Sheila's entries appear in purple
Dan's entries appear in blue.
Saturday, Sept 30 (3:30 am)
(Dan) Woke up this morning, with the urge to wander a few blocks around, get the lay of the land, and discovered quickly that we are staying in what amounts to Historic Barcelona.
Two blocks away we came across the Cathedral - built with some considerable effort, over about a hundred years, during the 1500s. Christianity crept into this area during the fall of the fabled Roman Empire (back when the years only had 3 digits); and while Spain for centuries played a starring role in the history of the religion, Cathedrals like this never ceased inspiring the common folk with their truly elegant, passively gripping atmosphere.
Walk inside the soaring, vaulted rooms, and crane your head upward into its ornate, lavishly crafted, lovingly detailed space. You feel religion at its best--a kind of placid contemplation of the nature of our existence--minus the all-too-human machinations that diluted the original spiritual feelings that gave birth to places like this.
Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona, was a young woman tortured to death by the Romans (they stuffed her in a barrel of broken glass and rolled her down a hill among other periodesque diversions). Later on, of course, the church administrators saw fit to carry on the such measures during the sanctimonious Spanish Inquisition.
Not sure what to make of all the history, but the pleasant feeling inside a cathedral like this lingers to this day and the tourists all enjoy it.
Outside, a decrepit woman of 85, face scarred and eye missing, kneels with palm outstretched. I fill it with a 100 peseta coin; how could I not? Then, a few feet up the steps, another palm reaches out: a youngish woman in a Nike jacket, who is churlish toward all the unfeeling people passing her by. She is blocking the stairs for the tourists and I don't really feel her pain. She snarls at me but I forgive her, and turn the other cheek.
(Sheila) Good news of the day: Lufthansa delivered Dan's guitar to Alberto's house. We are all happy and celebrate by drinking Guinness all night at the Irish bar around the corner. The Guinness is delicious, probably part of the Irish scheme to make sure the worst of each batch ends up in England.
LOCAL HEADLINE, TRANSLATED for English-only readers: Petroleum Industry Strike Cripples Local Transportation. Residents of Barcelona are hardly encumbered, as the entire city lies within walking distance. But our first show is a 2-hour van drive into the Catalan countryside, and we may run out of petrol on the late-night drive home. Hmm. What to do. STAY TUNED, FOLKS...
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