Let Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau be the Only Hospital in Your Life

 

Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Barcelona, Spain.

Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Barcelona, Spain.

Who wants to go to a hospital? No one, because the term “hospital” is strongly associated with pain, illness, and death. Nevertheless, today, I will send you to the hospital, more precisely the former hospital, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain. Why am I so cruel? Because it will be the most beautiful hospital you have ever seen in your life.

At this time, our plan in Barcelona was not oversaturated. We wanted to take photographs inside the Sagrada Familia; to visit Gaudi’s other masterpiece, the crypt; and at last to look at his Casa Vicens. We knew that some hospital listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site was located one kilometer away from our apartments, but all except the Gaudi sites were not very important to us.

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Adventures of Fitness Alcoholics in One of the Baltic Capitals

Cruise ship in the port of Tallinn, one of the Baltic capitals.

Cruise ship in the port of Tallinn, Estonia.

Scene one: Early spring. Carcassonne, France.

A couple of alcoholics wanted to find a cognac in the supermarkets of the city of Carcassonne. They were nearly dead after a whole day of storming the ruins of the Cathar castle, Peyrepertuse, in the mountains of Pyrinees. Cold and tired, they needed medicinal help—a good French cognac. The first supermarket. There was no cognac. The second—also none. “Darling, are you sure we are in France, the only country where cognac is produced?”

The third supermarket. There were a couple of kinds of cognac, but they were cheap and unknown. The alcoholics bought one and tried it. Bad idea. The cognac was awful. How is it possible not to find a good cognac in France?!

Scene two: Autumn. Tallinn, Estonia.

The same two alcoholics (my wife and I) wanted to buy some fruit and cheese in Tallinn’s supermarket. Supermarkets in Estonia are almost the same as in France, but with one big difference—they have dozens of kinds of cognac on their shelves. In that moment, these travel bloggers/alcoholics recalled how they searched unsuccessfully for a cognac in Carcassonne, France. It seems as if France exports all its cognac.
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Pays Cathare or the Noble Ruins Remembering the Cathar Heresy

 

Chateaux de Lastours. Pays Cathare, Languedoc, France.

Chateaux de Lastours. Pays Cathare, Languedoc, France.

The whole land was filled with blood, castles were taken by storm, villages were lying in ruins, bonfires were blazing everywhere burning hundreds of people, the population was almost destroyed by the Crusader army led by Simon de Montfort hired by the pope. Did you think it happened somewhere in Palestine? No. It was Languedoc, France, which 800 years ago was named Occitania or Pays Cathare and belonged to the Cathars, people who dared to think about Jesus Christ in their own way, not according to the pope’s way. The head of the Catholic Church declared this doctrine to be the Cathar heresy and tested in Occitania a new method of getting rid of unwanted people—burning them at the stake—which would later became known as the Holy Inquisition.

Why burn people? Why not just kill them with well proven methods? Because their graves and memorial stones could remain and become places of worship for new heretics. Instead, nothing but ashes would be left after a fire. However, the pope was wrong. Memorial stones on the fields of mass burnings of Cathars in Languedoc were established, and today, we will stand near one of them at the foot of the famous ruins of the Cathar castle, Chateau de Montsegur.

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