Friends, Horses, Siestas and Dogs -Barcelona to Vic – 20 June 2022

I sincerely believe that if I didn’t have dogs I might sleep until 10am every day. At home my three pups are like fucking roosters when it comes to rousing me, usually at 7 am. Give me a break I often tell them! They ignore my pleas. This can be tiresome.

I woke at 8am today, having made my dent on the giant marshmallow, took a quick yet thorough shower, threw on my clothes and half sauntered/dashed to the cocina where I selected from a Catalan/Spanish/French array of incredible foods. The cook prepared me scrambled eggs with fine herbs. Heaven, bloody wonderful. I ate at first leisurely then more hurriedly after Marti called to tell me I should be at the Polo Club by 930 at the latest.

Lugging backpack and rolling suitcase, I paid my bill, feeling less like Maxwell Smart, I chose the appropriate buttons to exit and bade adieu to Margot aka Heaven. I had ordered a cab through Uber. Said cab arrived with surly Mohammed the miserable driver. He refused to take me to the agreed upon address until he had argued at length with Marti, then demanded another 5 euro to go around the f’g block. I exited said cab. I fumed. Grabbed my suitcase, flipped him the universal FU sign and stormed off to the correct entrance. There I met Marti and his assistant Nestor who was hard at work pulling shoes from a gorgeous tall specimen of a horse. Being careful not to get kicked I instead focused on rubbing its nose and giving it kisses. I cooed like a horse crazed teenager or senior citizen having a flashback-you pick. I am unashamed when it comes to animals. You should see me with geese. I’m ridiculous.

I followed Marti and a dapple grey mare to an exercise area to see if she could go barefoot for awhile. I’m no expert but she sure looked fine to me. Marti agreed. What a beauty. But of course every horse at this place has got to be worth close to a fortune. And speaking of fortunes, one very rotund, obviously rich dude was waiting for us to return so he could harass my friend. Think, if only for a second, a repulsive combo of Trump/McConnell/DaddyWarbucks. You get the picture? I could read this sucker like a throw away “actual should’ve been banned” book. He was nasty. Marti was professional. The man huffed away. Marti returned the horses to their appropriate stalls while Nestor cleaned up. We then hopped in the truck and drove off to Vic. It was only 1130, he had already worked on a dozen horses. Farriery is no easy job. The horses are often much nicer and easier to work with than the owners.

The drive to Vic takes about an hour +/-. The drive gets beautiful after about 20 minutes as one heads north and slightly east of Barcelona, surrounded by gentle hills, soon mountains, about half way to Figueres, home to the Dali Museum with its loaves of bread plastered on the outside. It’s doubtful on this trip I will grace the doors of the Mecca to surrealist art lovers, though it is tempting. We stopped briefly for a bathroom break and what Marti calls “bird food” aka chips and drinks then back on the road, hauling the shoeing trailer.

We arrived in time for lunch, and were greeted by older son Daniel, then a tour of the small ranch and architect/designer/friend of my hosts, Marti and Sylvia’s forward thinking home. I remember the last time I was here, so many years ago. It was brand new. There were no trees then, just this cool lengthy abode looking like a collection of very upscale alternating shipping containers with sliding windows and doors, living and entertaining spaces, shaded areas, pass-through porches. Views of the land around, the horses in the pastures, wild birds chirping happily, the wild rabbits hopping here and there, and four adorable dogs happily scurrying about make this a most desirable place to rest my El Corte Ingles hat for a bit.

We ate. It was siesta and I lay, then soon napped upon my the bed in the guest quarters at the end of the breezeway. It’s as if it were made for me. No one will be jarred awake in the middle of the night by my snoring…lucky them, and me.

A farrier’s work is never done. Soon after the obligatory siesta Daniel assisted Marti with removing the horse/athlete’s shoes. These are beautiful, spirited competition horses. I watched with awe as seventeen year old soccer playing/rider Daniel gently talked to the horses while removing their shoes. Then all were ready to be released into their stalls. I managed to pet one of the horses before retreating behind the electrified fence.

Soon Sylvia returned from her job as head of veterinary medicine at university of Barcelona’s hospital- a two hour daily commute, and refused my help in the kitchen. I begrudgingly sat down, observed her food prep and we chatted about this and that. Soon we were eating salads etc, around the big table in the living/dining area surrounded by art and the welcome feeling one gets when with friends that time and distance does not separate.

Before I knew it I read 10pm on my watch. We were all yawning. I’m here now to sleep, soon to snore and possibly dream.

Hasta Manana.

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