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Dead Guys Make Great Connections

SPAIN | Thursday, 11 September 2014 | Views [935]

We were too early, and I kept apologizing.

We were finishing up our journey of tracing Hemingway’s steps through Madrid. I remembered partly along the journey that we had started too early for the Spanish. It was only 10, and the entrances to many shops and restaurants remained closed, waiting for the people of Madrid to wake up after late night revelry. Thus far it had been more akin to staring at the shuttered faces of closed restaurants, hotels, and bars (lets be honest, mostly bars). But we hit a stroke of luck, and our last stop was open.

A mini replica of the restaurant. We ate on the bottom level, which was dark and cool and awesome.

A mini replica of the restaurant. We ate on the bottom level, which was dark and cool and awesome.

We were at the oldest restaurant in the world, Sobrino de Botín, where we took the plunge and ordered the roast suckling pig, mentioned inThe Sun Also Rises, in honor of Hemingway. Sipping on sangria at our cool underground table, I felt like we had gone back in time. I could almost picture Hemingway sitting in the corner, scribbling away at a story just as I was scribbling away at my notes.

Our dishes arrived and we were not disappointed. As the oldest restaurant on the planet, I suppose it has had time to get the dishes perfect. The chicken was moist and tender, the croquettes steamy and delicious, and the suckling pig melted in your mouth like warm butter. Delicious doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The best sangria I have ever had!

The best sangria I have ever had!

I don’t even know how we all got there. An unlikely trio of a Venezuelan, and Italian, and an American, brought together simply to share in the memory of a man. But as we laughed over who should finish the sangria, took pictures to commemorate our experience, and made our way back to our hostel, I felt a deep sense of joy. While I was happy to have seen many of Hemingway’s “favorites” I was even happier to have shared the experience.

Regardless of age, heritage, travel style, and life goals, a deceased author allowed us all to make a meaningful connection. I will look back on that meal someday and I may not remember the taste of the pig, the sweet aroma of the sangria, or the cost of the meal. But I will remember the smiles, the laughs, the names, and the friendships. That is what makes me the happiest of all.

My new friends from Venezuela and Italy.

My new friends from Venezuela and Italy.

Tags: connections, food, friends, hemingway, pig


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