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Barri Gotic Barcelona

Monday, March 25th, 2002

In Barcelona we stayed in the Lower Barri Gotic area at Hotel Peninsular at Carrer Sant Pau, 34. Two single beds; sink; window opens into central court; very clean and nice bathroom and shower down the hall; towels, soap, toilet paper even. The hotel was on a narrow side street off the Rhumba or main promenade; full of Middle Eastern and Indian businesses. Down the street away from the Rhumba and couple blocks toward the water was a pretty rough area with prostitutes standing facing the street always with one foot up flat against the wall. Excellent cafe around the corner toward Rhumba; internet about three blocks down the Rhumba toward a statue of Columbus pointing the way West.

Bob came back late to the hotel one night about midnight. Right in front of the
hotel doors three guys walked up by him. One of them asked for the time and as Bob tried to show him his watch the guy tried to trip him. The hotel proprietor, who was on the job and alert, came running out of the hotel with a club. The men run off leaving Bob rather shaken and leery.

Big Deal
The architect Gaudi has left some remarkably wonderful work including the cathedral called the Temple Expiatiori de la Sagrada Familia. It won’t be completed before 2020. I want to come back to see it even if someone has to wheel me in here! The Gaudi Park, originally built as a planned living community, failed and was taken over by the city.

Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Parque Güell, Palacio Büell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Casa Batlló, and the Crypt in Colonia Güell represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture.

The work of Antoni Gaudí represents an exceptional and outstanding creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Gaudí’s work exhibits an important interchange of values closely associated with the cultural and artistic currents of his time, as represented in el Modernisme of Catalonia. It anticipated and influenced many of the forms and techniques that were relevant to the development of modern construction in the 20th century.

Gaudí’s work represents a series of outstanding examples of the building typology in the architecture of the early 20th century, residential as well as public, to the development of which he made a significant and creative contribution. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Small things
How to feel stupid in another country: buy a Metro Pass and then stand there like a dummy because you cannot figure out how to get it into the intake slot where you walk through the stiles. Finally we both figured it out at once-take the paper pass out of it’s tight clear plastic cover! If you hate feeling out of control and disoriented be sure to travel-it’ll make you flexible and tolerant!

The International Herald Tribune co-produces a pull-out section with whatever country it is distributed in, so for example, in Spain, the paper co-produces the pull out with El Pais, the major Spanish daily. The chairmanship of the European Union changes every six months and Spain is taking its turn so the papers are covering the EU and Basque terrorism.

The New Young Brits

Saturday, March 23rd, 2002

In the train, before crawling into my compartment, I stood out in the hall and had a great conversation with a bright energetic young Brit (Richard) attending Cambridge. He had been traveling by himself on college break all through Morocco. (There were thousands of European students on college break traveling all over Europe during this time.)

He explained, when asked, that in Britain at these schools you pick a subject and then only study that subject-and his subject was Modern History. He was full of questions about my 1965 trip to Europe and about my activities during the Viet Nam War. He was fully aware that in the U. S. more Viet Nam veterans have committed suicide since the war than all the 40,000 men who died during that war.

At first I thought Richard was French because he was speaking so fluently in French with someone else in another compartment but he explained that he grew up bilingual.

My generation in America has grown up with a view of Britain as the great colonialist country but perhaps it’s citizens have learned a great deal from it’s own history and Britain now has one of the most culturally sophisticated generations in the English speaking world. The upcoming generations of Americans would do well to learn from them-indeed it must especially if we are to learn how to get along with the rest of the world. But it won’t happen without exposure to other cultures on a pretty broad scale and at a pretty young age. For example, Richard’s first travel experience was at the age of 15 when he was sent to India alone by his parents for several months. What parents do you know that would allow their 15 year old children the same experience-alone? Richard said that words cannot describe the feeling you have when you step off the plane for the first time in Bombay-and you only have a first experience one time-he noted-and you never forget it.

He left me thinking that if this generation of youngsters will be in charge of the world in the next 20 years we will be ok.

The next morning we took a ferry from Tangiers to Algeciras; ate at a great family run Tapas Bar around the corner from the train station-snails in tomato sauce, Potato Ruso, fried calimari, seafood salad in mayonnaise sauce and beer and then took the train from Algeciras to Madrid. Arrived 10pm in Madrid and picked up another night train to Barcelona. Same kind of sleeping compartments as night before in Morocco but hey-we’re old hands at this now! Even got to sleep in middle beds in the compartment and no one shut the window!


Tuesday, March 12th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif From Seville we took a bus to Algeciras on the south coast of Spain and saw hundreds of windmills that reminded Bob of Don Quijote. In Algeciras we took the ferry to Tangier. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Seville Spain

Monday, March 11th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif In Seville, found a charming pension-the Hospedaje Monreal at Calle Rodrigo Caro, in Barria de Santa Cruz-about a block from the cathedral right in the middle of maze-like Barrio Santa Cruz with its hundreds ... [Continue reading this entry]

Spanish Trains

Friday, March 8th, 2002
Spanish trains have compartments with room for six people. Luckily ours had two young Swiss girls that we recruited, a young guy from Japan that was studying Spanish in Salamanca for a few months but going to Portugal for ... [Continue reading this entry]

Salamanca Spain

Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
I just walked out of the jaw-dropping Cathedral in the beautiful old city of Salamanca a few minutes ago. Made Notre Dame in Paris look pretty tame. And there are several cathedrals in Salamanca! The city, named ... [Continue reading this entry]