The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking in Barcelona - Part I
After more than two years of planning our trip to Barcelona, Spain, the date finally arrived. We departed Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport on Thursday, October 14 and headed to JFK International Airport in New York where the first snag occurred. Due to various mechanical issues, our scheduled departure time of 7 PM did not happen until just after 11 PM. We arrived bleary-eyed nearly five hours late only to find our knight in shinning armor patiently waiting on us.
Miguel Ojeda, Barcelona Sherlockian Extraordinaire, was there to greet us and schlep us to our apartment. We rented an apartment on Montcada, a street nearly as wide as a Popsicle stick, and if it had not been for Miguel, we would still be wandering around. He took me from the airport along with the entire luggage to the apartment. The rest of the gang, Bob and Jan Grimes, and Joyce took a bus to Plaça de Catalunya and our knight picked them up and brought them to the apartment as well. We settled into out new digs quite nicely along with a few bottles of Cava. This is Champagne from Barcelona and it certainly goes down nicely.
Our first full day in Barcelona we spent exploring the Mercal Boqueria. This is a market that allows all of Europe, half of Asia, and at least four Americans inside an area about half the size of a 7-11 convince store, all at the same time. There is everything under the sun there except enough space to turn around. Our apartment is a half a block away from the Picasso Museum and the area around it is always crowded and noisy. The Tapas Bars are open way past midnight every night and our narrow street echoes each sound as if it was coming from a rock concert. After the first night, we are all sleeping like babies. This may be partially due to the large amounts of Cava we consumed each night before retiring.
Today, Sunday, Miguel picked Joyce and I up and drove us to a used book and paper market. This is a regular Sunday event. Bob and Jan opted out of this market for the open-air double-decker bus tour of the city. Joyce’s eagle eye spotted the first of many Sherlockian treasures I picked up at the market. This was an English – Spanish edition of “A Scandal in Bohemia”. Next, I found the same book in Spanish and Catalan with the the same cover although the Spanish one’s title His Best Stories differs slightly from the Catalan tile of The Best Stories. I bought a few more books and all of these were recent publications. Miguel worked as my interference, asking various dealers about their wares and guiding me past stacks of books he positively said had nothing of Sherlockian interest in them. This made the entire process extremely easy and efficient.
We met Jan and Bob afterwards at La Sagrada Família, the unfinished cathedral by Antoni Gaudi. I refused to write more about the marvelous church because there are no words to describe the place. Imagine Dr. Seuss on acid.
Next week’s plans are full of more touristy things until the Sherlockian festivities at week’s end. So until next week then,
Past 2009 Columns