Barcelona: The Adventure Begins

Written by Harold McNeill on November 18th, 2013. Posted in Travelogue


Gruel Park Barcelona

Gruel Park Entrance:  The marble pillars above, give way to rock structures that support much of
hillside.  Photos in the attached album provide a better feel for the area.

Link Here for Full Set of Photos

With the population rapidly pushing toward 1.75 million, a history that traces back several hundred years, a football team that commands world attention and an architect whose works continues to define many aspects of the city, Barcelona has plenty to offer. Since gaining their freedom barely 35 years ago, Barcelona and Catalan Province have become top tourist destinations of the Eurozone.

Situated in the north-east part of Spain, the port of Barcelona hosts more cruise ships and cargo tonnage than any other single Mediterranean destination. When wandering around this carefree city it is hard to believe that it was only 1976 when the Catalonian people emerged from 40 years of brutal repression under the iron fist of the Franco regime.

civiwarmainDuring that dictatorship, the Catalonian people were not allowed to use their language or practice many of their cultural traditions. Each day, summary execution was a fact of life. Today, you can feel the sense of freedom as millions of tourists fill the streets, shops and resturants, or wait for their turn to view the classic works of art and architecture that fill the city.

Photo (Web): Catalonian rebels fight Franco’s troops.  For decades, the whereabouts of thousands executed in Spain under Franco’s rule have remained a mystery. Now the exhumation of mass graves is reuniting relatives with their loved ones’ remains – and revealing the country’s dark history.

As had only a limited time to savour the sights and sounds, we purchased two-day “Hop On, Hop Off” bus passes for $34E (you can take one day at $26E and update the next for $8E if you wish).  The Red (Central), Green (Waterfront) and, Blue (North and West) routes provide easy access to almost every major tourist attraction in the city.

Each of the city owned double decker uses with open top, has a quality sound system that provides an excellent running commentary in a dozen languages. It was lucky for us that we were travelling outside the peak tourist season, as there was plenty of room on the top deck and wait times at every attraction, even the most popular, was no more than a 10-15 minutes.

Almost every area in Barcelona boasts examples of the work of Antonio Gaudi, the most stunning of which is the Sagadra Familia monument, a towering structure designed in the form of a Basilica. This amazing work of architectural art has been under construction for over one hundred years and is not likely to be completed for another fifty.  As for the few photographs posted, it was extremely hard to capture the splendour.

The second example of the amazing work that flowed from the mind of Gaudi’s was the buildings and walls in Guell Park. In addition to the flowing mosaic of the walls and rooftops, large areas of the hillside park is supported on pillars of either marble or rock in the style of that build in ancient Rome.

Antonio Gaudi was clearly a man who loved to design his works of art as places in which people could work, play, pray and love in a setting that helped them to break the bonds of the more mundane aspects of their lives.

Perhaps one day we will again have an opportunity to return to this wonderful City and Province.

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  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

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    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]