Posts filed under ‘Weekend’


This past weekend we went on a camino with Pau and Mireia. This hike had been in the works for quite a while. Sebastian and I had talked about organizing one way back in January. We wanted to hike up north, around Vic and Pau, who is a member of the hiking feferation in Vic, knows many of the trails there. We contacted him about a month ago to see if he was available to go for a hike with us. Sunday was the day we went. We let people know where we were going and when to meet but in the end only Alex, myself and Sebastian went from Barcelona. We left for Vic on the 9:20 train out of Placa Catalunya.

Pau i Mireia

An hour and a half later, we arrived in Vic. Pau and Mireia met us at the train station and off we went. They told us that they had made reservations for lunch and that we would be hiking to the restaurant, eating and hiking back. We were in for a huge, pleasant surprise. We headed off in the direction of Olot, which is north of Vic. The highway progressively climbed as we got further from Vic. The whole landscape changed from what we were used to in Barcelona. Most of the trees were bare of their leaves and the sky, wow, so dramatic. The sun and clouds were having this huge battle for dominance and the clouds were winning each skirmish, although at times it seemed the sun would win. It was like this for the entire day and made for some of the most dramatic skies I had ever seen.

So here’s a photo of what Barcelona was like on Thursday of last week, lush and green. Keep this in mind when you view the photos from our hike.

We pulled into a parking lot for a restaurant and our hike began. we were in an area called Cantonigròs. Pau pointed the way and off we went. The light was really flat so it was hard to get good photos since there was hardly any contrast.

We walked down the highway to a dirt road that went towards the mountain.

Actually, the road ran along a valley in between mountains, the scenery was amazing. We walked past working farms and the livestock was right there. Some of the biggest bulls I have ever seen were here too. These are cows by the way.

The path eventually started to wind it’s way upwards. It started off with a gentle climb and as we entered the forest we ran into some hunters with their dogs. We could hear dogs howling since we entered the valley. I’d never seen hunters with dogs before (except in the movies) so it was quite a treat.

Aparently there are a lot of wild boars here and signs were everywhere warning hikers of the possible danger. We kept on walking upwards and the path started to narrow at points as we made our way across the terrain.

That soon ended as we started some serious upward movements. The path varied from lots of vegetation to rock. The sky kept up the show and at this time, the clouds were really winning the battle. They were so thick it was getting dark.

You could see we’d climbed a fair bit up into the mountains

and of course we had to shoot some photos (just the excuse I needed for a rest)

After our rest, ooops, I mean photo session, we climbed at a much quicker rate. The slope of the path increased quite a bit. I was sweating like mad. I sweat easily, even just doing my weight workout. I keep meaning to ask a doctor if it’s good to sweat so easily or is it a sign that something is up. I’ll have to wait until I get back to Canada I guess. Here’s the view from a little higher up, note the sky again. The sun is starting to gain a little ground.

At this point we’re “almost” at the restaurant. It’s on top of that mountain in the back and if you look closely you can see the trail that leads up. This was going to be fun (tongue in cheek).

We started up the trail and Sebastian, the mountain goat, went bouncing up the trail. You can see where we had come from and now, where we are going.

I went up at a good rate and stopped about half way up. I could actually hear my heart pounding, it was amazing. On the way up there was a marker and it gives you an idea of just how high we’d climbed in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

On top of this mountian were more trails continuing on and walking the narrow trail gave you fantastic views on both sides of the range.

It was weird because the sun was winning the war on one side and it seemed like the clouds were gathering on the other side to attack.

This was an amzing place to be. So close to the edge and nothing to guide you. You really felt the three dimensional world when you looked at the edge of the cliff.

There was also a geological marker placed at the top and there were indicators to different areas on the horizon.

As high as we were, the trail climbed even higher. Since our table was ready we only went so far.

From here we turned around and went back to the restaurant.

