The skies were electric blue and a crystal breeze
carried the cool scent of spring and the sea.
The lamps along the Ramblas marked out an avenue in the
early-morning haze as the city awoke, like a watercolour slowly
coming to life.
The brightness of dawn filtered down from balconies and cornices
in streaks of slanting light . . . At last I stopped in front of a
large door of carved wood....
A cold, piercing breeze swept the streets, scattering strips of mist in its
path. The steely sun snatched copper reflections from the roofs and
belfries of the Gothic quarter...
Plaza de San Felipe Neri is like a small breathing space in the maze
of streets that criss-cross the Gothic quarter.
Stone dragons guarded a lamplit façade. Inside, voices seemed to echo
with shadows of other times. Accountants, dreamers and would-be
geniuses shared tables with the spectres of Pablo Picasso, Isaac
Albéniz, Federico García Lorca, and Salvador Dalí.
Dawn was breaking, and a purple blade of light cut through the
clouds, spraying its hue over the fronts of mansions and the stately
homes that bordered Avenida del Tibidabo.
Recent arrivals complain about noises and banging on the walls
at night, sudden putrid smells and freezing draughts that seemed
to roam through the house like sentinels.
The city is a sorceress, you know?
It gets under your skin and steals your soul
without you knowing it . . .