Barcelona, Spain. I am feeling much
better, with my cold diminishing but far from gone. Mary's cold is
lagging mine, so her's is still getting worse, or at best, has
reached a plateau.
We are amazed at how good the weather is. This time of the year is
great! The temperatures have usually been in the 70s; never too cool
and only occasionally too hot.
Barcelona is the cultural center of Spain. It really shows, with the
architecture and monuments throughout the city. This area is known
as Catalonia. Under the leadership of Franco, much of Catalonia's
identity was suppressed. The Catalan culture and autonomy has
increased since the death of Franco in the late 1970s. The old part
of Barcelona is enclosed by Roman walls. The Gothic Quarter has many
buildings, arches, and features displaying stone design. We saw the
Town Hall, Government Office, the Cathedral, the people's cathedral,
and Antonio Gaudi's masterpiece, the Sagrada Famila, the people's
cathedral. It is being paid for by people's donations, so it is by
the people and for the people. It is quite spectacular. There's
nothing else like it! Construction has gone on for decades and may
go on for a few more decades. Be sure to view our photos (on the web
later). We also saw Roman columns from the first century AD.
I talked with two women who, with their spouses, want to come back
to Barcelona because of the art and architecture. It's a very pretty
Little packets of information: One of the two bull fighting rings is
being changed to an exhibition center. The pickpockets have an
agreement with the guides, not to touch tourists with tour stickers
when they are with guides. After a tour, if the sticker is left on,
it is a signal that you are a tourist with money (to take). There
are no corners in Barcelona. All buildings at street corners have a
flat surface cut across the corner. The shops close in the afternoon
from about 2:00pm until 4:40pm. During that time the workers go home
and eat lunch. They then come back and work until about 8:30pm and
start dinner about 9:30pm. I find that schedule very unattractive
because it takes up the entire day so there is no time for projects,
or maintenance, or sports.
In 1492 the Catholics made all non-Catholics leave the country. So,
in addition to being excluded from Spain and killed in France, we
have heard in other countries on the cruise about Protestants being
persecuted by Catholics.
Hey, do I have a surprise for you! Mary has taken an interest in
taking photos and understanding digital cameras. She is using the
smaller-size camera of the two that we brought. It's humorous that I
frequently find myself waiting for her to take photos, instead of
her always waiting for me. She has taken many hundreds of photos!
She is asking lots of questions about using the camera, and lighting
and composition of photos.
Also, at 5:45am this morning Mary was on her way to the laundry to
wash clothes. I joined her a little while later, to dry the clothes
so she could get a cup of coffee. The is our third time using the
laundry. We will need one more time prior to leaving the ship.