Year of Grace, Day 118. Orchids, violets, and turquoises

A posy of orchids and perfumed violets picked for me that very instant was placed in my hand by a lovely woman whose home we viewed yesterday. Distant views of mountains and the sea, framed by a natural pine forest and four terraced gardens — this was the serene setting for her home. But it was the garden she had created of select plants and fruit trees — three kinds of apple, loquats, olives, almonds — and her soft-spoken gentleness that gave the place its unique welcoming spirit.

Later, we drove north along the Costa Brava to meet my friend Carme in L’Escala, famed for its anchovies, with a museum wholly dedicated to this silver fish. Lunch was at Origens, whose windows looked out over the cobalt sea: the perfect setting for prawns wrapped in thinly sliced roasted courgettes, fresh bacalao a la plancha napped with ratatouille, and dessert of Revolución Cubana. What is a Revolución Cubana? A mojito sorbet, mint ice cream, a cube of tart lime jelly, and a similar-sized cube of buttery cake —  bitingly refreshing and hitting just the right endnote.

What a difference a day can make! The day before, an unfortunate encounter with Barcelona bandits; yesterday, a charmed meeting with a gardener and a long-time friend and sharing a memorable lunch by the sea.

And today? A leisurely, late breakfast, afterwards a stroll along Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (Old Town) on a warm spring day under brilliant skies. The only thing that I rued about the robbery was the loss of some turquoise jewelry: earrings and a necklace of irregular beads —  the last, a prezzie from my daughter. Both had been  in the stolen handbag, alas. I had intended to wear them today with a white shirt. It’s not actually the jewelry as such, but the link to their givers and the love that accompanied their selection that I rue. What do you do when you’ve lost, through no fault of your own, well-loved things?

Replace them at once, of course! Looking forward to a nice hunt in Bonn!

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