Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flying Kicks

These shoes have been hanging from this line as long as I can remember.  Apparently Lacoste shoes can stand up to all kinds of weather.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Faceless

I noticed this head up on a pillar a few days ago.  It was surprising that I hadn't noticed it before, because I'm usually looking for this kind of stuff.  We walk past this corner at least 5 times a day, it's on my normal potty route with Sadie.

At first glance, I thought it was something that was worn and had been sitting there for ages, but as I look at it more, it looks like someone was sculpting a face/head and climbed up in the night to take advantage of an open ledge.  Regardless, I love it.

I actually have spent more time speaking, in my limited Spanish, with the folks who don't have homes in our neighborhood.  This reminds me of them, we often pass by without noticing them.  They almost become fixtures of the architecture when in reality, we should pay attention to their beauty.  Happy Monday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Parc Güell Arches

Parc Güell is a beautiful park designed by Gaudi.  It is wonderful to visit, but not so much in the tourist season.  It's hard to find any pictures without a flock of people.  I was lucky to get this uninterrupted shot. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Wall

This is a very common sight in our neighborhood.  It's just a wall, but there's something so beautiful about it to me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


We finished watching Terminator 2 and having a wonderful picnic at Montjuic with 2000 of our closest friends.  The second film began and the few of our party who stayed to watch quickly petered out.  The buses off of the mountain were not running until the end of the film, so we started the hike down Montjuic and eventually home.  This is a view of Barcelona from Montjuic very late at night.  In the far right, you can see Sagrada Familia.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rooftop Sunset

We were finishing up our blackened salmon when Tracy looked out the window and saw the purple light reflecting off the building across the way.  We grabbed the camera and the dog and ran up to the roof of the building to grab whatever bits of the sunset we could.  It was an amazing sunset, which we shared with a few French tourist spending their last night in Barcelona.

A view of the antennas mounted to every building with Tibidabo in the very background.

A typical rooftop.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Eating Well

One of the things I love about Spain is that they are amazing at agriculture.  It is a major economy for them.  We eat well, healthily, and fairly cheaply.  It is easy and economical to get fresh organic produce and meat.  For a guy with high blood pressure and cholesterol, it is an ideal situation. I've always been more inclined to eat fruits and vegetables and this culture makes it possible for me to do that and not break the budget!  In Sant Pau d'Ordal, it seemed like everyone had an allotment they were growing from, but the region was working hard to organically grow peaches and wine grapes.  It made for a beautiful landscape.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

In the Country

As we walked through the country, it was so much different than our daily lives in Barcelona.  Part of the organic farming here is letting the grass grow to help influence the crops around it.  This field in the latter part of the day was expansive.  

I imagine this scene doesn't look a whole lot different than it did when this house was first built.  Maybe it was 50 years ago, maybe it was 300.  Surely an architecture student in Spain could tell me.  

I've tried to find a history of Sant Pau d'Ordal online, and cannot.  The only history I could get was from the locals.  That's a first for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Land Barnacles

As we walked through the countryside, any tall thing had these snails all over them, including the reeds and the grass.  Tracy named them land barnacles.  Many of them were burned up from the hot sun, but many others appeared to be doing just fine, this is their way of life.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Doors and doorways that date back to the 14th century.  I'd never seen something so old in my life that was still in use.  It's amazing to be in a place where the old is often still useful and not just abandoned to make way for the new.

Monday, July 16, 2012


What's more universal than pictures?  While we were walking out of Sant Pau d'Ordal to explore the countryside, we came across this sign, signaling everything that's available in town.  The town is so small, though, that there is only one of each thing, no competition.  I find it interesting that in a town where there is only one store for each thing, that the prices are still fair.  I'm used to being in places where the store with the monopoly gouges you at every turn.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Church in Sant Pau d'Ordal

The church in Sant Pau d'Ordal was located directly across the street from where we stayed.  When we first arrived, the bells chimed to signal the changing of the hour and the half hour.  How charming you might say.  It happened every hour of every day, and there may have been a glitch in the system because it went off twice for many of the hours.  And it wasn't even the big bell, there was some other smaller, weaker bell chiming.  The church was beautiful, we never saw it opened nor anyone coming or going.  Being a tiny town, it wouldn't surprise me if the church opened up for Sunday mass, then all of the official church business was done elsewhere.  These pictures were taken at night as the sun was just about gone.  The saddest thing, in my opinion, with the whole landscape is the addition of the street lamps everywhere, hence the orangish color that is so present when using the slow-shutter speed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


In Sant Pau d'Ordal, where we spent the last several days, just down the street from our flat, we ran into this small junk heap on the side of someone's house.

At any point during the day, we could walk down there and find at least 1 of these 3 cats hanging out.