The restaurant, Sanctuari de Cabrera, is in a building that heralds from medieval times. It was a church and a sanctuary and the church is still there beside the resaurant. A really amazing place and a fantastic treat.

We had salad, mountain paella, beef, wine, dessert,coffee and penty of great conversation. I might add that at the beginning of the day, we, or should I say they, decided to speak only spanish and catalan. I survived and even managed to get into the conversations.

Pau and Mireia even taught me how to drink wine from a porron, a catalan wine dispenser. It takes a bit of time to master and after pouring lots of wine on my face and shirt, I finally managed it.

Here’s some clearer photos of the porron.

The room was very humid with all the cooking going on and the outside looked so uninviting. Fog was just rolling across the ground and being inside was so comforting.

The cooking was done like it has been for centuries, by fire. The kitchen had few modern conveniences since the place was so isolated.

When we left, it seemed like the sun was finally going to win the war, at least in the valley we were heading down into. The dark clouds were still blowing across so it could go any way.

The return trip took far less time than it took to get up there and when we finally made it back to the car, the sun poked out and gave us a grand farewell.

Shortly after that photo, the clouds waged a massive assault and won the day. Less than 2 hours later, the rain started.

Pau and Mireia had given memories that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. A fantastic day with fantastic friends.

February 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm 5 comments


This weekend began with a movie on Friday night. A bunch of us, Sebastian, Francisca, Jackie, Jordi, Isa, Alex and I met in Sant Antoni for a movie. We went to see Copying Beethoven. It’s a film about producing the premiere for his ninth symphony. The next day Sebsatian and Jackie were taking us to a small town called Vic. Alex has wanted to visit this town for quite some time so we jumped at the offer.

They picked us up at home and off we went. When we arrived we met Jackie’s co-worker Mirella and her companion Pau. What great people they are, so friendly and warm. They live in the area so they became our tour guide. We were going to tour the town and then head into the mountains for a bit of a hike. Pau belongs to la Unió Excursionista de Vic and knows much about the surrounding area. He is an avid hiker and was going for a 35 km hike the following day. He was telling us about a particular hike that is around 80 kms in length and is rated as a very difficult trail because of the constant large changes in altitude. The record for this hike is 12 hrs. Needless to say, they are all in top condition and they reminded me of the atheletic attitude that my friends in Montreal have.

Pau and Mirella

Once we found them we headed off to the main square in Vic. It was filled with vendors selling everything from live chickens to rugs. Lots of produce so everyone was stopping to buy a few grapes at one stall, some apples at another and Jackie had to buy some red peppers from a vendor who said they were “muy picante”. She took a bite from the pepper and said it wasn’t hot at all. I tried a bit and found it HOT but I think it was my imagination because the following day I bit off a chunk and it was sweet, not spicy. Jackie is Indian so I think her taste buds are geared towards spicy. The spanish don’t like spicy foods so when a spaniard tells you it’s spicy then it’s mildly picante, and I mean mildly. I am not a fan of hot but even I have tougher taste buds than the spanish. The following photo is a multiple exposure to try and give a sense of how busy it was in the square.

As we walked around the square I came across this bronze of some kind of gnome. The expression was quite entertaining so I couldn’t resist. Notice how full his mouth is, must be a sampling of all the food for sale in the square.

Alex took this opportunity to test out her new lens.

As I said, even rugs were for sale here. Maybe you’d buy some food then pick up a small rug to sit on and have a picnic.Hmmmm, there’s a thought for next time we’re there

We wandered out of the square down some small streets and came across these ruins of an old palace. There were newer buildings on the other side of the walls but I couldn’t help but wonder where those doors and windows led to when the palace was in use.

The palace was originally built around an even older structure. When they started to demolish the palace they “discovered” this roman temple that had been there for 2000 years. How can you lose and then re-discover a building ?????

I’ve been playing around with new digital processing that requires multiple exposures and special processing afterwards. It’s called HDR and the following is a sample of the effect of HDR. It’s not a true HDR shot because true HDR requires highly specialised equipment to view.

