Here are a few of my favorite things, in Barcelona!

I love that the city is not just infinitely walkable, that there is fantastic and cheap public transportation and dedicated “alternate wheel” lanes: for bicycles, mopeds and other small wheels. We’ve seen skateboarders, roller skaters and recumbant cyclists too.

I love that the bars open at 7 a.m., the same time the night clubs close. I love that some people start drinking beer then, too! 

I love that vegetables are served at breakfast, and instead of orange juice, there is melon juice. And that I saw someone mix tomato and orange juice  this morning.

I love there are escalators in (some) of the hillsides and foot bridges over highways and busy roads.




I love that there are structures here (mostly walls and churches) dating back THOUSANDS of years.

Capella Reial de Santa Àgata (14th century): The base of the chapel is part of the wall of the old Roman city Barcino (4 a.d.)

Close-up of part of the Roman wall (4 a.d.), supporting Capella Reial de Santa Àgata.

I love the Boqueria market where you can find seemingly ANY ingredient ever, right down to the fresh spices. Where there were sheep heads and calf brains and cow stomachs, goat legs, endless rows of seafoods arranged by color and shape and  cheeses and cheeses and more cheeses. Oh and many stalls of cured meats too. And olives. 






And fruits, dried and fresh and nuts and candies and …




And, I really REALLY love the gazillion languages and accents heard all around you, all the time.

(All photos on this page were borrowed from public domain because my camera battery died.)


Barcelona pictures

Here is a small gallery of photos from our afternoon walk in our local neighborhood…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Traveling is _________________ .

Stressful. Tiring. Adventurous. Noisy. Dry.

You can fill in the  blank with whatever traveling is for you.  We had fun at the airports, people watching. It’s amazing to see all the different sizes, shapes, colors that people come in. It’s fun to identify the different languages spoken or to translate a bit when we understand the language being spoken. We noticed that all the women who wore their sunglasses indoors were also wearing high heels. We noticed that those men wearing pants slightly too tight and too small, always seemed to be European (American men were typically wearing big shorts or baggie sweats and flip flops.) And here is what a typical American teenage boy looks like, at the airport:

Andrew and the iPod

We made it out of Boston and in to France. We ate delicious French patisseries and I had a lovely cafe. We slept on the flight from Paris to Barcelona. Navigating the Barcelona airport was not a problem: with signs in three languages and very obvious pictures, we would have to have been idiots -or very sleep deprived- not to “get it.” Bags retrieved and taxi hired, we were at our hotel in NO time.

Hotel Universal Barcelona on the Avinguda del Paral·lel. We arrived by 3 pm. Unpacked, cleaned up and walked for a while, finding our hotel very centrally located with easy walking to many sights and stores.

It's a small room, but very centrally located and clean.

Hotel room

Planes, trains and automobiles!

We’re off to Barcelona, Spain via Paris, France and then a cruise tour of the Italian coast. I am hoping to blog here about our trip, complete with photos and all the details I can manage. First though, we travel. A drive up to Boston, time in airport purgatory and a couple flights. I’ll be back with the gritty details sometime Wednesday evening (local time, Spain.)

Stay tuned!


Today is the day we’re starting the “bad wall” in the renovated bathroom. The wall behind the (not level) new vanity, the vanity without a counter or sinks. This is the wall with potential electrical problems because:

  1. the contractor ran electrical wires OVER studs
  2. the contractor capped live wires and buried them in a box in the wall
  3.  we don’t know how the contractor split the one outlet’s wires into wiring for two outlets
Worst case scenario is that we will have to take out the vanity cabinets (thank goodness there are no counters, no sink.)
UPDATE: We have hit the worst case scenario
Contractor not only ran  live wires over the studs behind the vanity where we knew he did it,  but also here in the wall with this buried junction box. These wired were just hanging there. And we are wondering why exactly he chose to insulate this wall… combined with the bad electric, this is a HUGE  potential fire risk. I swear it’s like he did all this on purpose.

Electric wire over studs, interior wall insulation, free hanging junction box.

Close up of the same

Once again I wonder why no one wants me to make a formal complaint. I really think we have no choice but TO make a complaint. And to the fact that this contractor wants me to let him know before I file a complaint, I have one thing to say: “Fuck you.”

No news is… well, uh, no news.

That’s where we are. Still no new, still no progress. Now however, we have no one to “blame” but ourselves. I’ve been working in the yard and garden a lot and so haven’t actually given a tremendous amount of thought to our bathroom problem. We did get the tub surround properly caulked last week and the amount of water dribbling into the space behind the surround has significantly decreased. PHEW! And, I did take the lights off the wall that needs to come down.

I also did one difficult task relating to the bathroom: I went to talk to the granite counter fabricator. And, they were WONDERFUL. They have my sinks in storage and they were able to show me the countertop, all cut and polished and waiting for me. It has beautiful steel reinforcements on the front edge, the edge where we all lean when we are brushing hair, flossing, doing make up etc. It makes me want to hurry up with that wall so they can come do the installation and we can have this lovely counter.

I also think one of these rainy days I am going to head up to Providence to Restoration Hardware and choose some pulls/knobs for the vanity.

I know I say “one step at a time” a lot, but in this instance, I totally mean it.

Pictures to come again someday.

Time Flies

It does… time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Remember, we started our bathroom project in early February and here we are at the end of April, still no farther along than we were a month ago.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. We have learned a few things and made a few decisions. We learned that no matter who comes in to finish this job (contractors) they will have have to back track to a point where they feel secure in the current state of the bathroom and comfortable going forward from there. We also learned that the little tiny  bit of money we have left from our renovation budget is not enough to even pay a deposit for anyone. That is where the decisions have come in…

We are going to finish this bathroom ourselves. Yup. And I am betting we can do a much better job that our ex-asshat thieving contractor.

We decided not to rip out the surround and reset the tub, rebuild the surround etc … yet. Last weekend, we scraped away the grout that was cracking and crumbling and caulked with a lovely 100% silicone caulking. It seems to have done the job to prevent water from entering into the surround cavity. The water pools up on the lip of the tub and tumbles into the tub and down the drain. There is still the issue of the front, exterior lip leaking (remember the tub wasn’t leveled or supported) and water still runs out of the tub into the middle of the floor. But, it’s not as much and it seems to be possible to staunch the flow using a strategically placed wash cloth or sponge.

Next up: taking down the wall behind the vanity. We are going to leave the vanity cabinets where they are, poor plumbing and all. We will take down the lights, outlets and switches, and we will cut the wall level with the top edge of the vanity and take it all down. From here, we will red0 the wiring and then rebuild the wall, paint and reinstall (evenly, leveled and measured) the fixtures and lighting. At that point, we should be ready to deal with the company for the granite counter top installation.

After that, we will deal with sanding and repainting the walls, rebuilding the closet and then cleaning up the trim. And voila… basically finished. We will, someday in the future, have the surround and tub taken out and reset, rebuilt etc. But right now we haven’t the money or the expertise to do that, ourselves.

It certainly feel just like – starting over!