Posted by: facetothewind | July 22, 2010

Of throngs and thongs: surrendering to summer in Spain

Summer in the Spain means two things: Hot and Crowded!

To survive it and enjoy it you have only one thing to do.

Surrender to the throngs.

It was pretty much at this moment today walking down la Rambla that I just stopped resisting Spain. It was partly exhaustion from walking untold miles of city, partly the temporary insanity of listening to my inner voices chattering incessantly about everything and everyone. My mind finally spun out and I stopped feeling lonely. I stopped thinking that I’m a loser by myself in one of the great cities of the world and wishing I were somewhere else with my iPod, better arch supports, and air conditioning.

I stopped resenting what is clearly an overpopulated planet. I just began to accept that we’re all in this together, you and me and the human statues with angel wings and bronze face paint standing motionless in the middle of the street, the taxi driver who ripped me off, the crazy hotel proprietor, the cleaning lady who gave me someone’s leftover sunscreen, the guy who showed his ass to the whole plaza from his hotel balcony, soulful Sam the bike rental guy with the shaggy hair, the people I cannot silence outside my window. We’re all a part of this monstrous and wondrous ship of humanity and it may very well be going down slowly, but that doesn’t mean I need to try to prevent it, sound the alarms, or hog the lifeboats.

Something big happened to me today and it went completely unnoticed by the masses: I enjoyed myself, by myself.  Alone and together at last amid the strangers. I survived myself and remembered that I can do it again anytime and anywhere.

OK, I also give some credit to the cool air that blew in today, dropping the temps about 7 degrees. Anyway, it was all just enough that I finally stopped resisting, clutching coins in my pocket and reciting directions to myself. I just let go and let Europe flow around me.

This whole epiphany reminded me of a scene in a movie I saw once that touched me:

Continuing on with my sermon of surrendering…to the thongs at the Mediterranean. (Sorry no picture of THAT. Nudity is commonplace at all the beaches, but pulling out a camera to capture some of the thong action would be tacky.)

Give yourself over to the culinary delights. This piece of cake that looks like a Rose Bowl parade float was phenomenal. Layers of berry, cocoa and mocha flavors.

Escape to the mountains (Montserrat monastery). BTW, we took the funicular (aerial tram) to the monastery that was manufactured in 1930 in Leipzig at the now abandoned Bleichert factory seen earlier in my blog.

Get to a seaside town like I did today. This is Sitges an hour from Barcelona. I spent the day on the cliffs enjoying seeing no people, hearing no people and speaking only to myself.

* * *

A little something Antonio Gaudí for you. His architecture melts your heart and softens the city’s sharp mid-19th century rectilinearity. It’s kind of Art Noveau meets the Flintstones. I’m guessing he made sand castles as a child. His architecture makes you smile, but you have to stand in line around the block and pay upwards of €16 to get in to see anything he designed. This is one area where I didn’t let go of my Euros. I admired from the outside.

Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia cathedral is still under construction and has been since 1882. It’s expected to be finished in 16 more years…which is about how long that line is. I’ll come back.

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