After leaving the temple we wandered into another peaceful little square. I took another HDR shot so the children look like ghosts.

The face of the statue was covered with cobwebs but I loved the expression he had, so wistful looking.

The girls were feeling frisky as you can see Alex, Jackie y Mirella.

We left the little square to go to a restaurant that Pau and Mirella had chosen for lunch. On the way we came across a huge construction site that bordered on very old structures. It struck me that the old was giving way to the new and I tried another HDR shot. I love the graphic effect that you can get with this technology.

We had an amazing lunch at L’Alzina with wine and entrees. Marti and Eli showed up. They are friends of Pau and Mirella so we were able to meet even more people. I have to say again that the people we are meeting here are some of the warmest and friendliest people going. I’ve heard it said that catalans keep their distance from strangers but I have never experienced that. Every one I’ve met, including strangers on the trains and buses have been super. I keep seeing the face of a woman I tried to talk to on one of the city buses. I was asking her how you say a particular colour in catalan. Her face just lit up with the warmest smile ever, it was amazing. She even told us she was going to the apartment where she was born to see her sister.

After eating we walked back to the square. Marti and Eli invited us back to their home for tea so we walked through the square on our way back to the cars. All the vendors had packed up and left. It was as if they were never there to begin with.

I had to take a group shot in the square

Then I asked them all to jump around for this hdr shot. I wanted to see the ghost effect. I think it’s pretty cool.

We went back to the cars and drove over to Marti and El’s place. All I can say is wow. They live in a building that is 300 years old. It was getting dark so I couldn’t take many photos. What a place, like it was from a movie. Her father had a house nearby that was a 300 year old converted church. Eli showed us her new horse. She rides in the mountains and they are right in the middle of them. We played pool and drank tea and chatted. More friends of Marti and Eli came over but I didn’t get to chat with them. Sometimes I’m a little hesitant in getting into a conversation because of my limited spanish and my non existant catalan. They were playing with their new puppy.

It was a storybook ending to another great day here in Catalunya.

November 7, 2006 at 11:56 am 4 comments

It’s not Sunday, It’s Photoday

You know, photography, in a sense, is a little like golf. To me, playing golf is an excuse to go for a walk in beautiful surroundings while photography is an excuse to go exploring in ways and places we normally wouldn’t consider. I think it’s the way you look at your surroundings when you have a camera in your hand. It’s just different, like you’re exploring.

Today, Alex and I grabbed our cameras and headed off to San Pere, an area in the Born. It’s streets are very narrow and sometimes surprise you by leading you into a wonderful secluded plaça.

The buildings are also very old and as a result the only colour you see has been put there by someone, either flowers or fabric.

Some little plaças invitie you to just sit and watch the world go by.

But even where there are many inviting places there are always the uninviting. I’ve never seen a dog that I didn’t want to be friends with but these two made me want to flee. I didn’t even want them to notice me taking their picture so I was VERY careful to keep well out of their reach. Thank god for zoom lenses.

There were also places that screamed KEEP OUT. I wonder what is behind this door that has this much security on it.

Near the end of our little excursion, we happened upon a blues jam session. These musicians were top notch.

They were playing blues. The drummer and bassist would set up a beat

and the guitarist would jam with that beat. He was really good at improvising. It’s exactly what I’d like to master.

Even the graffiti seemed to be watching them.

The sound man was kept busy but he did an amazing job too. There was no feedback at all and the sound, for an outdoor venue was very clean.

Well, the end of another weekend. Tonight we’ll be going to our cafe down the street to watch the football (soccer) game. It’s between Barcelona and Madrid and represents powerful rivalries.

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading back to the gym to re-establish our workout habits (groan). It’s going to be a tough week.

