Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love at First Sight

(Written on 4/10/2011 from Barcelona, Spain)
I failed to mention that upon my crazy Friday night “I’m going to buy a ticket to Barcelona for Monday” epiphany, I got in touch with my friend Cristian who is living there now.  We met in Chile when I lived there in 2006 and became fast friends.  We travelled to Buenos Aires together, went Salsa dancing together, and had too many nights of good food and fabulous wine.
So when I broke the news that I was headed his way, Cristian invited me to stay with him, reassuring me that there would be plenty to do in Barcelona even though he would be busy during the day with work and school. 
Once again, I was met at the airport by yet another welcoming, hospitable friend.  (Side note: I really need to reconsider my pace of life at home and “pull up to the curb” mentality.  My friends that come to visit probably deserve a parked car and warm welcoming at baggage claim.  Oh, remember the good ole days when you could stand outside the gate and wave signs and run and give hugs to people getting off the plane?!  Wow….side tracked.)
My week in Barcelona was like a Queen’s vacation – I was treated like royalty and not allowed to lift a finger.  On my second day Cristian found out he had “worked enough” for the week and could take off time to hang out with me.  Score!  Vacation for me, and vacation for him too.

Cristian whipping up some food in the kitchen

A feast on my first night!
We headed out to the famous Barcelona market, La Boqueria, and I fell in love.  I’ve always believed in love at first sight…and it’s fitting that of course my first “love at first sight” moment was with a market.  After drooling over chocolates, cured meats (my fave), cheeses (another fave), olives, herbs, seafood, candies, fruits, and everything else…I finally settled on a fresh squeezed mango and kiwi juice. 
It.  Changed.  My.  Life.  
Ooooooh the sweet combination of two delightful fruits.  My destiny had been sealed….I returned to the market everyday while in Barcelona just for the sweet taste of Mango-Kiwi.  And on my last day I literally ran to the market for fear that they might close early and I would miss my last opportunity for my Mango-Kiwi fling.  Fear not, friends….I made it just in time.

My week in Barcelona was filled with highs – tapas at Cristian’s apartment, copious amounts of Spanish wine, trips to the beach, restaurant upon restaurant upon restaurant with flavors from all over the world, being introduced to “The Big Bang Theory” series, stumbling upon impromptu jam sessions from bands and opera singers on the streets, laughing over episodes of “Friends”, getting lost and walking all over Barcelona, and melting over the ever so delicious and beautiful pintxos.

Doing what I do best...at the Areperia

Pintxos!  Pick a toothpick....any toothpick!

Pintxos are a snack that is typical in the Basque Country.  They are mostly served in bars and taverns and come in a variety of flavors usually atop a nice slice of baguette bread.  And then they put a cute little toothpick in it.  So you can take a plate and walk up and down the bar selecting your “prey”, if you will, and then once you are done they count up your toothpicks and pay by the number of pintxos you have “mauled” (or at least in my case).  I was definitely a sucker for the combinations of cheese, tuna, lemon, peppers, salmon, etc.  Most of them are gastronomical delights and have been created ever so creatively to excite the taste buds.

On my last night in Barcelona (after a week full of wining and dining me), Cristian topped it off with the famous Tortilla de Papas – a famous Spanish egg dish with potatoes.  Thanks to him you can recreate on your own!

Tortilla de Papas

The majority of my trip revolved around inside jokes, reliving laughable memories from 2006, and just having a great time with a great friend...oh yeah, and obviously the Mango-Kiwi (notice the capitalization).  Although Cristian and I haven’t stayed in touch consistently…our friendship picked up right where it left off.  I’m so thankful for him, and my trip, and my opportunity to “meet” Barcelona.  He gave me a warm welcome and phenomenal introduction to a city in which I'm certain I will return.
Today my request is that you think of a friend from your past that you have lost contact with.  Often times we lose touch with people because it’s no longer convenient…we move away, we start new jobs, we meet new people, we get into relationships, we start families, and some friendships fade away and get lost in the blur of everything new that occupies our time.  Just because that happens doesn’t mean that you’re not meant to be friends…
I urge you to reach out and say “hello” or at least leave them a Facebook message (because I know you’re probably on FB right now and that isn’t too much to ask!) to say that they’re on your mind and you hope they’re well.  Spread the love.  J

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