Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Trip to Montserrat

Sean has to rock out the tech-ness on Mondays, so after a brief repast back at the casa, I hopped on the train to Montserrat to see what I could see. I was much more interested in the actual MOUNTAIN than the Basilica, and as my time was limited, that's what I did. I rode the Aeri up, and the Cremellaria (train) down. I was wonderfully lucky to have the Aeri gondola all to myself and could hang out the window like a dog, sniffing the air. I ran into 3 wonderful Dutch women who pointed me to a trail that was 'off the beaten' path, and got some wonderful views in my 3 hour time frame. I would love to think I'll get back there again before we leave Europe. It was so wonderful to be clamboring up a canyon with wrens singing and the wind whipping around. The plant life was fascinating, the views heady indeed. Getting that sweaty felt good too. The journey is a whole different post. Oy. Here are a few images from the mountain. Apparently Montserrat was the only church which continued to hold Mass in Catalan throughout Franco's Reign. It has become a symbol of national pride almost separate from it's religious importance. All my language teachers have a family story about Montserrat -- I'm thrilled I made it up, at least once.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Busy Days! Many Friends!

June opened with a bang! Our pal Annie and Jackie were both in town for Primavera Sound, a big lovely packed-with-goodness rock festival. Sean and I got tickets for Friday and Saturday, and rolled out with Jackie to catch as much ROCK as possible. By the sea. In warm weather. One of the highlights was seeing a hometown band, Thee Oh Sees, so warmly received and playing in front of throngs of extremely pleased fans. We heard lots of new bands (to us) and some old favorites. It was a real treat to have the time to get all 'festy'.Yay!!

Our pal Annie stayed on a few extra days with us, and we packed in lots of exploring and eating, to be sure. We even hit a flamenco show at the Poble Espanyol. June 3rd was our one year wedding anniversary, and Sean & I took the day off language classes and headed to the beach at Sitges for some relaxation, waves, and delicious food. All of it was world class wonderful. We got celebratory cocktails pre-dinner at a very funny tiki bar called Pay-Pay. Sean's drink had a live sparkler in it. woot! The restaurant was a recommendation (thank you, thank you) passed on by Annie - Alfresco.

The next day my awesome brother Karl and his boyfriend Geir flew in from Oslo for a long weekend in Barcelona, overlapping Geir's birthday on the 8th! It was such good fun to have them here with us, and to get more quality time with Geir. We all rolled to the Joan Miro museum up on Montjuic followed by sunset cocktails at Miramar, and one day Karl & Sean had a beach adventure while Geir and I hit the MACBA and the Tapies museum (which had a surprise Eva Hesse exhibit!)and then regrouped for dinner and drinks. Monday Karl, Geir, and I had a Gaudi fiesta while Sean worked - Sagrada Familia, followed by excellent dinner at Flash Flash! On the 8th, Geir's Birthday, we rolled back to Sitges for a day of rest and play, and then home to BCN for delicious Nikkei food in the Born. We even threw a little party one night so that the other travelers in town (Tiffani, Jason, Claire, and her cousin Anita) could meet the Handsomes. Busy Days, Happy Days.

(there will more pictures up on flickr soon, I swear).

Tiffani and Jason, dear friends from SF, were also in town during this time, and we got to see them for foodz and drinks and it was an utter joy. I didn't take that many pictures, unfortunately. Claire, another SF friend, had a flat in the Born, and she and I had some excellent days before she left town on the 10th. Those pictures will go up soon. Casa Batllo and the Temple on Tibidabo and meeting her wonderful Catalan friend Frank and his family being big highlights -- but the main thrill was just time with a friend in a beautiful city to talk and roam. And drink lots and lots of Cava. Ha!

more soon - but there's the outline of what we've been up to...