Last evening here in Barcelona. It’s 5:36 p.m. and I’m struggling to rouse myself so that I might do a bit of work. Later, we’re heading to El Born Barrio with our friendly Catalan landlord to enjoy a final meal out, and, most likely, a few glasses of cava. We told him we had to be home by 11 p.m. on account of our early flight and I could just about hear him laughing at us over text message.
“That’s a prudent hour,” he texted us in his formal Spanish. But doth I detect a hint of good-natured sneering?
Did I mention that Javi is in his 60s, semi-retired, and sporting a corona of white hair?
We are definitely older than most of the old people around these parts, at least in habit and spirit. I was lovingly chided by several Spaniards my first few weeks here for the seemingly odd timing of my “Good mornings,” “Good evenings” and “Goodnights.”
At home in the US, and stop me if you’re working with a different mental clock, It’s “morning” from wake-up to noon. It’s “afternoon” from 12:01 p.m. to about 5 p.m. And it’s “evening” until bedtime.
In Spain, afternoon proper begins around 4 or 5, depending on who you ask, and evening/night? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder.
Last night at 9:30 p.m., we paid a visit to Dry Martini Bar one last time to guzzle a few of their fantastic, humongaloid old-fashioneds (they come in old-man glasses with red AND green cherries) and we were greeted by the formally attired barman with a bow and a “Buenas Tardes.”
Yes. Good afternoon. Just before 10 p.m. So, apparently, E and I have been, throughout our entire lives, in the unwitting habit of going to bed in the afternoon. How strange!
I do tease, but I love the Spaniards. They are surprisingly gentle and passionate, and after all my travels through the roughshod parts of the earth, our time here has felt incredibly breezy, easy and reviving.
It’s never simple to say Farewell, but alas, the time has come.
But, to twist that old adage just a bit to my own devices, I bid you, Barcelona, good afternoon, and most certainly not goodbye.
P.S.: These photos were pulled from my Instagram page. Don’t follow me there yet? You should … I follow back! @erinjbernard.