We officially met most of the members of our Cruise Lady group this morning — some are still on their way — for a tour that took us up to the spectacular Benedictine monastery of Montserrat — a particular focus of Catalonian pride and even Catalonian nationalism, as well as a place associated by some with the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail — and then over to the seaside town of Sitges, famous for its beaches, its restaurants, and its rather bohemian culture. My wife and I had an excellent seafood and paella lunch there with our longtime friend Louis Midgley, who is on the tour with us. (Between me and Professor Midgley, there probably hasn’t been more mean-spirited malice in Spain since the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in 1975.)
There are also three current or former professors of geology along on this group — two from BYU (including Bart Kowallis, whom I first met when we were freshmen in Hinckley Hall) and one retired from the University of Wisconsin. I already overheard some interesting geological discussion between them on this tour, and look forward to hearing more. (Of course, since several critics have informed me repeatedly that I’m a young-Earth creationist who believes our planet to be only 6,000 years old, insisting on it repeatedly over my [no doubt mistaken] denials, this could be quite an ordeal.)
I thought it rather funny for a Mormon group to descend from Montserrat for a rather extended drive through wine country, during which we received an extensive explanation of wine and wine-making, to a town that is well-known as one of the most gay-friendly in the world; that faces onto beaches where considerably less clothing is required than, say, BYU expects swimmers to wear; and that was the birthplace in 1814 of local icon Facundo Bacardí Massó, the creator of Bacardí Rum and the founder of the largest privately held, family-owned producer of alcoholic spirits in the world, of whom we also learned a fair amount.
It was, actually, a very nice tour, and our Polish-born guide, Eva, who has taken a number of Cruise Lady groups around Barcelona in the past, was quite good.
Posted from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain