October 24, 2012

My Perfect Barcelona

One of these days, the city of Barcelona will be but an entry in my memoirs. A mere peppercorn in the mill of my life as a whole, but what a glorious little peppercorn it is! Packed with punch, bite and heat. I shall sit in my rocking chair, cast my gaze over the misty English hills and remember a time when I was all over Barcelona. I shan’t remember things exactly as they were, rather, I will compose a golden day drawn from all my favourite elements so very perfect that I will almost believe that it was true and tell anyone who will listen that once, I lived like a queen.
 As I cast my withered brains back, I will see myself, young and ripe, pulling myself from a heavy slumber, tossing on my glad rags and throwing open the giant green doors to my Raval flat and emerging into the glorious sunshine. 
 I will trot past the merry drunks at the fountain, ignore their chipper cries of ‘RUBIAAAA’ and, turning the corner, I will see my pal Marcos putting out a little stool and preparing me the city’s best cortado at Satan’s Coffee Corner (c/ Peu de la Creu, 22). We will sit for a time and talk about small pleasures in life before some other stray will join us and add another thread to the spinning web of conversation. 
 Soon I will become hungry, lick the last of the foam from my cup, detangle myself and head to the Boqueria market for a fresh juice and samosa while also making a fleeting visit to the fishy faces, who always inspire me to write a ‘tail’ or two. I will say “Where did you come from little gamba?” and he will look at me with sad, black eyes.
 Papaya and coconut juice in hand, I will meander through the damp streets of the old Jewish quarter, seeing stories of an old and brave folk, that was treated most wickedly, reflected in the stone and I will take a moment to pause and respect the many lives that were lost there.
Stopping a while to gawp at the windows of La Basilica Galleria (c/ Sant Sever, 7), I will muster up the monedas to buy myself the darling cat brooch with the ruby eyes and then sail along my merry way to my favourite place of all. The Encants Flea Market (Glòries metro) will be unusually full of vintage cola cao tins and children’s books brimming with bright-eyed illustrations of woodland creatures and I will be in my element, filling my boots and boisterously bartering.
Such intense work will require a return to my flat, past the slumberous crack addicts who will call out to congratulate me on my flea finds. “Que mapa, guapa!”. Cat-napping for no more than twenty minutes, I will then generously slice myself some fresh tomato with spring onion, add some slippery anchovies and I will watch as evening creeps in.
A quick shower and touch of makeup later and I will free myself of my hermitary and head up to Poble Sec where I will meet with a small posse of pals in the bustling Quimet y Quimet (c/ Poeta Cabanyes, 25). We will munch on montaditos piled high with smoked salmon and drizzled with truffled honey before making our way to C/ Parlament, where charming haunt Vinito (c/ Parlament de Catalunya, 27) awaits us and we shall guzzle our way through glass upon glass of Vermut Negro, birthed mellifluously from the barrel. It is highly likely we’ll end up with plates of Queso de Zamora and Lomo Iberico, because that’s just what we do. We’re beasts like that.
Suitably sauced, we will giddily gallivant in the direction of Albert Adria’s 41 Degrees (Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164) for sweet basil cocktails. Propping up the bar, my mind will propel me sixty years into the future and I will wave joyously to my rocking-chair self before turning to my pals and impishly insisting that we jump the fence into Montjuïc’s Olympic Swimming Pool. A taxi ride later we will be throwing off our clothes and diving in, the cool water and panoramic city view will render us stupefied and together we will marvel at the power of our youth and the beauty of Barcelona

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