This morning, I walked up to the rooftop terrace to check on the laundry I had left drying. Though one might think that watching laundry dry is as exciting as watching paint dry, which is to say, not at all, I find it fascinating. Do you remember the moment when the top loading washers all morphed into front loaders with glass doors and how you could be enthralled, observing the secret inner workings of the soak, spin, rinse, centrifuge…Ok, so maybe you never stayed for the whole show, but 3 minutes, at least, right? Watching laundry dry on a line is like seeing the inner workings of the dryer. It flaps in the wind and wafts of delicious smelling air envelop you.
I also smelled toast—slightly burnt toast and slightly burnt coffee, the breakfast of Spanish champions. It was one of those olfactory memories that could only take place in Spain, as the dense white country bread here toasts up differently and the dark roasted coffee reeks of charred caffeine and lazy mornings.
A few hours later, we arrived at the country house. Without the ruckus of city traffic—roughly equivalent to the hum of cars passing through Crozet, Virginia on a summer evening, constant and noticeable, though not overwhelming—you can hear the breeze. The breeze whistles through the trees here. There are a thousand tiny flutes in every branch, playing a constant tune that is distinctly Mediterranean. The first few minutes of Lluís Llach’s “Itaca” capture it quite well. Listen.
Last night, though, other songs flooded my ears and dozens of kisses grazed my cheeks as we sat in Plaza Espanya for a concert put on by a fellow Valencian, Xino Gómez, who my mom would be interested to know was a finalist on Spain’s La Voz (The Voice). As we sat listening, munching, chatting, it becomes clear that a conversation in Spain is a whole body affair. It is tactile, like an old Singer sewing machine that requires insistent hands to keep things moving forward and a steady foot to tap along [to the music]. We started with a group of four, myself included, and ended with a group of at least 12, as friends, new and old, stopped by, sat down, grabbed a beer, and joined in.
We tried to order tapas, but this dive bar was out of most everything. Now, I’d just like a big salad, with ugly red tomatoes, salty sunflower seeds, ripe avocado, and some melty goat cheese, accompanied by a plate of croquetas. Where can I get a good croqueta, toasty and golden on the outside and gooey and warm on the inside?
My summer is winding down. Just one long weekend left. Yet, the sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste of Spain stays with me…at least until I get my first PB&J.
Thanks for sharing this chapter with me!
Pilates at the country house with S. and C.
Afternoon at Cales Coves
C. finding her center in Sant Tomas
About to swim our arses off at L’Illa des Coloms
Someone (in this case M.) always adds something extra to the pics…