The Iberian Peninsula, at a doubletime pace. /Barcelona & Lisbon

I flew into Barcelona after doing my due diligence with Google Maps and used an Uber type of app. After 3 months of working on my Italian and failing completely to use it, i got into a long, halting but enjoyable conversation in Spanish using my 3 semesters of Spanish from the early 1990’s. I really wish my Italian was better!
My Air BNB was back off Pla de Palau near Bubo bakery. The alley was chockablock full of fruit flies which had me worried but the apartment was clean and cool. And it had an espresso machine so i was golden. The down side was that i was in a moderate amount of pain, though mostly just in the morning. Something was wrong with my jaws on the right side so i will blame my near criminal lack of curiosity on discomfort.
But i zipped on out of there and hit the first tapas bar that rated over 4.5 on Google maps and promptly ordered a LOT of potatos. I like Potatoes Brava so i got them and an Iberian ham served over… more potatoes. LOL!

They were both good not great.

Then it was off to the Aquarium which was a bit dated but fun. And jammed full of people!

I was worn out so i went home at 7 and fell out, slept hard until 6am and woke up with an increasingly painful jaw. But i was in Barcelona so i did the Hop On, Hop Off bus to get a feel for the city. I got the top left seat on the second level which gave me a good view as we drove around Barcelona. I am a big guy, i take up more than half of a bus seat, but i was blessed by having a HUGE Russian dude deciding to share a seat w me so he could talk, loudly, to his wife in the seat across from us. It wasn’t bad when the bus turned left because he leaned away from me but when the bus turned right it got a bit fraught. I went by the Palau Nacional and instead of getting out, i moved downstairs on the bus and steamed. And missed out on a great opportunity to see more of Barcelona.
I really want to go back and take my time both w the building and the art work.

When the bus got within a mile of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral i finally got out but i was trailing a dark storm cloud over my head and i again missed the boat on a place that could have been very impressive. The cathedral is an incredible work of art but it is impossible for me to figure out how to describe it. The architect’s name is Gaudi, which seemed singularly appropriate. Again, in my case, fate cast pearls before swine.
But it is funny now. LOL!

I was in Barcelona for three days and for the life of me i can not remember what i did for most of that time. Eating was getting difficult but i was still hoping to get back to one of my dentists in the States. Poor planning, that. Though it worked out in the end. But after 3 days i got an Uber clone and off to the airport i went. Which is where i had a rather good Iberian ham and red wine. Barcelona’s airport is one of those circuitous ones where they have you go left the right, repeat ad nauseum, to funnel you past a bunch of overpriced food, clothing and drink. And it worked on me. :smile: i got the Pulpo and then a half order of the ham! The only photo i have of the ham is the menu, though. Poor planning!
And off to Lisbon i go!

Two things I will note here.
My real name truly is Mark as the videos indicate. I think the videos are worth revealing my real name. :slight_smile:
And I hope to be a better video camera man in the future. My photos are fairly good, but my videos are a bit shambolic.
I am more positive in Lisbon, I swear! :slightly_smiling_face:


You can go to any doctor in Spain and be reimbursed by your domestic insurance. Any treatment over there will likely cost you half of what it would cost stateside.


I did not know it at the time, Natascha, but I am uninsured. When I lost my credit card and drivers license in Japan, I did not realize that I was not paying my insurance. And the notices they sent me went to my work email address which I no longer have. Which adds one more task to the list of things that I bungled on this trip and need to repair. LOL!
I went to an emergency dentist in Lisbon the first day I was there. International Advanced Dentistry is outstanding! Doctor Joao had me X-rayed, microscopically photographed every ridge and valley of my teeth and polished a high spot out that was causing my bruxism to inflict so much pain on me. Then he prescribed a mild pain killer that i actually took for two days and it was like night and day. The pain was reduced by half in 12 hours and was nearly gone in 36. And it only cost me around €200! The whole team there was very friendly and professional!


I’m so glad to hear you were taken care of! I had a bike accident in Mykonos several decades ago & had to be treated in a hospital. They charged me nothing. But this was in the 80s.


I had something similar, though less critical, happen in London. They gave me my travel jabs for free and were really nice about it. I think I got two or three shots, and they even set up a visit to Bangkok Adventist for my second doses, if memory serves.


Lisbon, Portugal. My final stop on my 5 month RTW trip was a fine one! I was not a happy camper in Rome and Barcelona due to dental pain, but I got to an emergency dentist in Lisbon my first day there and the pain was knocked back almost immediately. And I immediately fell in love with the city!

