Barcelona, Spain

Tuesday, December 11, 1928

Sunday night was a long and cold one. Didn’t have a bit of fun. The train left at 4:40 AM and was warm, so I got mostly thawed out. We passed near the coast and could see the beautiful Pyrenees to the west, all snow-covered. After eight we arrived in Barcelona. The day was very nice and sunny—the morning—but also cold. After a long walk, I discovered prices are high here for hotels (and most else too). Finally got in one for 5 pesetas or 81¢. Decent room, but no heat. Spent the day sightseeing. In the afternoon I walked to the edge of the city where there is a 1,785-foot hill commanding a fine view not only of Barcelona but also of part of the Pyrenees. I climbed this and took a couple of pictures. Clouds had come up and even a few drops of rain. The wind was very strong and darned cold. My feet were darned sore from walking and the left one even had me limping.

Barcelona is a very pretty city. In its heart is the large Plaza de la Cataluña with its gardens, statues and chairs and benches. There are many wide beautiful boulevards and richly ornamented buildings. Some are very bizarre, one especially, having no definite lines. [Certainly the Casa Milà, or La Pedrera.] The walls are uneven and it gives the appearance of the side of a weather-beaten cliff. Many of the villas with their fine gardens are charming. At the entrance to the park is a large Arch of Triumph and farther on the imposing Palace of Justice and the museum. This park is very pretty. On its lake are bicycles for hire. Instead of wheels they have four pontoons and the pedals turn a small paddle. At the south end of the town is an arena for bull fights. It is across from this that the International Exposition is to be held in 1929. Extensive preparations are in progress. Many large and beautiful buildings are in the various stages of construction and the fine boulevard is being extended. Along the waterfront all is activity. Many boats are in the harbor loading and unloading. I stopped in the U.S. Shipping Office for a few minutes. There are many narrow streets and all is busy and interesting. $3.52.

Today I was up at 6:30 after 11 good hours of sleep, and started off for Valencia. For some reason or other I haven’t felt a bit like going there and had to force myself to it. Seven miles out the road, after gradually becoming worse and worse, degraded into a mud-hole. I finally came to a point where I could go no farther unless I either waded through water and soupy mud two to four inches deep or else walked through the muddy fields and over ditches. Thus, I returned to the city and am taking the 9:30 train tonight for Valencia. It is cold here, 49° in a sheltered place at 4 PM and, in the wind, much lower. Have had a hard time keeping warm and haven’t most of the day. In fact, I doubt if I have been completely thawed out since the first two days in Sicily and before that somewhere in France or Belgium. I’m getting tired of always being cold and will be glad to get south and roast.

Finished my 400-page History of Europe today. One place I’m in luck is the fact that both France and Spain ship my bike free of charge on presentation of my RR ticket. I fear the riding days are near an end and if the duty here wasn’t so high, I’d probably sell it. As is, I’ll carry it on as it doesn’t cost anything and if conditions improve, will ride some more. Financial condition and the fact that I would have to get an auto to go to Andorra put the clamps on that. Then, being winter doesn’t help either. $4.57.

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