Want to go to Spain VI

The taxi driver is quite manic  So agitated that he takes us to the wrong hotel but refuses to admit it.  With more than a little positive communication and some “show and tell”,   Susan somehow gets this fellow to acknowledge the right hotel on the indisputable map.    Screeching around, we are now headed off to the Ritz Hotel in  beautiful Barcelona.

Before heading for dinner at this new and exciting part of the trip,  we wander into the bath and find carefully sculpted Italian marble  wrapped around us that  invites a luxurious and restful bath.  We hurry a little to meet our appointment with freshly made, Paella.  We waltz into a cloud of welcoming good manners and food the gods had not yet tasted.  The service is excellent.  The cooperation of the concierge delightfully helpful.  The staff beyond reproach.  Barcelona beckoning its bundle of activities goes into our dreams this night.

As we walk toward the  Cathedral Familia and encounter a quirky fountain desperately trying to function  the way an elegant fountain might.  Pigeons own the square  are literally everywhere.  We looking at very well dressed children enthralled and  they are standing quietly in a sea of pigeons.  The children  allow these pigeons to sit on their arms and heads.  While I am struck with this scene, out of the corner of my eye I see a Janannese couple snatch ( in a joyful way) Susan for a shot in Barcelona with a pretty American girl.

We peek into neighborhoods that reflect the various populations that at one time ruled the roost in this city of such as the Gothic Quarter.  We tour undaunted by torrents of rain but stop from time to time to review booklets about the Citadels, Cathedrals and  a particularly  an important park called,  Parc Guell which is a fanciful display of the famous architect , Gaudi’s playful expression.

Oh! No! Not again!

Over there in the middle of an unpleasant crowed is, Susan.  Camera in action where she is making a film of some local crooks working their shell game to pull in some cash.  The men gesture for her to stop…to go away.  They have illegal business to transact and do not want it on film.   Tough men move from behind their table  and become intimately close to Susan and raise their fists in her face.  The crowd moves closer to take part in the excitement.  I quake with fear and inhale deeply.  On the exhale I observe,  Susan who  with equal verve and  some subtle gesture which escapes me but  loosely translates (apparently) to the shell game guy:  bug off old man!   Well what else does one do after this?   But of course,  we go to the Cathedral Familia.

Here it is, the Cathedral that has been actively in progress for over 100 years and is still not complete.  One can go into these sanctuaries as a viewer or one can give in to the attempt of the architect’s intentions as one gives in to good music or a lover:  with trust and expectation.  I tell you, we are in another world with a thousand rooms.  Great architects understand time and space.  We who enter seem able to go to places in our psyche that otherwise might be beyond our reach.

On to the beautiful sidewalks of Barcelona that are works of art.  Each small square we tread upon is a work of art.  Tapas bars invite us to an afternoon snack to hold us over until a late dinner.   Dignified shop-keepers extoll the value of speaking, Catalan in Barcelona.  Catalonia is an ubiquitous word because it is “the” language and culture of, Barcelona. We learn that their is a Catalonian connection historically to the Pyrenees which society is connected  in turn to Paris in its long  History.   We see translation store-fronts named:  Blah!  Blah!  Blah!  We laugh and love it. But we have to go home without seeing all of wonderful Spain.  A taste of Spain wets the appetite to know more of all of Spain.

But first a quick stop-over in London. We check into the Basil Street Hotel  on Basil  Street –a stone’s throw”  from the famous,  Harrod’s Department Store.  After walking to Harrods and enjoying all its fine wares, we retreat to Tea at our hotel.  So….we walk into the very large area (bigger than a room)  with chairs all around the perimeter.  the Tea-Room is more quiet than church.  All those lined up chairs are filled with both dour and serene countenances not one of which seemed to communicate with others in this rarified room.  So….this is okay!   We can observe without compunction.  I like it….yes, like that atmosphere which bespeakes a quiet time of day in which to consider where one was and where one might be  for the rest of the day.  The tea was soothing and the finger sandwiches were in great variety.  We try them all. We like them all.   We move on to see the changing of the guard.  We see the Lifeguards on  horse back there to protect the Queen.  We see the Cathedral where the Kings and Queens of England were crowned.

Susan even takes a quick cab trip  to see the philanthropist  who endowed,  The University of London,  with the caveat that he, Jeremy Bentham, philosopher and jurist (1748-1832)  be taxidermied and displayed at the University forever.  He , to this day– is displayed in the cloisters of the- UCL Main Building in all his taxidermied glory.

…and that is the story of going to Spain via Portugal  in  1997 with  Susan  to see brother, Steve.

It was swell.

mosswood  May 8,2013



~ by mosswood on May 8, 2013.

3 Responses to “Want to go to Spain VI”

  1. Wonderful! Wish I had your memory.

  2. Beautifully recalled, I’d forgotten just how remarkable Barcelona was. When we went for tea at our hotel in London I recall seeing “Miss Marple” sitting at the next table having a discussion with a blond actor who’s name I don’t know. It was a wonderful trip!

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