August in an oceanside hotel in Maine can be chaotic. A coping mechanism may be necessary. For me, in the summer of 2017, my strategy involved good friends, budgeting workshops and Moorish tiles.
If you’ve made the commitment to work a seasonal job 10 miles off the coast of Maine for five months, you may be inspired to venture further. When you discover that your rent in the states is more expensive than an AirBnB in Spain, you may be inspired to venture further. I am original-definition-of-literally never happier than when I am part of that inspiration. Bonus points if I also get to go on the trip.
And thus it followed, that a group of us hotel employees would meet up in Madrid, make our way through Andalucia, and conclude in Barcelona.
So we powered through the busy season of 80% hotel turnover and 100-cover restaurant nights to reunite one clear afternoon in the midst of a hectic Christmas market in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. I have never been accused of playing it cool. So I probably let out a giddy squeal and did a little dance in honor of great friends, completely out of context, marveling at our location on the planet.
We ate great food and recounted the circuitous paths that led us to this Spanish reunion, us via Sri Lanka, others via Scotland and France. We wandered the streets of our neighborhood, employing the ancient technique of navigation by distinctive street art. And the lovefest didn’t stop with grown-ups; Kalina was most likely the only five year old at the Prado gushing over the Gothic art (“I love the bloody Jesus”).
As we sat around the dinner table, filled with amazing dishes created on the fly by our chef friend, we talked about all of the reasons to return to Madrid and where to go next. I felt complete contentment in that moment, as I always do when my friends are revealed as kindred spirits through a curiosity of the world and a love of travel.