Friday 28 February 2014

volcano climbing

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Return of the day trip! After the bridge trip morphed from a small outing to a ten person-three car odyssey, we decided to plan more Sunday days out. This one topped out at 13 people! We drove to La Garrotxa, scene of extinct volcanos that Víctor explained were "the disappointment of generations of Catalan schoolchildren expecting lava and fire." Lava and fire were certainly both in short supply, but hiking in the wilderness (after driving through some really ugly towns to get there), drinking beer in the sun against a backdrop of mountains and fields, and standing in the crater of a volcano were all fun anyway. My favourite part of the day was after our enormous lunch when we went for a last ramble in the gathering darkness through the near-silence, smelling the country smells, getting stung by nettles and talking in the free way you can when you can't see each other...

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Friday 21 February 2014

surviving the chill

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Ok, last bunch from Amsterdam. I look a bit chilled and miserable here (it was the day we arrived, I'd been up since 5 and it was raining lightly but consistently) but the colors are so good with the purplish bricks and green moss that I thought I'd post them anyway. These were taken in Jordaan, a lovely neighbourhood in Amsterdam where everyone obligingly leaves their blinds open so you can peer into their houses and live there vicariously a while if you like. Conclusions: Protestants have less to hide than catholics? And all Dutch people seem to own real paintings.

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Monday 17 February 2014


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While I was in Amsterdam it was National Tulip Day. This sounded almost too coincidentally perfect, but we discovered there are in fact three national tulip days per year. In any case, it was definitely an unexpected and charming celebration. The Dam was filled with thousands of tulips, attached to their bulbs, making a picture on the ground, we joined a fairly civilized line, were given a plastic bag and were told we could take as many as 20 tulips away with us. Inside it was a bit of a free-for-all, with children (and bloggers, clearly) posing for photos and people trampling each other in search of the elusive orange blooms, but I left with a big bag stuffed with mostly-closed bulbs. They somehow all survived being carted around for the rest of the day, the trip to the airport at 6am, and the trip back to Barcelona, and filled our apartment with pop-art colourful blooms for the next two weeks!

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Friday 14 February 2014

a few thoughts from valentine's day

Yes, me, showing my face around here again. Still with a backed up queue of posts I never can post. Still alive, still without internet, still job hunting, etc.

Today I visited another blog for the first time in about two weeks and saw this questionnaire of a post so I thought I'd steal it and do likewise, since I haven't said much about anything for a while

What did you look like one year ago today?

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I had long brown hair. I was wearing this dress and it was Valentine's Day and I was having breakfast with Víctor. We weren't together yet and couldn't be, but we went for breakfast and spent the whole time wishing to ourselves that we were.

when did you wake up this morning?

Started drifting in and out of consciousness at 7, but didn't get up until 8, after orange juice in bed and the cat scratching the door.

what was the first thing you thought when you woke up?

Wishing death on the cat, probably
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So cute. So evil.

have you called someone today? Who and what did you say?

I Skyped my mom, to commiserate about some disappointing professional news (don't ask) and catch up in general.

what mood are you in?

I was super happy this morning, as I took a morning off from my crazy freelance schedule. Am consequently a bit frantic at the moment but as it's already too late to hand anything in before Monday, I think I may just chill out now...
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Got this lovely Valentine's Day card from my dad, though!

Do you hurt anywhere?

Erm, my shoulder is torture as always from too much computer.

If you could choose anything to eat right now, what would you want?

The Moroccan food my sister is making whenever I manage to get over there with the dish!

What did you buy last?
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Breakfast of fried eggs and black pudding, with a glass of wine (yes, wine for breakfast, it was a special occasion and pretty much essential for the delightfully-greasy peasant food)! Tastes so much better than it looks, incidentally.

Which was the first website you visited on the internet today?

My friend Kallie's blog, which is where I got this questionnaire from!

what are you doing tonight?

The above-mentioned Moroccan dinner with my sister.

which is the first song you put on today?
I continue to have no soul and never listen to music, but the café where I'm sitting has Ella Fitzgerald on, if that counts.

What were you doing exactly a week ago, this time?
Reading a very long article about whether women find it sexy when men cook and clean. Apparently not, according to the article. I think the article is crazy!

What are you wearing today?
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The same thing as exactly one year ago. I'm not a Valentine's Day type, but it inadvertently became an important day last year, so this year was all about doing exactly the same thing, wearing the same clothes. Yes, yes, I know. You can all roll your eyes and write me off forever now.

The weekend then, what about it?
A calçotada (Catalan barbecue with onions) with my writer friends on Saturday, and Victor's birthday party on Sunday) Oh god, have so much to do now....
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Calçots, mmmmm