Yesterday I came the closest I've ever been to being directly involved in a terrorist attack. I had arranged to spend some time at a 'gin and music' evening - well, who wouldn't - hosted by InterNations, a worldwide ex-pat group. It was scheduled to take place from 8-10 p.m. at the Petit Palace Boqueria garden hotel. It is located just off Las Ramblas, the most famous thoroughfare in Barcelona. Just before 5 p.m. the terrorists struck by swerving a van left and right into pedestrians walking along Las Ramblas. They killed 13 people and injured about 100 others. 3 hours later I would have been there. It could have been me. A sobering thought. There but for the grace of God....
My accommodation for the night was in the university halls of residence off avenue Diagonal, a long way from the incident, so instead of supping G&T I found a nearby Burger King and had to put up with a burger and a beer. I coped. Admirably.
The secondary reason for the visit was to visit/recce some (language) book shops for when I become inundated with Spanish students who want to brush up their English. This morning though, in the light of events, I decided not to bother but to go almost straight home. Not far from the Barcelona Sants railway station is a big square called Espanya and there can be found an old arena, it presumably once hosted bull fights, which is now given over to shops, a multi-screen cinema and 4 underground levels of car parking. I had a quick wander.
Turns out there was a second terrorist attack yesterday, this time in Cambrils - 5 miles from where I live in Salou. Police shot dead 5 terrorists.
Spain, of course, is reeling, and they have announced 3 days of mourning. Those attacked in Las Ramblas came from 34 different countries. I have had "update my what to do when I'm dead letter" hovering near the bottom of the to-do list. This is a letter I prepared some years ago telling my executors which mattresses my pennies were hidden in. It is time to move it to the top of the to-do list. One never knows when there will be a bullet with one's name on it. Sorry to be maudlin.
One question, which is puzzling me, for the more sophisticated amongst you. I was puzzled by seeing several Nespresso shops. They all seemed to be almost empty. What is the point of them? Is this indicative of a new fad about to sweep the world, courtesy of George Clooney? This old dinosaur simply puts instant coffee into a cup and pours hot water onto it, topping it up with some milk.
The video, to finish, is a bit "rude". It features the "F word" in many of it's incarnations. If you don't like that kind of thing, and I generally don't, then please don't watch it. I am including it because there is a message to the terrorists right at the end.