October 22, 2006 at 4:46 pm 1 comment

It’s Saturday

This turned out to be a great day. We woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky and a very comfortable temperature. We headed out to the market to pick up some meat, fruit and stuff but stopped at OUR cafe for our morning coffee. We really took our time, finished what we had to do, dropped off the groceries and caught the 47 bus to Placa Catalunya. Alex wanted to go to Altaïr to pick up the brand new, just released, anxiously waited for Moleskine City Review books.

She has been waiting for these amazing little books since the summer and was in ecstasy when she bought them. Like a little kid at Christmas. These are really amazing books for anyone who is thinking of travelling. For full details go here to see what they are all about.

After leaving Altaïr we stopped in at a photo store to check out a camera I want to buy when we get back to Canada. It was a toss up between the new Canon Digital EOS XTi and the Canon EOS 30D. I’m really leaning towards the 30D.

This is one beautiful camera and my first DSLR. I am really looking foreward to using it. From there we walked down to Casanova on C/ Pelai, an amazing photo store. Alex bought a new lens for her camera and she tells you all about it on her blog. She talks about the rest of the day so I won’t get into it here. What I will do is post some photos of a lamp exhibit we saw while walking to Wushu’s. This exhibit is a dedication of sorts. I don’t understand what or why but each lamp had a persons’s name, date of birth and date of their death.

After eating we slowly headed back towards home. These are photos of where we walked in the old city.

From the narrow streets out into the main square as seen through the arch of a roman aqueduct, over a thousand years old.

As we were walking I saw this old basin made out of a solid block or marble. This turtle was carved on the edge, pretty cool.

As I said, it was a great day. Hope you all had the same.

October 21, 2006 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

A Park and an Airshow

I cannot believe that September is over. The time seems to be flying past as quickly as some of the aircraft we saw this weekend. It seems like yesterday when Norbert and Carole arrived and they left over a week ago. Once again I had trouble adjusting to the quiet after being busy. It always takes a day or two to readjust.

This Saturday, Alex and I took the metro up to Parc del Laberint. It’s way up in the mountain, just beyond the range of the city maps. Needless to say, it is off the tourist path. We took the metro L3 up to Mundet and walked up from there. It’s quite different from the Barcelona we know in Eixample, much more modern. By the way, we didn’t realize that it cost us 2 Euros each to get in (it’s free on Sundays) but we didn’t mind since the fee is used to help maintain the park.

The theme of the park is that of the neoclassical garden of the XVIII century. Very romantic with lots of statues and fountains and most importantly, secluded benches. There is a house which belonged to the Marqués de Llupià y de Alfarràs but it is in great need of repair and is closed off to the public. In a garden house nearby, there is a defence tower, known as the Torre Subirana, which dates back to mediaeval times.

There were very gnarled, twisty trees lined along one of the pathways. Quite interesting shapes but I didn’t capture the feeling in the photo.

We hurried thought the park because we arrived there later than we had planned and Alex had things to do at home. To be honest, it was not an inspiring day but you can’t expect every day to be.

On Sunday, we headed down towards Forum. We caught the number 6 bus and took it to the end of the line. It’s another area of the city that we had never been to and the area used to be industrial. It’s in the process of change and a very interesting place to be with a camera. We couldn’t explore because we were going to see an air show. It started at 9:00 and we got off the bus at around 9:20. I could here jets, not the muffled jets that propel commercial aircraft but the growl of high performance fighter aircraft. I can usually recognize a Harley Davidson by it’s sound and jet engines are the same. We hurried to the beach and when we got to the boardwalk an F16 was streaking by the beach with full afterburner. OK, I got goosebumps and Alex laughed at me.

The beach was actually empty because we were so early. It was a gorgeous day too and people were in the water.

I was soooooo sorry I didn’t have a longer lens because I just couldn’t capture the majesty of these aircraft. A french Mirage shot by as we walked towards Mar Bella.

They weren’t flying high but were out over the water where a large naval rescue boat was cruising in case it was needed. The ship was fairly far out making the Mediteranean look so inviting.

