I'm traveling for a conference, so blogging will be intermittent. In place of words, a few images. I hadn't been to Barcelona, Spain, in 22 years (1990), when C and I were fortuitously able to acquire courier flight-priced tickets to Europe, hop on a train, and travel from Paris to Lisbon for almost nothing. Back then France still had francs, which compared favorably to dollars (5/6=$1), Spain had pesetas (22=$1US), which compared even more favorably to dollars, and Portugal had escudos (33-35=$1US), which compared most favorably to the little bit of greenback we had in our pockets. Today, however, all three countries are on the euro, and Spain is very expensive. It also is teetering on the brink of a financial collapse, as is Catalonia, Barcelona's home province. Unemployment is 25% nationally, 50% among the young. The little of Barcelona I've seen thus far, from the airport to the Sant Gervasi/Eixample neighborhoods I've passed through, still glitter despite the worry and wear, and much of the changes that came with the Olympic Games in 1992 have led to further sprucing up. The sleepy big town where people stared in fascination at us on the subway and which felt like a curious way-station between France's capital and Portugal's square-thronged biggest city has changed quite a bit. Here are just a few photos. I hope to post more soon.