The market wakes slowly like a dawn chorus building to a performance of sound and colour. I buy dos ajos y cinco tomates and the juiciest apricots I have ever tasted, not like the dusty ones we get in England. From a small table a woman is selling precious oils. I buy the Patchouli, a heavy and earthy scent. In broken English the woman tells me to open it this way, tick-tack, she says. I am accosted by a skinny asparagus seller who, for 3 euros provides my needs for a week. I can’t say no to anyone today. I meet Gide the darkly beautiful and heartbroken hostel owner who I stayed with in January. “Te quiero.” (I love you), she says and pays for my coffee. On the church steps I am beckoned by a man sitting with a pile of pamphlets and a pipe. “Buy my poems!” He calls in a Yorkshire accent. (I can never resist a poet.) Glancing through his home made book I marvel at how we who love to write, cast our souls upon the world with all the careless abandon of an autumn tree.
Returning home I hitch up a handful of skirt and wade across the river, and I suddenly realise why I love coming here. There is a wild energy that is less constrained by social programming. I guess it is possible to come here and not notice it. You can tell those ones by their pristine lycra shorts, smart rucksacks and clean boots. But for others it is an emergency that calls them to free their caged spirits. We wash up here like flotsam from every part of the world in order to reach back to a wilder, untamed self.
I get home clutching a book of poems, juice dripping down my chest and no apricots left for the fridge.