In 1994 we went once more to Spain — it was our fourth and last trip. But based on our experiences, we were ready to teach the geography and history of Spain and even draw maps of streets and sites from memory.

    This time we went back more to Barcelona, wide, clean and welcoming, once more. I could feel the presence of my grandfather — my mother’s dad — who was born there and moved to Havana in his 30s as a widower and father of two. In Cuba he married for the second time, and four more kids were born. Celia, my mother, was among them.

    So besides bein


In 1994 we went once more to Spain — it was our fourth and last trip. But based on our experiences, we were ready to teach the geography and history of Spain and even draw maps of streets and sites from memory.
    This time we went back more to Barcelona, wide, clean and welcoming, once more. I could feel the presence of my grandfather — my mother’s dad — who was born there and moved to Havana in his 30s as a widower and father of two. In Cuba he married for the second time, and four more kids were born. Celia, my mother, was among them.
    So besides being a beautiful city, my memories made me feel, in a way, at home. This time we visited El Tibidabo, the other end of the city, which starts by the Mediterranean coast. We went this time to the palace and park Güell, planned and built by the architect Antonio Gaudí, whose daring forms, style and colors are flashy and unique. He started building the Sacred Family Cathedral but died before its completion. Many architects have tried to finish that church through the years, to no avail.
    Back to Madrid. We decided to visit Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, once more. Soups are their gourmet recipes, and we really enjoyed their variety. The Portuguese are also good at baking breads, giving us the opportunity to eat excellent freshly made bread. Add to their specialties fish and seafood. You can say our daily meals were soup, seafood and bread.
    We had an opportunity to buy a couple of Eça de Queiroz novels and an old copy of "Os Lusiadas" by Luis de Camoens, both Portuguese authors, which gave us the opportunity to practice our Portuguese minor from KU.
    Back in Madrid, we attended a musical in Spanish called “zarzuela.” The songs, wardrobe, dances, dialogues and the whole flavor were very Spanish, but first quality and unforgettable. However, it’s not easy to attend theaters in the summer, as they are closed because many Madrid residents go to the coasts for the summer.
    Since we both were teachers, my husband and I got used to waiting for vacation to travel. However, for this trip, I was retired, and St. Mary of the Plains was already closed. Since we could travel at any time of the year, would you believe we waited until summer?
     It reminded me of the Russian doctor and Nobel Prize winner Ivan Pavlov and his studies on conditioned reflexes on dogs. In a few words, the experiment showed that dogs heard a bell at the time they had food in front of them, making their mouths watering. And later, just by ringing the bell, the dogs had watery mouths. For us, June meant vacation, traveling and watery mouths.
    This time we bought two Lladró pieces, the handmade and painted porcelain figurines, so we had a flight home with each carrying a fragile piece. They may be found in some stores in the U.S., but at higher prices.
    In Madrid we saw the movie "Schindler's List.” It was funny "to listen" to Liam Neeson speaking Spanish with no lip sync, but anyway, the film was as moving as it was in English.
    This was our farewell trip to Europe.