Done with traveling, staying put. It's been a while since you and I spoke, or since I spoke at you. Well, here in Spain, we like breaks. Yes, I do enjoy a pause here and there. Sometimes a little excessive here, and not incredible productive with construction sites and so on. But, we will take it. First, let's gallivant in Barcelona. It's always a time. In typical style, we show up about 11:30, looking for a place to feast. The day was Saint Jordi, which is the equivalent of Valentines in the Catalan context (which the exchange books for roses; I like that). Went to our fusion dig, chock full of vietnamese, catalan, and new orleans' fare. What a treat is was. The owner at Me was a curious fellow, architect turned teacher turned food connoisseur. He basically gave us some life lessons, and enchanted us with interesting experiences. He was equally intrigued in the roaming vagabonds who seemed to stumble on his quality establishment. I am fascinated by interesting people, mostly weird. We just work a little differently.
Next day we did the Barcelona things, which are all things that are good of course. Boquería, Gaudí goodness, and the whole bit. Off to Nice. Very relaxing, lounged in our risqué attire. It was more than appropriate for the south of france. We delighted in the market, and then toured through the opulence of Monaco, which triggered my gag reflexes. Just too much. Materialism at its finest. It was a spectacle no doubt. Great crepes that night, and for whatever reason, my dorky 4 color Bic brand pen is very popular in France. The waitress offered her´s as an olive branch of peace. Frenchies treated us well. Language barrier, not so much. I feel like the waitress and I had something special.
Next day we were screwed. Just poor luck, missed th
e bus, and cut line to get on a train leaving in 3 minutes. The weather stunk. "I thought this place is warm." Well it is, in the summer. We are idiots and we pressed forward. Things just seem to work out (or screw up) so well that we were destined to meet up with our friend (kind of but not really because we didn't know him). His name is Dell, not the computer. Dell is an interesting cat. He is in Marseille as a missionary, and he is a stud. He also happens to be a wizard of all things American. We kicked back to some pizza, and American television. This felt right and comfortable, after a day we weren't prepared to handle. You know what else felt right, Jesus. He always feels right. What a champ Dell is. He has hope, France doesn't seem to really be looking for Jesus right now, but just continue to pray for them.
Off to Aix en Provence, we wandered, no plans again. The tourism off really forgot to tell us things are not open this day. "What the heck, we can't win. Let's just hike." So that is what we did. First dropped off at the wrong trail (that we couldn't find for a while). Once we made our way to the right one, we could find some peace. Montagne St. Victoire was spectacular. Then we took the bus to our prison hostel. At least we had somewhere to stay after our hammock failure. If you've read this far, you probably realize that we really thought this one out. Despite our misfortune, there was no shortage of culinary blessing. Pasta Cozy rocked our world. I'll leave it at that.
Next day, we vespa'd all around Provence and stopped at a vineyard. The owner showed us around, told us stories, the whole bit. She had a thousand other things to do, but why not enjoy three americans stumbling upon my hidden gem? Just a good time. Back to Marseille, Calanque hiking, Indian food, and a Man United victory. I don't really ask for much more than that. Back to Barcelona. Off the metro, and our invincible friend Ryan was caught in the middle of a grand heist. Luckily, they were kind ladrones and returned his wallet promptly. Shell shocked to say the least. We then proceeded to our sketchy hostel, where we found a Norwegian acquaintance, Johannes. He followed us coincidentally everywhere somehow. He left us with some simple advice: "When you look into the abyss...is that a word?... the abyss looks back into you"quoting Nietzsche. I'm really not sure if he knew what the heck he was saying, but I took it for what is was worth. We all felt like better people for it. Sevilla felt right coming back, Feria and all. So that's the deal.
The moral of the story: I am a changed man. I react differently to situations. In the past, I would have stressed, and freaked, and been more than likely extremely perturbed on this trip. Then I realized, well it's out of my hands and the man upstairs is always good. God has given me perspective folks. Just know that I am in good hands.
p.s.- photos courtesy of robert, because my camera deleted itself. Serenade, by definition is a piece of played or sung in the open air, typically by a man at night under the window of his lover. This is not exactly that- but Ben Harper is working magic again, check out the jams.