“You don’t need to speak Catalan to get along in Barcelona,” remarked a friendly Barcelonian we met in that city, “or even Spanish,” she continued.
“You only need to know two words in this city–fiesta and siesta!”
Fiesta is clear enough, but our new friend had some specific recommendations regarding the counterpart to that activity in this part of the world.
“The best siesta is 22 minutes long, on the floor,” she explained with confidence. I was married to a Turk for 15 years. He would make the room dark, put on his pajamas, get into bed, and sleep for three hours every day for his siesta.
“You do that,” she explained, “and you wake up feeling 10 years older. You also end up divorced. Just ask my former Turkish husband.
“Better to lie down, flat, on a wooden floor if possible, each afternoon after lunch. Sleep for 22 minutes, no more. This is the ideal time for the natural sleep cycles. Do this, and you will wake up feeling not 10 years older but 5 years younger, I guarantee it.”
Lief and I haven’t had a chance to test our new friend’s siesta theory yet, but we’ve had no trouble finding the party in Barcelona. Venice was crowded with tourists…Istanbul’s streets and markets were jam-packed…but none of that compared with the mass of holiday-makers we’ve joined in this city.
I read in the local paper that, last Saturday, the local police received an emergency call from a girl in a nightclub. She and her friends wanted to leave but couldn’t get through the crowd to the door. They were trapped and sent out an SOS to the authorities…who arrived on the scene to find more than 750 people packed inside a club licensed to hold 220.
I’m a big fan of this lively city, but I’m glad to be just passing through this trip. It’s hard to discern the real Barcelona beneath all the tourists milling around on her streets, in her restaurants, and along her harbor.
We’ll come back another time to enjoy all that this city has to offer. This trip, Barcelona is serving as a transition point for our summer travels. This is our final stop in Europe. From here, it’s on to Africa, where we’ll connect with the kids and set off on safari. More soon, from the savanna.
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