Sunday, May 1, 2011. Barcelona
SEE WHAT I mean about this city?
Hungry for something — anything — to eat after wondering around all morning, I finally saw an outdoor restaurant with an available table. So I took it, only to find out it is a Mexican restaurant (La Cantinita: that should have told me something!) not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but you hardly travel halfway around the world to eat the food you grew up with. I ordered a beer and loked at the menu. I settled tacos de pastor but I wasn’t sure I’d have enough euros to pay for the tab, especially if I ordered a second beer, as I planned to. An order of four tacos was almost 11 euros. I wasn’t sure how much the beer would cost so I opted to order two tacos. When the waitress came, however, she informed me that the tacos were the special of the day and were only a dollar each. So I ordered three. Should have gone for four. They are delicious.
But my hunger was satisfied, so three was plenty. They’ll hold me until dinner in the train tonight, which us included in the ticket. As is the bed in a private berth, the shower and breakfast.
I had been regretting that u would be traveling at night and would therefore not get to see any if the Spanish and French countryside, but it gets dark so late here that I’m sure I’ll get to see the Spanish countryside. And I hope to see at least some of the Pyrenees.
I WENT TO church today. Two of them. This being Sunday, most if the churches that are closed during the week are open, so I sat in on parts if two masses, both to take in the magic of Catholic rituals and to look at the beauty of the church interiors. It felt good, especially when I walked in the first church and the organ was playing a hymn I recognized from my childhood (O Jesús o buen pastor, dueño de mi vida …)
One of the things that struck me about both masses was how few people were in attendance, and how old they were. The only people under 50 seemed to be tourists, or dark-skinned immigrants. Granted, the masses I attended were one of several at the churches, so it could be that the earlier massed drew crowds, but I kind of doubt it. My hunch us that the Spanish church is facing the same problem as the church elsewhere in Europe; it is becoming irrelevant in the younger generations’ lives.
What moved me about the second church, which was in Spanish the first was in Catalan), was the priest. As ancient as the one at the first church, he had a magnificent singing voice, however, and listening to him was pure joy. The voice showed the strains of old age but it was beautiful and soothing nonetheless.