We’re on the road again. This time we’re invading Spain. We’ll be traveling around the country for the next three weeks before heading to Barcelona for an entire year. We found an apartment in a great neighborhood. Rae’s enrolled in a fine school here. I’ve got my pseudo-Bohemian metalsmithing classes lined up. Pam’s studying the crap out of the Spanish language so at least one of us will know how to correctly say “please take me to the hospital/U.S. embassy.” Now all I have to do is blog about it so people I don’t know and will never meet can comment on my entries and tell me what a horrible human being I am.
We arrived ten days ago, but to be honest, it feels more like a month. It’s been a whirlwind of activities. Today is really the first day I’ve had a few moments to sit down, drink six beers, and collect my thoughts.
The trip started with a red-eye flight from New York that was delayed almost three hours while mechanics tried to reglue all the parts that kept falling off the plane. I never sleep on planes anyway, and this particular flight was somewhat more stressful because 1) the plane was falling apart, and 2) Walter: International Dog of Intrigue was in the cabin with us. He actually did very well on the flight, mainly because I leapt out of my seat and tackled him any time he looked like he was even thinking about opening his mouth to howl.
We landed in Barcelona around noon, breezed through customs, and grabbed our rental car. After a quick meeting with our immigration lawyer, we booked out of the city and into the Spanish countryside.
I had been awake for about 36 hours and was fairly punchy when we pulled into the tiny village of Rocallaura for the night. Rocallaura is a cluster of beautiful old stone homes perched atop a hill. The terrain around it is a bit like the desert area outside Santa Fe.
The only place to eat was a small cafe run by possibly the most jovial man I’ve ever met, his wife, and a young waitress. There was no menu. You just eat what they made that day, which in our case was gazpacho, a green salad, and rice with vegetables. Everything, including the olive oil, came from local gardens and farms. The food was very simple, but I swear it was one of the best overall meals I’ve had.
We sat outside with the locals who had congregated for the evening. Kids played in the street next to us. The waitress acted like setting a bowl of olives on our table brought her the single greatest joy in life. The owner checked on us frequently and practically glowed while we murdered his language in an effort to order a glass of wine.
I no longer had to worry about Walter, International Dog of Intrigue, mauling a stewardess. I had not gotten endlessly trapped, “European Vacation”-style, in a traffic circle in downtown Barcelona. I still had a rough idea where I left my passport. It was the first time since we left JFK airport that I could relax and let it soak in that we were now actually in Spain.
It was the perfect ending to a long day of travel.
Of course, back at the hotel it took me ten minutes to figure out how to turn on the shower. But I’m sure I’ll learn quickly.