It's an autumn day and the air is crisp against my cheek as I step outside. I close the door behind me. 'Click', 2 hours of freedom.
I walk down our street. It's a narrow street, almost too narrow for cars. But nonetheless the occasional car drives up it, either out of ignorance or necessity, scraping their wheels along the high step of the narrow pavements. Some place one of their wheels on a pavement, but that too is hazardous, risking your wing mirror or your body work. It is a street from before the time of cars.
I pass a little ornament of a cockerel that makes me smile when I notice it. He's perched up high, way above the door, not quite at the next floor window, looking down at all the oblivious passersby. A boy playing football, idly bouncing the ball from wall to wall, waiting to go back to school after his lunch break. "Hola", he mutters as I walk past. Past the beautiful large house at the end of the street with it's tall, imposing white garden wall. Orange and lemon trees spill over from the mysterious garden within.
At the end of the road, I step out of the shade of the narrow street and into the bright, glaring sunlight. I blink but carry on walking. Across the pedestrian crossing, I flick my hand in a false gesture of gratitude as a car slows but really it means "I'm crossing, don't run me over".
Past the closed coffee shop with the iron works museum. Medieval style lanterns hang outside. Past the town church. Tall and dominating, a vast box like structure with ugly gargles. It looms over me, cutting out the bright, unspoilt blue sky. But I like it, it has a friendly if not distant persona. Past the deserted market and the town square full of empty metal chairs.
I reach Carrer de Sant Sebastian, patron saint of Catalonya. A wider street that will permit the width of a delivery lorry. Still, it's not busy and people drive slowly. There are more people now. Children returning to school after the lunch time break. "Para!" I hear a women shout at a frustrating child. Stop! An old man coughing, ladies wearing high legged boats, hair neatly coiffed, sunglasses.
Until I arrive at another square, Camp d'en Prats. I don't stop walking, I'm not in a rush, just not dawdling, enjoying the details of spanish life. I walk past the kids playground. I love this stretch of road for it's trees. In the middle of the road are a line of plane trees, trunks all mottled with dappled greys. Their branches reaching high into the blue, stretching above me. Majestic and elegant. There are regal palm trees, with coronets of spiky leaves. And a group of spanish pine trees, long, slender trunks, like a woman wearing high heels, adorned with green feathery scarves. Further along I see a humble, over grown olive tree. It's leaves silvery grey, shaped like delicate almonds.
And on, past the traffic lights. I have to wait, this is a busy junction for Palafrugell. There are 3 lanes. Over the little brook which always has rubbish strewn around it but normally the water is crystal clear. Today it's murky brown after all the rain. Until I arrive at the salmon pink building that is the adult education centre and my 2 hours of catalan class.
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