Sunday, January 31, 2016


 Our last morning in Paris was cold and rainy.  The day before, the girls and I had visited a perfume store near our hotel.  They had decided that there was a men's cologne that "turned them on".  It was Paco Rabanne pour Homme.  I went back to that store the next day and bought a bottle.  A year later, my brother got married and honeymooned in Paris.  I asked him to pick up another bottle of that cologne at the same shop as before.  He did.  I still have both bottles some 40+ years later.  I don't suppose it would smell quite the same.  I dare not try.
 We flew to Barcelona, which was the last real stop on our 21-day tour.  Barcelona was sunny and hot.  When we would land at an airport, the officials would breeze us through, because we were in a tour group.  I thought Barcelona would be the same, so I got my luggage and headed to the front door to catch our bus.  I heard a man yell behind me, "Alto!  Alto!".  I just kept walking and thinking that I was more of a baritone.  Then, a Spanish soldier stuck a machine gun in my face and yelled "Alto!".  I learned that he was telling me to stop.  I also learned that it is important to know a little of the language.  He ushered me back to Customs.  I tried to tell him that I was not bringing in anything, but he pushed me with his gun to stand in a line that I really didn't need to be in. 
 Spain was still controlled by Franco in 1973.  His picture was everywhere, and we found Barcelona to be rather boring, compared to some of the other cities we had been to like Paris, London, Berlin, Lucerne, and others.  After we got to our hotel and checked in, the girls and I went walking.   They found a dress shop that I had to go with them, as I was their protector.  Boring.  We found an open-air market, where people sold fruits and vegetables.  Boring.  We then found a nine-store department store.  That was more interesting.  I used to say that when a store said that they sold everything, my question would always be--"Do they sell trees?"  If the answer was no, then they didn't sell everything.  This store sold everything.  One regret was that I didn't buy the Spanish Beatles albums, but I wasn't into collecting records at that time.  As I was looking through the records, I noticed that the girls were gone.  I couldn't have Mr. Vivian yelling at me again for losing them, so I went running through the store (all nine floors).  They were nowhere to be found.  After much searching, I went downstairs to the first floor and waited for them.  They showed up, and it turned out that they were looking for me, as I was looking for them.  We were going around in circles.
 The next day, we toured Barcelona.  We went to a big cathedral; the Picasso museum; a Columbus statue; and a glass-blowing place.  One of our tour members bought a sword-shaped letter opener.  She tried to take it on the plane, but they wouldn't let her have it.  They never asked me about the knife I carried with me for protection.  Go figure.
 One of the people on our tour was a Spanish teacher.  It turned out that she couldn't read the menu, because her Spanish was different.  When we flew into the airport the day before, we saw a beach.  The girls and I wanted to go to the beach, but the hotel guy said that it was 40 miles away.  So, we didn't go.  The girls wanted to call home, because we were flying out the next day back to the States.  The hotel desk clerk said that the telephone lines were down due to a recent forest fire.  We found out later that he just didn't want to be bothered.  He directed us to the local post office, and they had phones that worked.  So, those were the phones we used.  I hear that Barcelona is better now, since they hosted the Olympics.  I hope so.

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