Monday, May 28, 2007

To Barcelona--No Jet Lag

Kirk and I will be on our Mediterranean Cruise From May 29th to June 11th, something we´ve been planning for years. Thanks to an over-the-counter homeopathic and a Hammer Nutrition product, REM, I was able to sleep on the plane and was jet-lagless flying non-stop from O´Hare to Barcelona.

Our plan was to arrive in Barcelona a couple of days in advance of embarkation so we could get to know Barcelona a bit. We arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Peninsular, a one star wonder, about 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The room consisits of a matress, no springs, two wooden folding chairs and a folding table. No dressars, no TV, no phone. The room is lit by three 40 watt bulbs. But it does have a bathroom in the room. We´re lucky about that as the other floors share a shower and toilet for about 10 rooms. We´re so lcuky because we´re on the 5th floor which is one floor beyond where the elevator (lift) travels. This elevator is a 1940 vintage, maybe earlier. But, for our purposes it´s quite sufficient. We´re out in the city except for sleeping.

Lunch on Sunday at an Egytian restaurant around the corner and then off to explore our neighborhood by foot. We´re just off the main drag, Las Ramblas, which is bubbling with life of a penultimate cosmospolitan city. We bought a 10 ride pass on the Barcelona equivalent of the CTA and took off for parts of further reach. We poked around the Barcelona Cathedral which was started in the late 13th centruy and finished about 80-100 year later. Amazing gothic structure, watched a humongous water fountain show, that puts the Buckingham fountain to shame, when the sun went down so the light display was more brilliant.

The apartment/condos are wonderfully decorated with window boxes over flowing with flowering plants; the streets are narrow, but not as narrow as Paris, but everybit as meadering and non-grid-like as Boston. They´re paved in a way that make an American think they are ped ways. Always surprises you when a few cars and a boat load of motorcycles seemingly race down the streets. Motorcycles/scooters are definitely the most efficient means of getting around. They´re everywhere and parked 2 and 3 deep on the streets and sidewalks.

Hard to find food that is dairy, gluten, and meat free around here. I think I lived on Clif Bars brought from home the first 24 hours. Finally found an organic, vegetarian restarurant tonight. I was in heaven.

I wish I were as good a walker as I am rider. I feel like a major league pitcher who only has so many pitches in his arm after which his form and performance begins to deteriorate. I have only so many steps in me before my back, feet, and legs wear out. We must have walked 6 miles yesterday and 6-8 today. I´ll be glad to see the ship tomorrow.

Today we spent nearly all day regaling in the wonder of Gaudi´s Sacred Family Cathedral and his contributions to the Park Guell.

I won´t be able to add pix until I get home, but I got some good ones to capture the wonder of these grand works.

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