Lisbon is just a charming city, not polished, but very real and very beautiful in an understated way. I love Lisbon and want to go back!
I had a tough time getting from the airport to the city center but it was still fun. They had a security guard at the Metro ticket machines and the line was long. Partly due to the fact that there were a ton of monoglots like me trying to figure out how to make the machines work and failing. LOL!
I got to my Air BNB late but it was super cool, black stone in the kitchen and a contemporary design overlooking a small plaza and the trolley line. And it had a Nespresso machnine! Yea!
With just 2 capsules? What?? LOL!
I took off for a bacalao starter and then an order of clams and was befuddled by the bacalao. It was only after I did a bit more research that I realized that there are somewhere between 365 and 1,000 types of bacalao, depending on who you are listening to. And I did not know until my last day which recipe was the one that my friend had made for me and that I had made a time or two myself. It was Bacalao a Gomes de Sa, as I found out later. Because I got 4 kinds of bacalao but none were what I was looking for, though the bacalao pastel I got with the port wine was pretty good!
Bacalao starter then clams.

Bacalao pastel with port.

So I got my own port and cheese, mandarin orange, tinned tuna and had a tapas at home in the AirBNB.

Then I tried the bacalao from the shop below me, not so hot.

Ran into a big, distinguished dude at one of the pedestrian choke points where a plaza led into a small street below my BNB. He was loudly trying to sell me sunglasses and quietly trying to sell me marijuana or hashish. Second time I saw him, lord knows why, I blurted out what I was thinking. “Are you an undercover cop?”
Probably not the thing to ask a drug dealer, but he found it amusing.
From there on out I greeted him with a friendly “Big guy!” and he with a “My friend!” Odd, but it worked out alright. I did not think it wise to take a picture of him. I did find a nice cafe just a few yards from the spot he dealt the drugs from. Or where he arrested people for drug purchases. Not sure which was the case.

But the city itself was a joy to wander around. People were cool and the buildings were beautiful! It has a great art museum with phenomenal gardens and artwork of several different periods and types. Greek statuary to Persian rugs to Chinese porcelain to
Renaissance classical art to silver services of incredible beauty…

And it was yet another city that is being refurbed with renovations going on all over the place. The downhill street next to my BNB was just finished the day I left, looked as good as it must have the day it was built 200 years ago. Wish I had taken a picture of it.
But I had to stop by the Museo de Fado, one of my favorite “blues” musical types. Then it was across the street to the plaza where I took a snap and then had yet another of the wrong types of bacalao at Cana Verde.

The next day it was more about the architecture again, with a stop at the church up the hill from my BNB. Just a beautiful building!

This is the view from near the top of the church.

On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, I did note a bit more lowbrow entertainment option available. I did not know these were even still a thing!

And then it was off to the airport to fly home. Where a friendly cab driver wished me a hearty “Good luck!” when I mentioned I was flying United Airlines. I did not think anything of it until I had to cross back and forth 2 times to find the desk and then another time to get to the security screening. And yet another time to get to my gate.
But I sat down and relaxed in a United Club for the first time since I left the US and just decompressed. It was like being back in the US. And I fell asleep and woke, rested and ready to return to the States. 18 hours later I arrived in Billings Montana and the next morning I got my car out of storage and off I went across Montana. First on I-90 westbound across Montana, past my old stomping grounds of Columbus where my Mom’s ranch was, on to Livingston where I had spent so many stays at the Murray Hotel and on to Missoula, then down Hwy 93 to Hamilton, home of the Witches Brigade at Halloween (women and girls pay an entry fee to be able to join in a bicycle ride where they are all dressed like witches and many of their bikes are decorated to look like brooms and the proceeds are donated to charity) and also home to the largest assortment of feral rabbits I have ever seen. What is up with that last one?
But Hamilton is also nestled beautifully in the Bitterroot Valley. My new home for the Summer while I search for a home to buy here in Montana.

And so my journey ends.
For now.


Loved reading your report, the pot dealer/undercover cop part especially :smiley:

It truly is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited in Europe.

Enjoy your new home state. Horse country <3


Welcome back and thank you for taking us along with you! Loved your posts.


Let me see if i can include a link to the Witches Brigade ride in Hamilton last Halloween.
I think the top one is shorter and it is the end of the ride so there are fewer witches, but you can hear them.
The second one is longer but all you can hear is country music.


That’s my kind of travelling :joy:.


What a remarkable coda to a fabulous trip! So glad you were able to get the emergency dental work and end on a high note!! Montana is so different to everywhere you have been in the last 5 months but beautiful in its own way.


I still have a fond memory of telling a female friend that I knew a good tapas place we should visit and she heard “topless place”.
It is funny now.
Not so much.


Those Europeans :joy:

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Just to wrap things up a bit more, I have put an offer in on a house with a view of Flathead Lake and the Mission/Swan Mountains. I do not know if we will get to ratification because we have different ideas of what the house is worth, but the view speaks to me.
This is what I hoped for when I thought of returning to the US.


Good luck!
Would you be closer to Missoula or Kalispell?

Halfway between. Here is hoping. The house could use a lot of updating but it is solid.


What a wonderful trip!

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Fingers crossed for you!!

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