Shando asked me what country we were when we woke up in Barcelona, as we had changed location quite a few times in two and a half weeks. We had heard so many languages during this trip. Spain is a gem of a place (and yes, I do mean Catalonia, which has a very special place in my heart). We made some impressionable memories during our visit with a particularly spacious and inexpensive Airbnb, where we got to have two cats remain with us, which made us miss our dogs even more.
This was Alex’s fourth time to Barcelona with me, and of course I grew up in Toerella de Montgri, part of Catalonia closer to the French border, when my dad was stationed in Estartit the 1970’s.
Alex had gone into Sagrada Familia the last time she was in Barcelona and said she could see the progress made since then and was thrilled to get a chance with her last minute plans to join us to get in within a reasonable amount of time. There are only eleven more years left until this structure will be completed, which isn’t a lot when you consider it got started in the 19th Century.
This was the first time for me to actually go inside the basilica, so I’m really glad we had made reservations for a walking tour with a guide during our relatively short stay in the city of Barcelona this year. Unfortunately the battery in my headset ran out during the tour, so I had to stand uncomfortably close to the woman who was giving the tour, but I explained why in Spanish, which I think she appreciated. Pictures of course cannot demonstrate the way the light is used to tell stories in this place. The acoustics of the choir must be amazing, but unfortunately all we heard was a lot of construction taking place on a regular weekday.
Pictured with me in one picture is my friend Hugo and his Valenciano partner, Agustin. They were instrumental in making sure we went into the cathedral and some other parts of the oldest part of Barcelona that I had also never seen before.
My dear friend from law school came down from Vancouver, BC with his partner to hang out with Shando and me in Seattle for a few days and we had an amazing time. Shando had never been to Seattle and he wanted to see some of the Puget Sound areas, including Deception Pass. We had the best guides and were so lucky to make new friends also. We did get there during a heat wave (and no one in Washington has air conditioning by default).
Shando got me a great birthday lunch at the Seattle Space Needle, nitrogen-cooled ice cream bowl smoking away:
Deer roaming around Port Townsend, Whidbey Island and the Fish Ladder at the Locks
The East Bay has gotten a ton more murals since I lived here as a kid, but here are two of my favorites. Very Hollywood and Xanadu-like, right? The other picture is an art piece where the last working drive-in for the state of California existed, but which is now a group of stores, including a Walmart. This piece is near the Comcast shop.
My daughter, who lives in Berkeley, and I were invited by my friend, a son of the late philanthropists, to see this exhibit and attend this event. We heard from two biographers of Vivian Maier who know about this story of her posthumous fame, mostly through the internet. She died in 2009 and only now are we appreciating what a prolific and talented photographer she was, despite what many would consider a rather unremarkable life that she led. This was presented by the Reva and David Logan Gallery of Documentary Photography at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism.
I may have had too much coffee this morning. I just rearranged all the art in my house, and moved a lot of the stuff I had leaning against the walls in the garage into the house or backyard perhaps to cheer myself up or just change the scenery around here a bit. I have always thought that a house feels more like a home with blank spots covered with something interesting and hopefully thought-provoking, and something that has sentimental value or nostalgia (like NYC pictures after lamenting about the 9/11 days that I lived through with particular thought to the new footage and documentaries I just watched). I think I have one of those conditions that makes people rearrange furniture now and then, but I don’t think it’s something I need a twelve step program for. 🙂