Con de carn.

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¡Estamos en Barcelona! FunkyPlaid and I arrived last night, excited to return but also a bit disappointed. We were due to meet my father and stepmother here, but because of the storms battering the east coast of the States just now, their arrival was significantly delayed. They couldn’t get a connecting flight out of the east coast, so as I write this, they are driving a rental car to Detroit where they’ll be able to catch a flight over the Pond and arrive two days later than scheduled.

Unbelievable. But the good news is that they will land on a sunny 15ºC (60ºF) afternoon and we’ll all have a glass of wine and relax.

Relaxation has been the order of business today. We slept in this morning, and then I sat on the terrace and wrote in my journal while enjoying a piece of gluten-free brioche that we nabbed last night from the 24-hour farmacia in our neighbourhood. After we were ready to face the day, we headed out for delicious salads and patatas bravas.

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After lunch, we spent the day wandering, reorienting ourselves in the city, and unplugging from the stressors of life back home.

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There is something in my brain that quiets and focuses while I am here. I am not quite sure what that is about, but I am content to spend the rest of my life figuring it out.

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And there is, of course, the food. (Meat cones!)

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And the architecture.

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And the unexpected beauties.

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We will have a proper start to the vacation tomorrow when we pick our family up from the airport. For tonight, Happy Valentine’s Day, or happy Friday, or happy day you spend doing something you enjoy with people you love.

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A line, a wrinkle, a sigh, a sign.

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FunkyPlaid at Barcelona Cathedral
You genuflected outside the gothic cathedral
the day after I got officially old.
My nose was running and cold and
I turned from the great grey edifice
to see the only familiar face
for miles. On that face,
the expression I tried to capture:
irreverent yet strangely penitent,
maybe just tired from walking
or overwhelmed by unfamiliar vowels
or musing how new it feels to feel this old.

Upwards mobility.

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Upwards mobility.

Sometimes it is enough
to know without thinking where the milk is,
or the bread, or how to sidestep
with a ducked head,
“sorry” under the breath
to anyone, or to half-unpacked boxes.
What a luxury it is to be thoughtless,
to grow into the cracks of a place
like a weed
and not a wildflower.

FunkyPlaid at La Pedrera.

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FunkyPlaid at La Pedrera

Yesterday I accidentally posted a blurb from my “about” page. (Serves me right for fiddling with stuff I don’t understand.) My apology comes in the form of a photo of FunkyPlaid at La Pedrera in Barcelona. And a sincere promise that more photos are on their way!

Park parrot.

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I wanted to share one of the many delightful things we have seen so far. This is one of the wild parrots (parakeets?) of Park Güell. My dSLR skills are quite rusty, but after post-processing this shot I’m getting excited about taking proper photos again.

Getting older in Barcelona.

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The noise of traffic just outside our window was so much louder than usual, a steady, slick pulse over the rasp of the rain. The cheery light of my phone reminded me of the date, which reminded me that I wasn’t in Edinburgh anymore at all. And then I remembered the night before, and the day before that, and the year before that, and it all got to be too much so I turned over and dozed off on the morning of my birthday in Barcelona.

The day before my birthday, I worked myself up over packing. We flew a budget airline that is notorious for its stringent carry-on baggage policies, and I had running gear and a camera to manage. In the end, I decided the camera was more important. We’ll be doing a fair bit of walking, and I’d be sad if I returned to Barcelona without a proper camera. I shoved everything into my laptop backpack (sans laptop) and that was that.

The flight was painless, and even on a mostly-full flight we were lucky enough to get a row to ourselves. Before long we were landing, through customs, on the shuttle, and navigating La Rambla on our way to our rental flat.

There was a bit of a snag with that, but our host accommodated us at his B&B in L’Eixample. With a view of the spires of La Sagrada Familia from the balcony. I’m not complaining.

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This bed ate all of our sleep.

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I am writing this in the breakfast nook, and this is my view.

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And I have cheery budgies keeping me company as I finish my tea before today’s adventures.

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There is also a Yorkie, but he bounds around too fast for me to capture him in a photo.

Last night we had our first tapas together. FunkyPlaid took lots of snaps, but I was too blissed-out to bother. As the clock turned midnight, we toasted with wine (so much wine) and felt deeply grateful for the opportunity to be in such a special place. Now to go explore it!