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…

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…