Homeward Bound

December 9, 2015

Our taxi arrives right on time at 9:00 am and we are soon on our way to the airport. I snap one last picture from the cab window of an interesting looking building that is dripping with green foliage off every balcony. I wonder if it is an office building, and who takes care of all this greenery.FullSizeRender

We arrive at the airport in lots of time to relax a bit before we get on the plane, which I really appreciate.  I always like it when we are through security, and settled with a cup of tea. It is only then that I can relax and feel that we are truly on our way to wherever we are going.FullSizeRender

Our good friends meet us at the Edmonton airport with our winter coats.  Yes, we are certainly home. There is snow on the ground and it is a bit colder than Barcelona!  We were up early this morning and by the time we finally climb into our bed at home we have been up for well over 26 hours.  It is always hard to believe that we can travel halfway across the world so quickly.

Thank you to everyone who has been following along on our travels, especially those  who have waited so patiently for these last few posts.  I truly appreciated all the comments and ‘likes’. It helps to feel connected to everyone when we are away. I started blogging to keep in touch with family and friends and as a way to journal for myself.  I was surprised and delighted to discover that people in thirty-five countries were interested in reading about our travels! I also discovered many interesting blogs when I replied to comments and likes.  Blogging is certainly a phenomenon, and one I believe is here to stay.

So, I am often asked where we are travelling to next.  Right now, we have no travel plans for the rest of the year other than some short trips to visit family in Jasper, Revelstoke and Portland.  It is time for some gardening, a few home renovations and making art.  I will keep blogging, perhaps a post every week or two.  Stop by for some gardening and art photos.



Park Güell

Tuesday, December 8

Bob went out this morning to get a few groceries and all the local shops were closed!  He finally found somewhere to buy food for our last few meals in Barcelona. We discover that today is Immaculate Conception Day, a Spanish National Holiday, and almost all the shops are closed. I had planned on shopping for a few last minute souvenirs and some sketchbooks that I really liked. No luck, so we catch the metro to Park Güell, where we spend our last day in Spain.

Our walk from the metro to the park is all uphill! Luckily there are escalators for the very steepest part of the climb.  I liked the imagery of the two nuns walking in front of all the graffiti, and the ‘tree’ is actually a drain pipe with some sculptural concrete additions. I’m glad we don’t have to park here.Image-1

Park Güell is one of the most impressive public parks in the world.  It was designed by Antonio Gaudi for Eusebi Güell and construction on a garden city started in 1900. There were to be sixty single family homes built but the project wasn’t successful and only two homes were actually completed.  One of these, Gaudi’s residence, is now a museum and the other, Güell’s residence, is now a public school. The park became the property of the city of Barcelona in 1923 after Güell died and in 1984 it was declared a UESCO World Heritage Site.

We bought our tickets in advance as there are ‘only’ 400 people admitted to the Monumental Zone of the park every half hour.  While we waited, we got some refreshments from a little shop that was built right into the rock cliff face.  We entered at the Teatre Grec, or Nature Square, which is partly dug into the mountain and partly held up by the Hypostyle Room. There is a long undulating bench in the shape of a sea serpent which surrounds three sides of this square. The back of the bench forms a balustrade and the entire bench is covered in mosaics made with coloured ceramic shards most of which came from demolition projects and discarded objects.FullSizeRender

I read that Gaudi had a workman drop his pants and sit on soft plaster so that he could figure out the correct shape of the bench seat so that it would be comfortable!”

