Imatges/ Irudiak de Espanya/ Espainiako, a beginning of sorts.

Glorious, glorious, ham.

Prior to last week, it had been four years since I’ve been in Spain, or really traveled abroad anywhere; I’m not sure what happened, except that in 2016 we just never got around to putting something together and life simply got int the way the other times. Since this October marks our tenth anniversary, we figured this was as good a time as any to splurge on a trip, and Michael was good enough to indulge my desire to go back to Barcelona; this time, however, we agreed that we should try to fit another location in if we possibly could. Initially, we thought about going to Iceland as well as Barcelona—I spent a good portion of President’s Day researching logistics for this very possibility—but between a lack of convenient flights to and from Barcelona to Iceland and the fact that the weather would be very different in both places (thus making it much more difficult to pack for), we decided that wasn’t the best idea. Michael then suggested San Sebastian, as he’s been wanting to go there ever since we watched the Spain episode of David Chang’s Mind of a Chef season.

Dusk at Playa Zurriola/Zurriola hondartza.

It turns out that it’s much easier to hop a flight to San Sebastian from Barcelona than a flight to Reykjavik, and flight time is less than an hour.[1] It required us to get up at an unholy hour on our second morning in Spain, which kind of sucked, but given that we just had to get through security and then sit on a plane for some time, it wasn’t so bad. My biggest concern was whether my carryon bag would fit in the guide they have at the gate—spoiler alert, it did—and once that was resolved, I was able to alternate between trying to nap and sitting down to read Crazy Rich Asians.

Little did we know that this would be the precursor to a huge boating event the next day.

Despite the few hiccups we encountered—there were a few items lost and a few things broken along the way—it was a fucking amazing trip. We walked, we ate, we drank, we talked, and sometimes we just enjoyed each other’s company in a companionable silence. This time around I swam in the Bay of Biscay rather than the Mediterranean, we drank absinthes (absentas) and gintonics in one of the oldest bars in Barcelona, and lounged in a rooftop salt-water pool where I could see everything from Montjuic to the spires of La Sagrada Familia. We were caught in a horrific rainstorm on our last afternoon in the city, and I found myself brushing back tears as I was walking through Constitución Plaza in San Sebastian as a guitarist played a gorgeous rendition of “Wonderful World” while kids squealed and played nearby and the sky was that impossible, glorious shade of blue that it only seems to be possible when I’m in Spain. It’s where I was able to finally, properly grieve for Anthony Bourdain, and speak aloud things that I had previously kept bottled up. I spoke Spanish more than I did English, and I learned the simple pleasure of being in a city where casually filling up a water bottle with tap water by the beach is a totally normal thing because the water is so delicious.

Ous de pages estrellats amb foie (broken eggs with foie gras over potatoes) from Tapas 24.

I say this every time I come back from a trip, but this time I really, genuinely mean it: I have a lot to write about this experience. I actually have posts written, and I have a list of everything I want to write about! I’ve edited nearly 400 photos from my big camera, and I’m so stoked to really dive into all of it.

More to come–I promise!

[1] Of course, this depends on the plane running properly, which did not happen to our plane leaving San Sebastian. Or Barcelona, for that matter. Sigh.

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