Monday 13th September – ready for overnight train

Whole communities live on their rooftops and I venture up here this morning with Mariu to hang out washing and scan the view. Mariu is a delight. Always smiling and very conscious of her English which is pretty good. Marco also has a ready smile and we have enjoyed our time here partly because they have welcomed us into their home like family. They plan to travel starting next year and we happily hand over our address and contacts. NZ is so far away for people to come to though so we hope we can see you guys again sometime or at least follow your travels.

We treat ourselves to a brunch out for our last day in Barcelona at a place Mariu has recommended, an old hospital that is now catering to a number of different things including a library and art school. I thought I ordered a Spanish frittata but am delighted to receive a salmon salad that arrives with thin slices of salmon wrapped around mango strips on a huge bed of green salad with fresh cheese and sprinkled with seeds and olive oil. It’s superb. We have a last day to wander before our overnight train and it’s funny how when you arrive somewhere everything is in sharp focus and your senses are acutely attuned to every subtle nuance of a place, every sound, every smell. On day seven we know our way round and so much feels familiar now it is a relaxed haze that I’m scanning and thinking I may never see or hear this again and close my eyes to just absorb.

This is a courtyard within the old hospital complex. Everything is beautiful as well as functional…from the fretted doorways and lights to the mosaic works decorating wall spaces.

Spain of course is very Christian and a Catholic Church is almost on every corner and there hasn’t been one that I have entered that hasn’t held people praying in the solitude they provide amongst a crazy busy outside world.

I wonder as I walk if Gaudi was to walk through here today, a place where he has left his mark on so many streets, how much would he recognise? Probably plenty I think.

So much looks like 1880 was just yesterday. I’m not sure he’d like it all. Barcelona has been more of everything I think. More colour, more old and new, more contrast… They tell us Granada will be very different. I’ll tell you tomorrow. Bags packed for overnight train,
headphones ready-check
Bags locked-check
Snacks at the ready-check

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