Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A few weekends ago Jeff and I went to Tibidabo, which is a mountain that houses an amusement park, communications tower, a church and a temple.  It is visible from pretty much all of can even see it here in a picture we took from our trip to the fountain

It is pretty much directly in the middle of this picture way, way, way in the distance.  It is golden color here.

In all the times I have been here I have never been up there so we attempted to get there one Saturday.  Well it was quite the journey, 1 tram, 2 trains, 1 cable car and 1 funicular later we arrived.  It took a little under 2 hours to get there.  It was beautiful though.

This is the cable car we took up to the funicular to get up the mountain.

 Here is Jeff on the cable car.

 This is the church at the top of the mountain that you can see from everywhere in Barcelona.

 Inside the church.

 On the church terrace looking out over Barcelona, you can see the amusement park below.

 You see the two buildings in the distance right above my head...we live over there.

 Jeff climbed to the top of the church to take some of the pictures, I did not join him.

 This reminds me of the Christ the Redeemer statue we saw in Brazil.

This is us in the funicular on our way back down the mountain...starting our treck back home.  It only took us 1 1/2 hours to get home.  Note: it was a HOT day so excuse the sweat and frizzy hair

Follow-up: Sant Joan

Jeff and I ended up going to dinner that (Thursday) night near the beach and watched the droves of people head to the beach. We had dinner outside and saw a lot of small fireworks pop-up here and there.

We learned there is no central fireworks display for Sant Joan, which was disappointing; I like a good firework show. Instead the locals purchase and light their own fireworks for whoever wants to watch. On our evening walk prior to dinner we saw a firework store with a line about 30 people deep waiting to purchase their fireworks.

After dinner we headed to the beach to check out all the action, I think we got there about 11pm. There were a fair amount of people on the beach, but not as many as I would have though. Although, we live in a newer/quitter area so maybe that is why. We were told if we were to go to the popular areas where the nightclubs are that we wouldn't have been able to move there would have been so many people.

The people we did see on the beach were of all ages and some people even had small tents set up and portable grills. It reminded me of the 3rd of July fireworks in Milwaukee. I remember me and my friends would haul enough stuff to fill a small apartment to the lake front to watch the fireworks. Although, here people stay out all night long, no joke. We heard the announcement at the beach that everyone had to leave the beach by 6am so the cleaning crews could come through. We also heard fireworks/firecrackers going off ALL NIGHT...literally.

Without further a are some pictures from that night.

This is one of the restaurants on the beach...they were all closed for private parties that night.

 Some fireworks that were already used lying on the sidwalk.
 Not sure if you can see it here, but as you got closer to the city center the beach became more dense.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Apartment #1

Once we decided that we were going to be moving here the next step was to find a place to live.  Around the same time we learned one of Jeff's co-workers was leaving the country and offered her apartment to us.  Jeff went over there and took a few pictures for me as I couldn't be there to see the place in person. 

The pros:
close to Jeff's office
close to the mall (that has a grocery store)
close to the metro station
close to the beach
you could see the sea from the balcony
it had a balcony

The cons:
no community amenities (gym, pool, etc)
3rd bedroom didn't have an outside window
we would have to purchase most of our own appliances (common here even as a renter)
no closets (common here also)

Here are some pictures so you can judge for yourself.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Jeff finally read my blog today for the first time. He pointed out a few of my grammatical and spelling errors. I wanted to apologize for my errors...I can't promise it will never happen again, but I will try :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sant Joan

Tomorrow is another holiday here in Spain, the second one this month.  If I remember correctly there are 15 holidays in which Jeff gets off of work, compared to the measly 9 in the States if you are lucky. Once again everything will be shutdown tomorrow except for maybe a cafe or two. 

The holiday we are celebrating is called Sant Joan (John in English).  It is a celebration of the Summer Solstice that actually starts tonight and goes through Friday.  From what Jeff and I have been told there will be lots of drinking, fireworks and bonfires on the beach.  We live about 1-2 blocks from the beach so we probably won't be getting much sleep tonight, the Spaniards party ALL NIGHT, no kidding.  It isn't just the 20 year olds out all night, but people of all ages. 

