"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." — Barack Obama
Maples had spent the last 2 and half years saying she was coming to visit, so I really didn’t believe her. That is, until a couple of months ago I got the email saying she’d finally booked a flight. I was really excited to see her in March. Maples’s visit promised a weekend full of conspiracy, kitty talk, firsts and uncontrollable laughter. And that’s exactly what we got.
Upon Maples’ arrival on Thursday, we went for dinner and drinks at Mercado de La Reina, in Gran Vía. I’d been there countless times for tapas and wine, but this was the first time I tried their restaurant. Dinner was even more delicious than the tapas, which are always sublime.
Bellies full, we headed to an Internations party. I’d promised myself a while back that I’d go to one of these events, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. While the party was nothing worth repeating, Neither of us will ever forget the first time we met someone from Madagascar.
I’m sure that to some of my international friends, I’m one of the most exotic kitties they’ve ever met. And I get it, I do. The world is full of kitties from all nationalities, shapes, sizes and colors. Few of those have ever heard of Puerto Rico, let alone dreamt about meeting someone from the island. Poor things don’t know we’re everywhere.
Meeting a Malagasy cat? Not in our wildest dreams. Ever. I even had to google the word Malagasy. That is truly exotic. Talk about a first! The guy was nice, funny and friendly as hell. Maples and I will always remember our Malagasy friend with fondness and a laugh. Such a hoot and a half!
The next day, we took the Ave straight to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. I’d been dreaming of that moment for a very long time, and can only think of myself as lucky for having the chance to live a dream with one of my dearest friends.
Barcelona was everything it’d promised to be and more. It’s elegant, sophisticated, mature. Even though it’s smaller in size, it seems larger than Madrid. Different. Breathtaking.
I love churches and big cathedrals. I have a thing for sacred places, and I can truly connect with my spirituality when I visit them. Since I first came to Europe, I’ve been to quite a few churches. Only a handful have managed to make a long-lasting impression on me. Gaudí‘s masterpiece struck me as the workings of a truly devoted man. The artist was singing a song to God and nature. While the cathedral is majestic, elaborate and ginormous, it is also humble, unassuming and unpretentious. There’s beauty everywhere, but the simplicity palpable inside the temple is a reminder of what you’re meant to go to church for – to pray and honor God.
No trip is complete without a proper gastronomic experience, and this was no exception. Three places stole our hearts – La Boquería – for all its tantalising freshness, Bilbao Berria (Plaza Nova, 3) – for its scrumptious pintxos, and Citrus (Passeig de Gracia, 44) – for its grown up taste and fantastic view.
The weekend was an absolutely delightful success and an unforgettable adventure. It was the first time I’d seen Maples in two years. It was also our first trip together, and the first time in Barcelona for both of us. We walked, we looked at the pretty buildings, we ate, we drank… but mostly, we laughed. Uncontrollable, annoying, noisy, childish, gossipy, embarrassing, much needed girly laughter. Definitely a wonderful first of what I hope are many more weekend holidays together.
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