Today was one of those days that you wish you could gather it up and slip into a bottle and hold it forever. The day that's beyond what you could imagine, that was today.
We woke late - becoming a little European now, just saying, and chose breakfast by the simple method of gazing out the balcony window and seeing a place called "non solo creps" and going there. Turns out it served crepes and coffee - perfect start to the day.
The menu discussions - should it be combinations of goats cheese, tomato, fresh sliced ham, cured meats - delicious deliberations and ate at the street tables and watched the world go by.
Then we walked, it's pretty fun walking up La Rambla with everyone. So many people enjoying it with us.
Between buildings I saw a turret, and we turned into the labyrinth of laneways and by skilful judgement (the "What do you reckon - left or right" method ) found the turrets attached to a church built in 1806. It was hemmed in on every side and with a small serene plaza at one side, a couple with music practising their dance moves and others drinking coffee in the dappled shade. Sigh of joy - I could just stay here all day. Next to this ancient stone building, with ferns growing out of the cracks.
But we move on and dive into the markets for a cup of fresh cut peaches and strawberries - the ones that leave that lingering taste of sweetness in your mouth. And then down to the port area and through the large plazas to the beach. And with gelatos in hand (and over face as photos later showed) we negotiated the million people lying on the beach, the rows of umbrellas that mark the sun lovers territories and stood in the Mediterranean Sea. It's flat water with ripples and the blue ocean horizon is smudged with the blue sky. It's not a distinct line between the two but more like a water colour painting that blurred.
We walked up the beach, along the water line until the end, passing, I assume, the local nudist area. No shame here on any angle or age. (Just quietly)
Hot and content we found shade at an end cafe and drank cool drinks and admired everything I could see - views back over the beach to the horizon beyond. Because that's the sort of day it is.
Behind, in a back street we found a scooter rental place (Joel's been here before) and it wasn't too long before 50cc of raw power was racing us up to Montjuic Castle. Well, racing might be a too strong a word as we were heading up the mountain, it became more like the little red train " I think I can - I think i can" and it did. Montjuic is a proper castle. A real castle. Complete with a flower garden moat and drawbridge and turrets and cannons - built in the seventeenth century it was the fortress guarding the harbour. It now now overlooks a busy industrial port with ships, cranes, trains and semi trailers which look like matchbox toys below. Amazing views over the whites, creams and caramel colours of the old city, nestled in a circle of hills and over the smudged blues of ocean and sky.
And back on the bike stopping at the art gallery, with its awesome and ostentatious turrets and waterfalls, fountains and statues, gardens and shady green trees. No time to see the art inside . I need to live here for 6 months - that much is obvious.
And then we circled Barcelona, sometimes lost and sometimes not - cruising the city and suburbia. It's a whole fresh take, a different perspective on a city seeing it from the back of a bike. And the cooling wind is nice too.
Fuel began to run low and that's a whole new adventure - finding a petrol station. I've seen only one since I've been here and that was with the helpful direction of a Spanish speaking taxi driver. ( and fortunately I have a son able to understand his hand waving instructions)
Bike sorted we headed up to my (brand new since I didn't imagine I would ever be in Spain) bucket list item. The gardens of Park Guell.
Turns out it's on everybody's bucket list and we purchase tickets for entry in the next time slot - only (ONLY!!) 400 people per hour are allowed entry.
Mind you this park is no ordinary park. It's on Carmel Hill - overlooking town and sea and was created by the artist, designer and architect Gaudi. Antoni Gaudi was a man of vision and words used to describe him include " imaginativeness, ornamental creation, baroquism, free of the rational rigidity, architectonic genius, structural richness of forms and volumes, inspiration from organic shapes found in nature Catalan modernism " whatever they say it's that and more. Outstanding in every way he had imagination that has made history proud. So much craziness in it all- apparently symbolic it's colour and shape and spaces that have visual joy. They put you outside of your normal thinking.
And the mosaics. Oh the mosaics! I am going to go home to suburban Brisbane and whip up a few things- garden seats and footpaths and mosaic them. I need to recreate Barcelona in my backyard - that's just what you want to do,when you see these things. It's being drunk with beauty.
We watched the evening sky turn pink hues and the old city reflected the colours and finally, reluctantly walked back through the darkening quiet gardens and biked back into the frenzy of Barcelonan life. A quick shower and with the "pretty dress" on we went for dinner at 10ish - walking past restaurants filled with people. Until we came to a place that was crowded into the street. We squeezed our way in and a long bar was filled with tapas. Oh Brisbane - do not ever trick me into thinking I've seen tapas before. We could not go anywhere else. Just looking at the offerings made my mouth water. We lucked upon a seat at the bar and with Joel sorting out an array of plates ( I could not choose for the life of me, even reading the menu offerings was fun) and a jug of sangria full of fruit slices and ice we ate. It was the eating you do when you need to close your eyes and savour every taste sensation. And then look at each other wide eyed in amazement. Joel's fun to be with - he loves it all and is so part of the experience with you.
And we walked more streets until my feet said 'enough of this already' and found our way home.
This day, every hour I need to remember forever. That's the sort of day it was.