When you visit a place you know well with a person who also knows it well, you have the luxury of freedom from the responsibilities of being a tourist. Your trip becomes less about the physical place and more about the people (including oneself!) and experiences in that place.
That’s why Katie and I spent our first few days in Barcelona catching up with old friends, eating and drinking at our favorite spots, and even shopping at our favorite stores. A classic day would be a mix of walking down Las Ramblas with hoards of tourists, but then stopping in Zara for a bit (which I’m convinced is better in Spain), and then heading down to the beach clubs for a midday drink and cat nap.
We had no big scheduled plans, no itineraries- just freedom to roam. And, for someone like me who is a compulsive writer of lists and itineraries, it’s a welcome break from my daily over-planned life.
I even spent an entire morning just catching up with my old roommate Pablo, an Argentinian artist and theater director that I lived with for half a year. I was immediately hit with a wave of nostalgia upon entering my old apartment, where I would spend hours on my balcony just enjoying the city view. I loved that place and it felt good just to be back. It reminded me of the beginnings of my blog- which was born right in this city during a search for the perfect apartment.
Oh how far we’ve come.
Anyway, after an exhausting day of doing everything and nothing, Katie and I headed to Bastaix, a little tapas place in El Born for dinner. Somewhere between our ceviche and pulpo, Katie noted that one of the three young German men sitting behind us was crying. His friends were comforting him, but Katie and I couldn’t help but feel our hearts break a little.
Sometimes when things aren’t okay and your world is crashing and burning, you just need to cry in the middle of a restaurant- and that’s okay. I get that.
Katie and I paid our bill, and walked over to the table of Germans. I smiled at him and said, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to feel better.” He smiled and you could tell he was embarrassed, but Katie and I each gave him a big hug and he hugged us back like a person who truly need it.
We returned to our apartment with our hearts full from the day (bellies too because tapas are a gift from the Spanish people to us all). Being back in Barcelona just felt so good for both of us. It was like sleeping in your childhood bedroom. Comfortable and worn in, nostalgic yet pleasing.
Good to know some places never change.