There are great views from the square, both of the main entrance with its two whimsical buildings, and of Barcelona, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The house on the left was the porter’s residence and the building on the right is now the gift shop.FullSizeRender

The Hypostyle Room is under the square and it is a covered space that could be used for gatherings and markets. All the columns lean a bit this way or that, none of them are perpendicular to the ground.  The columns hold up the square and rainwater collected on the square is filtered down through the columns into a cistern underneath the floor. It is quite amazing.  Notice the dog’s head decoration.Image-1

At the main entrance there is the monumental flight of steps, flanked by two convex walls decorated with more mosaics, that leads up the Hypostyle Room.FullSizeRender

These are some of the many different, colourful mosaic tiles on these stairway walls. Image-1

There are sculptures and three fountains on this flight of stairs but this one is the most famous. This brightly coloured salamander, or dragon, depending on what we read is a favourite of the people of Barcelona and most visitors. Everyone wants to touch it and take their picture beside, or even sitting on the salamander. There is a guard assigned specifically to prevent people from touching the salamander to prevent further damage.  Thousands and thousands of touches eventually wear away the tiles and can cause breakage. It is an impossible job as nearly everyone attempts to make some sort of contact with this creature!FullSizeRender

We head towards Portico of the Washerwoman, which starts near the main entrance, with a spiral ramp and columns in the shape of a spiral curve that ends at a rough caryatid known as the Washerwoman because she carries a basket of washing. Image-1This ramp takes us back to the Nature Square and we spend some more time here, enjoying the sunshine and the views, along with a bit of people watching. FullSizeRender


On the other side of the square there is another walkway called Planters Viaduct, which we follow and end up in an interesting area with more strange leaning columns and stone chairs. This is such an incredible place!   I can only guess at the hours and hours it took to create all this and wonder at Gaudi’s incredible vision and imagination.FullSizeRender



There are so many fascinating details everywhere.  It really is a visual feast and almost too much to absorb in one visit. I would have loved to draw some of this but there just isn’t enough time to see everything and draw too.  Image-1On the way back to the square we meet this rather strange fellow.FullSizeRender

I rather reluctantly say goodbye to this wonderful place. Just outside the park gates I see a building, which appears to be unoccupied, and announce that it would make a perfect studio for me!  Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?FullSizeRender

I love these zebras we see on the walk back to the metro.

It is a good thing that we got most of our cleaning and packing finished last night as we had some unexpected excitement tonight.  The stairway in our apartment has one of those elevator chairs that run on a rail for handicapped people.  Tonight a woman was on her way down the stairs on the chair and it stopped working.  She was getting very upset and, even with Bob’s help, her husband was not able to get her out of the chair and down the stairs. Finally we suggested calling the fire department and soon they arrived. Six of these strong firefighters finally managed to get this poor lady out of her chair and safely down the stairs.  It was quite the procedure, and it meant that for almost two hours no one could go up or down the stairwell .Image 2016-05-22 at 12.09 PM

Finally, to bed, all packed and ready for the long flight home.

Teatre del Liceu

Monday December 7

We spend most of today cleaning and packing so that we will be ready on Wednesday for our flight home. Packing always takes me longer than I think it will and I want this all taken care of so that we can enjoy our last day in Barcelona. I finally got a photo of the man who sells propane for the on demand hot water heaters and stoves.  He walks up and down the streets everyday banging a wrench on the side of these large canisters.  The noise can be heard for blocks, even inside our apartment with the windows closed. So different from home.FullSizeRenderFinally we are ready to go to the opera.  We are going to see Lucia Di Lammermoor, which is a tragic opera based on Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Here is the floor plan and the seats range from the €14.00 we paid for our seats to €300 for a seat in Zone 1.  Imagine, it would cost €600 or $900 Canadian for a night at the Opera!Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.07.57 PM

Zone 1: €299.00     Zone 2: €199.00     Zone 2B: €187.00     Zone 3: €161.00               Zone 4: €117.00     Zone 5; €80.00     Zone 6: €56.00     Zone 7:€38.00                            Zone 8: €14.00     

The first lime green dot on this plan, on the lower right side in zone 8,  along with the red dot beside it were our seats.  Right up next to the ceiling, with no view of the stage at all!  However, we did have a little TV screen to watch the opera and there were English subtitles which were a huge help in following the plot of the opera.  The picture quality was quite poor but it was great having the subtitles.  Bob summed up the plot this way ”It took the heroine two and a half hours to die!”                         DSC02951

The music and the singing was wonderful and of course the venue was absolutely stunning.  I didn’t know if I would enjoy it, not being able to see the stage, but really it was OK.  Of course it would have been so much nicer to see the actual stage instead of a fuzzy rendition but the only tickets available were in Zone 5 and it would have cost €160, or about $240.00, a bit too expensive for us!

