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…

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….