Girona, Spain — February 6, 2018

Yesterday was not the best day for seeing the town. It drizzled rain off and on the entire day. It is still raining this morning, but the rain is supposed to stop around noon. I took the following picture from one of the bridges across the river to show you how gloomy the weather was.

However, things could be worse. I just read a few online news articles in French, and Paris is under a blanket of snow. Clear that up, people! I’m heading for Paris in three days. Those of us who live in Phoenix, Arizona don’t do rain much less snow.

At breakfast yesterday morning, one of the other guests here was nice enough to give me his newspaper when he finished with it. Then I noticed that paper was in the Catalan language, not one of the languages that I read more than a few words of. You can get newspapers in Spanish and even English in this town, but the people who run the hostel are Catalan separatists and subscribe to two newspapers, both in Catalan. My Catalan is good enough to find the men’s room and not much more. When people speak to me in Catalan, I answer in Spanish.

The picture below was taken on one of the narrow streets in the neighborhood where I am staying. I didn’t walk too far afield yesterday. I still have my cold, and walking around in the cold drizzle, even wearing my rain jacket, was probably not good for my health.

What interested me about the following picture of a baker’s shop is the man in the window in the background. He was busily kneading dough to make more bread. When you buy bread in many bakers’ shops here, you can be assured that the bread is fresh from the oven. Bakers have to get very early to make sure that the Spanish have fresh bread for breakfast.

There are many specialty grocery shops in Spanish cities. The one below specializes in fruit. People walk from store to store doing their daily shopping knowing that they can get the freshest fruit in the fruit market and the freshest bread in the bakery. Of course, there are large chain grocery stores, too, which is where I tend to buy my food, because the prices are lower. The large supermarkets sell everything from disposable diapers to beer.

I discovered yet another church and couldn’t resist going inside to get out of the rain. If I were a church fan, I could spend my entire vacation investigating churches, especially because churches are dry inside and have plenty of empty pews to sit in.

It’s still 15 minutes until breakfast. This place serves breakfast bright and early, beginning at 7 am. The last place I stayed, breakfast wasn’t served until 8:15 on weekends.

You can get all three meals here at the hostel. They are called esmorzar (breakfast), dinar (the midday meal that the high and mighty call lunch but which we common folk called dinner in the Western Pennsylvania coal mining town where I grew up, and sopar, which probably doesn’t need translation.

By the way, the Berber chemistry professor who was sharing my dorm room left this morning. He got up at about 5 am and spent over an hour getting his suitcase ready, zipping and unzipping it repeatedly. I tried to go back to sleep but finally gave up and got up as well. I will miss him. He gave me an opportunity to practice my French.