First, I noticed the owl.
“Peter. Did you see the owl?”
Our last Airbnb in Spain had a ceramic owl. So, when I found a similar owl, in a similarly inconvenient location, I took it as a good omen.
“What owl?” my husband, Peter, said.
Then I found four more owls, bringing our tally up to five.
“Five owls. Now I know this is going to be a good trip.”
“Huh,” Peter agreed. (Sometimes Peter’s not as effusive as I am.)
We are staying in Frigiliana, a small town in the south of Spain. The rent was suspiciously cheap, but the reviews were all good except to say that the house was on a road with stairs. There is a good reason for this: the town predates wheels. Roads with stairs work perfectly fine if you don’t drive on them.
We were dropped off as close as possible, then faced the challenge of dragging our luggage up the stairs (which was actually the road) to the little blue door of our house. We met our landlady who was both informative and hardy as she hefted our luggage over the cobblestones.
Peter and I have our travel priorities well synched. First, Peter made ice cubes because we need more ice than any European can imagine. We don’t care. We like ice. Peter makes ice cubes in small plastic cups he brings along.
“Wonderful ice cubes,” Peter remarks, every time he does this.
Then we found the tourism office (there actually was one) after we took a wrong turn and asked directions at the gelato shop. I did not have gelato as it was threatening to rain and no one likes to eat gelato in the rain. Plus, I had just polished off an entire bag of cookies I bought just to see if they were any good. (They were.)
Then we went to the big grocery store which was not big but had everything we needed. They had a lot of vegetables and a variety of beans, including some I could not identify. So, naturally, I bought them. It turns out they were mammoth fava beans with skin still on them. Who knew fava beans had skin? Who knew it had to be removed?
Peter made soup with the fava beans. After the soup was cooked, Peter fished the beans out of the soup and skinned them. This is not the recommended order of operations.
“It’s not that bad,” Peter said. “It’s like shucking shrimp” (Peter is such a romantic.)
Then I went up to the bathroom and opened the door to the rooftop terrace. The bathroom is upstairs, all by itself, and the entrance to the terrace is through the bathroom. (It is an unusual arrangement.) Outside I discovered two cats on the roof who immediately made it clear they were expecting a handout. I rustled up some milk. I am quite sure they will show up tomorrow expecting bigger things.
Of course, not everything could go well. We failed to find any kitchen towels which now constitutes an emergency. (A person needs at least one minor emergency just to keep sharp.)
We went to bed early. It started to rain. There had not been much rain, so everyone was grateful. I was lying in bed when I saw it.
“Peter, another owl.”
The church bells stop ringing at 10 p.m. At least, I think they do, as that is the last thing I remember.
“Six owls,” I said to Peter, as the church bells rang.
“Umm,” Peter replied. I could tell he was impressed.