Yesterday I flew back to Canada directly from Barcelona. I was unable to post during my travels through Spain, Monaco and Italy; so there is a lot of catching up to do. Over the next few days I will divert from my regular posting and focus more on my trip and certain issues I wish to address in between. The first will be purely narrative.
Just over a week ago my father, his wife, my two sisters, my partner Vanessa and myself travelled just over seven hours to the Barcelona Airport. Barcelona was wonderful even though we only stayed one night and neglected to do much of the common tourist activity. In total we only saw the Olympic park up close. We stayed in the amazing Eric Vokel Apartment Suites. To say the very least the apartment came with a full kitchen and made me quite sad to leave. Vanessa and I may be the first tourists in Barcelona that decide to immediately go grocery shopping for one night! Potato wedges, two lovely baguettes with guacamole and a very nice bottle of rose wine for what amounted to $1.40 Canadian. Whereas most everything is more expensive in Europe, wine is not.
This year bull fighting has been banned in the Catalonia region of Spain. This includes Barcelona. We had the chance to stand inside of a new mall built out of the shell of a recently closed bull fighting ring. Whoever owned the stadium jumped the gun, as the ban does not take effect until 2012, but this means many lives will be saved in advance. It was a strange feeling to stand in the food court, which rests in the bottom of the ring, where a cruel blood sport had been active not long ago.
The next day we boarded the ship on which we spent the next 7 days. What followed can hardly be called a vacation; very long days of heat and walking. However, it made for a great experience and I would not want it any other way. Details will continue in later posts.