“Well, we made it” I thought to myself as we turned the corner and approached the restaurant. It had been a big morning. We’d collected our brand-new lease car, learned how to drive it, fuelled up, navigated out of Barcelona and found our way to the town that was our lunchtime destination.
Parallel parking on the right-hand side of the road in a left-hand drive car proved to be a major challenge, but we eventually managed to at least get off the road even if it took several tries and provoked much amusement from passers-by. Out came the directions and we set off to wander the streets of this small Spanish town to find our chosen restaurant.
Being an obsessive planner, I had already identified the best restaurant for our lunchtime rendezvous. Not too expensive, but with excellent reviews, nice ambience, and the opportunity to sample a glass or two of locally made Cava, the restaurant we had just arrived at ticked all my boxes.
But no, disaster! There was a sign on the restaurant door advising what we had already observed that the restaurant was closed today.
Naturally, I had a couple of other options in my saved list back on my laptop, but not with me on the street. Our stomachs began to growl loudly as if saying, you promised me food, where is it?
We lurked aimlessly for a minute or two wondering what to do next. Then, a couple of ladies arrived at the restaurant, also obviously expecting lunch. “It’s closed,” I said in a unnecessary confirmation of what they could see for themselves. “Si” said one lady and looked at her friend with some consternation.
They immediately went into a huddle around their phones. I looked on enviously as they conferred in hushed tones. Eventually they seemed to come to an agreement and looked up. They saw me glancing at them expectantly. “Did you find somewhere for lunch?” I asked hoping madly that at least one of them understood and spoke English.
“Yes!” exclaimed one of the ladies and approached me with a smile. After showing me the name and address on her phone, the pair walked off with purposeful strides. I conferred with my partner, and we decided to give their suggestion a try. I was a little concerned that we headed in a different direction but trusting our electronic directions, we walked on.
What followed was one of the best lunches I can remember. Not only did we get to taste some delicious Cava, but we also got a very reasonably priced three course meal of the most delicious food. I can still taste the quaintly named “Farmer’s eggs,” which was a mix of softly scrambled eggs and huge amounts of truffles. Yes, truffles – I was in mouth-watering heaven.
Not long into the meal, our two female restaurant guides arrived after parking their car outside. They smiled and greeted us like long lost friends. During the meal, we raised a glass to each other across the crowded restaurant.
Going with the flow is often the best way to deal with failed plans. But getting some guidance from locals and a dash of serendipity certainly raises the chances of success.