I'm here at home now, a few days after returning from my adventure. It's wonderful to be back with my family. I missed them so much! They held down the fort with such strength and ease. My dogs were happy to see me too, but in a very calm way. Thanks to Uncle Greg, Uncle Paul, Uncle Steve, Grandpa Bud, Ruth, Aunt Denise, Eunice, Cindy, Yvonne--and my amazing husband, Dan--the family held together and that warmed my heart.
I do miss Spain and Germany, and especially my friend Andrea. Adventure is adrenaline. It's been hard to wind down and get back to normal life. I find myself longing for the unknown. The walking. The food. All the new people I am just waiting to meet. What a gift to wake up each day to a completely new surprise. A procession of soliders on horse-back out my hotel window. Soccer fans chanting through the streets. But I as I remember, surprises occur everywhere...if you open your eyes to them. This trip has helped me "see" more clearly. I can sense the doors that open, even as we speak now.
As I look back on the last few weeks, a few things stand out for me. The first is the spirit of humanity and how it reveals itself in so many ways. The music haunts me. Starting off with Alfonso near the Palacio Real in Madrid who played amazing Spanish guitar ( I bought his CD and have been playing it everyday!) The songs of the many musicians along the streets--violins, guitars, drums. The saxophonist on the metro, sending his spirit out underground. The flamenco show at Casa Patas in Madrid. Three vocalists. Two guitarists. Two dancers. Their souls intertwined. Spontaneous. Passionate. Each piece soulful in itself, yet when put together, created a complete, organic wholeness. A extremely moving experience. In Berlin, the alto-sax player, whose crisp, melodic notes filled the air in the Gendarmenmarkt area. I felt the unique rhythm of each place. The mood. The wisdom and soul of each city locked on to musical notes. In these songs, I felt the heart of all people. The struggles. The happiness. The stories. Different, yet at the center, all alike.
Art followed me day by day. The Masters at the Prado, the Thyssen, the Reina Sofia. Tochales in Berlin. Bits of the wall now canvas for amazing works of the art. All the street artists and performers. I bought a few pieces of art depicting the faces of women from Antonio Castro out in front of the Prado. Very Picasso-esque. My mujeres. Unique. Strong. Independent. The power of artistic expression. Universal statements against suffering and injustice. The creation of hope and beauty.
The last thing I will hold with me forever is all the people I met along the way. I have new friends on almost every continent. The shared experiences. The shared differences. The common thread of hope that ties us all together. I had the privilege of sitting next another great person, Jose Ignacio, on the way home. Born in Spain and schooled in the UK, Jose is a film critic with radio and TV shows in Madrid, and film reviews in publications all over the world. It was so nice to end my trip with wonderful, enlightening conversation once again. Throughout this entire trip, I never felt alone.
Thank you to my dear friend, Andrea, whose friendship began in Paraguay 11 years ago, and has withstood the test of time and distance. I a deeply grateful to her friends: Patsy, Sybelle, Till, Tomas, Katia, Joe, and Christiana for their welcome and friendship! My good thoughts go out to Andrea's husband, Mathias, for a strong recovery and much healing.
And thank you to my family and friends for always supporting my crazy dreams. To lilhubb for lifting my dreams and holding them high. And soon-to-be travelers,Nova Jaye and GG, I cannot wait to adventure with you both!
Thank you to everybody who read my never-ending posts, and for your lovely comments. It was such a pleasure to share my travels with you all! Encuentro de Cuentos.