We went to the Collblanc market for the last time this morning, not so much to shop as to say goodbye to friends we’ve made there.  Sylvia, the talkative clothes vendor, the olive ladies, one with a daughter who’s going to university in San Francisco soon, the butcher ladies, who taught us the word “filete” as they sliced chicken, the Barca futbol fans from Argentina who supplied our fruits and vegetables.

Two months.  I haven’t lived away from “home” this long since I first went to college in the 70’s.  It’s been less like a vacation and more like moving.  I miss some things back home, especially my sobrinita, but I’m sad to be leaving.  Mary is ready for home, though.  It’s been hard for her having no one to talk to but me.  Imagine that!

We’ve spent the last couple of days wandering around parts of Barcelona we love, and some we have neglected to visit until now.  We’re still discovering new things and having new experiences.  For example, we wandered into a somewhat sketchy neighborhood, and I finally encountered my first (to my knowledge) Barcelona pickpocket.  I should have taken a picture, but I’m afraid he would have absconded with my camera.  He was a gregarious sort, and at the same moment he was saying, “Welcome to Barcelona!” I felt his hand at the top of my pocket, just in time.  I was able to turn away, secure both pockets, and walk away with wallet intact.  He was working solo, or I’m sure he would have succeeded.


Barcelona is famous for pickpockets, and also for modernisme, the architecture movement Gaudi was involved in.  These days, there’s a new modern in Barcelona.


You might ask, as I do, what is that cigar shaped building lurking in the background? Well, it’s the Agbar Tower, in my opinion, the ugliest building in Barcelona, if not the world.


I’d love to watch the guns at Montjuic turned on this thing.

At first, I thought this building was a very fancy parking garage.


Instead, it’s a very cool building with three floors of all kinds of goods, clothing, hardware, bicycles, most everything you can think of.  Amazingly, this is the modern incarnation of a market that dates back to the 14th century.  It’s called the Encants Vells Flea Market, one of the oldest (and newest) in Europe.

The inside of the roof is polished to a mirror finish.


I doubt you’d find this flea market on the tourist maps, but I think it’s worth a visit.

I also discovered some fun stuff in the antique shops in the Encants market.  Here’s a motor faithfully carved from wood.


Here in Spain I’ve seen lots of the Art Deco stuff I love.

But, the most amazing thing was this automated guitar playing machine.


 I couldn’t get the owner to give a demo, but it appears to be controlled by the paper roll at the bottom like a player piano.



Makes me wonder if the industrial robots we use on today’s assembly lines could be taught to play guitar?