There are some nights, some moments, some days, that can’t be captured by a camera. The only way to truly be there again is to be caught unexpectedly by the memory and to feel everything over again. This is one of those nights. These photos are from Mara’s phone since mine had been stolen and I remember wanting to take pictures but realizing that being completely immersed in the moment was even better.
We planned to go to dinner at this Arab restaurant, it was probably one of the only Arab restaurants in Salamanca and I had been craving Basmati rice for about two months. It was a Friday night and we originally planned on all of our friends going but it ended up just being Mara, Malik, and I. We met Malik at Plaza Mayor, like normal, and tried to find our way to the Arab restaurant. I had no idea where it was; and first Malik told us he wanted to show us a cool place, where you could see the whole city of Salamanca. So, we followed him. It was like that kid had an internal compass that night, he seemed to have no idea where he was going but we would always end up in the right place. We talked and laughed and the lively streets around us twinkled in the street lights. Everything glowed and it felt almost as if we were gliding on the brick roads. It was cold, but the cold in Spain is so much different than the cold in Michigan (and Canada) and we were getting pretty used to the dry mild-coldness at this point in our trip. We sat on a ledge and overlooked the city. It was stunning. You imagine places, but you never can quite take it in until a moment like that. When you’re least expecting to feel so absorbed by what’s around you, as far as physical spaces and places. We sat, and talked, and starred in awe of this beautiful place. What a miracle that we were here, and together. It was all unexpected, which made it that much more wonderful.
We headed to dinner and Malik lead the way yet again. We walked down narrow, cobblestone streets, some with no lights, and it felt adventurous. We finally arrived at a hole in the wall restaurant, connected to a few other places, and crawled inside (or that’s what it felt like). We were sat by a sweet younger man with curly hair at a table for four in the middle of the small space. We took our coats off and started looking over the menus, we decided to get a bottle of wine and ordered our entrees pretty soon after. Malik and I got the same thing, Mara something different. We talked about our lives back home, we talked about life experiences, cultural differences, our future wants, and how cool it was that we were there, learning a new language, but so much more. We laughed so hard and drank our wine, and gobbled down our Basmati rice. Malik ate the rest of Mara’s food and I kept thinking, this is perfect. We were having such a good time and the night was only just beginning for a Salamanca evening. It was 9PM dinner and there was always so much more to come after in Spain. We decided that after eating dessert we were ready to go, so we got the bill. We were still laughing and getting tipsy off of the wine. When we received the bill Malik said that he would pay with his card, and I had about 45 euro and change on me; while I planned on stopping at the ATM later, before the bar, I didn’t think it would be a problem. Mara had almost no cash on her and when the camerero returned he broke the news that they did not take cards. I put all the money I had inside the little box he gave us for the bill and soon after realized I didn’t put enough in, I had read the bill wrong. He brought back the box and we mumbled to each other. That’s when I realized, I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay the bill alone, so Mara, Malik, and I began to somewhat panic. We scraped together all the change we had eventually coming up 20 centimos short… I looked at Malik, “well we could run to an ATM now,” I said. “Or we could just leave.” and we all looked at each other, without really saying anything we left all the money in the box on the table, grabbed our coats, said ciao, and as soon as we were out the door, Mara and I began to run. “What are you guys doing?!” Malik yelled, and seconds later he was sprinting in front of us down the narrow, dark streets. We were laughing. We glanced quickly behind us, “I hope he’s not coming after us!” We felt so bad all we could do was laugh, hysterically, about this stupid situation. We met with Taylor back at Plaza Mayor and planned on going out to the bar now, but first we had to stop at the ATM.
We wandered forever, and finally got to an ATM on Gran Via, basically the busiest party street in the city, when Malik looked at us. “You guys aren’t going to believe this, I forgot my headphones.”
“WHAT!” we started to laugh. Of course, we thought. “I have to go back for them.” Malik said, and so we had to go back.
In the end, that night ended up being just as stupidly funny as the fact that we came up .20 cents short for the bill. But there is nothing that I remember doing more than running through the cobblestone streets of Salamanca, at night, a little wine in me, laughing so hard with some of the most amazing people I have ever met.
The city is so aesthetically pleasing, you look everywhere, in the antique buildings, landmarks, and country, you know everything must have a story. In those three months we created so many of our own, unexpectedly, captured only in our minds and feelings. The things you don’t see in these pictures, the feelings that only come back unexpectedly, nostalgically, when the memory creeps up and I laugh about the night, drinking wine, and laughing about “first times” at the Arab restaurant in Salamanca.