Saturday, May 23, 2015

Seat 600

The Seat 600 was built in Barcelona from 1957 to 1973 under license from Fiat.  It was an inexpensive little car that was for Spain what the VW beetle was for Germany or the Fiat 500 was for Italy -- allowing many families to hit the road.  There are still some -- either restored or very well maintained -- putt-putting around.  A group of owners gather each year to show off their wheels and parade around town at the Figueres festa major.  And when they do, I always try to be around with my camera.  I would get one if I could afford it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Bagels have come to Spain!  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but I hadn’t had a bagel in 14 years, so imagine my joy when I saw Thomas Bagels advertised on TV.  Not surprisingly, they aren’t as good as ones you get from a bakery, but hey.  I’m on my third package and enjoying the heck out of bagels, lox, and cream cheese, although here they say Philadelphia rather than cream cheese.

Sometimes I get annoyed with the narrow selection of products available here.  No graham crackers, no real vanilla extract, no fresh (or frozen) cranberries, no corn meal, no corn tortillas, (and very little fresh corn which is used for animal feed rather than human consumption) no yams, and sweet potatoes only in the fall and winter.  On the other hand, I just read an article that said that having too much choice (as in an American supermarket) was stressful.  And it’s true.  I suffer from very little stress these days, and for that I am grateful.

Now I’m waiting for English Muffins.  I hope those don’t take another 14 years to arrive.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jews of Poland in Castelló d’Empúries

It was last October that I went to see an exhibit that one wouldn’t expect to find here.  In fact I wouldn’t have known about it at all if my Polish friends who vacation nearby hadn’t told me.  They are Polish Catholics and knew about the exhibit because it was housed in the church that they attend when they’re here. 

Titled “And I Continue to See Their Faces: Photographs of Polish Jews” the exhibit was the work of a Polish organization called The Shalom Foundation that in 1994 started a campaign asking for people to send them photographs.  So far they have received 9,000 images from people in Poland as well as many other countries such as Israel, Venezuela, Brazil, the U.S.A., Italy, Argentina, or Canada.  Some of the contributors were relatives, some friends or neighbors; all of them had kept the photos for over 50 years.  The oldest contributor was 90 and the youngest was 12 years old.

The organizers say that those who helped to save someone from the Holocaust are called “The Just.”  But they believe that The Just also includes those who have done something to preserve someone’s memory.

This beautiful collection of photographs was first exhibited in 1996 in Warsaw and has since traveled to over 40 cities around the world, including Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Saint Petersburg, Brussels, The Hague, Prague, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, and Castelló d’Empúries!  Castelló is nearby.  The exhibit was hung in the Basílica de Santa Maria – the village church which, oddly enough, includes a Star of David in its architecture.  Some of the photos reminded me of ones from my parents’ albums.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cupcake Goes for a Walk

Cupcake likes to go for walks.  He likes to sniff things and walking gives him the opportunity to do lots of that.  We go for longer walks a few times a week.

Sometimes we walk the path to Vilabertran.  Once you work your way through Figueres, which isn’t particularly nice, it’s a pleasant dirt path passing through fields where in winter and early spring you can get a beautiful view of the snow-capped Pyrenees.

Although it means first driving to a nearby village, I also like to walk on the multi-use path that follows the Muga River until its outlet at the sea.

The problem is, we’ll be walking along a country path and little by little he starts to slow down.  Where before he was sniffing here and there, he has started to sniff every plant we pass and soon enough he’s sniffing each leaf.

The path to Vilabertran

Snow in the Pyrenees

The Muga River

I haven’t yet figured out if it is the heat (summer is not yet upon us and the heat, such as it is, has been pretty mild), if the walks are too long, or if he simply doesn’t want to go and is being a drama queen.  But he is small and he isn’t that young and who knows what hardships he’s endured and I don’t want to do him any harm.  So when he slows to a crawl and starts with the leaves, I turn around and we go back.