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Sunday, August 2, 2015


       Since we now worship bacon in the U.S., we decided to visit Spain where people are humbled by a different pig part, ham. Who can resist the taste, sight,      and smell of a dead pig's leg?                                          Admiring the ham

    Three of us jetted down to Barcelona and it's amazing Boqueria Market.

    We watched people stare as  thin slices were cut from the holiest of hams. Prices started at $30 a pound and went as high as $90. Meat lovers stood transfixed. It was like watching stoners shopping in a Colorado dope emporium.

      Yes, there was also other food for sale in the world's most fabulous  market (and perhaps the oldest, circa  1208).

The things we tried were delicious and inexpensive.


         Watermelon shards and twelve kinds of smoothies, 1 Euro ($1.15) each

    Since Francesca and I are vegetarians, we enjoyed the ice cream cones, passing on the taste tempting ham cones.


Tourists love La Boqueria and they pack it like sardines ( 6 Euros a kilogram).  

After we could eat no more we walked out onto La Rambla, Barcelona's popular pedestrian esplanade.  Thousands were enjoying the sunny weather, flower stalls, and street artists.  
                The Yellow Lady spends her days balanced on a bike 

    La Rambla ends at the harbor where a statue of Christopher Columbus points out to sea. He seems to say, "I'm going to where man has never gone before except for Native Americans, some Viking dudes, and perhaps a few stray Chinese".

       Beyond him is what looks like a very large lighthouse.  In Miami a developer threatens to build a disgusting 600-foot tower covered with TV advertising.  
In Barcelona, they have this delightful 200-foot tower that carries gondolas over the harbor's entrance.  This town rocks!

    The Catalans of old used thousands of rocks to build the ancient town now  preserved inside this huge market space.  This is holy ground,  where the Catalonia republic lost its final battle with Spain 300 years ago.  According to a Catalan taxi driver, it was as if the United States of America had lost the Revolutionary War. 

     Many visit Barcelona to admire the city's architecture.  Antoni Gaudi made his name here designing incredible buildings, liquid-like forms with squiggly, organic shapes. His most famous creation is the church you see below, La Sagrada Familia.                                                                        It's been under construction
for over a hundred years and will probably be completed after you and I are dead. 

While we didn't die in Barcelona

we were almost eaten by several buildings.

Our AirBnb apartment
was impressive as well.

We were impressed by the thin walls that allowed our neighbors to share their family life and the late-night parties with us.

 A few  Barcelonians apparently like to sleep.  We walked past one high-rise with balconies festooned with large, hand-made banners saying, "Quiet, Please!", "Let Us Sleep!" and "Quiet the Night".  There is even a public campaign to tone down this partying town.

         I thought it was cool that so many people commute on scooters and motorcycles. They whiz past in business clothes and crowd the curbs with their parked vehicles.  
For some reason, my two female traveling companions did not want to tour the local motorcycle museum. 
 I did snap a few pictures in the lobby for those of you who appreciate such things.


                                                 Doing Dali in the Pablo Picasso Museum
 I saw all kinds of two-wheelers from Harleys to Hondas.  When I drove a Honda 50 in 1966 friends would kid me because it was small and underpowered.  While they haven't been available in the States since the 70's, the "50's" are still popular in Spain with the laughable name, the "Honda Scoopy". 
   Traffic was fast and wild.  I didn't see many bicycles taking their chances in downtown Barcelona. 

     We learned you could fly from Barcelona to Rome for  $37 (less than the taxi fair to the airport) so we were soon crossing over islands in the blue Mediterranean.
     I'll be writing about Italy's capital when I try this blogging thing again.

Our summer travels are taking us to Brittany, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Paris and San Francisco. We're now beyond Barcelona and I am now writing about the places we visited three weeks ago. I try to "catch up" but this blogging thing takes time.  
    In our travels I am always amazed by the great things we see that Miami could have.  As an example, consider the outdoor food markets. These farmers markets are everywhere in Europe with luscious,fresh food, beautifully displayed. 
A torrent of fruit, Boqueria Market

    Sadly, all we have in Coconut Grove is Stan's Saturday market on Grand.  It's not so "grand" as parking is difficult, shoppers walk in dirt and grope for produce buried deep in cardboard boxes. 

    Our local leaders could provide a public space for a real market but they do not. 

   The people of Coconut Grove deserves more than they are getting. We need a decent farmers market, a vibrant Peacock Park, and the many other things that would allow us to be a stronger, more connected community.
   The joy of travel is in the seeing new things, meeting new people and bringing the memories home to inspire us to do things better. Let's hope we can all carry that spirit.

The  11th century market is surrounded by outdoor restaurants.  Here are two of their 21st century waiters on break.


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