When we got to Mar Bella, two Harrier’s flew by, boy are they ever loud in flight mode ……

It was a slow fly by so maybe they needed power to stay in the air. One hovered in front of the Forum and scanned the horizon like a hunter seeking prey. It actually looked ominous as it hovered there………

The beach was starting to fill up as more people arrived to take in the show so we went down to the water’s edge to watch from there.

The aricraft stopped for a while and some parachutists put on a display. One carried a huge catalin flag on his way down, truly impressive and the control these people have is amazing.

They all landed in a little marked off area of the beach. Some seemed to hover way up while waiting for the others to land. While he was coming down he freaked out the crowd by diving towards the beach. We thought hi chute had failed but it was a controlled, RAPID descent.

A group of prop aerobatic aircraft did some loops and stuff ………

For piston engined aircraft, they were pretty impressive. Those engines must be pretty powerful to pull the aircaft straight up like that.

We were waiting for the grand finale. Vueling was supposed to do a fly by with an Airbus 320. They were going to fly past the beach at 200 metres and I really wanted to get some photos. They never showed so I guess they needed the aircraft for something else. Oh well, I probably would have been disappointed with the pictures because I didn’t have the proper lens for the show. We left there at around 12:30 and started walking towards the city.

We wanted to go to Barceloneta and meet up with Patxi. It was the last day of a week long fiesta and we were going to have lunch there. It didn’t happen and we ended up at Wushu’s for lunch. It was packed, we were tired and hot and the cava tasted GREAT. While waiting for a table, Jackie and her family showed up. We met her parents and her aunt and chatted with them for a bit. Wushu was too busy so they went on to Cardemons. We had a great lunch (as usual) and chatted with the owners Bradley and Paula for a bit before going home. It was quite a full day.

October 3, 2006 at 12:48 pm 5 comments

Gran Fiesta de Barcelona – Mercè

Norbert and Carole visited this week and we were really happy to see them. We spent the week wandering around the city and I had my first experience with pickpockets (see the previous post). We also discovered another little alcove in Bari Gotic. It was so relaxing and peaceful, almost zen like.

The sound of trickling water combined with the soft reflected light really made this alcove a place for reflection. What really added to the ambience was the sound of classical music filtering in from outside. There was a violinist and a cellist playing just outside the building.

I hope they enjoyed their week here as much as we enjoyed having them visit.

Well this weekend really was another kicker. Mercè started on Friday and it was a very wet day. It rained on and off for most of the day and a lot of events were either cancelled or postponed. It must be extremely disappointing for those who have dedicated so many hours of their time to organize, construct or practice for this major Barcelona event.

We had planned to attend a number of events on Friday but decided it was too wet. Besides, we had a party to go to that night. Tio Seb was having a surprise birthday party for Jackie at a club called Senses. We had a great time there and Jackie was completely caught off guard. They have a lot of friends and it seems like they all showed up. It goes to show how really great people those two are. We left the party around 2:00 and I heard it went on until about 7:00 the next day. Needless to say, all our plans for taking in the Mercè on Saturday were shelved. Saturday was a quiet day, a day to recharge my batteries.

Sunday we were up early and headed to Plaça de Sant Jaume to meet Francisca at 10:30. The square was packed.

The giants were performing when we arrived and because they were giants we could see them, at least the upper half of them. They are quite amazing and always come in pairs, man and woman. Some sport real hair and are very lifelike.

After the giants paraded around the square, Francisca discovered that the public was allowed in the Palau de la Generalitat. What a treat. The inside of this building is gorgeous and the few photos I took do not do it justice.

The marble floor is made of individual tiles of differnt coloured marble. You had to look very closely to see where they actually joined. From a distance they looked painted. The craftmanship put into this building was beyond words. On one wall, which is a modern addition and is actually a piece of art, is an inverted figure. The figure is a hollow in the wall. If you look at the bottom of the figure you can see what I mean.

