when i left the islands, i wasn't sure what would come next. all i knew is that i wanted to backpack europe. i wanted to visit big cities, i wanted to volunteer on farms, and more than anything, i wanted a creative community of people to do it with. i wasn't sure how the experience would manifest itself, but i had such a strong feeling it would. by the time i was done visiting family and friends in the states, the perfect opportunity fell right in my lap.
my dear friend scotty (a fellow creative writer who i met while studying abroad in london) invited me to meet him in barcelona. he told me to arrive around the beginning of june, because that's when he'd be getting back from a trip to morocco. and then he mentioned that there would be more friends from FSU flying in that week to meet him, too. he said there'd be 8 of us total: an artist, a graphic designer, and 6 creative writers...
i didn't ask questions. i booked my flight right away.
well my first day in barcelona was damn near perfect. it exceeded my expectations--mostly because i had none. the only spanish city i'd been to before was madrid, and i wasn't crazy about it. so when i got off that plane, i had no idea what to expect. i didn't know what the weather would be like, or how that particular spanish would sound to me, or what sort of vagabond situation i'd be stumbling into. i wasn't even sure where i'd be staying that night...
i caught a bus from the airport and met scotty at la plaza catalunya. it was almost too easy to spot him among the mass of tourists, sitting there twirling his big blonde dreadlocks. he looked at me with his smiling eyes and i immediately felt at ease. because scotty constantly exudes this infectious positivity--the kind that makes you feel sort of at home whenever he's around. he took one of my bags and threw it over his shoulder. then we walked down las ramblas, which is a famous street in the center of the city lined with trees and market stalls. we walked and caught each other up on our wild travel happenings.
afterward, we dropped my bags off at his host's house in the trendy gracia neighborhood and then met up with friends in a little nearby square called plaza del sol. as soon as i got there, i knew it was exactly where i wanted to be. there were friendly spanish people playing guitars and drinking cheap beer. i sat near a statue amongst new friends and felt so content.
when mid-afternoon hit, the sun got hot enough to tempt us with the beach. so about eight of us picked up some more beer and metro hopped toward the ocean. we sat on the sand and played music that we could all sing along to.
afterward, we all went back and had this really lovely dinner in our host's apartment. it was some sort of cheap pasta concoction, but after a day of traveling and drinking, i found it deeelicious. also, there's nothing more fulfilling than gathering around a small table to dine with a bunch of happy friends. "better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith!"
after dinner, every cell in my body wanted sleep. but the group convinced me to stick through the jet lag and go out on the town with them. so i agreed to go to one bar. and then to one more. and then another after that... despite my initial drowsiness, we all wound up drinking wine on a friend's terrace until sunrise.
those first 24 hours of spain were long and hot and tired and loud and wild and fun and a little bit illegal... quite the precursor to my week in the beautiful city of barcelona. ;)