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Mike and I got engaged in Barcelona on St. Patrick’s Day in 2004. Neither of us will never forget the date; newly engaged, we emerged from our hotel greeted by Spaniards in enormous Guinness beer hats.

After I spent the morning writing, we headed straight for the Sagrada Familia, the outstanding cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi, to see what has developed in the five years that we’ve been away. I respect that Gaudi started a church that he knew that he’d never live to finish, and that in the wake of his death, others have dedicated a portion of their own lives to see that his vision gets put into plaster and stone.

Later, we met Monica. Readers of the book will remember her as “Maria,” the friend of Mike’s from Barcelona. Far from being the potential romantic threat that I once worried about, she’s a generous, warm woman who couldn’t have been more excited to see us. She took us to a rooftop for drinks and tapas, and afterward we walked La Ramblas back to the ship. At 10 p.m., people were just starting their evening out.

As we hit the harbor, we realized that the ship lie further away than it looked. With less than 10 minutes to get on the ship, we finally flagged down a taxi. We ran through the port, down the corridor and got on the board. They literally pulled the gangway up behind us. Monica called Mike on his phone as we walked the hall to our room. “Your ship is leaving!” Crikey, that was close.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

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