Things Are Happening

Things are happening this winter in Europe. Babies are being born. Weddings are being celebrated. It’s Poland’s turn for Christmas. All of these factors, plus the ever important factors of ‘why not’ and ‘what else are we going to do’, led us to believe that we should spend the winter in Europe.

The decision to go to Barcelona was more practical: It was the cheapest place to fly into from Boston.

So there we were in Barcelona on the last nice warm day of the year, jet lagged and asleep in our windowless rented apartment. This was because we didn’t know it would be the last nice warm day of the year. But no matter, Barcelona’s December is many a northern climate’s April, so off we went to see the sights.

Barcelona is great for walking if you don’t mind a little healthy competition for the sidewalk. The Barcelonians are so psyched about life that they don’t even look where they are walking. They just keep admiring the scenery and chatting and will certainly just plow through you, if you don’t give up the right of way.

The colder weather encouraged us to spend quality time exploring many of the city’s excellent museums: Picasso, Miro and the National Museum are all amazing. And of course the entire city is Gaudi’s Museum. (La Pedrera and Park Guell are better values than the overpriced Sagrada Familia, but I guess somebody’s got to pay to finish the damn thing).

One day we headed up to Figueras to check out the Dali Museum, which is truly like walking in one ear, through Dali’s twisted brain and out the other ear. Another day was spent visiting one of the little guys of Europe as I fondly call the small countries that people forget about. In this case it was Andorra. It was as charming a tax haven as any I’ve seen and the fondue was of the highest quality.

And since it’s the season, here’s an interesting Catalan Christmas tradition: every Catalan nativity scene must include a pooping figure. Yes it’s true, to ensure a good harvest there must be a dude popping a squat at the birth of Jesus. Amen.

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