Girona, Spain — February 8, 2018

Yesterday was free of rain, but the temperature was bitter cold, just above freezing, and the sky was overcast and gloomy. It was not a good day for someone who still has a cold to be out and about, but of all of the things people have accused me of, having good sense is not one of them.

I was impressed to see the same sign twice on the building below, “EAT, SLEEP, CYCLE.” Cycle means, of course, ride a bicycle. Now if they would just add “DRINK BEER,” the sign would almost perfectly describe my typical day when I am home in Phoenix. To put things in the correct order, eat, cycle, drink beer, sleep.

While I was walking along the River Onyar trying to keep my hands from freezing yesterday (why didn’t I think to bring gloves?), I came across a statue peaking over the top of a six-foot fence. The fence was solid, so I couldn’t make out the whole statue. I solved the problem by holding my camera above the fence and taking a blind shot of whatever was on the other side. Here’s the statue in all of (his? her?) glory. Thankfully, the weather was so cold that I was in no danger of photographing anyone sunbathing nude behind the fence.

Spanish cities are almost entirely free from trash. There is a waste paper basket on almost every street corner, and the Spanish use them. What they do toss onto the sidewalks and into the streets are cigarette butts. The only people I know who smoke more than the Spanish are the French. Of course, people like the woman in the following picture help to keep the city clean. Here she seems to have spotted a piece of paper to sweep up, but she mostly sweeps up cigarette butts.

I wonder why I took the following picture. Maybe it was to show a typical street scene away from the narrow alleyways of the Old City where I am staying. The buildings have businesses on the ground floor and apartments above. Few Spanish own stand-alone houses. Almost all of them live in apartments.

The parking lot shown below belongs to one of the city’s largest supermarkets. If you drive to the store so that you can haul home a week’s worth of groceries, you’re going to have a hard time finding a parking place. Most Spanish walk to the grocery store — there’s one every few blocks — and carry home the groceries that they need for one day.

Incidentally, I went into this store, part of the Día chain, and the prices were very cheap.  I bought a half-liter can of beer for 71 euro cents or about 88 cents in US money.

Oh! Oh! Until I saw this store window, I had forgotten that Valentine’s Day is coming up. Valentine’s Day will be my last day in Paris. Isn’t Paris supposed to be a romantic city. Maybe I should take the precaution of locking myself in my room for that day.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Girona, and the weather is forecast to be cold and breezy again. The day after tomorrow I take my last long-distance train trip from here to Paris. When I left Paris, it was raining so much that the city soon flooded. Now I read that Paris is buried under a layer of snow and the city fathers are begging the population not to drive their cars. Given the bad streak of weather I’ve had for much of this trip, I think I will be glad to get back to the Phoenix sunshine Thursday evening of next week. On the other hand, given the way bad weather is following me on this trip, the Europeans will be glad to see me leave.

If some Phoenix cyclists is reading this, warn Gordon Goodnow that I plan to meet him on his bike ride at 6 am Friday the 16th and leave him in the dust cycling up Mummy Mountain.