, but to this day am not so sure if I answered all of my lingering questions or unfulfilled memories there. I’m not so sure if I ever knew what those lingering questions or unfulfilled memories even were.
To sum it up, my most favorite parts of Madrid were: seeing old friends (my Spanish was rusty though! Eesh!), sneaking my way into Madrid’s Senate Chamber, and making big pasta meals with strangers in the hostel. My curling iron died here, however. RIP my sacred hair miracle worker…you have already been replaced, but I will miss you.
San Sebastian was a relief from my mixed feelings of Madrid. There is something about the ocean there and the tiny mountain bumps popping out of the water that enchanted me. I stayed in the warmest Hostel- Olga’s Place, and felt right at home. The beach was only a block away and Olga herself was a dear sweetheart. I met a few Australian guys that made me laugh endlessly. They were a bit younger than me, with an energy so addictive you couldn’t say no. The nights were carefree and hilarious. One evening we decided to race up el Monumento al Sagrado Corazon to catch the sunset over the ocean. We had all found straw hats in Olga’s house and each carried a bottle of wine on the way. Dan had spotted a large rock wall with small divots up the side and shouted, “AW MAN, it would be so Aussie to climb this rock right now,” instigating his inner native stereotype. After a failed attempt, it ended in erupting laughter. The night ended with a crowded Tapas bar full of locals and fresh seafood. 10 euros in and I could no longer breathe. I can honestly say I went Pintxo delirious in San Sebastian!
After San Sab, it was off to another familiar city.
Although I had been to Barcelona twice before, this was the first time I had ever actually done the tourist thing. I made sure to see everything. The last two times I traveled here were weekend trips and to visit a good friend, whom wanted to share with me the local side of Barcelona. I didn’t mind, but it was time to see some tourist glitter. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of this. My camera died in San Sebastian, and like a very unprepared traveler, I forgot my camera battery.
My favorite moments in bcn:
1. Going to La Champagneria: You are only allowed to order una botella de cava here. Something like 3 or 5 euros buys you an entire bottle of pink champagne and two tapas. However, these aren’t like usual tapas. These are enormous sandwiches full of meat and peppers, enough to fill you whole. It is a local scene, and there we met the craziest Catalans that I’ve ever talked to. After about 3 or four bottles of champagne we almost burst. It was time to lay down.
2. Beach with Daniela: This girlfriend of mine will keep me laughing for hours. We met a man selling temporary tattoos and Daniela, being the most convincing woman I’ve ever known, persuaded the man to give us all free tattoos, and let us even give HIM a tattoo (which were her initials on his wrists, turning out to be two tipsy black blobs of ink). After telling us it was free he insisted that we pay for them, and by that time we were all entirely too confused so I just gave him whatever I had in my pocket.
3. Random Absinthe bar: After bouncing around to a few different places one night, Daniela remembered a random Absinthe bar in El Raval. “Here it is,” she said, as we walked up to a deserted metal pull down door. I thought to myself, what on earth? It’s obviously closed. She is trying to pull up a roller door…. Well, as the steel door rolled up, there sat a bright a lively bar, full of gente and tables, paintings and golden chandeliers. This bar was hands down the most obscure place I have ever been to in bcn. I believe it is Bar Marsella. Many websites say its been open since 1820 and gents like Picasso, Gaudi, Dali and Hemmingway have frequented there. One absinthe drink and the night was also over for me…
So, onward to some more photographs?