So Freddie Mercury says; and I can't disagree. Oh, Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona.
What is it about this city? It feels warm under your fingers — not because of the weather, but more like it's some hot-blooded creature, alive and vibrant and beautiful. Maybe because it reminds me of the things I love about my own Melbourne, the laneways and the surprises and the eccentricity. And the tourists — crushing in even though the year turned only a day ago — and the spiderweb of streets, and the victims of the crash, and the pickpockets, and worse — they don't matter. Or rather, they're just a part of it all. I wept, scout's honour, when my phone went in Berlin. But when my wallet was lifted, and on my birthday, too, I went out and ate ham and felt good. That's just Barcelona: Barcelona just happens.
Apparently we were in Barcelona for a week — but I couldn't say. There are vague impressions: food poisoning carried over the border, a sudden sharp wind, petty Englishwomen and a monotonous visit to something called Poble Español (don't go! the handicrafts are second rate!); on the whole, it blends into a day of bliss. What is it? Time flies when you're having fun? Sure.
And then secrets: a secret citrus garden
A secret bakery
Flowers for a recovering stomach (not mine)
And real private detectives, just like Mavis Gallant said there would be.
And then the quiet moments, sitting at a high point on top of a waterfall, thinking about nothing at all apart from how wonderful it all is.
Barcelona, you are