Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Commentary by Samuel Strait – November 9, 2023
> Seems like just a few hours ago I was dealing with the frustrations of
> Highway 199, but here I am thousands of miles away in Barcelona,
> Spain, with brief stops in Denver, Colorado and Munich, Germany.  En
> route, I had the privilege of experiencing single use plastic grocery
> bags at no cost, drink bottles without CRV deposits, and groceries at
> 40% less than the cost of the same products in California.  The joys
> of living in a rapidly disintegrating state of high crime, sky
> rocketing homelessness, over regulation, high taxes (thank you
> Measures “R” and “S”), and a Democrat led bunch of Progressive
> “crazies” in the State legislature.  Not to forget Governor “Hair Gel”
> Gavin Newsom, leader of the pack of insuring California goes down in
> flames before he leaves office.
> In any event, arrived in Barcelona yesterday bringing with me a bit of
> Northern California weather, showers and a 67 degree day. Tucked up in
> an eighteenth century apartment building on what is the second floor
> where my balcony looks out on a cobble stoned, tree lined street
> facing a two hundred year old church.  The street scene is mostly
> pedestrian not truly getting started until around noon and goes well
> into the early morning hours.  Cafes and tapas bars mingle in with
> regular businesses in this bustling neighborhood.  I wandered
> down to a nearby central plaza, Placa de Catalunya, for a spot of
> cafe sidewalk lunch before venturing further down the world famous
> Rambla, dry river bed as it is known locally.  It is quite the
> architectural wonder with famous buildings on either side all the way
> down to the harbor.
> Barcelona is said to be famous for its parks, and I can attest to that
> fact as its largest park dwarfs Central Park in New York City. 
> According to the taxi driver, who brought me from the airport, 12% of
> the city is occupied by green spaces.  The tree line streets are well
> kept with little evidence of the normal troubles of urban homeless. 
> At least that is something Spain has in common with urban California.
> They just seem to hide it better.  Otherwise the old part of the City
> is a rabbit warren of narrow streets and alleyways that seem to close
> in on you from above.  The sun made an appearance in the early
> afternoon making the return walk an entirely different experience.
> In for the night after a light dinner at a nearby tapas bar.  All I
> can say, it was delicious.  Tomorrow I plan on testing out the
> extensive transit system, visit Guell Park, and the Sagrada Familla, a
> world famous Spanish church.  The Church was started recently by
> Gaudi, another famous Barcelona personage, and is not yet completed. 
> My Spanish Host says it is not to be missed, inside and out.  We shall
> see.  Glad to be here for awhile if the first days adventure is
> anything to go by.  Till later hopefully with a few photos.

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