Week 20: Barcelona break
A small holiday: to Barcelona, a city Husband has been to countless times but which I had never visited. We stayed with friends, who have had their own recent experience of incapacity – in their case involving a ladder and an ankle rather than a moped and a knee – and so were perfectly understanding of our mobility problems and gave practical and moral support. They borrowed a wheelchair for us for the length of our stay. We wouldn’t have been able to manage without it, for although the repaired knee is now being run in, it is far from being fully up to speed and we certainly didn’t want to risk knackering it all over again.
So many things to learn, and so few of them the things I thought I’d be learning at this stage. For example, I have so far had almost zero time to practise any Portuguese. On the other hand, I do now know how to handle a wheelchair on city streets. I learned that it’s better to approach uneven surfaces at a slight angle. If a ramp from pavement to street looks like it ends in a rut, then better go down it backwards. This I discovered after one heart-stopping moment when the front wheels caught in a small dip and Husband was about to be pitched forward face first in a way that would have been embarrassing for us both. Somehow balance was regained just in time.
I know the streets of Barcelona quite well now.
I had to adjust an expectation too. I thought that being anywhere on the Iberian peninsula would have echoes of our future life to it, but Barcelona couldn’t be further from the Algarve if it tried. It is a town that barely wants to acknowledge Spain; Portugal might as well be on the moon. I loved Barcelona, just not in the way I thought I would. But it’s a magical city I know I will want to visit again.