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Travel to Europe on 28 December was not a problem. All went smoothly all of the way to our destination, Barcelona. Lines were short. People were professional and polite. And I am happy to report that my first experience with Air France was superb. The typical amenities one expects aboard air flights were free: earphones, blankets, sleeping masks, red & white wines and cognac after the meal! Really. The airplane food in coach was a notch above the usual yucky fare, but the coffee was Euro-good and real bread was plentiful. Surface transportation is readily available at the airport; we took the train, then the metro, and hoofed it the remaining 10 minutes dragging our bags to a 3-star as planned in the Virgin-Vacations basic package. Normally we stay at 5-star hotels, but our travel companions had booked first, so I adjusted to accommodate. As it turned out, the hotel, the NH Numancia Hotel was Euro-fine and their restaurant was closer to 5-star-good. The only drawback was the distance from the center of activities in the city, but the nearest metro was 5 minutes away, so that wasn’t too inconvenient.

Barcelona is a wonderful city with many museums. Seeing its museums was the primary mission of this trip and my wife, Chany, who is a certified Spanish interpreter, was absolutely indispensable in my comprehension of what I was looking at. And we did, too, see all of the city’s museums, except the Erotica Museum; I figured I already knew enough about debauchery.

If one is interested in the masterpieces produced by the likes of Picasso, Miro, Gaudi, and Spanish artists in general, well, Barcelona is an absolute must for any art historian, artist, art dealer, curator, or art appraiser. I know. I’m an art appraiser and I have appraised works by Picasso and Miro and other Spanish artists in the past and no doubt will again. The superior advantage of perusing Barcelona museums is that one can get eyeball-close to the canvasses to study the signatures and brushstrokes, and I did, much to my heart’s content. I learned enormously.