|Stanley's sweet smile with the honeysuckle near our hotel|
In spite of my bungling, we enjoyed ourselves at four enchanted places I've never been to before. We started with Montjuïc, mainly because we'd read The Shadow of the Wind together and it sounded fascinating.
Montjuïc is one of many peaks in the city and the name tells me it was the Jewish Quarter in the Middle Ages. Now, among other things, it has a castle and an enormous park with paths and little restaurants, and because you can get there by funicular, that's what we did.
|You could see the Sagrada Família from just about anywhere, it seemed.|
|It was a gorgeous day.|
|The monument to the sardana, the Catalan dance par excellence|
|The building of my childhood desire|
Photo by Jessica Knauss
|Countess Llúcia of Pallar, the noble lady who donated the money for this altarpiece, |
has been immortalized in the painting. She looks like a Seven Noble Knights character for sure.
|They preserved entire apses of churches. This is part of the masterpiece, |
Sant Clement de Taüll, c. 1123.
|The Lapidation of St. Stephen from Sant Joan de Boí|
Stanley's question: "Why are they throwing bread loaves?"
|A whole chapel!|
|Close up of an altar frontal from Sant Martí de Gia, |
in which St. Martin repudiates the devil on his deathbed.
Thirteenth century. The artist signed his work!
|Saints and beasts and seraphim, oh my! Twelfth century.|
|Stanley and I in Cantabria? No, it's the Poble Espanyol!|
|It was all so lovely, I didn't know where to look.|
|Andalucía, right? Nope. El Poble Espanyol.|
|Mt. Tibidabo (also mentioned a lot in The Shadow of the Wind) in the far back, |
on the scenic route to Park Güell.
|The part everyone thinks of.|
|Plaça Catalunya from the Corte Inglés|
Barcelona, I'm not done with you. Be ready, because next time I will be!
A sad piece of evidence I've run across while looking through these memories (skip if sad is not your thing): Our first night in Barcelona, Stanley requested we go to a pharmacy for more ibuprofen. It was only the fourth day of our journey, and I had packed more than enough pain reliever pills for two weeks for two healthy adults even if they were walking miles and miles a day—and he had already used up all those pills.
I was too busy interpreting for Stanley as he made his request at the parafarmacia (which could not sell us ibuprofen like a farmacia could, only aspirin) to comprehend how outlandish the situation was. When I say Stanley was not one to complain, that doesn't begin to describe it. Just over two months from the date of his quest for more pain relief, it was revealed that he had Stage IV lung cancer that had entirely blocked his right lung and metastasized to all his vertebrae, down to his tailbone.
The most he ever said, later, in June, was that his neck felt stiff.
That evening, the parafarmacista asked what he wanted the pills for. Did he have a headache?
"Something like that," he replied.
I want to say something profound here, but I think you can sense how haunting those words are to me already. End sad segment.
Had we had an email, a phone call, a text, a telegram from Manolo García? Not yet, not yet, became our litany of the evening. Even more than I, Stanley never gave up hope.
Catch up with the rest of the posts in this series here.