Here is Bob standing by our seats, right up near the beautiful ceiling, and a few more photos showing the theatre, the orchestra way down below us, the cast, and the lobby after the performance.DSC02934



DSC02963The Teatre Del Liceu.DSC02966

On the way home we see many beautiful lights and some sad sights too.Image-1

Picasso Museum, Frederick Maré Museum

I know I am terribly slow finishing these last few posts from our trip but finally, I am going to get it done. Thanks for hanging in and being patient.

Sunday, December 6, 21015

We only have four days left until we leave for home and there is still so much we haven’t seen. It is difficult to believe we have been travelling for almost three months and now it is almost over.  Today we are going to visit the Picasso Museum and the Frederic Maré Museum.  They are both free today as it is the first Sunday of the month.

On the way to the Picasso Museum we pass the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art) where we saw the Odd Nerdrum Exhibit way back in September. All the streets in this area are very narrow and I am glad Bob seems to know where we are going, because I certainly don’t!FullSizeRender

The Picasso Museum is always busy and today we need to line up and wait to get in but the line moved fairly quickly and we were entertained by this very talented group of musicians while we waited.FullSizeRender

There are no photos allowed inside the museum and they are very strict, so I have no pictures of what we saw, but here is a link to the museum collection if you want to see some of the work on display. FullSizeRender

FullSizeRenderThe Picasso museum is located in five large town houses or palaces. The original palaces date from the 13th-15th centuries, and the buildings have undergone major restorations. The museum is quite ornate and has many interesting architectural details and courtyards. We spent several hours here, there is so much to see; there are 4,251 works in the permanent collection!

On our way to the next museum we stop to visit the Santa Maria Del Mar.FullSizeRender

This church was damaged by fire in 1936 and we can still see soot on the walls and ceilings, and the damage that the fire did to its columns.  FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

The columns are spaced 43 feet apart, the widest of any Gothic Church in Europe. This church was built in just 55 years, from 1329 to 1384 and it is the only surviving church in the Catalan Gothic style.  The interior is quite beautiful, and full of light even though it is not ornately decorated like so many of the churches that we have seen.FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

We climb some old stone steps and there is a great view from the second floor behind the altar looking towards the front doors and beautiful stained glass windows.
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Next stop, the Frederic Maré Museum.  We had a very brief visit to this museum in September but it was closing so we had to dash through the little bit of it that we saw. It was a fascinating place and we wanted to return for a more leisurely visit.  There is a lovely secluded courtyard right outside this museum so we stop for a much needed rest and a rather late lunch.

This quote from the museum’s site explains this rather curious museum, and a virtual reality tour gives a better idea of our visit to this fascinating museum.

“The Museu Frederic Marès is a unique collecting museum that preserves the collections assembled by its founder, sculptor Frederic Marès (1893-1991), which came to form part of the patrimony of the city of Barcelona through his donation in 1946. Two years later, this museum was inaugurated in a part of the old Royal Palace of the Counts of Barcelona in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Its original Verger or courtyard garden, still remains intact.

Frederic Marès turned sculpture into something beyond his artistic calling. Throughout his lifetime he amassed an extensive Hispanic sculpture collection which ranged from the ancient world until the 19th century, in which religious polychromed carvings predominated. This now makes up the most uniform section of the museum. Marès also donated part of his own sculptural oeuvre, which is on display in his Library-study.

The Collector’s Cabinet is the home to a display of tens of thousands of objects that make up a vast collection of collections that documents past lifestyles and customs, mainly from the 19th century. There you can find amusing, unique items like fans, pipes, clocks, jewellery, photographs, toys, keys, pharmacy bottles and reliquaries, all presented in an intimate atmosphere evoking Marès private universe.”

Here are some of my pictures of this incredible collection.FullSizeRender


There was an old picture of the Liceu Opera House, where we will see an opera tomorrow.FullSizeRender

We make our way back to the Barcelona Cathedral to get a picture.  Last time we were there, a large tent and stage ere erected in front of it which made picture taking difficult.  Today there is a Market in the square in front of the Cathedral, so there are balloons in my photo and lots of people everywhere.  FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderThere were Christmas tree vendors, and several families were buying their trees,FullSizeRender

and there were rows and rows of stalls selling nativity scene figurines and crèches of all styles, sizes and shapes.Image-1

We leave this busy street and catch the metro back to our neighbourhood and our narrow, quiet street.FullSizeRender


Our Second Correfoc!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The local festival taking place in our Barcelona neighbourhood this week has a Correfoc, or Fire Run tonight.  We went to the Mercé Correfoc in Barcelona the first week of our trip, and I am delighted to have another chance to experience this wild and crazy parade one more time. FullSizeRender

Wikipedia’s definition: Correfocs (Catalan pronunciation: [ˌkorəˈfɔks], Western Catalan: [ˌkoreˈfɔks]); literally in English “fire-runs”) are among the most striking features present in Catalan festivals. In the correfoc, a group of individuals will dress as devils and light fireworks – fixed on devil’s pitchforks or strung above the route. Dancing to the sound of a rhythmic drum group, they set off their fireworks among crowds of spectators. The spectators that participate dress to protect themselves against small burns and attempt to get as close as possible to the devils… running with the fire. Other spectators will watch from ‘safe’ distances, rapidly retreating as necessary.FullSizeRender

The Children’s Correfoc starts at six pm and we are both very surprised to see little devils actually carrying the fireworks.  We had assumed that adult devils would be setting off the fireworks and that it would just be a tamer version of the adult Correfuc we had seen earlier at the Mercé. Some of these little devils look barely four years old.

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There is so much excitement that it is palpable!  There are drummers, very loud drummers, and the noise from all the firecrackers and the participants and spectators.  During the Mercé Correfoc we attended in September we were pretty much stuck in one spot watching everyone go by. Here we are able to walk and run alongside the participants and follow them through the streets.  It is so much more fun!FullSizeRender FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

I even get brave enough to participate!


The parade lasted for over an hour winding its way through the narrow streets.  We went back to our apartment to have dinner and then we head back out at 8:00 for the adult Correfoc.  It took us a while to find the beginning of the route and as we walked down a narrow street we noticed that the shop windows were all covered up with cardboard.  We soon found out why, as the parade came straight towards us! FullSizeRender

Remember, these streets are very narrow, so we ducked into a shallow doorway as the first devils passed us and we were showered with fireworks!  We quickly decided that we needed to get out of this street as there was no where to hide or move away from all the sparks.FullSizeRender

Did you notice the string of fireworks above the street on the last two photos?  We were very glad that we had decided to move into a nearby open area, as these fireworks were lit as the devils came by and they rained down on everyone below!FullSizeRender

It was quite the spectacle, and there were people running, screaming  and laughing as they tried to get out of the way.FullSizeRender

We are so amazed that all this is going on, and it probably could be quite dangerous but no one seems to think of that. It is totally crazy!! I am sure we would never be allowed to set fireworks off so close to buildings and people back home.  Here you can see the devils holding up their firework pitchforks and what it looked like as they were lit.Image-1

The participants and many of the people who are watching the parade dress up, and some of the costumes were quite ornate. Notice the flame thrower device in the bottom right picture!Image-1

In one open area we watch a Fire Eater, I was quite sure he was going to set himself or someone else on fire!  Image-1

The parade wound through the streets and we ran alongside, but I decided against participating this time.  The fireworks were bigger, hotter, and a bit intimidating. During the children’s Correfoc I got a cinder on the inside of my glasses and it actually burnt a small hole into my lens!  I shudder to think what would have happened if it had gone in my eye.  I am sure it would have burnt and scarred the surface of the cornea.  I learned my lesson, no more fire running without safety glasses.FullSizeRender

The monsters make their appearance for the adult parade and they are quite impressive, throwing fireworks all over as they spin and twirl through the streets.Image-1

The air is thick with smoke and at times it is even hard to breathe!FullSizeRender

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There are some very acrobatic devils and they run and climb fences and other structures along the route all the better to shower their fire onto the crowd.  Image-1

I want to follow the parade right to the end but it has been going for over two hours and I reluctantly agree that we can go home.  I am exhausted from all the excitement and following two parades for over three hours!  This video of the Correfoc is like the one that we saw in September at the Mercé and it gives an idea of the noise and excitement these parades generate.  If you want to see more, just Google Correfoc, Barcelona and there are lots of videos.


Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Friday, December 4, 2015

Bob isn’t sure he wants to visit yet another church but I insist that we visit Antoni Guadi’s Sagrada Familia. This basilica is so huge it is really difficult to get a good photo.  These photos are from the Wikipedia information of the Sagrada Familia. This is the Passion Façade…800px-Barcelona_Temple_Expiatori_de_la_Sagrada_Fam_lia_(2050445207)…and here is the Nativity Façade. We purchased our tickets yesterday so we won’t have to wait in line, but we arrive a bit early so we walk around the exterior of the Cathedral until it is time for our entry.  I must warn you that I took 458 photos today!!  I am doing my best to only pick a few for today’s post but it is a difficult job.  The first stone was laid for this church in 1882 and it is scheduled to be completed in 2026!  Construction is now funded by the tourists who come to visit.1280px-Sagfampassion

Here are only a few of the sculptural details we saw as we walked around the church.Image-1There is so much history and information about this amazing church. This Sagrada Familia site has lots of information. The ‘History and Architecture’ and ‘The Basilica’ sections are presented in a simple format with lots of great pictures. The ‘Symbolic Visit’ in the Basilica Section gives great close up photos of the façade with brief descriptions and be sure to check out what the Sagrada Familia will look like when it is finally finished.

We arrived late morning, entering through the Passion Facade and the sun was shining through the green, blue and purple stained glass windows on the East side of the Church.  Our first view inside the Sagrada Familia was breathtaking. FullSizeRender


We had booked a time to climb up the Nativity Tower so that was our first priority. There is an elevator up to the top of the tower which gave wonderful views of some of the other towers… Image-1

…and the City of Barcelona. When Gaudi was asked why he lavished so much care on the tops of the spires, where they are not easily seen, he answered: ‘The angels will see them.’Image-1

We had a choice of taking the elevator or the stone staircase down. So, of course we chose the staircase! At first the stairs spiral around the open centre of the tower but then they change into a narrow spiral staircase of 370 stone steps!Image-1

We find a place outside to eat our lunch and then visit the museum in the basement before continuing our visit inside the church.  This was an excellent decision as we learned so much about the construction and history of this incredible building. There were many working models ranging from small to very large.  Can you spot me in the reflection?Image-1

Models continue to be built and used daily as the church is still under construction. There were people on the scaffolding working on this one earlier.FullSizeRender_4Back upstairs and the sun has now moved around to the west side and it spills into the church in a riot of colour.  These photos have not been colour enhanced, and they do not even begin to compare with actually standing in the church and being bathed in a rainbow of colour.FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_5The pillars are meant to look like trees in a forest and the light to appear like dappled sunlight, but it is so much more than just that.FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_5

Looking up, there is so much to see here wherever we look.FullSizeRender_4

This view looks down the main aisle to the altar.  FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_2


The ceiling is not to be believed, and..Image-1

the doors are incredible too.  These are the Nativity Façade doors…Image-1

and the Passion Façade doors.Image-1We spent the entire day here, only leaving once it was starting to get dark outside.  I wanted to see the church with its inside lights on, but it was not nearly as spectacular as it was with the sun streaming through the stained glass windows.  I feel a bit sorry for all the people who are only now entering the church for their visit.  Although it is still very beautiful, they will never know what they have missed. Compare these photos with similar ones taken when the sun is shining. FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender

This model of the Sagrada Familia shows the finished views from all sides.  It is scheduled to be completed in 2026 and we would love to be able to return to Barcelona to see it in all its splendour. Who knows?Image-1

If you didn’t see this on the Sagrada Familia link provided earlier, you really must take a couple minutes to watch this video to see a computer simulation of the Sagrada Familia when all its towers are completed in 2026. It is phenomenal!











