26th June 2013


This is me eating salami and tiny pickles on my balcony in Barcelona.

On the taxi ride in from the airport, I kept thinking, “I’m in Spain. I’m in Spain!” Then I got to my apartment address, and it didn’t exist. And my phone didn’t work. And my laptop was dead.

So this guy in a shop across the street from the pretend address sees me with my suitcase and pre-cry face and waves me over. He helps me get online, then call my landlord, who has mistakenly listed an address one number off.

Everything is cleared up, and I’m so relieved! So I grin and thank the shop guy profusely, and he hugs me and kisses my cheek, friendly style, then tries to kiss my mouth, friendlier style. Ah man, why you gotta go creepy, creepy shop guy? Please stop being the worst, when you were so recently the best!

I twisted away and ran-walked out of the creeper shop, and after I got into the apartment I went for a walk on Las Ramblas street. Every few feet there was a toy vendor shooting these glowing helicopter toys into the sky.

They look like giant, futuristic fireflies — an effect enhanced by their tendency to stick in the tree branches arching over the street. And if you look up the avenue, you can see dozens of them shooting into the branches or floating back down.

15 thoughts on “Here

  1. Sarah b

    We just got here yesterday and are loving it! Staying in the gothic quarter right by la catedral, message me if you are interested in our restaurant reccomendations thus far!

  2. Elaina Winter

    So going to Spain in a couple of weeks!! Super pumped! Can’t wait to read all about your adventures!

  3. Kristy

    Is that your knee? Or the largest chunk of cheese ever? No judging. High five if cheese.

  4. Rebecca

    Spend some time at the Picasso museum! You get to see stuff he did as a teenager and then all the way through his different “periods”. Incredible. Plus getting there is a great walk and the buildings around there are so interesting!

    All the stuff other people recommended. But I also suggest a crazy little place called Cal Pep, in Plaça de les Olles, and mangle your way through Spanish to order some crazy fish dish – the place is packed with locals.

    There was a little restaurant in the same tiny square that served EXCELLENT tapas but I can’t remember what it was called. Also, there is a Catalonian dish made of spinach with pine nuts and garlic — worth trying just because it’s a local thing, plus, made right, it is delicious!!

    Have fun! May the creepers stay away!

    Also, buy boots and shoes, for the love of god. And eat lots of ham etc. The Spanish KNOW what to do with pork.

  5. Hannah

    There’s an amazing hole-in-the-wall xurreria right near you, on Via Laietana near the Palau de Musica; I think it’s called Xurreria Layetana. And I can’t recommend a meal at Inopia enough!

  6. Amanda

    Yay, you’re in Spain! Those helicopter firefly toys are in Beijing, too. Some people get annoyed by the men selling them, flinging them high into the air, but I like them. Bits of magic in the sky, I think.

  7. dreadpiraterach

    Oh- I went to Barca last year to look at children’s play services; I love it there..

    You should bring Hank to the Jardin de Joan Brossa; it’s a lesser known but very lovely park with lots of child-centred bits; there is a lovely water play area, and lots of musical play pieces along the paths. it’s awesome.

    There’s also a top notch tapas (well, pinxchos, which are Basque tapas) place about half way along Carrer Argenteria, nearest metro station is Jaume 1st. Fab little Basque place. Sit up at the bar and pick off ace pinxchos to go with a glass of red :)


  8. Katie

    Argh, those helicopter vendors drive me NUTS. They have popped up all over in recent times. If they were in the city I lived in, I think I would punch them in the face one day.

    Have a great time in Europe!

  9. GirlsGoneChild

    I love you. I love that you’re in Barcelona. I would have tried to kiss you, too, if I was him. Please go to the Joan Miro Foundation immediately. It’s one of the finest places in the world. xoxo

  10. Theresa

    That was so beautifully written. A little poetic snapshot that carried me away. Thanks for that short story. I want to hear more about your adventures in Spain (minus creepy guys) – enjoy!

  11. Marta

    Long term reader from Barcelona, if you need anything shoot me an email (I promise all my kisses will be chaste ;-)


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