Fifty thousand people visit Barcelona’s La Boqueria market every day. They enter beneath an arch from which the city’s shield hangs with the words “Mercat St Josep La Boqueria” attached. Antoni de Falguera designed the entrance in 1913, one year before the market had its roof installed.
When the faintest scent of coffee beans tickles my nose, I’m transported to another place. I close my eyes, my breathing slows, and I’m no longer in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, surrounded by red clay and all things Southern. Instead, I’m in Madrid. I’m walking on the cobblestone streets, the rancid smell of cured jamón serrano wafting through the air.
On my first morning in Spain I thought I had everything I needed for complete happiness: clear blue sky, the sparkling Mediterranean at the foot of the hill, a large terrace with a view of the Rock of Gibraltar, and outside temperatures that didn’t require layers. It was the end of March and my husband, seven-year-old daughter, and I had flown from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Malaga the night before to visit our friends Roy and Patricia and escape the dreary winter.