Tossa-Lloret

We had quite the eventful weekend. We gad been invited to a party on Saturday evening at Lloret de Mar, a town about one hour north of Barcelona, at the Costa Brava. While I was checking out the schedule for the bus to Lloret, I realized that 20 mins after Lloret was the town of Tossa de Mar, a place I had heard much about and which I had always wanted to visit. So I convinced Alan that we should leave Barcelona early in the morning, visit Tossa and then go back to Lloret to meet our friends later. He promptly agreed and you can read the rest of the story on his blog.

Tossa

2007 in pictures…

It was fun doing this last year, so I thought I’d continue…

January

We watched the arrival of the Three Kings in Barcelona, walked along the beach in Barcelona, went to the calçots festival in Valls and happened upon the wonderful monastery of Poblet along the way, and discovered the little town of Arenys de Mar – more pics here.

Three Kings Barcelona beach ArenysPoblet Calçots

February

In February I met Moussa ag Assarid, enjoyed the Festes de Santa Eulália, a festival dedicated to children, and had lunch on top of a mountain near Vic.

Moussa Castellers de Barcelona Festes de Santa Eulalia Lunch at Vic

March

In March Alan and I went to Girona for a bit of a research trip, where we also had some amazing food and I became tempted to find a project that would allow me to spend a year in that amazing city

Street in Girona Tourists in Girona Old books

April

Last month in Barcelona – we visited friends in Mataró and otherwise simply hanged out in Barcelona

Archives Mataro View from Sara's house in Mataro Capoeira in Raval

May

Back in Canada after 13 months in Spain! We stayed with our friends Pearl and Al for the first two weeks and then left for Brazil to visit my family. While we were at Pearl’s, she took us to Todmorden Mills and Bufflers Park.

Yonge & Bloor Good friends Good friends 2 Todmorden Mills Bufflers Park

June

We moved into our new apartment and enjoyed summer in TO; I invented some cool salads and we had a blast at the Pride Parade.

Welcome basket BCE Place Kensington Salad Friends Pride Parade

July

We celebrated Canada Day at the harbourfront and visited Montreal, where we had to spend a few hours at the market. We also went on the first of many photo shoots with Mel and discovered Ireland Park.

Canada Day Montreal Ireland Park Toronto urban beach

August

A great month in Canada. We cycled quite a bit, watched the opening of the CNE, and I got into black & white photography.

Opening of CNE First b&w Bike ride - harbourfront East Chinatown Little Indi

September

September was back-to-school month. Super busy, no time to go out and take pictures. But it was also the month I got my piercing and Alan got his tattoo.

Piercing Tattoo

October

Halloween month! So of course we checked out the action at Church street and I got some good pictures

CatCat Warrior Geisha

November

Remembrance day and another trip to Montreal

End of fall Montreal Remembrance day

December

It seems all I did between November and December was mark papers and exams. But there was also a snowstorm in TO and our trip to Barcelona and Paris!

Snowstorm Barcelona Riding on bicing Kids playing in Paris Invalides

And 2008 arrived like this:

Snowstorm

My year in pictures…

Here are some of the highlights of 2006 for me.

In January and February I was in Exam Hell so I would rather forget those…

March

March 22nd we left Toronto to Montreal, where we spent a week relaxing and visiting family and friends. On the 29th we left for Paris were we spent 4 days before heading down, by train, to Barcelona…

Our beighbourhoodAlan's brother's farmBenjamin Angus

April

We arrived in Barcelona on April 3rd, and after settling into our apartment, we took a bus tour of the city to get our bearings… The first thing I noticed were the wonderful balconies in the modernist buildings… And the beach of course! And our first Catalan festival – Sant Jordi!

WindowsSant Jordiand more windowsBeach

May

Our first visitors arrived! Pearl and Al came from Toronto to spend two weeks in Salou, just south of Tarragona. We spent the weekend with them and visited Tarragona and they came to spend a few days with us in Barcelona. At the end of the month, Melissa, a Brazilian friend who was spending some time in Porto, came for a weekend.

