Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2012

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, Madrid,
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Following in the footsteps of the Beizers who booked it through Spain in less than two days, we explored Spain in 58 hours traveling from Barcelona to Madrid.

Since we did not have the threat of being turned into the Nazis hanging over us, we were able to get a good feel for the cities in the short time we were there. From a Jewish perspective, there has not been much Jewish presence in the country since the expulsion in 1492. There were some that did return in the 18th Century, however judging by the one-block Jewish part of Barcelona (which is considered to have one of the larger Spanish Jewish communities), many have left since.

One recurring topic that I found particularly compelling was the county's transition from monarchy to republic to dictatorship back to republic. These transitions affected all of Spain's citizens and were often manifested in the artwork of the time. Pablo Picasso, as an example, created numerous paintings surrounding the Spanish Civil War including the famous Guernica.

In a country with a 25% unemployment rate it was also obvious at times that the government or employment services have been trying to maximize the number of jobs for a given service (having two people selling you tour bus tickets as opposed to one etc.)

I'm writing this on the overnight train we are taking to Lisbon, which is where the Beizers boarded the SS Siboney to America 71 years ago. From there I'll fly to Berlin to meet a good friend and we will travel South. I'm hoping to maintain this blog throughout the next month, but I can't promise the posts to be as frequent as they have been these past couple weeks.

Happy Fourth!

Elijah Jatovsky
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