George V. Reilly

Wilfred the Hairy

Wilfred the Hairy

This may, perhaps, be old news in bear circles, but I only read it ten days ago on the plane over, in Robert Hughes’ quirky Barcelona the Great En­chantress. The founder of Catalunyan/Catalonian/Catalan national in­de­pen­dence a thousand years’ ago was the Visigoth known as Wilfred the Hairy. History does not record with any clarity how Guifré el Pilós earned that name.

I haven’t visited the Iberian peninsula since the 1970s when the well-founded stereotype was that Spanish men had mustaches. That seems to have gone out of style: almost all men, young or old, were clean­shaven. And after having seen countless women wearing tanktops in the heat, I can say that the stereotype about unshaven armpits is equally dated.

The enervating heat aside (high 30Cs = high 90Fs), Barcelona, the Pyrenees, and Figueres (Dali’s hometown) were all most enjoyable.

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