Construction’s done!

March 14th, 2010

avenida de roma construction, dec2010

Earlier this year we talked about how the street in front of our house was a construction site. We knew this when we rented it, but didn’t mind because our actual apartment faces an interior patio and we couldn’t hear the noise. We got used to having to use a different route ever time we drove out of the garage for a while, and hearing drilling and the gears of tractors as we left the house. But a couple weeks ago they finished! And now Avenida de Roma, a wide avenue by Barcelona standards, is filled with spaces for children to play, and park benches, and space to wander. They’re still finishing planting grass and trees, but otherwise it’s done. We’re definitely glad they finished in time for us to enjoy our last couple months here a little more.

avenida de roma post construction, mar2010

avenida de roma post-construction, mar2010

By the way, for our American readers, notice the paving stones Juanjo’s standing on here. They are laid by hand, each one. And wherever there are irregular corners or lightposts or anything else, they are sawed by hand right there at the construction site. There were days in December when every time we left the house we heard the sound of a saw on stone, and saw the workers cutting and laying the street, one stone by one stone. Very different from the asphalt laid on our streets back home!

La Barceloneta in Winter

February 8th, 2010

Barceloneta in February, 2010

The first week here we rode bikes down to the beach, late one night, and ate takeout pizza on the sand. I’ve been back with visitors, but we hadn’t been back together since September. This Saturday we headed back, taking bikes from our apartment down to the far end of the Barceloneta beach. We wandered down a pier and sat for a while, watching tourists wander, small children play on their scooters, and bike tours cycle by. It was the warmest, sunniest day in weeks, and I even noticed a roller-blader with a tank top on. Tired from the week, we relaxed for a while with our eyes closed, laying back on a fish-shaped bench.

Pier on the Barceloneta, 2-6-10

After exploring the pier, we walked along the beach towards the port. The water was cold on our feet, but the sand felt good. It was nice to walk along the shoreline, dodging pebbles and watching birds. I even convinced Juanjo to take his shoes off too!

Feet in the Sea, 2-8-10 shoes off at the barceloneta, 2-6-10

Compost in Barcelona

February 7th, 2010

compost basket, feb 2010 compost basket, feb 2010

Yes compost. Yes Barcelona. In this 5th floor apartment, in the middle of the city, we are composting. I noticed the brown bins in the street a month or so ago, and then when Juanjo went to do some municipal paperwork he picked up the basket and the bags (which are made from potatoes, and biodegradable). He told me the woman began explaining how to compost, and he quickly reassured her that his wife knew what to do. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up composting. Long before people were talking about composting to save the environment, my parents were composting to use the soil for their garden. Since living in cities, I’ve had a guilty conscience about NOT composting. So it was very exciting the day Juanjo showed up with the pail and we started sending out food scraps back into usable earth, instead of landfills.

throwing out the compost, feb 2010

How about following the trend, San Francisco?

Do you compost? Would you like to? What stops you from starting?

Construction Nearby

November 23rd, 2009

Avenida de Roma construction, 11-22-09

Our apartment building, 11-22-09

We knew when we moved in that there was construction on our street, but the past two weeks it’s closed in on us. We no longer have a sidewalk outside the house, instead there’s a kind of dirt path. The businesses on our block are suffering (tomorrow, I’ll help the hair salon by getting my hair done!). The construction is only a bother when we leave the house and get home, because we don’t hear any of the noise (our apartment faces the inner courtyard). It is loud though, and confusing to drive through because the road to the garage changes almost every day. Our building is the one with the orange window coverings, on the right. We took these pictures on our way out for a bike ride and walk in Montjuic yesterday afternoon.

Willow on the bike, 11-22-09

Saturday Afternoon in Montjuic

October 24th, 2009

Trees in Montjuic, 10-24-09

Juanjo and I are working most of this weekend (trying to get ahead since my parents arrive Wednesday and we’re taking Friday off). But we took a small break this afternoon to get some exercise and get outside in Montjuic Park. We’ve discovered this great combination: get a Bicing bike by our house, ride to the base of Montjuic park, leave it there, go for a run in the park, and then bike home. If we’re just doing that it takes about 55 minutes. But today we took a little more time, I walked while Juanjo ran, then we wandered around the gardens and the Olympic stadium.

On a run, 10-24-09 Willow being sporty, 10-24-09

I especially loved wandering around the gardens. It turns out there are several, including one that goes way down in this (small) canyon. And another where everything was green except one group of vines.

Eucalyptus trees, 10-24-09 Willow in the garden, 10-24-09

And then there are the installations of Montjuic itself, which hosted the 1992 olympics. The views, the sports facilities, the plazas and fountains, it’s all pretty spectacular….

Calatrava tower, 10-24-09Us in Montjuic, 10-24-09

View from Montjuic, 10-24-09

All in all, an excellent afternoon after a pretty stressful week of work for both of us. Definitely made up for the fact that we’re home at our desks working this weekend!