14 April, 2010

The mash note, delayed by volcano.

Say you have a houseful of friends visiting just as you return from Barcelona. Say a volcano explodes some 2700 kilometers away, and brings about the "most severe disruption to airtraffic in peacetime" (NYT).

Say your friends are stranded, the house is ever so full of life. Do you write, or do you enjoy the extra time you have together? As you may have noticed, what I didn't do was write. But Barcelona has a way of lingering in the mind. To put my biases on the table: I really like Madrid, but I love Barcelona. Impossible to remain indifferent to this port city, crammed as it is with things to see, taste and hear. Barcelona (population 1.6 million) sits at a beautiful midpoint between the grandeur of Paris and the vitality of New York, all the while remaining accessible and (most often) sun-drenched. You can spend a week here and merely skim the surface--it's that big and engaging a city.
Barcelona is the capital of the province of Catalunya, which is very much part of Spain and very much its own province, with language, culture and foods quite distinct from Madrid and the rest of Spain. In this way, Barcelona brings to mind the French dichotomy between the independent-minded port city of Marseille and Paris. Imagine wide, endlessly long avenues just meant for ambling and little neighborhoods with crooked alleyways designed to confuse. This is Barcelona. Beaches, sailboats, boys and surfboards in April. This is also Barcelona. I'd write more, but it's happy hour here in France, there are still some slices of chorizo and lomo de jabugo left, and my friends are waiting on the sun-drenched terrace...


  1. Enjoy the time with your friends. The internet is always here. :P

    I spent one day in Barcelona a decade ago. My cousin and I were vacationing in Ibiza and decided to take a break from all the partying by hopping on an overnight ferry to Barcelona. We had no plans. Just a change of clothes in our purses. It was great fun walking around and exploring what we could in a day.

  2. My sister loves Barcelona.(No comtrails in the sky must be an amazing site. Enjoy your friends).

  3. We have a housefull too! Hope you are all enjoying yourselves. Here, panic is setting in!lol

  4. Barcelona is great fun no matter how much or little time you have, WC. Better more time, though...

    Nadege, the skies were blue as blue can be. Heaven!

    Duchess, the house has just now emptied, but I heard by phone that the train they were to take back to Brussels was canceled because of the strike, so they rerouted and due to strike-related delays, well, they missed their connection. Vive la France. As for Iceland: "[Europe] said cash, not ash..."


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