16 May 2004

Barcelona

It's been one week now that we've stayed in Barcelona, so they must be doing something right.

The weather has been pretty good most of the time, but still way too cold for a swim. The wind has been fierce on occasion, and yesterday there was an enormous swell for the Mediterranean. Must have been over a metre!

Spanish eating habits are wonderful for travellers -- you really fill up a day with meals. Breakfast is fairly light, so we supplement with corn flakes and drink our tea for an hour or so while planning the day. After a few hours of activity, lunch pops up at 1pm, and continues for just as long as you like. The usual three course meal keeps you going until about 4pm, maybe longer if you have coffee too. Dinner is eaten late, but you can pick up some nice food there as well. Just don't bother trying until at least 9pm.

In other news, Liz and I attended the world-renowned Barcelona Forum 2004 yesterday. It's an event supposed to promote international understanding and cooperation. Unfortunately it seems poorly equipped to deal with visitors who speak neither Spanish nor Catalan (the language of this provence in Spain). Daily timetables aren't published in English or French, despite all other formal publications being in both. We also didn't fully appreciate the live performances (cooking, comedy, audiovisual presentations) which were all presented in Spanish, with no alternative source of information. Obviously not only native English speakers would be inconvenienced by this, but also the thousands of Europeans that are sure to visit.

We had a good day, and although some of the displays were a bit one-sided ("The death of a language is a terrible thing" -- what about the benefits of broader communication and understanding?), they were definitely thought-provoking.

No more photos from this internet café, unfortunately; these easyInternet guys have a very lean setup that stops me doing anything except web browsing. Obviously "internet access" means different things to different people...