Friday, September 23, 2005

What's Going On

So today, as planned, we spent some time at the Picasso Museum. Little didn’t think much of it and after viewing only two rooms she took a nap, waking near the very end of the exhibit. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the collection. It was most certainly strongest in Picasso’s earlier work, but it was interesting to see how talented he was technically from an early age and how his work developed.

The museum consists of four medieval buildings with an amazing courtyard and vaulted lower level which are in themselves worth a visit. There was no way to do justice to the space with a photograph. I wouldn’t even try.

Since it was such a beautiful day (and every day here is, unless it’s raining), we walked home via the park. Good thing we did; we found a fabulous boxer dog named Linda (“Leenda”) and her person playing ball near the Museum of Natural History. Leenda was most certainly the highlight of Bebe’s week: she laughed hysterically every time Leenda jumped up the catch the tennis ball her person was throwing and bouncing for her, and Leenda and her nice person kindly kept Bebe entertained for about five minutes before we headed home. They promised to be at the same location, same time tomorrow. We won’t force them to entertain us again, but I’m glad Bebe had such a good time. People in the park were stopping to watch her laugh!

Tomorrow begins the Festes de la Merce, a festival unique to Barcelona. Festivities include free concerts, human castles, folk dancing (ah, yes, we remember that from last weekend), a fire race (!?!), fireworks, and parades of “giants and big heads”! I quote from the guidebook: “Nostra Senyora de la Merce was elevated to co-patron of the city after she single-handedly beat off a plague of locusts in 1637!” So there you have it: four days of celebration for the strangest story I’ve ever heard. How does one single-handedly fight off locusts? Perhaps the fireworks, firecrackers, and fire parade are my answer: tune in later for photos, assuming Bebe is amenable to the schedule and I can stand the crowds. Too bad Todd has to work during the day; a shopkeeper told me that it is illegal for most stores to be open for the holiday!

And final news for the day: Bebe is officially crawling! It suddenly clicked for her, and she’s having a wonderful time chasing down my magazines, lunch, or whatever I’m doing at the moment. We’ve babyproofed the Barcelona apartment as much as we can (there’s not much in it, so it wasn’t too difficult), but babyproofing the New York apartment will be another story. How does one babyproof a cat?

Tomorrow’s tentative schedule:

The Great Ciutadella Circus
An ancient military stronghold, the Citadel was demolished to make way for the city’s first large park. During La Mercè, this public space becomes a huge circus accommodating some of the biggest circus companies in Catalonia, accompanied by international guests. You can also find activities for children there.

Cavalcada de la Mercè (La Mercè Parade)
This is the biggest street parade in the whole of La Mercè Festival, with giants from different points of Catalonia. In addition, in order to commemorate the fourth centenary of Don Quixote, this year there will be images of the good knight of La Mancha from all over Spain.

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