Snapshots for you today. Fleeting observations.
For instance this: Ed is catching up on sleep a lot. So that the goal of rising early and getting a good morning’s walk in Barcelona fails. Instead, we barely made it out for a stroll in the neighborhood. Not that this was lacking in pleasant vignettes.
The shops. This one subscribes to bold advertising.
The park. Miro park. Where wild parrots nest in the palms and make screechy noises when you disturb them with your presence.
You know how occasionally, you like to take a photo of your partner and he’ll do the same for you and its all so convivial and sweet? Here we are: the compliant one and the difficult subject.
And then it’s noon and we pack our bags and walk the long long four blocks to the car rental place. To clarify: long, because when the two of you are lugging two packs, a suitcase and a foldable canoe (with paddles, etc.), each block is like a mountain.
And we get our wish: the smallest of small cars, the Smart for Two. The agent looks at our bags, looks at the car, looks at the bags and says – it is a small car. Yes, yes, we know. That’s why I took a thin suitcase. If we set the canoe sideways, and the bag next to it and one pack on top... No, that didn’t work. How about if we put the suitcase on its side and the canoe underneath and one pack on its end... Better. We tell the agent: it’s only for a day like this. She waves us on.
We head north. Out of Barcelona. City of balconies, right?
...and of buildings that make you take note.
Ed’s feeling sleepy again. We switch drivers. Radio’s on, the road’s familiar, two hours later, we cross the border. And the music changes. To French. Cherie FM...
And because we are staying in the foothills of the Pyrenees not too far from the Spanish border, it doesn’t take long to pull into the big grocery store just outside Sorede. Ah, changes. The big grocery store is now bigger. More aisles, more grocery carts, new systems in place. Even more rosé wines to choose from. We buy the wine, the apple juice (like no other), the juice from wine grapes (which is different from grape juice or wine), and the cheese. Necessities.
And now we do the final couple of kilometers along the country road to the village.
Yes, here at last. So darn familiar! Park the car, go to the favorite bakery. This late, you’re hoping there’s bread left. There is.
...and yes, still a mille feuille remains. Just for you Ed. Thank you for agreeing to come back.
This time we’re staying toward the hills some. Up there, past those houses.
It’ll be a twenty-five minute walk to the center of the village, but I would do much for such a walk in my everyday life.
Gunter and his wife (our hosts) are waiting: here’s your apartment (It’s the back side of their house), all is ready.
We unpack in this lovely little space that’s so clean (so different from last year’s!), where the Internet works (so different from last year’s!) and there’s space to settle in (so different from last year’s!).
In the evening, we walk down the hill, passing the wee vineyard...
dazzling, still dappled by the fading sun...
...and the village houses. Ed notices the cats, I notice the dogs, nothing’s changed, all wonderfully reassuring.
On the main square, the Bar Pizza place, THE Bar Pizza place is alive and noisy. A family next to us: one boy is a little on the ill side, his sister doesn’t like the lack of attention. She goes off, as she can, and sits at the other end of the square.
People watching. I look over at another group where, in my eyes, she looks like a portrait Renoir would have painted.
More people watching. All under the canopy of flags, Sorede flags, or really French and Catalan flags and European Union flags. Little dancing flags, like children dance, so do flags, out in the breeze of a June night.
A pitcher of sangria (a beverage we can share!) – this one is spicier, more tart with citrus, equally delicious. A pizza, mine with anchovies from nearby Couilleures, a salad – huge young greens – wasn’t there a drought here? No, not here, more in the east of France.
Sorede. It’s been such a crowded year. It’s so good to breathe the air of a village where nothing seems particularly crowded or rushed.