Espana, baby

I am jet-lagged, happy, delighted, inspired, humbled, exhausted, and home from Barcelona.

Or Barf-e-low-va, as Sage is calling it.

Port de Barfelova

Thank you to all of you who sent amazing advice, good wishes, and excursion ideas. As for those of you reminding me how to order a cerveza in Spanish–as it turns out, they speak Catalan in Barcelona, which is a combination of Spanish, French, and I think Klingon. I was speaking all three at any given point, with a little Italian thrown in, just for fun.

I was so proud of myself, getting in the first airport taxi to the hotel, and saying we wanted to go to Carrer Mallorca due-ocho-ocho. Until I realized that due is Italian, ocho is Spanish, and hell, that’s why God invented pointer fingers anyway.

Aqui, senor. Aqui.

In fact getting around anywhere with Nate is always a comedy of errors. As in, a lot of errors which are probably comic to anyone except us at the moment. The good thing is that one of us always has a perfect sense of direction – we just never know which one of us, until we are completely lost. And in some sort of cruel joke, the person who insists the loudest that they know how to get there, is never the person who actually does.

So for example, we were able to make our way from Barcelona all the way to Girona without a map, find parking, get into the old city, and out again.

We were not in fact able to make it from Girona the short distance to Mas Pau with three maps. Because you know how Google Maps has these strange “blind spots?” Apparently Mas Pau is one of them, and instead we ended on some little dead end in a rural Spanish town, parked in front of a family’s home saying, “Um…is this the hotel?” But not before going way out of our way on the N-11. For about 20 miles.

When we came to a sign that said “Last exit before France” we figured it was a good time to turn around.

Of course that means that we did see France. We waved. It was pretty.

Hi France!

The real issue is that I pick up languages fairly easily. I can even pull off the accent just well enough to ask the directions, and sound pretty good doing it. So I ask on es Mas Pau? and I’m feeling pretty damn proud that the local guy says Ah, Mas Pau! And starts giving us directions.

Good travel tip: Asking directions is only helpful if you can understand the answers.

So when what he says sounds like bombalerondamasbreedelafooyaartoonyaesladeedah I realize that my Catalan really wasn’t helpful at all. I don’t even know the words for right and left so I can’t even pick up a single identifiable word in his response. But boy, I can say on es… like a pro!

In any case, we made it.

I’d say it was worth it.

I will regale you with more photos and stories (I ate Ox! I got toe blisters the size of actual toes! ) and whatnot over the next day or so.

I did not eat fish heads.

Roly poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappucino with Oriental women. Yeah.

Right now I need to catch up with my frightening email inbox. But not before I gratuitously plug the crap out of Voyage.TV and thank them profusely for sending us on a trip that I think we needed more than we could have imagined. Simply because I sent a drunken tweet about wanting to bring Nate there. (And you can too if you tweet your dream trip to @voyagetv.)

Four consecutive nights holding hands over bottles of Rioja, daydreaming over Gaudi architecture, and partaking in concoctions from the original molecular gastronomists? Heaven, people. It’s heaven.

Although the funny thing is, it’s never the same as traveling when you were single. There’s always a new mom rocking a baby in the carriage to distract you from the museum art, a child laughing who inspires a quick, overpriced call back home, or a time out to glance through your iPhone photo gallery as your heart aches for someone to call you Mama, too.

Even when they’re 3839 miles away, your children are always with you.


32 thoughts on “Espana, baby”

  1. Ah. My heart. (That would be 'cor' in Catalan. SIGH.)

    I want to say that I'd sell my children to be able to get back there more often, because it's kinda funny to say shit like that sometimes (like today, when one of them WILL NOT NAP) but you what? I probably wouldn't. Probably.

  2. Also, did you know that FART is PET in Catalan? Makes for very good jokes about food for dogs and the places that we buy cat toys.


  3. Feeling so, so happy that you and Nate had a chance to get away!

    I think Jon and I haven't had a night away together since 2005. That's pretty frikkin' pathetic. Clearly I need to go tweet voyagetv.

