If you look around, you will see that I'm an avid reader. I read on a wide range of topics, including history and travel essays. While I've been an armchair traveler for most of my adult life, I have not traveled much outside the United States. My freshman year in high school I spent a month in Mexico and I've been to Cancun, as an adult (I went scuba diving). Until I went to Barcelona, I had never traveled to Europe.

When you reach middle age, as I have, it is clear to most people that there is a horizon out there. I felt that now is the time to start traveling.

Why Barcelona?

I chose to visit Barcelona for several reasons:

I went to Barcelona at the end of April, 2005. For me a trip to Europe represents large expenditure of money, so I wanted to get as much out of the trip as I could. This meant learning about Barcelona and its history before I went. When I did finally visit Barcelona, I had some context for what I saw. I list some of the books I read and the travel guides I used on one of the sub-pages.

Travel to a foreign country, a different culture where a different language is spoken, is not the same as taking a vacation to Big Sur. In most cases you don't visit a foreign city to simply relax. You visit because you have wanderlust: the desire to see new places and new things. In my case I also wanted to get some exposure to how people live outside the United States. I wanted to understand a bit of the wider world.

For someone like me, who has spent his life in suburbs or small cities, Barcelona, a city of about four million people, is a huge city. In addition to Barcelona there are near by areas of interest, including Terragona and Girona. There is a lot to see and understand, so I decided to spend two weeks in Barcelona. The idea of two weeks partially spent in a small hotel room was not very attractive. Also, I wanted to be able to cook for myself. So I decided to rent an apartment. I was traveling alone, since my wife does not fly except en extremis. One of the sub-pages discusses my experience renting an apartment and provides some links to apartment rental web pages.

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