They weren't incredibly fond of Sadie, but they refused to back down.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Journey

We left our flat in Barcelona at around 1:30 PM with luggage and Sadie in tow.  Were we crazy to be leaving with so much stuff in the heat of the day?  Yes, but it's an adventure.  The three of us walked to Arc de Triomf, purchased our tickets, then sat in the train station for 20 minutes resting our legs and cooling off.  We arrived at the Laverne train station in Subirats at 3:20 PM.

Maybe it was the excitement, or just wishful thinking, we decided to wait to eat until we arrived at the train station.  Certainly they would have a nice little cafe with great tapas where we could sit outside and enjoy the afternoon.  What we found was a rundown train station, with a closed visitor's center, and a water fountain.  There were 2 cars parked outside, but no people to associate with them.  We know we needed to start walking south, so we watered Sadie, and began our march.  It's the kind of scene you would expect in a horror film where the couple is driving along and see a town on a map, and when they arrive it's completely abandoned.  I felt like I was living that film.
No Civilization in Sight
When we booked this little vacation, part of the selling point from Tracy was the walkability.  She mapped out the route saying it would be a short walk to the quaint house we were staying at.  As we began walking, it became more apparent how deceiving google maps can be.  It wasn't quite the trail she thought it would be, just a highway. Thus, the adventure begins.  I'm not sure if this is normal, or if it was just because it was Sunday, but a total of 5 cars passed us while we walked.

After about 20 minutes of walking we found a shady resting point with an iron cross.  Was this a memorial for other misguided travelers?  Suffice it to say, we were warm and thirsty at this point.

We arrived to the village about 45 minutes after we began walking.  Our check-in was set for 1700, so we found a small cafe to eat a bit of lunch.  I went in to order some beverages and sandwiches while Tracy sat with our stuff outside.  When I got back, she had made a new friend.  He was sitting at the table next to us, about 70 years old.  His suit was 2 or 3 sizes too big and his expensive watch could have fallen right off his wrist at any point.  I couldn't help but wonder if he had cancer or some other sickness because the loss of weight was so apparent.  He explained to us that he had 3 children and 2 grandchildren, was a biologist in Andalusia, and had been in Subirats for the last 12 years.  He even referred to us as Mis hijos (basically a nice way of saying my children).  He treated us to a refill on our beverages as well.  What a nice man.

At 1700 we walked to Cal Masana to check in and were told that we needed to wait until 1800, so we camped out in front of this beautiful church for an hour.  Dozing in the sun with Sadie.  If you look closely, Sadie and Tracy are visible.

At 1800 a woman beckoned us and said that our reservation had gotten a bit messed up and they weren't ready for us.  She sat us in the backyard while she cleaned and we enjoyed the shady afternoon in our little vacation spot.  As soon as she was ready for us, she walked us out to her garden, which was her father's many years earlier, and picked us fresh lettuce, onion, mint, potatoes, and handed us some eggs.  We didn't realize it at the time, but she was basically giving us what she could for dinner because nothing was open and we clearly hadn't brought any food with us.  We had a version of a scramble and relaxed in the solitude of our quaint little house.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Vine

This vine in the park near Barceloneta refuses to give up.  It continues to cover up where it has been cut back and reclaim its territory.  Life will find a way, despite our attempts to control it or kill it.  Maybe there will come a day when we do so much damage that nature can no longer fight back.  For now, I find joy when nature exerts itself, it's a good reminder.

Friday, July 6, 2012


This is what it looks like in Barcelona when a building gets removed.  It's just an empty lot.  This particular one is found in Barceloneta.  In my opinion, some of the best street art can be found in these spaces.  Again, people making the best of an eyesore.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Number 40

The colorful tiles in the entry and the blue door beckon one to enter the dark stairwell.  What fantastic adventures await me in this mysterious corridor?  In actuality, a person emerged carrying garbage shortly after I took this.  Tracy really wanted me to take a picture of this because of the tiles.  This one is for her.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Door

Me encanta esta puerta.  I can't get enough. I walk past it several times a day and it always catches my eye.  There's something about the vibrancy of it, the life.  Somewhere deep in my soul, it resonates.  I wish this door was my door.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I love watching Barcelona come to life with the sun.  It's always amazing to me how much is packed into such a small space.  On the left you have Edificio Colon, which, in my opinion, is incredibly out of place.  It was built in 1970 and I can't find much more history on it, but have heard it's original use was to keep an eye on Barcelona during the Franco era.  On the right you can see the Columbus Statue positioned at the beginning of Las Ramblas.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The fountains in Barcelona are all turned off at night, so getting up in the early morning means still bodies of water.  I love the reflections and being able to get close enough to photograph without a large crowd of people.  These are also taken at Montjuic.