Posts filed under ‘Day to Day’

Mataró

On Sunday we headed off to Mataró to see my friends Sara and Andres. It turned out to be a gorgeous day and we spent quite a bit of time by the beach.

We passed through one of the tunnels under the highway and I was really impressed by the graffiti on the beach side.

We just wandered around a bit before heading back to their apartment for a wonderful lunch. Alex HAD to get some recipes for the salads and pasta they served.

They have an amazing view from their apartment and yes, that is the Mediterranean in the distance.

We left Mataró around 6:00 PM and when we arrived in Barcelona we walked up Psg de Gracia to Diagonal. There was some sort of party going on to celebrate Portugal. We were meeting Sebastian, Jackie, Sylvie and Julian up there. There were lot’s of people and live entertainment (check out Alex’s blog for more info). This group was playing fado.

We had to stand in line to buy tickets for food or drink and everyone had the same ideas at the same time.

We bought tickets for ginjinha, a liquer unique to Lisbon, and I must day pretty strong. Being in a party mood we soon met more people and I hope the following photos will show just how much fun we had.

The beginning of the evening when we were still in control……

Sylvie and Julian

Crowds were getting larger and food was in demand………………

Sylvie and Sebastian, still early……………………

Sylvie and her bottle of ginjinha……………….

note the blur, the evening is moving on

Here you can see the evening is well on it’s way…………………….

Alessandro, one of the friendly people we met there, he was just too funny…………

The last subway home, good thing they had safety belts so some of us could stay standing

By the way, when we got off at our stop they closed the gates as we exited the station so we were pretty lucky we didn’t have to walk home.

LIFE IS GREAT

June 11, 2008 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Canada, The First Week

We’ve done a lot over the past week. Signed our lease, got our medicare cards updated and I joined Hart House so I can get back to the gym.

Our apartment is right down town and actually 3 floors directly above our old one. Talk about luck. We move into the place in June. This is our little oasis in the middle of downtown Toronto.

Yesterday, Pearl took us to a park right near her place. Consider this, the park is in an urban area, cycling distance (long maybe) from downtown Toronto. When we went I felt that the ambience and feelings were Canada. This park represented how I felt about Canada. It was great. I had never felt that way before but as Alex explained, sometimes you have to leave and come back before you notice these things. It was so true. There were loons diving for fish, geese flying low over the water and lines of other water fowl flying in formation past the point. The mist was light and the air cool. It really struck me that I was back in Canada.

Not many people around either. After the crowds in Barcelona, this was nice.

The trees had not yet grown their new leaves and most of them held only the hint of green. Some were further along than others but the mixture was lovely. Subtle coloring in the background and calm waters made for a sensuous ambiance.

The boats were ready for another season and people were out cleaning and socializing. For boaters, it was more socializing than cleaning……

Alex exploring the photo ops of bleached driftwood. She bought herself a new digital camera and was testing it out.

We had a great time thanks to Pearl. We will be doing this once a week like we did in Barcelona. We hope to pick a neighborhood in Toronto every week and go exploring with our cameras. I’ll post something about where we went and some photos and if I can, I’ll give a little history. Our friends in Barcelona will be able to know more about Canada. I hope it makes them interested enough to come visit.

May 10, 2007 at 3:32 pm 1 comment

The Voyage Home

Sebastian drove us to the airport on May 2, 2007. We were leaving. The time had finally arrived. I couldn’t believe how fast it had come and how much faster it had gone. I can remember the planning before going to Spain.

The last few months were special for me. Sebastian and Jackie had opened their home to us and we are so thankful to them. Both of them are truly amazing people.

We flew with Lufthansa to Frankfurt and the flight was uneventful.

Great weather greeted us.

Frankfurt airport is HUGE but we had plenty of time to make our connection.

Alex HAD to have a beer in Germany. She had practiced asking for one in German for a few weeks. Sebastian had taught her many phrases in German. She actually started talking to me using German phrases in the middle of the night. I didn’t know where or who I was with for a minute there. It was too funny.

Leaving Frankfurt airport and flying over the city.

and arriving in Canada. Al and Pearl came to pick us up at the airport. A surprise was Perry, who came along to greet us. It was a long day but we had arrived.

We’ll be staying with Pearl and Al until our apartment is ready in June. Tuesday, May 15, we leave for Brasil to visit Alex’s family.

May 10, 2007 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

Barcelona, The Final Two Months

Well, it had to happen. Our stay here is coming to an end. We stayed with Jackie and Sebastian for the last few months and had an absolutely fantastic time. I don’t think I managed to get on their nerves but I have been known to be wrong. Jackie and I would have some pretty heated discussions in the morning and most times she was right but I’d never admit that. I’ll miss the times we had.

Most of the last few weeks was saying goodbye to all the amazing and woderful friends we had made over the past year. There are some that will remain close to my heart forever (and they will never know who they are). I’ve put together some photos of some of the people we partied with or dined with or just hung out with over the last few weeks.

Bradley at Wushu’s

Paul

Francesca, I’ll miss her humor and outlook on life. We had fun communicating. Sha actually thought I spoke Italian but that’s a whole other story.

Sara, my spanish teacher. We became good friends. I really hope her and Andrea come to visit us in Canada. Actually I hope they all come to visit us in Canada.

Matt, a great friend whom I met in Spanish class.

His wife Elena, always smiling. The two of them were a lot of fun.

Marc, another friend from Spanish class.

I had to have a few friends who were closer to my mental age and Elena’s cousin’s baby fit the role. Same sense of humor too.

Jackie, Alex, Joy and Jesus at Joy and Jesus’ casa. They had us over for a farewell lunch

Alex and Andres having a chuckle. Andres taught Alex how to make mate.

Francisca and Sylvie fooling around. Those two were really great people. Sylvie was stressing out about her newly purchased piso in Bari Gotic. It’s an amazing place and I am sure she’ll love it when all the work is done. Francisca returns to Chile in October and we hope to visit her soon.

Mireia, she just finished her Phd thesis and was preparing to defend it. Her and Pau were super and Pau has to send me my honorary Catalan citizenship card. I’ll hold him to that too.

Jackie getting her hair done

Pau, Mireia and Jackie having a discussion. I’ll miss my discussions with Jackie………

Joy and Jesus

I have missed posting photos of many others because I don’t have them or they are really blurry. Photos taken while drinking too much wine ……

Last, but not least is Naomi. It was through her thoughtfulness and consideration that we met most of these people. Naomi always made sure that Alex and I were invited to different places. She is a bundle of energy and always up for a good time.

Many thanks to all of you who made Barcelona a special place and time for us. You are all invited to visit us in Canada anytime. Our home is always open to you so please come.

Now for the next series of adventures ………

May 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Last Visit

This was the last visit to Barcelona’s beaches. It was ana mazing day and lot’s of people were out. Many booths were open on the boardwalk and the crowds were thick.

It was kind of weird though, looking south the sun was shining and the air clear but looking north was another view altogether.

A fog was rolling in off the sea and it had this really strange effect. People were wondering what was happening and the sun worshippers began to leave in droves. Soon, the beach looked like this…….

The fog itself was low and buildings above it still had sunlight. Made for a neat photograph and dramatic effects.

All in all, it was a dramatic last view of Barcelona’s beaches. One I’ll not forget.

May 10, 2007 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

A Great Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

What a day. In the morning I worked on some photos that I had set aside and around noon I went over to Alexandra’s archives so we could go for lunch. Alex wanted to go to a place with a terrace that was across from Parc de le Ciutadella. We had a great lunch outside. The park trees have their new growth of green and it was really spring like (at a temperature of 24 + it was more like summer). After we ate, Alex went back to work and I went off to the park to lay around in the grass. I found a great place in the shade of a palm tree so I pulled out my ipod, set up my knapsack as a pillow and lay down on the grass. Lot’s of people all around me doing the same thing, just relaxing.

