Friday, August 31, 2012

The Lost City

While we walked around the hillside to St. George's Castle in Lisbon, we came across this area which looked like a forgotten part of the city.  Maybe it was someone's estate or something, but there was nothing left except for the outer walls.  Some of the graffiti was beautiful.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Lisbon Cathedral

As soon as we exited the train station, I spotted one of the towers down an alley and we walked straight towards it.  Unfortunately, we skipped a lot of stuff on the way, so we ended up back-tracking several times.  Still totally worth it.

The Front

The Front Steps

The Wall

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cable Car

We spent last Saturday walking around Lisbon, Portugal.  It is a beautiful city full of hills and history.  Our visit was brief, but I long to go back and spend more time.  We were not smart enough to take the cable car up the hill, we walked everywhere we went.

Monday, August 27, 2012


It has been a busy and heartbreaking month.  We lost Sadie, and I can't imagine how hard it would have been without having another warm fuzzy buddy at home waiting for us.  I'm not sure how he is adjusting, but we basically expect continuous cuddles from him.  We arrived home a couple nights ago from Portugal and could hear him crying for us as we climbed the stairwell.  Last night, we stood downstairs chatting with a friend and kitty poked his head out of railing on the balcony and let us know it was time for us to come upstairs.  Thanks, Kitty, for being a good stop attacking my legs when I walk.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My mom calls herself Star Wars - Gracia Part 3

There is a guy in our neighborhood that makes Star Wars figurines out of wood.  I tried to talk to him a few months ago and tell him that "My mom loves Star Wars, a lot".  He was utterly confused and we never came to agreement on what I was trying to say.  After we walked away, I was a bit dumbfounded, and it suddenly hit me.  What I had actually said was, "My mom often calls herself Star Wars."  

This street was, by far, the most crowded in the Gracia Festival.  It was one of the best as well.  This one is for you, mom.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gracia Part 2

This street was decorated in a swing dancing theme.  Gracia has a swing school called Swingmaniacs and it's very fun to watch.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gracia Part 1

We went to the Gracia Festival on Friday night.  Gracia is a neighborhood in Barcelona with an amazing local flair.  It has rich culture and great food.  I love going to Gracia when I have the chance.  The festival happens every summer in August, and streets will decorate with recycled materials and try to make their little street the best.  Some have live music, and others just awesome decor.  We walked down this one, which was a sewing theme, and there was a brass band with drummers.  Pretty lively crowd!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making Movies

This group of students took me back to my film school days.  One of my favorite things about making films is the complete collaboration it takes.  It can be incredibly difficult and extremely rewarding.  This was just up the street from our flat.  I talked with the owner of the shop you can see on the left and he said that he was hoping for some money, but they gave him none.  He'll just get a copy of the film when they're finished.  I told him I'd like to see it as well.  There's no shortage of people practicing their art in Barcelona.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Random Day

I was flipping through recent pictures and found these two.  They made me laugh a little bit, and hopefully will you as well.

Maybe a little drastic, but sometimes it does feel that way.

Gotta do whatcha gotta do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Old Wall

Walking around Barcelona in August can be infuriating, to say the least.  Most of the time, it is a wall of slow-moving people getting from one attraction to another.  I went out before 8 AM with Ben and got a glimpse of the backside of the Barcelona Cathedral without the horde.  Beautiful and Peaceful.  You can get the charm of Barcelona at that time of the day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I woke up yesterday morning from a dream that we had found the reason for Sadie's sickness and then realized that she was still gone.  It was the first day without her, and it was hard.  Sadie and I took walks every morning and often detoured to meet other dogs and get into conversations.  My morning felt a bit empty without her here.

Sadie was the best dog we could have asked for.  Tracy brought her home one day without asking and I couldn't be more thankful.  She brought so much joy to us and to everyone she met.  There is a big hole in our hearts.  Thank you, Sadie, for always being a ray of light in our lives.  You will be sorely missed.

