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Trip report--Peggy & Maryfran's trip to Spain

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Mary brought some of her pictures from Spain, and we went through them, reminiscing about the fun we had. Our first evening in Barcelona was a Sunday, and we were hot to see the Sardana. It wasn't happening in the plaza in front of the Cathedral, so we headed off to Placa Sant Jaume to see if we could catch it there. The cathedral plaza was a busy place, with dozens of old-timers sitting on the stone benches across from it, many with their dogs. They didn't seem to be doing much but chatting and looking. We strolled across the plaza and saw what I took to be a bronze statue. I thought it must be of a local hero or dignitary, but when I was closer, I realized it was a young man with a clock on his stomach, who was standing dead still, not twitching a muscle. I put a coin in the little box in front of him in sympathy for the discomfort he must (voluntarily, of course) be feeling. He was the first of several people we saw doing this sort of thing.
As we returned from Placa Sant Jaume, we saw a rust-colored guy made up to look like Jesus on the cross, and later we saw another Jesus (in a really bad wig), this one the Sacred Heart. My favorite was a couple days later on La Rambla--the Grim Reaper, complete with scythe and skeleton face and hands. Periodically he would point at someone or else beckon to a passer-by. It was pretty funny. Kind of like, "It's time. You're next!"

The Sardana was great! There were colorfully uniformed musicians playing the traditional Sardana music, and as I watched, I knew I was seeing something really authentic, not just a show put on for tourists. On the way back to our hotel, we saw various street musicians, the most popular one being an operatic type singer with a group of old geezers singing the chorus. Also very cool! Later, we had a tasty dinner at the restaurant in the Hotel Colon. We were jet lagged and didn't want to go too far afield to find food.

The next day we took one of those hop-on, hop-off buses to La Casa Mila and the Block of Discord. Gorgeous places! I think that so much 20th century architecture doesn't stand the test of time, but the Gaudi stuff and the Modernisme buildings in general were fabulous. The Palau de Musica was equally gorgeous. We never seem to spend enough time in wonderful cities like Barcelona, and this time was certainly no exception. We voiced our regrets to each other as we dragged our suitcases, like the hick tourists we are, to the Placa de Catalunya to catch the plane to the airport, one of our regrets being the fact that as we ate dinner at an outdoor restaurant (Garduña--very good food), an extremely slick thief had managed to steal Mary's purse FROM HER LAP without our realizing it until he was out of sight around the corner. Luckily, she had given me her passport, driver's license and ATM card to me to put in my money belt, so all she lost was her digital camera. The fact that he got away with that purse is amazing because we are paranoid about thieves in countries where there's reputed to be crime against tourists. Anyway, we did love Barcelona, despite the theft.

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