From there we walked over to Ravel to eat. Alex and I had eaten in an Indian restaurant called Shalimar across from Jackie and Sebastian’s place and we really enjoyed it. Alex decided to call them so they came down and ate with us. Sebastian told me that he too had a quiet day yesterday (I wonder why). We visited with them for a while and then headed home. It was a full day.

Monday we wanted to go hiking but the trail we wanted to take was probably too muddy to be any fun. We were going to take the GR6 trail over to Sant Cugat. The beginning of the trail is very steep so we decided to do it some other time. Instead, we grabbed both of our cameras and headed to Bari Gotic (old Barcelona). We just walked around taking photos of anything that appealed to us. Here are some examples………

I saw this one when I was watching my feet.

This poster and reflection made me do a double take when I caught it out of the corner of my eye.

And then we needed an animal shot to round out the day, he was probably wondering what the heck we were doing……

We headed in the general direction of home and found Psseig de Gracia was closed to traffic and filled with kiosks. We browsed our way up the street and came across these wild hair dressers………..

The red dresser

and the gold dresser

So the long weekend comes to an end. It seems like we always chance upon the most interesting things because of wandering randomly around.

Hope you all have a great week.

September 25, 2006 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

On Sunday Life is a Beach

Talk about spontaneity. Naomi called this morning to inform that they were heading up to Sant Pol de Mar. alex was feeling better and she thought a day at the beach was just what the doctor ordered. We gathered our beach gear and went over to Jackie and Sebastien’s place. By the way, I DO have to mention here that Jackie loves the sugar pie (big smile on my part). Naomi had to head home to get her beach gear so we agreed on the 12:48 train. As the time approached to leave for the station, Jackie had a shower and was applying cream to protect her body against the harsh beach environment. Now, let me explain a little something about German and Canadian attitudes towards schedules. We LOVE to have extra time to be where we are supposed to be without the stress of hurry and worry. Now for those who are last minute arrivals(am I referring to Jackie) and are used to being like this, I do believe there is no stress or worry. Needless to say, Sebastien told Jackie we’d meet her on the way to Placa Catalunya. We started our walk towards the station with a stop at the bank, a five minute wait at the top of Ramblas and another few minutes at the entrance to the station. We decided that we would now go for the 1:18 train since Jackie was nowhere in sight. We went into the station to buy our tickets and a familiar voice hollers out from inside the turnstyles. Jackie had been there for a while. She was waiting for us and we were all stressed about her being late. Anyhow, we bought our tickets and called Naomi to tell her we were back on track for the 12:48. She says she’s out of the station buying some water, taking it easy and if she gets there fine if not, she’ll meet us there. Now that is the way to be, totally relaxed. In the end, everyone got on the 12:48 and we were on our way.

The day was great, not too cold and not too hot. It was quite windy so surf was up and we could body surf one metre waves for approximately one metre. Really short runs. Naomi was in the sun soaking up the rays and got some really nice color.

It was time for food so the following went to the beach restaurant.


Alex and I

Detlef , he owns a german restaurant (Pano de Boca) in Lisbon. Read about it in Naomi’s blog.


Jackie and Sebastien

Kevin (Sylvie’s brother visiting from Germany) Sylvie’s other brother stayed on the beach and slept through it all. I gather they had been partying pretty intensely. In Barcelona, parties usually end sometime after the sun comes up

Our sweet Naomi (aka Shark)

and this is what we had, a lovely paella.

We were all pretty stuffed after lunch and our bellies were sticking out (but just a little) so we decided we needed to put our bellies back into their proper sizes. After all, we were at the beach. I really think that Naomi had a very crushing experience with cheeky Jackie and Sebastien close behind.

We had a great day and everyone went to another beach party that evening. Alex and I headed home as she still isn’t quite up to speed.

August 13, 2006 at 7:29 pm 3 comments

Another Day, Another Beach

After sharing Jenn’s adventure we all decided we needed some down time. Jean really wanted to visit Sitges and Alex and I had never been so………..

