Friday, December 16, 2011

Barcelona, day two

We stretch our limbs and rise at 10am. I'm sorry to do this to you, but our hours now match those of teenagers (including our own teenager). He is so happy. I think he might stay in Spain forever. Perhaps we all will. It is rather beguiling.
This morning, when I got up, Myles had the TVon and on it was British parliament. Weird choice perhaps. But then Niccolo got up, looked at the TV and said: 'What is this? A game show?' (Well, yes.)
Zelda was not well. She had a stomach ache. I thought that perhaps it was what she was eating. Being sterling parents, we had been allowing her to decide what she would like to eat and much of it had consisted of hot chocolate and ice cream. But as the day progressed, she developed a fever, so perhaps more than just rich food. Kids can eat anything can't they?
But she was a trooper and agreed that she would come with us to the Castle that overhangs Barcelona (Miramar?? Our knowledge of all things Barcelona is rubbish. For some reason, we have not interest in acquiring knowledge at this stage of the tour; it is a mystery.) We walked up the large hill (small mountain) and enjoyed the views. This was supposed to be the worst day of the week, and yet the sun shone like polished smile and the sky was blue. I was in a tee shirt. Well, I was when I was walking up the hill. We passed by the diving pool from the Barcelona Olympics (I do remember it had an amazing view and now, here it was before me.) and then up further to the castle. Again, the royals abodes here are rough and ready, all lilac and light brown square stones and big, square shapes. But the view over the sea is incredible. A million kinds of blue all resting against one another. Perhaps that was enough for the royals; the view.
We didn't go into the castle; the kids are thinking strongly of revolution so I don't think that I should show them any more over the top pomp and affluence (Paris requested The Communist Manifesto for Christmas.).
To go down, we caught the chairlift thing - the boys were a little concerned, Niccolo in particular, because none of them like heights, but it wasn't too high or scary or even long.
It was lunch time. Niccolo began to get very angry and teary. Why? Because he was trying to break the world record for keeping one's hands in one's pockets, but had taken them out to go to the toilet. What can I say? Tapas for lunch. Fried artichoke was a revelation. Great squid and meatballs. I wish I had ordered the fried green peppers. I will tomorrow. I didn't have beer this time. Myles is on one of his weird diets (excellent timing) and isn't having beer. I feel sad about drinking alone. But perhaps I won't tomorrow. This sunshine and food calls out to beer like a long lost lover.
Zelda, by this time, was failing. I walked her back to the apartment, and put her to bed. Well, on the couch anyway with a movie and some water. We all had a nap.
Later, Myles and I went walking. Zelda's temperature had come down with panadol and Paris said he'd keep an eye on her, so we went out for Christmas shopping. Barcelona is a perfect town. There are fifty million more pedestrians than there are cars (a relief after the crazy traffic of Paris), it is mild, there are quirky laneways with lights and funny shops and there is life and love and laughing.
We bought books for the kids, Niccolo's desired ipod shuffle and then some clothes for me from this sweet little shop down a laneways with the nicest woman. You could walk here for hours, looking and chatting, and stopping for a quick something and walking on. La Ramblas is full of flowers even very late, making everything smell sweet. Kids run about well after nine through the streets. It feel like a party, but one where you know everyone and like most.
It is not nearly as beautiful as Paris to look at - that amazing uniformity of Parisian streets is incredible, but also very formal. This rather higgledy piggledy, low rise (that is; about eight stories) buildings of many colours and various structures has beauty, but it is to be found unexpectedly. You look up in Paris and you expect to be impressed (and you are). But here, you look up and there are umbrellas on the side of a building, or someone has painted the building pink, or there are funny, decorated shutters or something. It is a happy place.
We returned to check on Zelda. Still not well. I sat with her and the boys went walking for ice cream and exercise. They came back sated on both counts and bought Zelda some vanilla ice cream, which she ate. Sugar; who knew ...
I'm posting some final photos of Paris as well as the first days in Barcelona. The Paris photos are of us in front of the Fitzgerald's place in 1928 and Gertrude Stein's place (always). Plus, eating and drinking ...

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