Thursday, April 24, 2008

An extraordinary day

By any standards, yesterday was a wonderful day to be in Barcelona. The sun shone all day as the city (and Catalunya) celebrated Sant Jordi when every man has to give a red rose to his beloved and in return receive a book. 

The streets were packed with rose sellers, some from florists, others who'd just bought a dozen or so and set up a table at a street corner. And book stalls were everywhere with readings, signings across the city. If it was not quite the city of love, it was at least a city of blissful happiness. 

Having no beloved here (she is in London) I did the next best thing and bought roses for some proxies who I happen to like and who I would see that day. Rebecca of course, Elvira, our cleaner, and Vicky and (another) Rebecca, the mother and daughter team who run the polloeria in Galvany market where I buy my chickens.

Best of all, they opened up the magnificent town hall for the one day only and I got to look round the mayor's office (and saw the mayor) the council chamber and most of all, the vast and  wonderful salo de cent, the 14th century great hall where the council of 100 deputies sat as one of the earlier examples of representative local government. 

Oh yes there was a football match on as well; the one I hoped would never happen between Manchester United and Barca. As a spectacle - a packed camp nou full  of cules in their best voice - it was extraordinary, and to be there with Ben was something I will always remember.  

My two favourite football teams, my son, the best stadium anywhere, a fine havana cigar and a bocadillo pernil amb tomate. I'm easily satisfied ... 

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