December 20, 1961 – Spain

Hotel Avenida Palace, Barcelona, Spain – Clear, very cold

     I was happy when I woke up this morning because it was almost Christmas and I always loved this time of year.  People always seemed so happy and there were so many decorations out.  In addition I knew I only had a couple of weeks left so I wanted to make the most of the time.  Edith and I took our time getting ready for our tour this morning since it didn’t start till 9:30am and was only meant to last for three hours.

     When we went downstairs to see if our driver had arrived yet we were pleased to find him waiting downstairs for us already.  Today a nice young lady named Mia drove us around and she was wonderful.  Our trip around Barcelona began at Jose Antonio Avenue which was one of the city’s major thoroughfares and Tetuan Square.  Then Mia took us to see a bullring even though it wasn’t the season to see a bull fight.  We also visited the Chapel of the Holy Family which was an architectural masterpiece of Gaudi but I thought his style bordered on the grotesque.  Later Mia took us to the Picasso Museum, to see the famous statue of Christopher Columbus and Columbus’ ship.  I really loved Barcelona and enjoyed everything we saw. 

Barcelona Chapel

Barcelona Church on Hillside

Another View of Barcelona Church on the Hillside

Barcelona Columbus Ship

Barcelona Courtyard

Barcelona Road

Chapel of Holy Family by Gaudi

     At the end of our touring Mia was gracious enough to drop us off in a nice area where there were shops for us to look through.  She even wrote down a few phrases for us to use if we found someone who didn’t speak English.  Before she left us Mia even pointed out a few places that might be good to eat so Edith and I were able to find a café to eat in.  Both of us opted to have a sandwich which turned out to be simple but filling.  After eating we shopped for several hours and I bought two tablecloths for $8.50.  One nice shopkeeper even gave me a Christmas card which pleased and surprised me.  Finally we caught a taxi back to our hotel at 3pm.

     Our flight to Madrid was to leave at 5pm so we had to get our bags, check out and get to the airport but we made it with enough time to sit and play cards while we waited to board our plane.  Our trip to Madrid only took 90 minutes but the flight was a little delayed so we didn’t arrive until 7pm.  Once we arrived we found a taxi to take us to our hotel.

     The Palace Hotel was beautiful and when we walked into the lobby we saw there was a fantastic stained glass dome over the top of it.  The décor was elegant but not too ostentatious so we were made to feel very comfortable.  We were given some beautiful rooms and I was glad we were going to be staying till Christmas Eve.  Edith and I unpacked and hung up our dresses so they could shake out and then we went down to the dining room for dinner. 

     Edith and I took our time over dinner.  We felt like we’d rushed around all day so we just wanted to relax and enjoy the food.  I had a champagne cocktail before dinner and a nice wine with my main dish of prime rib and then a Crème Brule for dessert.  Edith had a broiled fish dish and a couple of bites of my desert instead of ordering her own.  The hotel had a harpist playing music while we ate and it made the environment very nice.  The waiter was attentive and neither of us had any complaints.

     By the time our meal was over it was after 10pm so we didn’t have much time to do anything else.  Edith and I both took a bath though because it was so large and looked inviting.  While Edith took her bath I enjoyed looking out the window at all the city lights and the Christmas decorations on the street below. 

     I noticed Edith did a lot of coughing as she took her bath and when she got out she complained of feeling a little under the weather.  I felt her forehead and it was warm to my touch so she took some aspirin and went to bed.  During the night I heard her cough periodically and I made a promise to myself to get her some cough syrup if she wasn’t better the next day.

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