All good things must come to an end. It was time to catch our connecting flight to Barcelona and to leave the magnificent Charles de Gaulle airport. Au revoir Paris. My husband fears that our life in the north has turned me into a country bumpkin if I can be wowed by an airport. I think I have always been a bumpkin, even when I lived in the big city. Oh well, I yam what I yam.
Happily the flight to Barcelona was uneventful. Once in Barcelona we quickly made our way over to Las Ramblas and our hotel. We found our charming boutique hotel on what is probably the busiest and most touristy street in the whole city. Fortunately our hotel room did not face the street. As an aside, our bed had a remote which we could use to raise our heads or our feet, it seemed kind of strange and hospital like but I would have to say that after full days of touring it was really nice to put my feet up. A brilliant idea actually. I’m getting old. We set out to explore our environs. It’s difficult to explain what it felt like as a Canadian in a European city for the first time. I was utterly charmed. I realized that the country that I live in and love is just so new. It’s like loving a baby, all sweetness and innocence with very little past. Spain was like meeting a well travelled, handsome, knowledgeable, mature man with a killer smile and sexy laugh lines (see the effect left by the trashy novels I’ve been reading?).
We explored Las Ramblas and walked all the way down to the waterfront. A huge sculpture of Christopher Columbus pointed us to the water, but we would have found it without him. We went into a lovely indoor market. Can you guess what they had there? If you guessed an illy coffee shop you win the prize. Come on over and I’ll make us each a cup or two. That was a great cup of coffee. One thing I have to say about Spain, I did not have one bad cup of coffee.
We walked to an outdoor market. I saw piles of candy and missed the kids. We saw piles of innards and sheep heads and I missed Canada, where I would not see piles of sheep heads. We walked and walked and then walked some more. I could not help noticing that Spaniards (or maybe it’s just Catalan’s) are not that tall. I also noticed that the women were all dressed to the nines. The weather was cooler than we had expected and we did not have warm enough nice clothing. I bought a black scarf and it made a big difference. We went out for dinner late, very late. Something else to make me feel North American, why eat so late? Don’t they need sleep in Europe?
The next day was more of the same. More walking and sightseeing. Late dinners, excellent food – I LOVE tapas-, feeling slightly underdressed and cold. We went to the Miro museum, a Picasso museum and so much Gaudi. I love Picasso I appreciate Miro and Gaudi was definitely the coolest but the best was just doing. We found an old church where a music professor was giving a concert on guitar through the ages. It was magical. I told Papa Bear that maybe I could do something like this with him every other year. It was all going so well and I really was like a kid in a candy store.
On our third morning (my husband spent the mornings at his conference while I slept and had a leisurely breakfast) I found out just how out of the news loop we were. While I did take Spanish all through high school and I can manage fine while we are on a vacation I’m not inclined to sit and watch the news. I’m sure that I would pick up quite a bit, but this was a vacation. Now, I did take latin for one year in high school and I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually got teary in grade 10 when I read the short little story that told me that Mount Vesuvius is eruptus and the family of Caecilius est mortus. I mention this because what I am trying to say is that I think I would have recognized the words Volcano and eruption in Spanish. But I didn’t watch the news did I? I think that our concierge may have mentioned it to me that morning. As soon as my husband returned to the hotel I pounced on him in a panic. It seems that the beautiful de Gaulle airport shut down two hours after our departure. Barcelona’s airport was closed and we did not know when it would reopen. It seemed that we were up an ocean without a paddle…