Holy Family!


I am now three quarters of the way through my two-month sojourn in Barcelona. I have learned a lot.

First of all, I finally got my cast off and can use my left hand, which makes me very happy.  And, it appears that I am finally at the end of a five-week case of bronchitis. After weeks of treatment by doctors who did not believe in the appropriateness of antibiotics, I started myself on an expired bottle of doxycycline that I had in my personal pharmacy; this forced my doctor’s hand to prescribe me an unexpired supply, which cured my bacterial respiratory infection in a few days.

I wish I had done it a week sooner, because during two amazing tours, one to Tarragona and Sitges (beach cities) and one of the whole city of Barcelona, I hacked and coughed endlessly, much to the concern of my tour companions. It got so bad at Sitges, a stunning town, that I considered going to a hospital. I survived, but I imagine the others were glad to see me disembark and give them some peace.

Tarragona was a major Roman port city during the Roman Empire. There are still ruins of a coliseum and military forts. We stopped in a small shop to sample the local vermut, similar to vermouth, which had been in business since 1765 and was considered new compared to the ruins. Here in Catalonia, they have amateur teams of castellers who make human towers of six to ten stages, with children at the higher levels; the top must be a child of no more than nine years old. (I’m sure there’s a maximum weight as well.)

Sitges is a gorgeous town which, besides its historical sites, has for many years been home to many artists and members of the LGBTQ community. Many wealthy Americans have homes overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s the St. Tropez of Catalonia.

During the second tour, I finally got to see Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family Basilica), an expiatory temple begun in 1882. Gaudi was a great architect who did not believe in straight lines, because there are none in nature. This temple has had different architects since Gaudi was run over by a sort of tram in 1926. I risk sounding like an awestruck tourist by saying it’s the most extraordinary building I’ve ever seen. (And, baby, I’ve seen me some buildings!)  It’s laid out like a cross, with one side representing the birth of Jesus, another the death, and the bottom his ascension into heaven. There are multiple styles, and one could spend hours exploring the various representations of the people and events in Jesus’s life and death. I didn’t even go inside, and I spent hours walking around the exterior and taking pictures.  The new new date of completion is 2034. I also found other beautiful buildings by Gaudi throughout the city.

I told the last doctor I saw that I was deathly allergic to Barcelona; she replied that it was testing me. There is visible mold in my rental, and the weather changes from hour to hour and block to block. I decided several years ago that I no longer needed to tolerate cold weather, especially after my first 30 years living in humid climates with cold winters.  I need to find a place with the wonderful and affordable lifestyle without the toxic and breath-defying demons in this particular micro-climate.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to get home.

Private home by Gaudi