When we leave Joachim’s office at 9:15, it’s an absolutely beautiful morning. I’m slightly buzzing from my acupuncture treatment and excited to have the day off to show my mom around Barcelona.
We hop on the metro for the short ride to Liceu and by the time we reach La Boqueria, it’s raining. We take advantage of the roof overhead and immerse ourselves in aisle after aisle of the freshest, most exotic produce, meats, seafood and confections we’ve ever laid eyes on. What a treat to experience one of the world’s best markets with my favorite foodie! With eyes much, much bigger than my European refrigerator (not to mention our stomachs) we decide to come back later in the day to avoid carrying our inevitable bounty in our backpacks all afternoon.
When we walk back onto La Rambla, the rain has picked up a bit. I negotiate a sweet deal on two paraiguas (umbrellas) from a street vendor. We will not be deterred. We walk the narrow, picturesque streets of Barri Gotic and El Born, marveling at everything.
“It’s not ideal,” mom says at one point, “touring in the cold and rain.”
The profundity of this proclamation makes me laugh out loud. It becomes the day’s mantra. Each time the rain blows sideways or the cold wind turns our umbrellas inside out or we’re drenched by a passing car, we repeat the mantra in monotone voices and then explode laughing. She’s right. It’s not ideal at all.
A few weeks ago my mother made another profound proclamation.
“You sure do drink a lot,” she said after a reading my latest blog. “It’s always cava this and vino that – every picture I see you have a drink in your hand!”
“Mom, they’re pictures! I don’t take pictures when I’m doing laundry, I take them when I’m out doing something fun."
It’s not like I can’t have fun without drinking. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter? (Ha. I stole that line from a spam joke my friend Keri sent me once.)
Anyway, I guess this conversation slips her mind when we duck into El Xampanyet at lunchtime for tapas. Three small plates, 4 glasses of vino blanco, 1 shot of liqueur and a small plate of cookies later, and we’re both enjoying a perfect vacation buzz. Mom makes progress on her Spanish, after I convince her that pointing silently at what she wants is both rude and ineffective. When she asks la camarera “Dos mas vino blanco, por favor?”, the young guy at the table next to us laughs and asks where we’re from. He’s from Philadelphia, and glad for the chance to talk to other Americans.
So we have a great lunch and make a new friend in the process. Sure, touring old town Barcelona in the cold rain is not ideal, but it sure beats pretty much anything else we could be doing on a Thursday afternoon. For a moment, our drunk giddiness is overshadowed by heady gratitude. Then we head back out in the rain, still wet up to our knees and laughing our asses off.