Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This past weekend Jeff and I went to Madrid and had to board Sasha for the first time.  After my extensive research on where to board her, we decided to go with a facility our vet recommended.  It is located about 15 miles from our home, in the country.  Well it isn't the country per say, more like a suburb of Barcelona. 

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that most boarders offer pick-up/drop-off service for an extra fee, which is great for us since we don't have a car.  Although, since it was her first time this facility wanted me to bring her along with her paperwork.  So how do I get myself and Sasha to the facility?  Excellent question...I had 3 options.  First, call a pet transport company to see if they can take Sasha and myself to the facility and return me to Barcelona.  Second, call a pet transportation company to see if they can take Sasha to the facility and I will take a regular taxi to the facility.  Lastly, convince a regular taxi driver to take Sasha and myself to the facility.   My only concern was how I am going to find a regular taxi to take Sasha since accepting dogs it is the discretion of each driver.  After emailing a few pet transportation companies I was unable to secure a ride on Friday. 

So Thursday night Sasha and I walked over to the taxi stand near the Hilton Hotel, located a few blocks from our apartment.  I wanted to ask a taxi if he/she would be willing to take Sasha and myself to the boarding facility the next morning.  Mind you...I have to have this conversation in Spanish.  So I walked up to the first taxi driver I saw that was walking around near his taxi and asked him.  To my surprise he said yes!  So we exchanged names and phone numbers and set up a time Friday morning.  He even said he would give me a Spanish lesson during our drive.  I called him Friday morning and he came by to pick Sasha and myself up.  Sasha was excited when I mentioned a car ride, but little did she know where she was headed. 
Here she is in the taxi.
So we finally arrive at the boarders after asking 3 people for directions, including the local police officers.  While I checked Sasha in the taxi driver waited for me and within 10 minutes I was on my way back to our apartment.  Of course, we did have to stop on our way back to the city for a coffee.  I guess the driver was hungry since he started work 6 hours earlier and had nothing to eat.  So he had a sandwich with a non-alcoholic beer and I had a coffee, only in Spain.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It is a chore

chore to run errands here as we don’t have a car.  We can only buy what we can carry, which is good and bad. I miss the days when I could buy as much as I could fit into my 4Runner (although I don’t miss paying $4/gallon in gas), now I am I limited to what I can fit into here.

This is my grocery cart, isn’t she pretty.  Since we live about 3 blocks from the grocery store I decided to purchase a grocery cart, even the lightest groceries become heavy after 3+ blocks in 80 degree weather.  These carts are very common here and people of all ages use them.

I do have to go grocery shopping often as fruit and vegetables spoil quickly, I would say I go 3 times a week.  I usually make 1 big trip and 2 smaller trips during the week.  All stores/grocery stores are closed on Sunday so I make sure I have enough to get us through the weekend.  There are a few small bodegas that are open on Sunday.  Bodegas would be equivalent of a convenience store in the States with the exception that have lots of fresh fruit/vegetables not just snack foods.
Sorry about the pics...for some reason I can't figure out why they are loading sideways...grrr.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Apartment #2

This is an apartment we considered, it was second on our list if we didn't get our current home.  It was new construction and pretty empty so we looked at a few units at different price points.

accross the street from the beach
new construction
about 7 blocks from Jeff's office
lots of natural sun light
air conditioning

new construction so the building is very empty
only outdoor space was public on the roof top
we could only afford the smallest place...500 square feet

This is 1 of 3 buildings.

Here are the other 2 buildings.

Apartment #1
Island would have to function as a kitchen table also since the living area was pretty small.
Dishwasher and refridgerator was built in...can't seem them can you?
The highlight was you can see the sea...even through the dirty window.
You entered a bathroom door and there was a bathroom on the straight and to the left of you. 

Washer/dryer that was behind the bathroom door (yes, they are both in the same unit).
Lots of closets, but in only 1 of the bedrooms.
Hallway to the bathrooms/bedrooms.
Another shot of the kitchen.
Apartment #2 in the same complex, different building and slightly larger
No view of the sea with this one :-(
Much larger living area...loved.
Also it had a bigger kitchen.

Each bedroom was a master as each had it's own bathroom.
Hoorah for closets!
1 of the master's had a tub and the other just a shower stall.

Different angle of the living area/kitchen. One master is straight ahead and the other was to the right.
Smaller of the 2 master's.
This is the public outdoor area.

 There was a small pool one for all 3 buildings.
 Oops...a bit blury.
 A view of the sea.
The view looking toward the mountain.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our first surprise care package..

came yesterday.  Since we weren't home the post man/women left a slip in our what?

