I wake the next morning with a steadfast commitment to continue to be unfazed by my missing albatross. I made a few calls with little success. The airport said they found it but now the courier has it somewhere in this town, however he did not arrive and they cannot reach him. I manage to reach the courier myself but he could not understand my attempts to work this out in Espanol. “No entiendo”. I then do that thing tourists do and start speaking loudly as though it would make a difference. I am beginning to unravel. Breathe. Let it go.

So, instead, I forfeit this losing battle and spill into the small corridors of the old quarter and marvel at the architecture that sweats out the morning rain.

The sun begins to emerge and I do not compromise this opportunity to enjoy the coast. I find a little bathing suit, grab a towel and make my way along the causway to playa la concha.

Last year I visited this town for only one day and I fell madly in love. Our romance has undoubtedly been rekindled. For me, Donista marries what I love most about Europe (the culture, the food, the architecture) with what I love most about my Canadian home on the westcoast (the ocean, the lifestyle).

While at the beach I meet some local surfers who invite me for pintxos and drinks.

“Going for Pintxos” is an authentic Basque custom of going from bar to bar for a small snack and a glass of wine or beer. Varieties of tiny avante-guard bites are showcased at the bar and you choose what you want, one at a time. We stand conversing, eating slowing, sipping our wine-the Basque way. As he highlights this custom, I notice a group of North Americans grab an entire platter and devour it within minutes-like a scene from Lord of the Flies. Hmm, I began to self-reflect. Piano (in Italian), despacio (in Spanish)-SLOWLY- was indeed my lesson.

When one of my new friends catches on to my adulation for the food that surrounds me, he announces that we must go to another bar that he thinks I will appreciate.  It is smaller than the others, the description of the pintxos written in chalk above the bar. As I scan the list my heart skips a beat.  “You  order”, my friend says. Gladly. I choose seared foie gras with toasted granola, salt, and caramaized cider.

Then, grilled octopus with lentils and  parsley oil.

Oh my! Oh my! I pause before I begin. I study it, I marvel at these tiny mosaics. I begin. When I pause and look up, I see that my friend is laughing quietly to himself.  “What?” I ask.  I then realize that my, not so subtle, grunts and sighs indicative of my sheer satisfaction with the food I am eating, is now privy to an audiance, as this time I am not alone. He grins, “It is wonderful to eat with you Tanya”, he says, “you take such pleasure in your food”. Oh good..phew..I had feared I may have drooled on our shared plate.

Nina Simone finds her way to me, yet again, here in this little Basque bar-my sound track to this journey. We begin to talk about the romance of Italy-Venice-and the old couple I saw in the ally. He stated that his grandparents have been together 60 years and that they argue non-stop, exclaiming at any given opportunity their desire to be rid of one another.  “Why do they stay”,  I ask. “Because they love each other” he says. “How do you know?”, “Because”, he says “they cannot live without one another”.

And in that vein, I return to my flat only to discover, as I open my grand wooden door, my albatross.

Some suitcases we need to let go of, and some, no matter how hard we try to lose them, always find their way back.