High season at our household

Our friend Jenn P arrived wednesday morning from Montreal to stay for 10 days and friends Gordon and Jean (also from Montreal) arrive on monday. That means rediscovering Barcelona! We spent the past couple of days walking around with Jenn – old town, Rambla Catalunya, boardwalk & olympic port, Park de la Ciutadella, etc. Last night we went to Park Guell around 7:30 pm and the light was just magical. We walked all the way back, cutting through Gracia and stopping for ice cream at Pl. de la Revolucion. This morning we are off to St Pol de Mar with Jenn, Matt & his mom. Should be fun… will have pics of Jenn’s visit soon.

On another note – the neighbours decided to have a party last night that was still going full blast at 6:30 this morning. Techno music at full blast and smell of smoke coming into our room. They seem to be brits. The middle-aged spanish women who live in the two apartments above were not impressed and started telling them off. I then poked my head out of the window and the woman upstairs pointed to the other one “see, someone else is bothered by this”. I asked them if they had called someone and they said not yet but they will if they don’t turn down the racket they were making. Thankfully they did. The older ladies then told me “in their countries they wouldn’t do that, but they come here, think it’s all allowed…” Sad, but she’s not the one in Barcelona disgruntled with foreigners…

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Farewell to a great companion

Tequila came into our lives in 1996. She was born in May and came to live with me when she was only 51 days old. She was the cutest puppy in the world and soon amazed us by her quiet demeanor, innate good manners and sharp intelligence. She was a true people dog and would rather sit on a park bench beside us and people watch than run around with other dogs.

Watching the world go by

She was also a world traveller. From Recife she went to Resende and then to Rio and Brasilia. From Brasilia I took her to Montreal, where we lived for 3 years and then to Toronto, where we stayed for another while. Tequila loved Canada. She relished the cold and snow. I was always amazed at how much energy she had at minus 20 celsius. The happiest I ever saw her was when we took her hiking into the mountains north of Montreal, in the Fall. She  must have zigzagged a good 20 km that day, but she had us, she was free and it was cold. She ran the whole way up the mountain and down. Needless to say, she slept for 3 days afterwards.

When Alan first came to Brazil to meet my parents, in december 1997, she didn’t like him. She knew he meant a lot to me and was jealous. But he would put her on top of the wall that surrounded my parents home and together they would sit there for hours watching the world go by. Once Alan retired, they became best buddies and she would call him for a nap every afternoon. He would be working on the computer, she would come, nudge his hand and then point towards the couch, where she would lie at his feet.

Best buddies

When it came time to come to Spain, I had to bring her back to Brazil. I knew her health wasnt the best at that point and I wanted her to be in a place where she would get the best care and attention. That she did. Today my mom called me to let me know they had to put her down. She now rests in a quiet little plot by the river, across from my parents’ home. Here are some recent pictures from when we lived in Toronto:

Summer walks thru U of T

In the ferry to Toronto Islands

She stayed out of the way when I cooked

You were the best buddy I ever had. You’ll live forever in my heart….

Sant Pol de Mar

About 55′ train ride from Barcelona is Sant Pol de Mar, a quiet and nice seaside town on the Costa Brava. The plan was to head out on saturday morning, around 9 am, with some friends but after a late night on friday (you can read about that here) Alan and I settled with our friend Naomi to meet at Plaza Catalunya at noon. The rest of the gang slept in and decided not to go.

We made it to the 12:18 train and had a pleasant train ride north. The train rides along the coast, right by the beach – pleasant for us but not so pleasant for many coastal communities which sees its access to the sea cut by roads and train tracks – an after many very pleasant-looking beaches, we arrived at Sant Pol

We walked a little to the left, away from the train station, and found one nice beach after another. Despite the coarse sand – not my thing – the beach was VERY nice. The water was crystal clear and the temperature just right. Must bring snorkeling kit next time! The ambience was also much nicer than in Barcelona. We felt at ease and had no worries about pickpockets or the like. After a while at the beach, Naomi and I set out to find a place for lunch. At the next beach we found a busy seaside restaurant serving what looked like really nice paella. We went back for Alan and the three of us lined up to get a table. We ha to wait a while but it was well worth it! We had gazpacho, calamares & one of the best paellas I’ve had so far. We also tried a young, fizzy, white wine from Galicia that goes particularly well with seafood. After two bottles, coffee and dessert we were ready for a nap. By that point the sun had eased a bit and we went back to the beach, where we slept until 7 pm. Naomi, Alan and I then set out to explore the town a bit and here are some of the images I got of a wonderful day:

We definitely need to go back!! We may go again next weekend…