Adventure Unfiltered: Marjorie Meek-Bradley on hitting the ground running (and sleepless) in Barcelona

June 28, 2017

Forget perfect: Adventure is unfiltered. In a new blog series, G Adventures is asking a few people to share memories from trips where things went a bit sideways, but it made for the best story — and the most unforgettable experience. Today, American chef (and former Top Chef contestant) Marjorie Meek-Bradley on how an unplanned trip to Spain was one. Have your own Unfiltered story? Click here to find out how you can win a trip for two with G Adventures by sharing it.

I’ve always wanted to go to Spain. I once bought a round-trip plane ticket, but returned it. Later, I applied to study there as exchange student — but was sent to Sweden for a year instead. I travelled all of Europe twice and never made it to Spain, until this year, when I bought a plane ticket three weeks before leaving and figured I would go with the flow.

My flight was a red-eye to Madrid, and I thought I would plan the trip on the plane. But the day before I left I got the worst head cold I have ever had. I drugged myself with Nyquil and hoped to wake up feeling better. No such luck. I had one night in Madrid before my 7 a.m. train to Barcelona, and I hadn’t even booked a hotel.

Chef Marjorie Meek Bradley.

Chef Marjorie Meek Bradley.

I arrived in Barcelona at 9 a.m. The hotel I found the night before turned out to be beautiful, and in a great location — but my room wouldn’t be ready until the afternoon. I had no option but to begin my exploration right then and there.

As I wandered down the street I came to the famed Boqueria. It may have been nine in the morning, but I feasted on artichokes, Spanish tortilla, pan con tomate, and clams — and when I tell you that they were the best clams of my life, it’s an understatement.

I’m pretty sure that the magic of the market — and all the garlic — cured my cold. I pushed through, and ventured into the city. That night, I ended up at a Michelin-starred restaurant for dinner, and it was the only night for two months that they had an available table. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.

I’m pretty sure that this trip wouldn’t have been so magical if I planned it out beforehand. Sometimes, letting things happen on a whim is the best way to go.

How do you do #AdventureUnfiltered? Whether it's not being able to find a bathroom in India or sampling crickets at a night market in Beijing, we want to see photos of your weirdest, wildest, most wonderful adventures — and if you share, you could win a trip for two to the destination of your choice. Click here to share your #AdventureUnfiltered moment to win.

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