happy birthday, Dad
happy birthday, Dad
the cat had
its litter box
after a day of work
where I barely
came up for air
I made my way
to the harbor
where I met
a friend who
was in from
out of town
to a restaurant
and met another
we talked a lot
caught up on
each others’ lives
the way friends
do when they
love deep and
miles don’t mean
a trio of friends
I’ve had my share
but these two
flight plans sparked daydreaming of Savannah
orange blossom honey lotion soaked into hands
that seem too old to belong to me
my first mocha in 10 days went down smoothly
as I hoped it would
then the meeting ended with, ‘thanks, gentlemen’
plan (always plan)
warm hint of a breeze at the end of the day
I wrote this one in a writing workshop at the beginning of March. Ironically, it was a prompt that the instructor, Jill Badonsky, uses regularly that is called “the Lizzie Wann” because it’s based on my poem, “Declaration.” The idea is to make a list of what happened to you in a day and find the poetry.
It was a good day. I won the NCAA pool at work (could there be a Google Home in my future?)
After work, I went to Jerome’s and bought a couch! Thanks for the dough to be able to get it, Mom & Dad! It will be delivered in Friday. I chose that day mostly because it would give me some time to think about it, haha.
When I got home, I changed quickly and went out for a walk. It was slightly chilly but the sun was still up & it felt good to get out & into the neighborhood. It’s supposed to rain later this week, so I’m glad I put off the relaxing time to pump up my heart rate a bit.
After my walk, I made a simple dinner of pasta in butter & garlic.
There is something to be said for these small joys.
Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way a bit. Here’s the last installment.
27 September 15
I was ready to be home, simply for the fact that there was no more time to do anything.
We tried to find something to eat but it was so early, there weren’t many places open.
Sonia & Eric drove us to the airport and came in with us, which initially annoyed me. (This will be a running theme for the day).
Barcelona is an amazing city, but the airport leaves a lot to be desired. It is chaotic and a bit of a nightmare. However, we finally found where we needed to check in. We didn’t quite want to say goodbye, but there wasn’t really anywhere to hang out. So we said our tearful goodbyes to Sonia & Eric and got in line for security. I was no longer annoyed that they had come in with us.
It turns out it was a good thing we’d gotten in line because it was for passport control and was super long, and by the time we got through it, it was almost time to board.
Mom was wearing sunglasses as we waited, which annoyed me (I told you). But then we realized that she was crying, and I felt terrible. While I was just eager to start the long journey back, my mom was leaving her homeland, and she was sad. I calmed the ‘f’ down, and we finally boarded to head to Atlanta.
We had 3 seats together in the middle aisle. Between the two flights, I watched 6 movies, but I only remember 4 of them (Inside Out, Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer, and Into the Woods). I was trying to stay awake because when we got to LA, it would be 7 pm.
When we got to Atlanta, we had to go through security again. That’s when we discovered that Mom had put the oro de Toledo letter opener in her carry-on bag. I had to rush back to a counter to have it checked. I told Mom & Sandy to go on and that I’d catch up with them. Atlanta has a huge airport, but I made it just in time. We were the last ones on the plane (again).
Mom & I had aisle seats, and Sandy was next to me at the window. I don’t remember much from that flight. I probably watched some of those movies I mentioned.
When we got to LAX, we got our luggage and found a taxi to take us to La Mirada. Mary & Dewey were there with Dad. It was good to see him. We were tired, but we chatted with them a bit. It was difficult to encompass two incredible weeks to chit-chat. We went to bed around 9 pm.
The next day (Monday, 9/28/15), we caught up with Dad. He had had to go to the ER once. Mary ended up taking care of him better than the nurses who came by. We told him stories and showed him the album that Sonia had made for us. Suddenly it was nearly time to leave to take Sandy to the airport and for me to drive back to San Diego. There were teary goodbyes all around. And the vacation was over.
This recap is coming into its last days, but there’s still plenty more to talk about! Here we go!
25 September 15
Mom went to the doctor and was back quickly. Her foot seems fine they said which is good!
We took a walk to take the portrait that Nuri gave Mom to a UPS store to send it back to the US ahead of us. Accomplished! I remembered that we were right near an orxateria that Mom wanted to try, so we stopped there and she got one that she had there and got some to take home. Success! We stopped at a couple granjas until we found ensaimadas including ones with cabello de angel (Mom’s favorite). We stopped at the market and then went back to the apartment.
Around noon, we left to go to Sitges! We took a taxi to Paseo de Gracia to the train station. The train left at 1 pm so we waited a bit. Once on the train, I read for a while. We arrived in Sitges around 1:45 pm. We decided to have lunch first. Mom had put together a list of places where we could go. The place she wanted to go we decided was too expensive so we looked at a few other places along the street and decided on Sunset on Sitges.
It was very good. We had sangria de cava. Mom had gazpacho and calamares. Sandy & I had calamares to start following by entrecot con patatas. For dessert I had lava cake.
Super tasty and very filling. We all enjoyed it very much.
After lunch we walked around, to the church, by the water. My memories of Sitges from the last time I was there in ’94 with Dad are very special. I feel like I fell in love with it. I didn’t get the same feeling this time, but it was still awesome. It’s a quaint beachside town that honors its poets and artists.
We took the train back around 6 pm and were back at Paseo de Gracia by 7 pm. If you remember from the Bus Turistic day, Paseo de Gracia is where a couple of buildings that Gaudi designed, Casa Batllo and La Pedrera. We spent some time at Casa Batllo and considered going inside for a tour but thought it was a little too expensive. [When I go back, I’ll definitely do the tour. It looks amazing inside from photos I’ve seen since we’ve been there.] The street where Casa Batllo is is called Manzana de la Discordia, which means Block of Discord. Three different modernist architects designed three different buildings.
I really loved it Casa Batllo 🙂
We took a taxi home. We talked about going to the Arc De Triomf, but it was getting dark so we decided to go get tapas. I found a place nearby called Rene. We walked to it a little after 9 pm. We ordered canas and sat outside. It was a cool looking little place. We had patatas bravas, croquetas, and asparagus. The food was photo-worthy, but we had a good time.
The service was slow. In fact, I had wanted to see the postres menu, but they took too long and I got tired. We paid and left. On the way home we walked past the oldest bar-cafe in Barcelona, Café del Centre, est 1873. One more full day, and we have tickets to go to Sagrada Familia.
If I haven’t mentioned it, you should definitely check out my mom’s blog (https://akinderworld.blogspot.com/) and my sister’s blog (https://redredhothead.blogspot.com/). They are both posting some about our trip last year with different photos and commentary. It’s awesome! Now on to the next installment!
24 September 15
Mom got up early and headed to the doctor to have her blister checked. She was back quickly because they were closed due to the holiday (La Merce).
Let me interject here a bit about the apartment. While the interior is quite lovely and modern with big comfy beds, where it significantly lacks is in water pressure. My god, it is non-existent. I got up early this morning to take a shower, and it was a complete joke. I learned a whole new level of patience as I tried to wash my hair. Sandy didn’t even attempt it.
We headed to La Sagrada Familia. The neighborhood we were in (L’Eixample) is very near the church. We stopped on the way for some churros. We watched them being made and put in the little paper cones just for us. They were incredibly delicious! Fresh and hot. We sat in a park and ate them and people watched.
We approached the LSF and saw there was a line going in so we got in it. Turns out the line was to go down to the crypt where Gaudi is buried. It was really beautiful.
We went back up and tried to figure out how to get inside LSF (now that you can, last time we were here the inside wasn’t done yet). We found out that tickets were sold out for the day and that you need to buy them ahead of time online. Sandy & I will probably do that.
We went into the gift shop where we all happily purchased a bunch of stuff, gifts and things for ourselves. I became a little obsessed with Gaudi on this trip. His impact on the city is immense, and his passion for God is unmatched. That kind of stuff usually doesn’t do much for me, but his art and architecture is so pure, and so incredibly imaginative, but in a different way than a Dali. Gaudi was inspired by nature and the inherent beauty of it. Truly fascinating.
We also stopped at a Barca store where Sandy bought some things for T.
After LSF, we came back to the apartment and shortly thereafter grabbed a taxi to go to Ferran’s house for lunch. He had graciously invited us. His wife, Mercedes, made us a giant paella de carne. Nice of her since it was her Saint Day!
And oh my goodness, was it tasty. Also there was his daughter, Gloria, and her daughter, Patricia. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but Sandy, Mom & I noticed right away when we first arrived in BCN that nearly every Spanish woman, young or old, is well put together. They are stylish without looking like they try very hard. It was a source of envy and something to aspire to. Let me tell you, Gloria was a well put together Spanish lady. I couldn’t help but just stare at her sometimes. And to think we’re distantly related! We also had a lovely fruit tart for dessert and some cava.
After lunch we chatted about their upcoming election (to decide if Catalunya should separate from Spain). It was an interesting discussion and to also hear from the different generations their thoughts.
Ferran very nicely offered us a ride home after lunch. Sandy & I wanted to go to Parc Guell, so he dropped off Mom at the apartment and then dropped us off near the Parc. I say ‘near’ because it wasn’t at the entrance, I think he missed a street or something. We had to walk up a bunch of steps but then we were there. Parc Guell (another Gaudi part of BCN) is divided into 2 parts, a free area and a paid area. Much of the cool stuff that Gaudi built is in the paid area. The next entry time into it was 6:30 pm and it was about 4:45 pm when we were there. But we called upon our mantra of “no regrets” and bought tickets and used the time to wander the large ‘free’ area.
Within the free area is the Casa Gaudi Museum, which is not free, but we paid and went in. It was really cool. Gaudi lived there while he was working on the park. The park was meant to be a neighborhood which overlooked the city. I think only a couple houses got built though because it was too difficult to get the supplies up the hills. I don’t recall if he built the house that he lived in, but I still enjoyed it.
After that we went and sat on a bench while we waited for it to be time for us to go into the Monument Zone as it’s called. I think I snoozed a little.
Finally, it was time. They let in 400 people every 30 minutes to help preserve the Parc. We kind of started backwards, but there’s no wrong way to go. It was truly awesome. He was a genius, yet so humble and unassuming. I’ll just add the many photos.
The Hypostyle Room:
The Dragon Stairway:
Entrance and Porter’s Lodge Pavilions:
We were done around 7:15 pm. Mom had said to take a taxi back. Ferran had said to walk. We decided to walk after we’d looked at the map. I felt so happy to have understood where we were and how to get us back. It took us about 35 minutes to get back to the apartment. It was getting dark but there were plenty of people out and about and never did we feel like we’d made the wrong choice.
For dinner, we walked to a little café called Enrique Tomas to get sandwiches and took them back to the apartment. Sandy & I enjoyed a cana while we waited. The sandwiches were good. We watched the celebrations of La Merce on TV. We had thought about going to Montjuic where the celebrations were happening, but there were a shit-ton of people down there and we didn’t want to deal with that. We enjoyed watching it on TV. Mom sang along to many of the songs that were played. Another fabulous day!