    Welcome home! -Christine

  4. We're having our very first weekend away from children later this month. I'm sure it will be bittersweet — hoping for mostly sweet — but not in espagne. Any tips?

  5. Sounds fabulous! I didn't even attempt to use my very weak Spanish in Barcelona since I couldn't understand what would be spoken back to me. 🙂 We're traveling to Cairo in a few days (baby in tow!) so seeing you blog this trip just pumps me up even more for my own upcoming adventure. Enjoy!

  6. I was in Barcelona last year for about a day and a half as it was our port city for our cruise. I loved it and desperately want to go back. But I don't speak a lick of Catalan, though my Spanish is okay. Or okay enough to get by, like asking where the bathroom is. Can't wait to see more pictures!

  7. It looks like Heaven. My husband and I have been married for over 3 1/2 years and have yet to take a honeymoon. Something like that would be a dream come true. I am wondering if it was all inclusive or what you had to pay for.

  8. I am so glad you and Nate enjoyed Barcelona and that we got a chance to meet for some Sangria y tapas as well. You two looked so happy walking down the street holding hands when I spotted you from my car after we departed. Saludos!

  9. Dam that sounds like heaven.

    I went on a bff trip to Vegas in September. I noticed every single little girl, every tiny baby boy. Once you are a parent you see, what you never did before.

  10. Love that last line. Sigh.

    I will enjoy reading all about your trip. Did Nate eat fish eyes???

    John and I once took horses out alone with three guides who spoke nothing but Spanish (the horses too! knew only Spanish!). I realized if one started running, I'd be lost on top of a horse forever.

  11. So what ever happened with the follow up tweet to get married if VoyageTV they made it happen for you? 🙂
    I'm so happy for you guys that you had the opportunity to do this! We've been married 8 years and have yet to have an official honeymoon, or even a vacation by ourselves, or a vacation including the kids that did not include some sort of extended family event. I've forced us to put it in our short term goals…I think we could really use it!

  12. I remember being in Mexico and discovering that same thing about asking directions. Unless it is somewhere within pointing distance, being able to ask is fairly useless.

    I'm glad you made it anyway! 🙂

  13. So, I've figured it out! The future home of all the bloggers who wish they lived closer together should be in Spain. We can just build a blogger commune there. A commune with wifi.

  14. having just watched the tivo'd episode of Mad Men where Betty and Don dash off to Rome for a long weekend, I'm seeing you in Barcelona through that image: did you sit in a cafe alone, with your hair in an impossible sort of brioche-looking bouffant twist, and have Nate pretend to pick you up, much to the chagrin of horny Spaniards (or in Betty's case, Italians)? you say you did not? Ah well…It sounds like you had a luverly time anyway–and aren't children really just a wonderful invention, when you're about 4000 miles away from them?

  15. Sounds so wonderful! I can't wait to hear all your stories about it.

    Ah, Barcelona. It's been years since I was there, and I would love to go back. I found that I could speak Italian there and people could understand me, and I could understand what they said back to me in Spanish/Catalan/whatever they were speaking! But I believe that Klignon was the base for all those languages…

  16. So glad you had a good time… I am aching for to go back Greece and will hopefully go next summer with my children, although the thought of getting on a plane with my youngest for a flight longer than 3 hours is migraine-inducing… anyway… it's so true, no matter what, no matter where you, and no matter how much of a good time you're having, if your children are not with you… it's just not as perfect. There is always that ache in your heart. Man, I can't stand even being at work during the day and seeing a mom go by with a stroller… even that makes me miss my children! The longest I've gone without them has been 24 hours… I'm hopefully going to be able to go longer stretches of time eventually… 😉
    Eek, sorry, I rambled a lot there!

  17. ummm wait, weren't you and Nate supposed to get married on this trip? 🙂 Glad to hear you had a great time!!

  18. When they said “please take the trip in the next 2-3 weeks” it was pretty clear there were no nuptials in store. Although it did feel like a honeymoon!

  19. Bossy still can't believe it; Bossy is still sitting on a small folding chair in a very dark room hearing them call your name… winner!

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