First, I had to figure out what the slip left in our mailbox said as it was in Spanish and Catalan. I understood most of what it said; I did need to use the dictionary for a few words.

Second, I had to figure out where the post office was. I put the address into Google maps and it pulled up the map of the area including a view of the street.

Lastly, how am I going to get there? Since we don't have a car I rely on my feet, the bus, and the metro, the tram or taxis to go anywhere. I was able to use Google to and figure out there was a bus stop near the post office that I could get on a few blocks from our home.

It was actually a pretty easy errand, I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes running errands can turn into long and frustrating experiences in a country where you don't speak the language fluently.

So you are probably wondering what we got...a package from Paula (our marriage therapist in IL). We had a therapy session over Skype a few weeks ago and I mentioned things I can't get here in Spain that I miss. I mentioned how I looked all over the place and I couldn't find baking soda, so she sent me a box of baking soda and goo for Amish friendship bread (she knows I like to bake).  I guess I had to add some stuff to the bread on day 6, but I am on day 12 right now...I hope it turns out.

Thanks Paula...that was very sweet of you!!

"How is Sasha doing?"

The number 1 question we get from friends/family is "how is Sasha doing?".  I thought I would post misc pictures of her so all our friends/family can see her.

Here she is on her cushion sunbathing.
 Jeff torturing her.
 When she is the happiest...on a walk.
 Here she is sitting on our patio furniture waiting for dinner.
Here she is at a local restaurant that we visit for our Sunday lunches...she is making sure we didn't leave anything on the table.

Park Labernit

A few weekends ago Jeff and I went to a park here in Barcelona that his co-worker told him about.  It is near tibidado (a post from a few weeks ago) and it wasn't too difficult to get to.  The park was built in the 1700's and was a place "to be seen" in the 1800's. 

Main entrance.
Courtyard behind the palace above.
Walkway to the "Labernit".
Some statue?
This is what they call a "labernit".  I always wonder why in movies people would get lost in these things...well Jeff and I got a bit lost when I decided I wanted to try it out.  We didn't make it through the whole thing...we some how ended up where we started and gave up.  It looks SOOO easy from here.
Pond in the middle of the Labernit...does that water look yummy?
My understand this was the pool house...the next picture will give you a better idea of why I think that.
This is the back of the pool one swims in there except for some goldfish.
There I and sweaty.
They called this the "Romantic Garden".
This was another pool of water somewhere else in the park...oh and there is Jeff.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Tell me...

what on earth do these dials mean on our oven?

Of course the owners manual that was left by our landlord is in German, sweet!  Thank god for the internet and we were able to Google the model number to get a manual in English.  I still don't know what some of these mean...I use the one with the fan blade usually. 

I have burnt a few things while trying to figure this thing out...I made my carrot cake (the famous one...two layers/cream cheese frosting...weights probably 10lbs) last week for the first time.  I was only able to bake 1 layer at a time since our oven is soooooo small.  Plus it took 50 minutes where as the oven manual said cakes should take 15 minutes...I guess they don't bake American size cakes here!! I will post my baking/frosting mishap and the recipe for my carrot cake later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nuestras Casa (our house)

I know everyone is dying to see where we live here in Barcelona, so without further a due...our home.  These pictures were taking during our search, I will update later with picture of our stuff in it.

This is our building, we have a corner unit on the first floor. 
This is our living area.
This our balcony that is off the kitchen/living area.
Here it is again, it is pretty big. 
This is what our balcony looks out on...the street and this gray/steel building.  On the otherside of this building is the sea.
This is our kitchen.
This is our oven/microwave.  We were excited that this place came furnished with the appliances, it isn't common here...even if you are only renting.
This is our stovetop and hood, legally these are the only appliances landlords are required to furnish.
This is the built in wine cabinet.
This is our fridge. Yeah it doesn't match the rest of the appliances, I am getting over it.
This is our 1/2 bath and laundry area.
This is our washer/dryer behind the 1/2 bathroom door. 
This is our full bath..taken at an angle.  You can see the tub in the bottom left corner.
This is our bathroom sink.
This is the spare bedroom (no closets) and it also goes out to the back balcony.
This is our bedroom.  We also have a door that goes out to the back balcony.
These are the only closets in our house! Jeff has the one on the left and 1/4 of mine!!!
This is our entry way from when you walk in the front door. The door that is open straight ahead is the spare bedroom, our bedroom is next to the spare bedroom on the left.  The full bath is next to our bedroom on the left and the 1/2 bath is right of the spare bedroom.  Our front door is directly on the left side, but you can only see the hinge in this picture.
Our front door.

Our balcony in the back that is off our bedroom and the spare bedroom.