Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The Flight from Barcelona to Estocolmo
Wednesday, 29 June, 2016:
I was up early re-packing my carry-on bag as I opted to jettison a few older items for Barcelona's needy fat people.
It went quickly, so I went for one last early morning, uncrowded walk on Las Ramblas and the Barri Gòtic neighborhood before people were yet awake.
Barcelona's abstract artist
Joan Miró's mosaic on Las Ramblas
Just a nice looking building
also on Las Ramblas
La Boqueria was just waking up too
After a cafe con leche with Don Juan at La Boqueria's Pinotxo Bar, I was off to the Barri Gòtic.
Don Juan was only serving cafe and croissants at this early hour as the cooks were still just getting started setting up the grill and preparing the food.
Which do you like better
Noir or . . .
. . . Real Colors?
I really like all of Barcelona's interesting street signs and mosaics.
Kings and Stars
I wonder who the "symbolic neighbor"
is on Calle Higuera in Camarillo?
Not me, I'm sure.
Goats for Mike Contreras
and Brian FitzGerald
Quite a story here
A Dancer and
Defender of Culture and the Arts
Looks like the Basilica
Santa Maria del Pi to me
Wet pavement and . . .
. . . the Noir filter work for me
This churros and hot chocolate
shop was still closed
So was this one
The real Basilica Santa
Maria del Pi
Complete with a dozing homeless man.
Art in the El Raval neighborhood
Finally, one last cafe con leche
and tortilla Española before I go
The ride from Plaça Catalunya to the airport on Barcelona's Aerobus system was smooth and inexpensive unlike the trip into the city on the Metro last Wednesday.
My next issue
Once at the airport, it was both hot and humid, not a good combination for a fat guy.
Fortunately the airport's air-conditioning was good, more on this soon.
A Barça Store in the Airport
No actually, there were two.
Lots of great but expensive
souvenirs for FCB fans
It was finally time to board the Vueling Airlines 1:00 p.m. flight bound for Estocolmo, a.k.a., Stockholm.
First problem, we took off an hour late.
Second problem, we spent the last 45 minutes of the hour delay sitting on the plane with no air-conditioning.
Third problem, the last two people on the plane were in the two formerly empty seats next to me. These two arrived about ten minutes before takeoff and were both drop dead gorgeous Swedish model types checking in at a lean, but slightly inebriated, 5'11" and about 115 lbs.
They both started to loudly complaining about dying a slow, painful death due to the lack of AC. Being a fat guy, I felt no sympathy for them.
It's a good thing that they were both braless and scantily clad or I would definitely have given them a piece of my mind!
About an hour into the flight but at least a bit more sober, they started complaining that the AC was too cold.
Again, they were braless, so I did not complain.
The things that you must endure on these international flights . . .
Fourth problem . . .
. . . lack of leg room
When I finally arrived at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, U11 Vikings coach Dan Pettersson was there to give me a ride to Aiki Parts home where I will spend the next two nights before flying back to California on Friday morning.
Aiki made another one of her great dinners for me, oh how this Estonian woman can cook!
I was also able to use Aiki's washing machine to cleanse my sweat encrusted clothing from my time in steamy Barcelona.
Otherwise I would have to have burned them.
Final Thoughts on Barcelona
First, the French.
Ever since I first saw the movie Casablanca, I have believed that the French National Anthem is best one I know.
Sorry, Francis Scott Key.
In the middle of last Friday's French National Rugby match, the assembled crowd of 99,124 people spontaneously started to sing their beloved anthem as loud as they could. It was amazing.
I night or two later when I met Danny Page at an Irish Bar in Barcelona to watch the Croatia-Portugal Euro Cup 2016 match, the place was packed with Frenchmen who were making it an agreeable three day weekend affair in the Catalonian Capital. Again, in the middle of the action, in a much smaller venue, they started seeing Les Marseilles again shaking the bar to its foundation and sending the proverbial shivers down my spine.
AWESOME, VIVA LA FRANCE!!!
Next, forty-ish British ladies on holiday can become loud and obnoxious if they drink too much on a hot day on the beach at Barcoleneta.
They can face plant too while running towards the Med.
More than once.
Finally, it truly is a small world.
After meeting with Larry Murnane for the first time after years of Facebook friendship on Sunday night, he posted a picture of the two of us on his Facebook page.
A response to his post from Maureen Reed read "Hey Larry, did George Contreras happen to play high school football at St. Francis High School in La Canada, CA?"
I responded saying yes that was indeed me.
As it turns out Maureen is Colleen Kerrbrock's younger sister. Colleen was one of Laurie's roommates at the University of Washington and her first husband Tom Verti was one of my roommates at college as well.
As if that were not enough, Maureen's deceased husband Mike was two year's behind me at St. Francis.
Not done yet, Mike and Maureen's daughter is married to Larry's son.
Still not done yet, Joe Slavin was my J.V. football coach at St. Francis who then became the Head Coach at Paraclete H.S. in Lancaster, California. In 1967, Paraclete won the C.I.F. football championship with a two man Varsity coaching staff.
The other coach? None other than Larry Murnane's Father and I believe that Larry also played for these two fine gentlemen at Paraclete as well, although I'm not sure of the years.
I think that all of this makes Larry and me third cousins, twice removed.
You CAN'T make this stuff up!