far too much writing, far too many photos

So spring — after creeping slowly in our direction for the past six or seven weeks, backing off now and then for short bouts of rain and cooler temperatures — has sprang. Or sprung. For real, starting two, three days ago. The first day, most Madrileños stuck with winter coats and jackets, not yet trusting the weather’s upturn. Yesterday, lighter clothing began appearing, today there’s a feeling of full-blown surrender to the change of seasons.

More perfect spring weather would be hard to find, and people are out enjoying it around the clock. Tables and chairs began appearing outside restaurants and cafés two days back. Yesterday, the first spread of them appeared in the plaza down the street, occupied by people talking, eating, drinks in hand. From midday until late in the afternoon, during the hours when the plaza is bathed in sunlight, people of all ages were sprawled everywhere hoovering up refreshments and fine weather. The sense of simple pleasure in the arrival of the season is in the air.

The city is at its loveliest at times like this (apart from the low-hanging haze of vehicle exhaust in La Plaza de La Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s centralmost crossroads), and peoplewatching is at its best. Individuals in businesswear walk purposefully along; older folks move more slowly, singly or in pairs, arm in arm; younger folks are everywhere, pierced and done up in modish clothing, footwear and do’s. Folks with European complexions; more classically Spanish-looking people — black hair, dark eyebrows, distinctive facial bone structure and features; darker-skinned folks from Central and South America. Asians, Africans, occasionally people from Arab countries. Residents, dyed-in-the-wool or more recently arrived; tourists, walking with tour books, blinking up into the Iberian light.

I’ve been out doing errands, and the air, sunlight and temperature are positively seductive. Luckily, I have the kind of day and weekend ahead that will allow me to do whatever I get the impulse to do.

I will try and wrap up that unbelievably drawn-out account of that weekend in Pamplona. Today. Or tomorrow. Honest.

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