I gazed at this balcony till the image was imprinted on my eyelids. I could imagine myself living there, in a room with wooden floors where I would walk barefoot between the bed and an unfinished painting on an easel. I would wake late, sleep late, and spend goodly amounts of time cooking pasta before taking walks to the park. I would water the plants everyday and look out at the world -gazing back down at a small figure in the street who stands looking up, daydreaming about my apartment.
That was my alternate life, the potential life-of-Zoe, if I lived in Barcelona.
Barcelona is like this: daydreamy and surreal. It is the inverse of Paris, which is a shell of sorts - a kind of hollowed-out-church, a whisp of former glory that is now filled with tourists clicking their camera shutters, instead of praying worshippers. Conversely, Barcelona is a living organism - moving, and effervescent.
There is so much to see in Barcelona, so much to take-in...
Trees laden with oranges, which you must try and pick by climbing a lamp-post, only to discover that they are the very bitter male version of the plant.
Friendly shop-owners to talk to about the recent football game.
Beer to drink, while seated at a sidewalk cafe.
The bohemian feel of the old quarters, where young hipsters lounge around on scooters making-out underneath the laundry hanging from the balconies above.
The sea, which you must dip your feet into, even though it is freezing in spring.
The humidity of the air, giving each breath a weighty substance.
Red parrots and zippy-scooter drivers that you have to watch out for.
The juices, sold in rainbow-rows of colour at La Boqueria. And, if you are Oliver, you must drink at least five of these a day.
The skateboarders, the bikers and the rollerbladers, all of them passing between large crowds of people gathered outside a small bar on the waterfront where everyone and their mother is watching the latest football game.
The parks of the city, with grassy areas that are perfect for midday siestas.
Spanish guitar players to listen to, and notes to lose yourself in, over a glass of wine.
The street art and the museum art - which you must peruse standing up, on a day when you don't sit down at all.
Festivities to watch, at any time of the year: sculpted giants on parade; or midnight folk-dancing performed by women with gnarled hands clasped together.
The offbeat clubs, where one can hear live cuban or reggae or metal music, depending on the night.