The idea is that on the night of Sant Joan the sun reaches its highest point, before beginning to drop. The sun is seen as a symbol of fertility and wealth and so it must be given strength. The strength is provided by bonfires and fireworks lit throughout the city for Sant Joan.

There are said to be three symbols of Sant Joan – fire, water and herbs. Fire symbolises purity, and for this reason fires are lit. Water symbolises healing. Therefore, on this night, in some areas people bathe in the sea. Herbs symbolise remedy and some claim that for the night of Sant Joan their healing qualities are enhanced one hundred times over. These are often picked on the night of Sant Joan.

The official food of Sant Joan is the "Coque", which is a bread like cake filled with nuts, fruit or cream.  One thing they all share in common is that all Coques contain Anise. 

I will post pictures this weekend or next week of our Sant Joan experience tonight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My favorite thing about living here is....

the weather.  Seriously, it is sunny almost everyday.  It is similar to San Diego's weather, which is our favorite place in the US.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Girona, Spain

So two weekends ago we decided to go to Girona on Saturday.  It is a smaller town north of Barcelona and the birthplace of Salvador Dali. Here is one of his is pretty famous.

It was about 1 1/2 hour train ride to Girona, faster if you take the express train.  Here in Spain the transit system (trams, buses, trains) is expansive and in most cases is the most efficient means of transportation.  I believe we paid 11.20 Euro ($15.98 USD) each person for a round-trip train pass.  We use the local train (Metro) pretty much daily, a 10 ride train ticket is 7.85 Euro ($10.10 USD) on the Metro. The only downside to using the Metro is that trains can be crowded, most stops are underground so it is often hot down there and there are usually a lot of steps to get to/from the train (which is a challenge with my ankle).
On the train to Girona there were no seats available so we had to stand for the entire 1 1/2 hour journey.  My ankles were not happy about that.  Upon arriving in Girona we walked around to see if we could find signs to direct us to the city center.  We finally found some and arrived in the city center/old town. I believe Jeff said Girona is called the "venice of Spain".

Here I am posing for a picture, behind me is what they call the old town.
 In order to get to old town you need to go over the canal.
 There was a large Jewish population in Girona, specifically in the old town there was a "jewish quarter".  All over the quarter there was evidence of the jewish star.
 This is the main catherdral in Girona.  It isn't picture here, but there is a large staircase that you need to climb to get to the catherdral.  I beleive we were told there were 90 steps, great news for the good ol' ankle :-(.
 Here is a picture overlooking the countryside from the back of the catherdral.
 Here is Jeff, overlooking the city from the catherdral.
This is what the old town consisted of....LOTS of stairs. This is just a street we walked town, by this time my ankle was not happy with me.
 This is a famous church in Girona, I can't remember the name...
 This is the city walls from back in the day.
 Here is Independence Plaza in the city center.
 Here I am enjoying some lunch, bread with tomato spread and jamon (ham).

Overall, it was a good trip.  I know Jeff was disappointed that my ankle started bothering me and I wasn't able to wander the hilly steps in old town anymore.  We might return on day when my ankle is 100%.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Firo (fountain in Catalan)

One Saturday night Jeff and I made it over to see the light/music show at the museum.  It was our first big outing since me spraining my ankle.  I have been having trouble with going up and downstairs and that limits where we can go.  I guess it doesn't really limit us, it just takes much longer as I am slooowww.  A few nights a week there is a light/music show at the museum, if I remember there are 80+ fountains in the area.  Shows start at 9:30pm and continue every 1/2 hour until midnight.  It is relatively close to our place...a few train stops and a transfer.  Here are some pictures of that evening.

This is the main fountain, the museum is in the back on the right:

 More fountains closer to the musuem:
 Taken from the museum looking down on the city (luckily for me there was a combination of escalators and stairs up to the museum):
 This is on our way back down from the museum: