To Spain, to Spain, to Spain we go…

We the family are headed off on vacation on Friday. The vacation was inspired by a long, cold, dark winter of gallbladder infused hell, plus a well-timed Air Canada seat sale that gets us all from Halifax to London return for $2000.

Mindful of the fact that Europe is one big relatively cheap airline spiderweb, our plan going in was to jump off from London to somewhere “on the continent.” We solicited suggestions from friends and family, and the most compelling response came from Rob Paterson, who sung the praises of Spain, and especially Barcelona and Sitges.

Alas when we dug into the issue of finding a hotel in Barcelona starting this weekend, we kept running into brick walls. It seemed, through the fog of the Internet, that there wasn’t a hotel room left in Barcelona. It wasn’t until I received a helpful reply from the City of Barcelona that we came to understand the reason for this.

With Barcelona out of the running, at least for the early part of the vacation, we set our sites west towards Bilbao.

Given our sucess travelling as Frank Gehry groupies in the past (Fred and Ginger in Prague in 1998 and EMP in Seattle in 2002), Bilbao, with its Gehry-designed Guggenheim, seemed like a logical destination. Stories I’d heard from Islanders who travelled to the Basque area of Spain in the 1980s to investigate the co-op movement there only confirmed that this was a good destination.

And so we land at Heathrow on Saturday morning at 8:25 a.m., and then up and fly to Bilbao the same day at six in the evening. We plan to spend 4 or 5 days in and around Bilbao, and then, somehow, gradually make our way back to London, flying back to Halifax on the 17th.

Stay tuned for updates from the road.


Rob's picture
Rob on April 30, 2003 - 18:28 Permalink

Barcelona was my favourite place in Europe. I met a young man in the wild Las Ramblas area late one night whose father was a UPEI professor — Reshard Gool. He had never met his father but was aware that he had recently died. We spent the wee hours of the morning touring the smoky night clubs and cabarets of the neighbourhood. Gaudi Park was another very memorable experience. I would also highly recommend the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres, about an hour by train north of Barcelona.

Rob's picture
Rob on April 30, 2003 - 19:21 Permalink

And remember… to pronounce Barcelona correctly, say it with a lisp — “Bar-tha-lona” — as the Catalans do.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on April 30, 2003 - 19:31 Permalink

Safe journey Peter. I too will be out of sight for a month. 3 days after you leave I wobble off to South Australia.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 30, 2003 - 20:09 Permalink

Wasn’t Manuel on Fawlty Towers from Barthalona? If you mirror his manners in all ways, you will fit in perfectly.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 30, 2003 - 23:29 Permalink

My first choice would have been Rome. I remember thinking while strolling thru Piazza Novano “Boy, I haven’t seen so many pretty girls since I left Sherwood.”

Karen's picture
Karen on May 1, 2003 - 15:28 Permalink

When I moved to Spain in the early
80’s, I was taught one phrase which is essential.

‘Dos cafes con leche por favor…’
you can substitute ‘cervesas’ depending on time of day.
The fact that I was travelling alone and constantly ordering
two coffees meant for some raised eyebrows.
Have a great trip! and speak with a lisp.

Ana's picture
Ana on July 4, 2003 - 03:19 Permalink

Alan idiot, Manuel from fawlty towers is british, and not from Barthalona. Are you british by the way, you jerk?

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on July 4, 2003 - 11:28 Permalink

OOOH Alan — so many new friends these days

Alan's picture
Alan on July 4, 2003 - 12:08 Permalink

Ana, you are simply wrong in addition to being oddly but utterly rude. I understand that Manuel is a Catalonian character and makes a stand against Basil in one episode with the line “I am from Barthalona”. You may get a sophmoric buzz about calling me an idiot and a jerk on a website, which is fine as I have no clue who you are, but is this fact right or wrong?

[Peter, sorry to be responsive but this is getting weird]

Alan's picture
Alan on July 4, 2003 - 12:22 Permalink

The internet is a wonderful thang. Sorry, Ana wrong and rude. For background on the actor who played Manuel see this page. I think my understanding of his heritage is confirmed by this site where we find the following passage:

Fawlty Towers has been shown repeatedly throughout the world. In 1977-78 alone it was sold to 45 stations in 17 countries, becoming the BBC’s best-selling programme overseas for the year, although the treatment of Manuel caused great offence at the 1979 Montreux Light Entertainment Festival where Fawlty Towers was a notorious flop. More recently, however, it has successfully been dubbed into Spanish with Manuel refashioned as an Italian. In Britain, Fawlty Towers has almost attained the status of a national treasure and Basil’s rages and many of his more outlandish outbursts (“He’s from Barcelona”, “Whatever you do, don’t mention the war”, “My wife will explain”) have passed into common currency.

Nice touch making him Italian for the Spanish audience.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 4, 2003 - 13:51 Permalink

I wish Chretien was Sri Lankan. Can she do that, too?