Friday, July 8, 2011

Entry 107 7.4.11

Today was a lovely day in Barcelona. A friend and I explored Montjuic, a mountain overlooking the city that was the site of the 1992 summer Olympics (the year that my younger brother was born, coincidentally). It is also home to a large art museum, although my usual luck with museums in Barcelona held and it was closed for the day.

The mountain wa awash in luscious green plant life everywhere we looked. There was a brief thruderstorm that reminded me of home -- it was one of those fast summer storms where you can see the line of rain advance across the ground towards you. We found some shelter in a pavillion along with a bunch of other tourists and continued exploring after it passed. The original stadium was actually built for the 1936 Olympics, but the games were canceled due to the Spanish Civil War. From the plaza ourside there was an amazing view of the city. We could see the old cathedral, the Torre Agbar, and of course the Sagrada Familia with its attendant cranes.

Surrounding the group of stadiums and fountains are extensive gardens that wind up and down the sides of the mountain -- mazes of green, filled with small secret niches and long hidden fountains that drop step by step for hundreds of yards. After about half an hour of wandering we were able to find the Greek theater, an authentic reproduction of a Greek ampitheater that is carved into the side of the mountain and seats about two thousand people. Surrounding the upper lip are a line of cypresses that divide the theater proper from the surrounding gardends, where cafes are linked together by dirt paths and streams of water meander between the tables. The stage is backed by a raw rock wall, and the wild forest comes right to the far side of the theater. It would be an amazing venue to play in. I checked the schedule -- both Keith Jarret and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra are going to be there this month. Man, now that's the gig!

The heat, humidity, and the smell of the warm wet leaves of Montjuic reminded me of summer back home. I am sad to miss the Michigan summer . . . but when the Grandeur bit into the first big ocean roller a few minutes ago, I couldn't help but smile. I'll be glad to come home, but I'm not ready yet!

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