I don’t know how long I lay there but a group of swedish girls sat down close by to sunbathe. One of them, Erika, started chatting, really friendly and bubbly (almost too bubbly). She was here in Barcelona for a month. It turns out she comes here every year for a month and has been doing so for the past six years. She tells me that she has made friends from all over the world and has kept in touch with most of them. We hung about for most of the afternoon and when she left I went to a new spot by the big fountain. I looked out over the scene in front of me and couldn’t beleive it. This was more like dreamland than reality.

I think the thing that really clinched it all was when this guy cycles in and stops by one of the palm trees. He was carrying all kinds of things, 2 guitars, a drum and a big bag full of other stuff. He parks his bike and begins to unpack. Next thing I know, he’s pacing off the distance between the palm trees. I was really curious so I watched what he was up to. Turns out he was stringing up a strap between the two trees. A bunch of his friends arrive and they all settle in. They just radiated a joie de vie that made me slightly envious. It was really amazing. Anyhow, the strap was for walking on. Some were tightrope walking, others sitting around dinking matté and others making music. I loved it and thought about all the young people over in Canada who should make it a point of coming to Barcelona. It’s a paradise or maybe it’s mine. who knows.

Anyhow, for the past few weeks I have been playing around with a game on internet called Second Life. It’s like a chat room but you have animated characters that represent you and there is a virtual world to explore. It’s quite the place with buildings and roads and averything else a person can think of. I usually go to this specific spot and just watch the interaction of the animated characters. All kinds of outfits and animations that I could never describe in words. My point is that watching people in the park was so similar to watching the fantasies in Second Life that I immediatly fell in love with Barcelona all over again. It’s not the place for everyone but for me, it is amazing. Some compare it to Paris in the beginning of the last century.

I’ll miss this place.

April 19, 2007 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Thursday’s Walk Feb 15,2007

I post all my photos in a place called Flickr. It’s more than just a storage place for photographs, it’s also a virtual community of photographers, artists and all types of creative individuals. One of the things I enjoy about Flickr is the ability to join a group. These are special interest communities. One may be only for critiquing, one for Black and White photography, etc.

There is one that stands a little above the others with the addition of it’s own web site that interacts with Flickr. It’s called UTATA. The admins are great for getting projects going and a regular project is the Thursday Walk. This week was Utata Thursday Walk 44. All you have to do is get out there on Thursday and take some pictures. This Thursday I did and this is what I saw and where I went. Those who visited will remember these places.

When I stepped out of our apartment I was met with clear blue skies, a great day.

I started my walk towards the Med and on the way I saw two police on horseback. We don’t see too much of that here in Barcelona so I was pretty cool.

At the next corner there were a bunch of police directing traffic. Four officers were on the sidewalk watching three others in the street. I suspect they were from the police academy and were training. I tried to get their photo but one waved me off so I figured I shouldn’t push it.

I kept walking towards the Arc de Triomf at the end of Psg Sant Joan with the sun in my eyes, it was really bright.

Once on the other side of the arc I noticed the bicycle path, this city has a very large network of cycle paths all over the city and on weekends the people are out in force on their bikes.

Looking to the right I noticed I could see the spire of Santa Maria del Mar with the sun shining between the buildings, gorgeous light.

I walked down the centre of this massive walkway and noticed a large group of elderly men playing a game of ……… Don’t know what it’s called but they were into a serious discussion (maybe cursing the dam paparazzi which was me)

I walked all the way down to the entrance of Parc Ciutadella and ventured in towards the mechanical sculpture. I turned and saw the Musee de Zoologia.

That big gear to the right is part of a massive sculpture. There were ducks in the water and they weren’t afraid of people because I got really close to one.

From there I walked throught some groves of palms and other trees. They were watering the sun shinning through the branches made for a very dramatic scene.

I stayed until they turned off the water, the air was cool and you could feel the oxygen that was in the dense brush, really fresh. I went over to the big fountain and just sat on a bench observing people with their dogs or kids or just reading books.

The sound of the water, the sunlight shining throught the trees and the cool air in the shade made this place a very peaceful and relaxing place.

