Barcelona, Spain — July 12 — 2106

I traveled from Nîmes here to Barcelona yesterday. I hung around the hostel in Nîmes in the morning, as I didn’t want to drag my suitcase around town. I spent most of the time shooting the bull with Dave, the Englishman, about international politics. Dave is two years older than I and has been living at the hostel off and on for30 years. He used to play guitar and sing downtown to earn his living, but now that he has a British pension, he seems to spend most of his time sitting at the hostel.

In the afternoon I headed to the railroad station, where I spent most of my time reading.

Crossing the border into Spain by train used to be quite involved. The tracks through the Pyrenees were curvy and caused trains to travel very slowly. The width of Spanish rails is not the same as those in the rest of Europe, which meant that trains would have to stop at the border, and travelers would have to change from French to Spanish trains or vice versa. A few trains had adjustable wheel widths and could continue through. A trip from southern France to northern Spain took most of a day.

Now Spain and France have both standardized on the rail width for their high-speed trains, they whizz right through. Spanish bullet trains come through to Spain, and Spanish bullet trains serve France. My yesterday’s train trip  took 3-1/2 hours .

I posted a photo a few days ago of a fenced-in area near the Eiffel Tower where fans could watch the Euro Cup soccer championships on giant-screen TVs. I saw on the news that during the finals chaos broke out. Rioters among the fans knocked down the fences, set fire, and battled with police.

I have only one photo to share with you. When I arrived in Barcelona, I took the train to the Plaza de Cantaluña, just a short walk from the hostel. I snapped the following shot as I crossed the Plaza.

The Plazas in Spanish cities and towns have always been a place to assemble in the evening with family and friends, and that hasn’t changed.

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