What made me first fall in love with her?
Was it the romance of narrow cobblestone streets winding through the Gothic Quarter in the moonlight-
ducking into a tapas bar for boqueronés on a fresh baguette washed down with a slightly chilled glass of Rioja?
Was it climbing through the deserted Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s church, mid construction and empty, back in those early days of the 1970’s, climbing the twisty stone staircase to the roof, sitting against one of the mosaic steeples and picnicking on a Manchego bocadillo con tomato and tiny cans of Spanish beer?
Or maybe the days spent sunning on the sandy Mediterranean beach at the end of the Rambles watching naked old Spanish men tossing water like diamonds in the sky as they laughed and played like little children.
Could it have been sitting at an outdoor cafe in St Jaime Plaza sipping my morning cup of creamy perfectly brewed cafe con leche as I moisten my finger and gather the last croissant crumbs off my plate and touch them to my lips?
Or maybe what stole my heart was wandering the many tiny rooms of the castle-like Picasso Museum savoring his Blue Period
shifting to Rose and on to the lovely wackiness of his cubist works-
a day at Parc Guell, Gaudi’s whimsical park up in the hills, climbing over brilliantly colored mosaic giant lizards?
I know for sure that the Barcelonans themselves made me love their city… joyously celebrating life after Franco’s death and their freedom to speak the musical Catalon language forbidden for so many years under his reign-
I can’t pinpoint what first made me love her
but she has been a life-long partner whom I return to again and again.