I was supposed to meet Alex at 1:30 and go for lunch. It was around 12:30 and she called to see where I was. I told her and 10 minutes later she joined me. We went to lunch at a place on the corner of Psg Pujades and Lluis Companys, of course we ate out on the terrace and it was Paella day.
It was a wonderful day, it was a Thursday Walk

February 16, 2007 at 4:20 pm 3 comments

Tribute to Our Friends

Monday evening, (see Alex’s blog here) Alex and I went to a photo exhibit in a bookstore, Libraria Baïbars, up on calle Muntaner. The author was Moussa ag Assarid, from a nomadic Berber tribe called the Touareg. To read all about Moussa, go to Alex’s site here. You must read about this amazing individual but this post is not about Moussa per se.

Anyhow, we arrived at the bookstore and listened to Moussa tell us “une petite histoire” about how he came to be here in Barcelona. While he was speaking I had a very strong feeling of familiarity. Not a feeling of “deja vu”, but a feeling of knowing. I couldn’t communicate the feeling to Alex because I myself did not understand it. We talked about it and I just couldn’t say why because I really didn’t know.

Well, Alex is very good in getting me to understand what’s going on and after a few days of discussions I think I now know why I had this feeling. Moussa is an individual whose personality is simalar to almost all of our friends here in Barcelona. This connection also made me understand another feeling I frequently get when we are with a group of our friends.

All my life, I have been conventional, ok, almost conventional. You know, the mainstream ideology. Since we arrived here, not one person we have come to call a friend is from the same background as me. They are all fiercely independent, adventuresome, free spirited individuals who do what their hearts drive them to do, doing what they enjoy doing, being in places they want to be part of. They are all extremely creative as scientists, chefs, artists, cinematographers, fashion designers, musicians, educators. Their educations range from high school to Phd’s and they are all share the same drive and passion as Moussa. I suppose while listening to him speak I had a subconscious link to those personalities but couldn’t consciously figure it out.

It explains also why I sometimes feel like a fraud when I am with my friends. I feel like I am only there because of circumstance, not through any planning on my part.

I realized too, that the same applies to our friends in Toronto. They have those same adventuresome characteristics

and Montreal …..

Anyhow, this is a tribute to you all (and you all know who you are). I’m very proud to be your friend.

February 7, 2007 at 9:47 pm 7 comments

Most Viewed Photographs

Here is a slide show of my most viewed photographs. I still can’t figure out what attracts people to an image. Some of these I wouldn’t have expected to be on the list. This slide show is always changing, depending on the views, so come back later.

To view the slide show, click HERE

February 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm 2 comments

Photo Morning

This morning I didn’t really feel like going to the gym but I had to do something. I decided to go down to the docks where all the commercial fishing boats are. My intention was to try and get some interesting photos.

Alex and I headed out the door at 8:00 and the first thing we noticed was …………IT WAS COLD. Not Canadian cold but cold enough to make your bare hands uncomfortable. Actually, it was 5 C but windy. We took the bus down to where Alex is doing her research and stopped for a coffee near there. She went to work and I took the tram down to the beach. I walked along the boardwalk looking for something to photograph. The sun was shining straight in from the Med and it was bright. The waves were breaking a little off the beach and the sun behind them made for an interesting subject. I’d never shot waves before so here was my chance. Down to the water’s edge I go, get the camera out and …… couldn’t see a thing. Camera settings were on the lcd but the sun was so bright I couldn’t see anything. I had to guess and use the viewfinder. Here’s what I caught and I’m quite pleased considering …….

This last one was the worst of them all. The sun was directly in front of me and I couldn’t even see the actual wave. I went by the sound and shot when I thought it was breaking. Pure luck.

I kept walking to the docks but I couldn’t get close to the water. Everything was blocked off on the dock side and the beach side was full of construction. I was getting coolish (a true Canadian would not be cold in +5 C) at this point so I headed back home. At least it wasn’t a total waste and I actually enjoyed the morning.

Oh, here’s another photo I came across on my computer. Just loaded it up to Flickr

Have a great day.

January 24, 2007 at 1:12 pm 2 comments

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