TarragonaPearl, Al & MeMelissa at Hospital Sant PauCathedral in Tarragona

June

This month I had a conference in Madrid. After the conference we spent a few days in Toledo, and it was really worth it! Despite being early June, the area of Madrid was hit was a heatwave that brought temperatures up to 40! Our retreat in Madrid became the park El Retiro. Loved Toledo!

RetiroGran ViaPlaza MayorWindowsToo hot in Madrid, off to Toledo

Toledo train stationJewish pastToledo's Alcazarwonderful foodwonderful people

July

Summertime! We discovered St Pol de Mar and our friends Gordon, Jean, and Jen came to visit from Montreal.

Sant Pol de MarGordon, Jean, Al & Francesca in SitgesFriends in Sant Pol de Mar

August

The highlight of this month was a weekend in Delta del Ebre with our friends Jackie, Sebastian, Naomi, and Francisca. The month ended with the Diada Castellera de Vilafranca del Penedes, the best castellers event in Catalunya.

Cycling through the rice fieldsRice fieldsBoatsDeltaDiada Castellera

September

Our friends Norbert and Carole came for a visit and we had a great time showing them our new city. Norbert and Carole had been to Barcelona before, but that was back in the 1960s… Barcelona celebrated its patron saint in the week-long festival of La Mercè…

La MerceGetting ready to performLittle Catalan feetNorbert & Carole

October

My parents came for a visit and my little nephew proved to be quite the little trooper ;)

Beach in octoberMatheusMatheus in Paris

November

We visited Vic and our friend Christine visited from Montreal. Together we explored Girona. Ahh, the wonderful autumn colours

The narrow streets of GironaGironaVic MarketVic

December

Lisboa!! what can I say? you’ve read it all before… I’ll end with table setting for a wonderful Chinese meal we had at Jackie’s & Sebastian’s

Lotus leaf

PS: I’ll be touching up the layout and the links during the next couple of days. I wanted this to come out today…

Weather part II – photos

I don’t want to rub it in – ok, maybe just a little – but I thought I would post some pictures of when we went to the beach with my parents. Keep in mind that this was mid october (!) If it’s any consolation, the locals say it should be colder than this by now…

Cyclist at the beach

Don’t know who the dude is but he looked pretty relaxed…

People sitting by the boardwalk

Alan said I couldn’t capture the wave breaking with my film camera so I had to prove him wrong:

Waves breaking

And I got the hang of it and went a little nuts:

more waves

The next one is not very big but I like the colours and reflections in it:

waves again

But the best was watching my nephew, Matheus, having fun

Matheus & TecoTeco & Matheus

Needless to say, he was not happy when we had to leave!!

Fun and Friendship at the Delta

As most of you who read Alan’s blog knows, this past weekend we went to the Delta del Ebro with some good friends. At the risk of repeating some of the info Alan has presented in his blog, I’ll write a short entry here to share some of my pictures. To the surprise of most of those who know me as an electronic gadget freak, I brought my Minolta 35mm SLR camera instead of relying on Alan’s trusty Canon digital. That meant waiting an extra two days to actually see the pictures but it was worth it for the nice feel of shooting with an SLR with a couple of good lenses…

Anyways, back to the delta. The region lies between Tarragona and Valencia and is supposed to be the largest humid area of Spain. Because of the abundance of water, it is perfect for the cultivation of rice, fields of which spread as far as the eyes can see.

Rice fields at Delta del Ebro

We rented some bikes and explored the rice fields…

Stream by the delta

But the Delta is not just the river and rice fields; there was also a nice coastline with lots of neat little beaches.

The local economy is also based on fishing and the area is known as one of the most important in the production of mussles and oysters. We ate a lot of nice and fresh seafood all weekend for half the price of what they cost here in Barcelona. I was in heaven. I highly recommend going for lunch in the little village of Poblenou, right in the middle of the Delta.

But in the end, I wasn’t the only one going nuts with the camera…

Sebastian and his digital camera

To be continued….

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…