Bright and early Saturday morning we headed down to the train station at Pg de Gracia. We met Kaiko and Francesca there and off we all went. It’s only a 40 minute train ride in air conditioned comfort. As usual, we ended up chatting with a catalin woman on the train and as usual were all captured by her stories. We arrived in Sitges and headed directly to the beach. This photo was taken from the point at one end and looks across the beach.

We left our towels and umbrellas (yes, I only sit on a beach under a beach umbrella) and headed over to a restaurant that Jean had seen. Heading down the steps I had to capture las chicas. Kaiko, from Japan, Francesca from Italy and Alex from Canada via Brazil. Our common language is spanish and it’s just too funny to hear us talking. I’m the least fluent of the three so I usually end up making up the story as I go along.

After eating we went back to the beach for the rest of the day. Kaiko had to leave at 5:30 because her boyfriend finished work at 6:30n and they were heading off yo a movie. The rest of us stayed put until around 7:30 when we decided to walk around the town.

Jean and Francesca in a medieval street

One of the narrow streets of Sitges with a walkway from the palace to another museum. The town is beautiful and so clean.

Gordon and Alex in front of the palace.

Walking in from the sea and meandering through the streets we looked back at the cathedral.

We finally reached the train station but decided we needed to have a clara before leaving. There were so many trains back to Barcelona that we took our time and caught the train that passed by when we were finished.

We arrived home at around 9:30, tired but smiling after an almost perfect day.

July 30, 2006 at 12:35 pm 2 comments

Jenn’s Arrival

It’s Wednesday, July 19th and Jenn is arriving from Canada. We went to the airport to meet her. It’s a good thing her flight from Canada made the connection in Frankfurt because I realized we had no way of communicating. She didn’t even have our home address. We introduced her to Barcelona by taking her to Barri Gotic, our gym and Gracia. Our goal was to keep her awake until at least 9:00 PM to minimize her jet lag. She held up better than I would have.

The next few days we took her to different areas of the city but I must confess that I felt we could have done a better job at playing tour guide. To be honest, there is so much to this city that I really don’t know where to start. On top of that I have spanish class from 1:30 to 3:30 every day. When class is over it’s way to hot to be wandering around. Alex is working from 8:30 to 2:00 so she’s not available either. Those are my excuses but I do feel bad that we aren’t out there more. I hope Jenn enjoys what we do show her.

Friday evening, when it got cooler we went up to Parq Guell for a stroll. As you can see, Jenn got comfortable in one of the stone seats.

Jenn at Parc Guell

As the sun went down, the light softened. I love the way the evening light creates long shadows and puts highlights in the trees and hillsides. Alex gets her share of late afternoon light. It stays bright until around 10:00 at night.

We left the park from a different route than we normally do and discovered new things on our way out. This was a private house at one time and Jenn commented on the fact that it could have come from a child’s storybook. The interior must be as spectacular as the exterior but we didn’t ghet a chance to see inside.

The entrance to the park hints at the wonders that you will find within. It’s such a well planned entrance leaving almost everything to the imagination. Even the room above the steps is empty except for many massive columns with tiled domes between them.

We left the park and started walking home. On the way down, Alex and Jenn went into a little shop and I waited outside. I walked to the next corner to wait for them. Someone was practising guitar in one of the apartments. Electric, with a touch of reverb. They were playing some blues riffs, really nice. He/she would start the riff and stop, replay it with a different beat and continue. I could have sat there for an hour just listening. I really enjoyed that moment. We ended up waling all the way back, which wasn’t that far to begin with. One of the characteristics of this city.

The weekend was more active. Saturday we took her to Sant Pol de mar. Matt and his mom came along too. We went for lunch at La Platjola and order paella for four. There were 5 of us and we couldn’t finish it. I was too full and uncomfortable. The girls walked up to the old church and Matt and I went for a snooze on the beach. What a life…………….

