May 2004.

They rented a car and drove up the famous Costa Brava. Brava means stormy or rustic and there are stark cliffs , but most persons think of beaches.  The drive up was through town after town much resembling the New Jerseyshore...except New Jersey has whiter sand and prettier buildings. The next target for the duo was Figueres, the birthplace of  Salvador Dalí, and the home of a museum devoted to his works.  Even Norbert had to admit that the Dalí Museum was worth the trip.  He particularly admired Dalí's sculpture.

This may be a good time to talk about traveling in Spain .  D&N found a cell phone indispensable.  Sometimes you can find them for rent, and you can certainly rent them here...but Donna bought one in Barcelona for 70 euros with a 20 euro pre-paid account. As you wander through the countryside with tour books on your lap, it is a great relief to be able to telephone ahead to make or verify reservations.   If you have contracted for apartments and need to confirm the meeting with the landlord, as D&N had, or have to be in contact with anyone either at home or on the road, the mobile is a sine qua non.


Another thing to be prepared for is the siesta lasting from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  In itself this is not too important because it affects businesses and not things that tourists like to do.  But the Spanish then work until 7:00 or 8:00 and only after consider dinner.   Hence, restaurants are customarily open for business at 8:30; so if you want to eat earlier you must content yourself with fast-food, a sandwich at a bar or tapas.   Dining this late, or even later, is considered chic in New York City and Los Angeles but it works a hardship on tourists who are probably used to eating early and, being tourists, like to be “on the road” early the next morning.    Both Donna and Norbert agree that the best food they had in Spain was either at fast-food chains, tapas places or local bars.    Norbert thinks that the restaurants they visited were over-rated and over-priced.


A frequent complaint that tourists make is that hotel rooms are noisy which in a busy city can be an annoyance.    You might try renting an apartment for a few days, as D&N did.  Residences are usually located on side streets away from traffic as opposed to hotels which are customarily put on main streets.  And, the less expensive hotels may not be as clean as you would wish.    If an apartment is not well kept the agency that handles the rental transaction will soon drop it from its rolls.    In a hotel you are dealing with an underpaid employee…but you often deal with the owner of the apartment.    The price is about the same and you have the advantage of full cooking facilities and better security.

You may notice that sometimes in the late afternoon after siesta the streets have less people on them.  If you look in the bars you will find them crowded around the TV watching the bullfights.  This is a consuming passion for many Spaniards, mostly male but not exclusively.  If you want to understand this bloody and very unfair (to the bull, that is) contest, read the chapter in "Iberia" by James Michner.  Norbert took these pictures from  the TV.

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Donna getting on line early

Pieta according to Dalí

Lincoln or look closely

He sculpted also

Outside of museum