It was Sunday, and crowds were lined up outside the Sagrada Familia. We shouldn’t have been surprised, what better day to visit the famous church? We’d gotten coffee, and made a plan to try to see at least one important landmark that day. But he crowds deterred us, so we roamed around the building, took photographs, and gazed in awe at Gaudi’s extraordinary building. A solid attempt.
In search of a meal, we strolled through the quiet streets of L’Eixample and found what seemed to be an unpretentious, if benign, neighborhood restaurant redolent of cigarette smoke and heavy food. We sat by the bar and ordered a perfect state of mind - café con leche, beer and Catalan bacalhau.
Deep in conversation about creating the perfect online travel guide, we were interrupted by a man who looked like Santa Claus, sitting at the bar with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. His name was David and when he’d heard us speaking English, felt compelled to say hello. He pulled up a chair and over several beers, told us his colorful tales – he was a Canadian ex-pat working for a company that may or may not have been legal, had lived in Morocco, had been homeless, and had mysteriously destroyed a marriage somewhere along the way. Tears in his eyes and full of regret, he passed along his wisdom: Live in the moment, be passionate, hold onto the people you love.