Barcelona

February 24, 2016

España, magnificent, but suffering still. Much unemployment…Barcelona a veritable bee hive of activity, however – so many places to go, so many things to do: it’s never ending!

Dry but overcast. Freezing temperatures across much of the country, with snow falls further north. Heavy rainfall in the Canary Islands. Our arrival at the airport was on schedule. We collected bags and struggled to EuroCar to pick up a Ford Focus and drive off into the great unknown.

We drove through the damp darkness for what seemed like hours. One way streets thwarted our designs, the damn map was old and mislead us with ease – believing the shortest distance between two points was a straight line, we came in sight of our hotel’s green illuminated sign, glimpsed above passing rooftops, our final, much desired destination…but somehow it remained just out of reach, courtesy of the one way system. The roads inevitably took us further away. We imagined ourselves circling for eternity…perhaps we had died on the flight and this was hell?

In a small service station I asked directions. The white shirted owner replied in machine gun bursts of Spanish. Too many derecha e izquierdas, too many hand gestures for my tired head to retain…Soon lost again. So near, so tantalizingly near…”Let me play you tunes without measure or end…”

But finally, finally we arrive. Success at last. We book in, drop off our cases in wonderful rooms, then hurry to the restaurant before it closes for the night.

One of Antonio Gaudí’s many creations

One of Antonio Gaudí’s many creations

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Thick hot chocolate and churros for elevenses in the morning. Then art galleries, Museu Picasso, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, these followed by Ginebra con tónica…three large Gins on ice with tonic…and lunch.

Later a slow stroll through Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, faint ghosts of the ancient Roman city of Barcino. Glass ramps above the 2000 year old streets. The pots outside the ancient public laundry were for now long dead people to piss in…glimpses of another way of life, different yet similar.

We decided, come what may, tomorrow we’ll visit Museu de la Xocolata! Yes, yes, it’s true – a museum dedicated to chocolate!

Museu d’Història de la Ciutat

Museu d’Història de la Ciutat

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In the Spanish news, money laundering. Officials of the Chinese bank ICBC arrested on suspicion of laundering millions of Euros.

In Madrid a Podemos councilor’s on trial because she bared her breasts in chapel back in 2011as a protest. A witness praying in the chapel at the time of the incident testified that the protesters had shouted slogans such as “Against the Vatican, clitoris power” or “We will burn you like in 36”, in reference to violence against Catholics during the 1936-9 civil war. The councilor, Rita Maestre, faces a year’s prison sentence for the offence.

Feuding Salford gangsters took their troubles to the Costa del Sol. Spanish police arrested six Brits thought to be connected with a series of tit-for-tat gangland shootings in Salford.

Catalan poet Dolors Miquel read her feminist version of ‘Our Father, who art in heaven’ at the annual Barcelona Awards. The poem reads as follows:

“Our Mother, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy coño (cunt).
The epidural, the midwife, bring to us your cry,
Your love, your strength.
Become by your will our uterus over the Earth.
Our day of every day, give us today.
And do not allow those sons of bitches to abort love, make war.
Liberate us! Forever and ever, vagina. Let’s go!”

Christian leaders have filed a complaint which will lead to criminal charges for blasphemy being brought against the poet. If convicted, she’ll face a long prison term.

Barcelona’s metro to strike for two days (Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th ) the first and last day of the world’s biggest mobile trade fair…

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We drank much red wine, and gin, and rough Spanish brandy. We eat chocolate as if each day were Easter, and we were greedy, spoilt children. Wonderful. We visited old friends and talked into the early hours of morning about everything and nothing. We laughed much and eat a huge paella, the largest I’ve ever seen in my life.

We toured the city by El Tram or by bus. Cabs were reassuringly (and surprisingly) cheap? Walking through the Ramblas at two am was an experience…not one to repeat on a regular basis, however…

And so our time in the city went by…

My head filled to bursting with the artworks we’d seen. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Paintings, sculptures. Ancient and Modern. And, of course, Antonio Gaudí’s giant basilica, Sagrada Familia which should have been left at Gaudi’s death, unfinished. An unfinished work of a peculiar and original genius…

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Home again, home again…

And the sun is shining!