Laying on the beach after a dip in the Med

On our anniversary trip, last month.  So glad we brought her with us.

Soaking in the Barcelona sunrise on the first morning after we arrived.

Friday, August 10, 2012


A small message of hope in an overgrown planter.  I'm sure this little corner used to be some sort of building, but is now empty with these plants.  The hope is almost completely covered up, but still partially visible.  Even though this city can be dirty, it is intensely beautiful.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Narrow Streets

Dodging the sun is an art form in Barcelona.  As the legend goes, the city was built tall with small streets to keep the intense heat of the street and people's flats.  I can't imagine our flat with a full day of direct sunlight and no air conditioning.  I have become an expert at walking paths that keep me in the shade.  Of course, in a couple of months, I'll be looking for the sunny spots to try to warm up.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Plaça St. Felip Neri

St. Felip Neri square is a haunting reminder of the Civil War in Spain.  It is beautiful and surprisingly silent in its proximity to the major tourist attractions of the Gothic neighborhood.  Its history and bloodshed weigh heavily on anyone who walks through the narrow streets to find it.

I found a really good history of Plaça St. Felip Neri on this blog: 

Not everybody knows that where today the square is in the Medieval period stood a Jewish cemetery. During the Renaissance two buildings were erected, the casa dels Calderers, the former headquarters of the calderai corporation, and the casa dels Sabaters, the house of cobblers, which nowadays houses the aforementioned Museu del Calçat. Between 1721 and 1752 the baroque church was constructed, designed by the architect Pere Bertran and assisted by the builder Salvador Ausich i Font. The church comprises only one nave, an element that serves to focus the visitor’s attention on the magnificent high altar, which dates from the end of the Eighteenth century. The façade of the church, however, remains disfigured by one of the many bombardmentsthat took place during the Spanish Civil War.

The commemorative plaque states that in this square on the 30th January 1938 a bomb fell that was to cause the collapse of the underground part of the church of Sant Felip Neri, causing the death of 42 civilians, including 20 children, who were taking refuge here. It was not, however, the most severe bombardment in the history of the city- according to memorials, the real terror was to strike between the time of 22.08 on the 16th March and 15.19 on the 18th March 1938. These 41 hours of terror, with 12 huge attacks and the indiscriminate detonation of 44 tons of bombs on the civilian population brought the city to its knees. However, the death of so many innocent civilians and the still-disfigured façade of the church give the square a melancholic air that strikes you right to the heart and, in its own way, makes the square fascinating.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Old and New

One of my favorite parts in el Barrio Gotico is this small square with this rounded piece of the medieval wall.  It's a peaceful spot for coffee, lunch, or a spot of tea.  This picture is a great contrast between old and new.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Cyclists

I passed by this pair of cyclists on Calle Petritxol in the Gothic.  I waved, but in their hurry, they could not be bothered.  Wonder if they're heading off to work on this fine morning.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Estació de França

Ceiling in the entrance of Estació de França
We rode the last night train in from Castelldefels, which we almost missed.  It was the first time I'd been on a train car that was so empty.

Estació de França is a stunning train station very near our flat.  I always get a little excited to find out that we need to go there to catch our train.  It's beautiful.

We also had one of the last trains to stop into Estació de França for the night.  The rest had come in for the evening and parked to get ready for the morning commute.  I love trains, I always have.  My dad and I built train sets when I was young and riding the train is one of my favorite things to do here. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


So much of the old architecture has been preserved in our neighborhood.  It's amazing to see where people have tried to cover over the original foundation, but it somehow remains.  Every door in our neighborhood is covered in graffiti like this one.  The doors are considered private space, thus the responsibility of the owners.  The walls are public space, so the city will clean them.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Familiar Walk

As I walked through the neighborhood in the morning before everything opened up, I watched this man walking slowly in front of me.  I wondered how many times he had walked these streets and how much change he had seen over his years.  What does he think of the inundation of tourists?  And the modernization of everything?  If I could only spend a couple of hours hearing his stories.