We tell friends that when in foreign lands, we like to wander and discover things as they come along. This sounds romantic, almost old-world in these days of satellite navigation. The truth is, we always sort of know the general direction we are going. We just don’t know what we are going to see.
However, it must fall to someone to act as the guide. This person needs to have a good sense of direction. The ups and downs are easy. There is a picture in my old psychology book of a baby crawling to the edge of a glass table and stopping. They know the danger. Ups and downs is child’s play.
It’s the other directions, the lefts and rights, norths and souths, that some members of the animal kingdom can uncanningly find, that requires the guide to have that pigeon-like brain. Although my sense of direction is not their motive for classification, there are many that say I fall naturally into that group.
The flights of stairs negotiated, we set off to find a place to eat and as the many cafes and bars of this district were just around the corner near the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, it was a piece of cake for my sense of direction. When we were still wandering the narrow streets a half an hour later, it was then that we should have twigged that the wrong pigeon had been chosen. But we soldiered on discovering unintended parts till we found food.
The long haul flight must have sent my body out of whack. Can too much air have a negative affect on the guidance system? Have you ever had a packet of chips on a flight? The unopened packet is like a helium ballon at a child’s birthday party. The internal gases expand and bloats the membrane to bursting point. I believe this is how planes defy gravity and remain in the air due to the helium-like gases inside the passengers and is the reason pilots ask us to keep seat belts fastened during the flight. Can you imagine the chaos created at meal service with four hundred passengers bumping around the ceiling of the cabin like escaped party balloons?
The walk helped with the over-inflation and well fed with tapas, we managed to walk the minute around the corner and had a very uncharacteristic early Spanish night.
Saturday, 13 May
Left, right, left, right – like marching lessons I led us to a busy cafe full of workers where a mixture of rough Italian, suspect Spanish and Australian had us served good coffee and omelette for breakfast.
We/I again lost our way in the narrow streets until we found ourselves at the cathedral.
Our orientation was improving and after wandering past the performing acrobats we seem to see in most large cities, we found La Rambla.
With others, we watched Marilyn showing some of the wares of the Erotic Museum before being drawn by the crowds into La Boqueria Food Market. This is an incredible experience. If you like fruit, vegetables, seafood, chocolates, olives, colour, this is the place to get lost. Macadamias were selling for €58 /kg! Start exporting from that tree of yours, Sam.
We would have preferred longer getting lost in Barcelona but Morocco awaited. The taxi from Fes airport dropped us at the edge of the Medina and a guide led us to our riad through the narrow twisted derbs. Now this is a place to get lost!