Sunday, we went to Port Vell and Maremagnum, an area we hadn’t been to before. It was quite interesting. That is where the fishing fleet is.

We also saw the high speed ferry that goes to Majorca. Alex and I will probably use it to visit Majorca in September.

We went home from there because of the heat. Besides, we were going to Monjuic that evening so I wanted to rest since I was starting to act like a two year old. Alex says I always do when I get hot and tired. Jenn wanted to see the olympic facilities so we took the bus up to Monjuic (number 55). It lets you off right across the street. I need a seat and I had plenty to choose from……….

We wandered around the facilities and Alex took this picture of a young couple. I really like the picture so I’m including it here………

From there we walked down towards Placa Espana. We were going to see the light and music show at Fontana Magica. I was surprised by the size and number of fountains in front of MNAC. These fountains are spectacular without the effects. Looking down towards the main fountain you can get an idea of the size.

Behind us are more fountains and massive waterfalls going down to the terraces below. We’ll definitely have to go back. Alex and I on the upper terrace with Placa Espana behind us.

This photo was taken on one of the lower terraces.

MNAC and more fountains are behind us.

These are people who came to watch the show. We have a short video of part of the show but you would have to be there to really appreciate it’s beauty.

All this talk of water and look what I find. An photo of my old masters swim team in Pointe Claire. Wow, brings back memories. Hope everyone in the picture is doing fine.

Well, we pick up Gordon and Jean tonight so next week’s entry should be interesting. Have a great week.

July 24, 2006 at 9:05 am 4 comments

One Long Weekend

Leone is a woman from Australia whom I met at Speakeasy (a spanish language school). Through her, Alex and I met her daughter Naomi. Leone went back home in June but before she left she made me promise to introduce Naomi to Sara, our spanish profesora. This Friday I fullfilled that promise and took a photo to prove it. Leone, here is proof that Naomi and Sara have met (love to have a comment on that)

Sara and Naomi

Saturday, we spent most of the day cleaning. In the morning we went up to the market in gracia. What an active place in the mornings. It’s full of positive energy and the vendors have a great sense of humor. We had breakfast before coming back to our cleaning chores. Wednesday, Jenn, from Montreal, is coming to visit for a few weeks. Gordon and Jean are coming next week so we’ll be pretty busy over the next few weeks. It will give Alex and I the opportunity to see areas of BCN that we haven’t yet visited and to rediscover places we have seen. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to Barcelona.

Sunday was beach day. We left BCN at 10:48 AM (the train) and went back up to Sant Pol de Mar. This time we made a reservation at the restaurant for 4:00 so we wouldn’t have to wait. I set up my umbrellas (yes, I use two) and my towel and settled in for the day. I don’t enjoy laying directly under the sun so I always bring the umbrellas. We bought masks and snorkels because the water is so clear so I was all excited and eager to get in the water. I took my mask and snorkel, ran down to the water and dove right in. I guess I spent about 30 minutes exploring the rocks and see bottom. Getting back to my refuge from the sun, I plugged into my ipod and looked for my glasses. I suddenly occured to me that I didn’t remember taking them OFF before hitting the agua. Alex didn’t believe me but I went back to the place I dove in and looked around. After aminute or so, I saw the shape of glasses for a fraction of a second. I dove down to where I had seen them and guess what. I found them, safe and sound. Boy, talk about lucky. We had a great meal with wine, caught the train and got home around 7:30 all tired out.

Alex’s friend Dana is moving to El Paso. In January, Dana won a tenure track position at the university there and she and husband Bobby are moving. It’s sad because we were just getting to know each other before we left for BCN and I felt that we got along really well. Toronto won’t be the same when we return. Hope they have a safe and pleasant journey.
Alex and Dana

You know, I’ve been retired for almost 2 years now and it still feels like a long weekend. It’s such a weird feeling to have such a LONG WEEKEND.

July 18, 2006 at 8:09 am 2 comments

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