30 Days in Barcelona

This is not Elizabeth Gilbert. Do we disappoint?
Dear Barcelona—
I cannot thank you enough for letting me roam your streets, drink your cava, eat your bread, listen to your church bells, sit in your cafes drinking cafe con leches, and walk alongside your ocean for six weeks, unmolested. Which was one week more than I planned, due to sad and very unforeseen circumstances. Still, I cannot thank you enough for being, as most everyone concurs, Like Paris But Better Than Paris. I am writing this drunk on cava and white wine, having come from a restaurant at which you stare at whatever fish you want to eat on ice, point at it, have the counter guy wrap it in a paper cone, then send it back to be cooked. I ate mussels Marinara, baby cockles in butter and herbs, perfectly fried baby squid, and the salad that you insist on sprinkling with corn kernels. It was just this side of too much, which is how I have experienced you. Just this side of too much. Just real enough, just human and shit-streaked enough, to keep people from dissolving into blubbering tears at your beauty. You have us where you want us, those of us who would be slayed by the undiluted sublime. Drunk texting Barcelona! Whoops. I hope you will still take my calls. 

Dear Barcelona—

I cannot thank you enough for letting me roam your streets, drink your cava, eat your bread, listen to your church bells, sit in your cafes drinking cafe con leches, and walk alongside your ocean for six weeks, unmolested. Which was one week more than I planned, due to sad and very unforeseen circumstances. Still, I cannot thank you enough for being, as most everyone concurs, Like Paris But Better Than Paris. I am writing this drunk on cava and white wine, having come from a restaurant at which you stare at whatever fish you want to eat on ice, point at it, have the counter guy wrap it in a paper cone, then send it back to be cooked. I ate mussels Marinara, baby cockles in butter and herbs, perfectly fried baby squid, and the salad that you insist on sprinkling with corn kernels. It was just this side of too much, which is how I have experienced you. Just this side of too much. Just real enough, just human and shit-streaked enough, to keep people from dissolving into blubbering tears at your beauty. You have us where you want us, those of us who would be slayed by the undiluted sublime. Drunk texting Barcelona! Whoops. I hope you will still take my calls. 

Last night, as part of a music documentary festival they seem to be having here, saw a film called Charlie Is My Darling, which follows the Rolling Stones around on a tour of Ireland in 1965. Somehow watching a rock band elude fans, ride planes, cut each other up, sing in hotel rooms, and in general exude the heat of the rising fever that was the 60s, especially when all of this is captured in black-and-white—this never, ever gets old. It was nice to know that, as I looked around a packed, rapt theatre filled with folks of all ages, that I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of it. There was a long, long line around the corner for a 10:15 showing on a rainy Tuesday night. Rock and roll lives, people! (Kind of.) 

Last night, as part of a music documentary festival they seem to be having here, saw a film called Charlie Is My Darling, which follows the Rolling Stones around on a tour of Ireland in 1965. Somehow watching a rock band elude fans, ride planes, cut each other up, sing in hotel rooms, and in general exude the heat of the rising fever that was the 60s, especially when all of this is captured in black-and-white—this never, ever gets old. It was nice to know that, as I looked around a packed, rapt theatre filled with folks of all ages, that I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of it. There was a long, long line around the corner for a 10:15 showing on a rainy Tuesday night. Rock and roll lives, people! (Kind of.) 

Sant Antoni market, right outside my apartment. Yesterday went to buy some excellently spicy olives and the proprietess, before she handed me the bag, passed one olive to me over the counter. Like a coin. Or a chocolate. Or a kiss from my grandmother. 

Sant Antoni market, right outside my apartment. Yesterday went to buy some excellently spicy olives and the proprietess, before she handed me the bag, passed one olive to me over the counter. Like a coin. Or a chocolate. Or a kiss from my grandmother. 

Van for a restaurant near the beach called El Rey de la Gamba. Happy Halloween. 

Van for a restaurant near the beach called El Rey de la Gamba. Happy Halloween. 

This is the first time since I’ve arrived that the surf has pounded the way it pounded today. Thought of course of the hurricane that has disabled my city. My 30 days here have been extended because of it, and am leaving on Saturday. I’ve been bad-mouthing New York a little since I’ve been here, but if you show me a picture of the Battery Tunnel flooding, I’ll shut up right quick. 

Richard Hawley at the Sala Apolo. 

Richard Hawley at the Sala Apolo.