Saturday, April 7, 2007


Riding into Barcelona on the bus this morning...a person, apparently homeless, lying in a pool of blood being worked on by three fast moving paramedics...

A statue we had never seen before, a small one. A riff on the thinker, only this time it's a bull.


= ?

Tarragon amphitheatre appearing unexpectedly over the rise of the road, and the kids are awe-struck

Eating sandwiches where Augustus Cesar must have sat. Sort of.

In the archaeology museum:

Carved folds of drapery that look like they are blowing in the wind. Such attention to detail on something that would have stood so high. You can almost feel the breeze ruffling the cloth. The little one, "Glad I don't have to make that. It must be a lot of work."

Mom, "Yup, no power grinders either, just you, a hammer and a chisel."

Youngest, *gulp*

Statues of Hercules. "I thought he was a girl!"

Mosaics of immense depth and sophistication they would be hard to PAINT.

Old roman children's toys. The girls fell silent in contemplation of them.

An entire case of penis objects. Nuts and rod broaches(?), what looked for all the world like a bronze key ring of the above mentioned, on jugs for water or wine, not painted, sculpted onto the surface. Can you imagine that on the dinner table.

A statue of a boy, we thought at first he was riding a dolphin, but no, merely his, ahh, member hanging forward longer and thicker than his legs..the tip drooping to the ground under it's own unwieldy weight. A statue out of long as my forearm and wider around...made of ivory, shaped like a penis...the nuts were gone, and there was a carving of an old mans face on it, ever so delicately. Now doesn't that make every guy reading this squirm. A face carved in and the nuts are gone.

The kids response? "EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww." They'll remember it though.

Standing on the roof of what had been the forum, site of chariot races a la Ben Hur...the girls imaging how far it would have gone, you can see them imagining the horses racing and the elegantly made up women in togas watching. Viewing the amphitheater, and the girls imagining the gladiators and lions.

Imagining Napoleon setting off explosives their minds, the little Sicilian lighting them in person. We don't kill the magic with too many facts...

Wandering the streets, looking at buildings. Kids skipping ahead.

Cafe treats...and a gorgeous bathroom. A big surprise, we expected the worst, but the sink was set into a chunk of marble a full 8 inches thick, and rough and uneven at the front surface as if it had erupted from the wall. The tap a single spigot from a carved lions mouth in the wall. The mirror broken and mosaiced back onto the wall, the light a double lily...and there was even soap.

Walking between the roman and medieval walls gardens and stairs and paths. Canons the kids fired in their minds, views and walls and was so alive for them. Imagining Asterix and Obelix outside taking on the entire town...and inside blowing raspberries...

And the train was on time BOTH WAYS. Well, almost on time. It is RENFE.

Trying to find food in Tarragona before we got on the train...we have been trapped on the train for 5 hours before, and if that started at 5 and went through to 10, we'd have some very unhappy kids...but at 4:30 in Spain....there isn't much open ladies and gentlemen. Found a forn, so we had bread...then the only other place that was open was a very strange food store. Nearly bare, raw concrete floors, aging and wrinkled produce, and less on the shelves than I have seen in the out-islands in the Bahamas when the boat is a week overdue. The best we could get was honey. Can you imagine a situation in which you are seriously willing to give your kids crusty white bread and honey for dinner, a very stick dinner, on a train with no soap and you've just used your last wet-wipe? That's how little there was in the store.

Home at last to an ecstatic dog...who had been walked by a fellow teacher for two hours in the hills with four other dogs. He must have had an exciting time.

To bed.

Easter bunny tomorrow.

It already seems distant.


Jocelyn said...

What an incredibly full journey. Honey and bread don't sound bad even here in the States, where I could go get anything my heart desires right now. But I know what you mean.

And wow, to think "Caesar might have sat here!"

Joanne PL said...

Our kids were invited to K's house next door to look for easter egg's in the garden. They had decorated about 25 eggs - some painted, some dyed, some hard boiled and many blown - and a few chocolate ones too - and all hidden all over their garden for our kids to find! They had a blast - and I am overwhelmeed by the kindness and genorosity of our sweet neighbors. They get joy out of making our kids happy - what a lovely Easter morning!

oreneta said...

Bread and honey is good. Yeah, Cesar might have sat there...very very neat. It made the salami sandwiches we had seem just a little more special for me anyway.

Jpl: Those are the lovely folks I met aren't they. How wonderful. Nothing like kindness to make life very very good. I wrote up about our easter on the next post.

Beth said...

And so the fabulous education your children are receiving continues...
Lucky kids. You are giving them a childhood they will never forget.

oreneta said...

Beth: Days like that make me believe that it is all worth what we are putting the kids through, and their very unorthodox upbringing....the other big Yahoo was that the little one, who is not keen on going to see these things, LOVED it and wants to go back. She even liked the museum. A complete winner.