Thanks to TMC of Return to Rural for writing today's post! She's one of my favorite bloggers because her excitement over buckets means she would totally understand my love of plastic bins.
Greetings fellow Show My Face friends! I* offered to fill in a bit for Cate while she's abroad. Actually, it was more of a deal than an offer. I write a couple posts (you know how anxious she gets if there's not a SMF post-per-day), she brings me back real manchego cheese from Barcelona. Or maybe just some gift-shop pencils from the airport. The whole deal thing was kind of left up in the air, now that I think about it. Ugh! Sometimes she makes me so mad!
Anywho, Cate and I are both foodies of a sort. When she told me she was going to Spain, my mind immediately jumped to el Boqueria, the world-famous open-air market. I'm pretty sure I started babbling at that point, running on at the mouth talking about culinary tourism, the traditional foods of Spain, etc etc. Yes, she said, we're going to the market. I might've had a mini stroke when she told me she and Joe were planning on getting on a BUS and going to SEE SOME STUFF outside the city. ?!??! Remember the Yosemite debaucle? I shifted gears and tried to convince her to just act like a local... eat, stroll, sleep, see some stuff (not via bus) but she's a planner, our Cate, and she does what she plans. Seems to me they've both been training a bunch so they might do just as well to save some money and run everywhere.
I've never been to Spain. Or anywhere in Europe, actually. But I know exactly what I'd do if I got to go. I'd spend my time with old women in their kitchens and gardens to learn as many old world skills as I could before they're gone. Don't ask me how I'd find these old women. I'd figure it out somehow, maybe through voluntourism or the like. On an average day I imagine we might walk to the local market to pick up some ingredients. I'd try to carry her bags but she'd swat my hand away (goodness knows she's stronger than me anyway). Back at home in her courtyard the chicken that spied me suspiciously while I was eating breakfast that morning is now nestled naked into a simple Dutch oven. Grandma raised that bird from a chick and though she knew it was destined for a pot, she treated it with the utmost respect in every regard. The dish we're making takes all day to cook and will be ready just as the rest of the family is arriving for dinner later that day. After we've set the dish to simmer, done the dishes and laughed over a snack, Grandma heads for a lanai where there's a big orange cat waiting on a lounge chair for their daily nap. A large patched umbrella shelters Grandma and her cat... her feet and the tip of the cat's tail stay warm in the sunlight.
While Grandma sleeps, I tie a kerchief on my head just the way she showed me and set out for a walk in the direction of ringing church bells and the sound of the sea...
Doesn't THAT sound like a vacation?! I could do this in any country in the world. Old women are the same almost everywhere; they've things to teach if anybody's willing to watch and listen. For the fairest of prices I could find a bed and 3 square and an education the internet could never, ever match.
Ultimately, Cate and Joe's vacation will be exactly what they want it to be. It'll add to their collection of inside jokes, tweak the way they experience the world and hopefully spark a bit of romance.
What would you do in Barcelona? And if you could ask for a gift from there, what would it be?
You should answer her. You really don't want to make her cranky.