Teatre del Liceu, Casa Batlló and Strange Plants

While we were walking down La Rambla on our way to the Gran Teatre del Liceu my eyes caught site of some very interesting packets of seeds for sale at one of the many sidewalk vendors. We both had quite a chuckle when we took a closer look at these unusual seed packets.  However, be warned, these are rather X rated plants! imageBarcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu was founded in 1847 and is located on La Ramba, which is the centermost boulevard in Barcelona. It is very popular with tourists and locals and is always crowded with people enjoying the sights.  We have a short tour which includes the Vestibule, the Hall of Mirrors and the Auditorium.  Our guide explains about the cheapest seats, in the galliner which translates literally to the “henroost” and we buy tickets for Monday night which will be our second last night in Barcelona.  The tickets are only €15, we certainly cannot afford the €325 seats!  Imagine paying $1,000 CAN for a night at the opera!

This historic theatre has a very interesting history that includes two fires, the latest occurred in 1994 and completely destroyed the Auditorium. There is a good short video and more information about the Gran Teatre del Liceu here.image

After our tour, we walk several blocks to one of Antoni Gaudi’s incredible buildings, Casa Batlló.  We have tickets to go inside, €22.50 each, expensive, but we really enjoyed the visit.  FullSizeRender

I took lots of pictures but then found this video that shows almost the same photos as those I took, so I will include the link to the video.  Watching it made me feel like I was back there walking through the building.  I have also included a second video which is a more fanciful walk through Casa Batlló, but it does give a sense of walking through the rooms.  The little balcony at the very top of the building, it is the same one we stood on to take this photo.FullSizeRender_2

Did you notice that the building looks like it has been made from skulls and bones? The “skulls” are the balconies and the “bones” are supporting pillars.FullSizeRenderThe building was designed by Gaudí for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat. Señor Batlló lived in the lower two floors with his family and the upper floors were rented out as apartments.  Today there are still private individuals living in the apartments.  Imagine living in such building, and imagine having hundreds, or even thousands of people touring through your apartment building every day! There were several photos of the interior with its original furnishings, which I found very interesting.FullSizeRender

We climb up to the roof with its crazy chimneys and its famous ‘Dragon’ spine and great views over the neighbourhood rooftops.FullSizeRender

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By the time we finally see everything it is getting dark outside and the Casa Batlló is illuminated with coloured lights.FullSizeRender_4

There are many interesting buildings on this street including several shops with beautiful window displays.Image-1

We also notice many more police on the streets than when we were in Barcelona in September, no doubt a result of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing police with so many weapons. the picture is blurry as I zoomed in from a distance.  I discovered they do not appreciate tourists taking photos!FullSizeRender_3

As we walk back towards La Rambla we come across an area with lots of food trucks so we have supper, enjoy the Christmas lights, and watch all the people. The streets are packed with hundreds of people out enjoying the evening.FullSizeRender_2


The side streets are lined with motorbikes and scooters, row after row of them.  They are a very practical mode of transportation in a city that has next to no place to park cars.FullSizeRender_3

A crowd has gathered around a huge Christmas tree and before long a group of young carollers arrive and the lights are turned on.  FullSizeRender_5 Image-1

Hundreds of Swarovski crystal snowflakes decorate the tree! We stay to listen to the carollers and we both start feeling rather Christmassy!FullSizeRender

On the way home I had to stop in the Mobile World Centre as there were some great dinosaur displays, it seemed to have something to do with a new Samsung phone? The centre is open to the public and showcases the latest technology, applications and innovations in the area of mobility but I was really only interested in the dinosaurs!FullSizeRender


