Diana and I always invite family and friends to come visit wherever we happen to be, including here in Barcelona, back in Germany, or even in Colombia. A few have taken us up on it (like here, here, here, here, and here) but it hasn't been enough and definitely not often enough.
A couple of months ago I was thrilled to find out that my friend from San Diego, Ruma, and her daughter Nicole would be taking a vacation within their vacation to Israel to stay with us for a few days. I got even more delighted when our roommate in Stuttgart, Berat, and his girlfriend Fen would also be coming...AT THE SAME TIME!!!
Me with Berat and Ruma outside the Born Cultural Center a couple of days after Christmas:
Berat came with us to Barcelona last year when Diana finished her PhD and Fen had also been to Barcelona back before she met Berat so we weren't as worried about showing them around. It was Ruma and Nicole's first visit so we wanted to give them the complete, if very abbreviated, tour of the city, which included all the standard tourist spots like Park Guell and Casa Battlo:
...and checking out the Barcelona's Christmas lights:
...and, yep, even a quick stop at the beach:
As is always case, the most important part of the tour was... FOOD! Of course we went to old favorites La Paradeta and El Glop but we also ended up by chance at one of our new favorites, a Moroccan coos-coos restaurant near the Raval that could convince me to wake up for morning prayer! Not really, but it's that good.
We happened to walking by on the way to another place when Diana spotted Natalia, a friend from the university, and her boyfriend Adil, who first took us to the restaurant. They were sitting down to eat dinner with Adil's uncle from France and invited us to join them.
Ruma and Berat have both been very positive influences and I owe them a great deal. It was surprisingly emotional at times to be around both of them together in one place. Definitely a (positive) collision of different parts of my life. Maybe a better illustration could be the Venn diagram of some of the different parts of my life: San Diego - Barcelona - Stuttgart.
What could be better, right? Well, maybe that AND a stop at the Cafe de L'Opera for some churros and chocolate:
I'm super happy to have had the chance to spend time with these guys even if it wasn't as much as I'd have liked. But, we'll see everyone again soon, I'm sure. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Fen, Berat, Nicole, Ruma, Cristina, Diana, and me in Barcelona!
A special thanks (again) to Gema for helping us out with the hosting logistics.