We've been back for almost a week. 
Monday, November 9, 2015, 08:59 PM
Posted by Administrator
I had hoped to have something to write related to our trip to Spain and France, but, nothing related to legal stuff happened.

I had copies of my bank's wire transfers to the Netherlands Ministry of Justice with me to prove up that I had paid my three Dutch speeding tickets from last year... in case Spanish immigration came up with some kind of hold when they ran our passports when we entered the country at the Barcelona Airport. I rented a car from Hertz this time to avoid my Avis problem of last year when, at the Brussels airport, the man checking in my car after a week's rental decided that there was a 1" long scratch on the right front wheel. American Express took care of that charge. Anticipating a problem, I used AmEx with Hertz but...after a week's rental, the man at Hertz said that I'd done a great job not screwing up their car.

We passed a French prison in the countryside. My wife said "That's probably their only prison." We passed another late on: just a few miles from the beach.

We did not see a police car on the road from Barcelona to Carcassone, France and only one or two during our trip to Montpelier. I'd heard France has started to give out photo-box-radar tickets so I was usually the slowest car on the road. There was a group of a half dozen motorcycle cops riding duplicate dark blue BMW motorcycles at the last toll booth in France. In a minute, we passed a town called La Junqueria. The town appeared to have hundreds of giant stores but no residential area. Later, the woman at the front desk at our Toosa de Mar hotel said it was an independent country (Andorra is around 50km from La Junqueria and it IS an independent country). Wikipedia said La Junqueria was the home of a huge brothel and a sex trafficking destination. TripAdvisor said it was a big shopping center. Why were the cops at that toll booth?

I drove slowly on.

Back at the Barcelona airport for the trip home, all the passengers were interviewed before they checked their bags by people who, I think, were hired to do this job the day before. "What was your favorite thing about Barcelona?" "Do you live in Florida?" "What was the purpose your trip here?" All of this designed to elicit a reaction from passengers who were uncomfortable with the questions...and might not have really been going to or from a vacation. The Russian airliner had been blown up after takeoff form Sharm el Sheik a few days earlier. A lone bearded man with a submachine gun walked through the terminal past our gate. He looked like a young Fidel. A private company had people approaching passengers and bringing them to a cordoned-off area for more searching. Profiling is okay in Spain.

Unrelated to any of this, a documentary movie focused on men my age riding motorcycles on twisting mountain roads near the Mediterranean played on a video monitor at each gate. I watched until we boarded.

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