FC Barcelona and Life Drawing

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bob went to see FC Barcelona play another Spanish soccer team in the Spanish Cup competition. Barcelona easily won 6-1 against this weaker team. Barcelona didn’t play its top three players but it was still exciting to be there. His ticket was in the first row of the 3rd tier near the center so there was no one in front, just the walking aisle. As this wasn’t the Championship League, the crowd was only 67,000 instead of 100,000, and because it wasn’t the Championship League the ticket was only 30 euros instead of 350 euros for this prime seat. Lots of noise and cheerings and drum beating.  Everyone (except Bob) either had a FC Barcelona cap, scarf, or jersey, and of course everyone tried to take the same bus home after the game.image

The next day we found this picture online. The spectator in the turquoise coat with the white hat, on the right side of the players uplifted hand is Bob!imageWhile Bob was at the football (soccer) game I went to a life drawing class at the same studio that I was at the first week of our holiday. This is a great group and it has a couple drawing sessions a week but this was the only one I was able to fit in. Their next meet up is the day we fly home.Image-1

I snapped these photos after life drawing.  The studio is upstairs in an interesting old building on a street near the Opera House. DSC01855

From the street all there is to see is an ordinary, graffiti covered door, that opens onto this medieval looking courtyard. I find it quite fascinating that so many Spanish doors open onto courtyards and gardens. You never know what you will see behind a door, which is why whenever I see an open doorway I try to peek inside! DSC01858This little fellow peeked out to say hello on the subway on my way home.  It is the only rodent of any kind that we have seen on this trip. I wondered if we would see any rats, but not a one.DSC01862

Walking home past one of the narrow side streets in our Sant Andreu neighbourhood.  It was late but I felt safe walking home from the metro by myself as there were still lots of little cafés and shops open.DSC01860

The Christmas lights are pretty even if there isn’t any snow.DSC01864



Getting Organized

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our Airbnb host is a retired school teacher who now lives outside Barcelona on a farm. When we arrived at her apartment the fridge was stocked with enough food for several breakfasts and lunches, including these farm fresh eggs and a big bowl of fresh fruit.FullSizeRender

We went to the FC Barcelona Stadium to get a ticket for the soccer game tomorrow night and to check out the best way to travel to the stadium. It turns out that it is only one bus from our apartment to the stadium, so it will be easy for Bob find his way there tomorrow night. The team store is huge, three levels of all things soccer! FullSizeRender

The stadium is huge as well, it holds 100,000 spectators, and there were several interesting sculptures on the Stadium grounds.  Image-1

I am going to go to a life drawing session tomorrow night while Bob is at the soccer game, so we head over to the old town, to check out the best route for me to take tomorrow night as well.  Turns out that there is a metro line that goes from the drawing studio right to a couple of blocks from home so we rather lucked out on our apartment’s location.


Back in Barcelona!

Monday, November 30, 2015

This is our last Airbnb apartment for this trip.  We have been very happy with the selection of accommodations available and we enjoyed staying at all of our apartments.  Yes, some were better than others but they were all more than adequate and it was great having a kitchen, living room and bedroom. Prices were very reasonable too, they ranged from $32 to $94 Canadian with an average of about $65 a night. I know it would have been much more expensive to stay in hotels and I really preferred our little apartments.  We are located in Sant Andreu, a Barcelona neighbourhood north of the main tourist area of the Old Town. There are not many tourists here, which is rather nice.  Lots of little shops in our neighbourhood and easy access to the metro and bus.  Image 2016-01-24 at 5.26 PMWe are up early to return our rental car, and catch the bus back to our apartment. I took this photo from the bus window and I kind of like the reflections in it.DSC01829That is quite enough for me today and I am looking forward to staying put the rest of the day and doing a bit of journaling and blogging. As you know, I am rather behind. This little fellow was quite happy to have me take his photo on our walk home from the bus stop. DSC01832

Bob went exploring while I had a relaxing day. We head back out tonight to check out the local fair as Bob has his heart set on a foot long hot dog for supper.DSC01835_3On the way home we peeked into this garage. All the shops here are very tiny, this one isn’t much wider than what you see here, so they need to put one car on top of the other.