Out before 2 with Dora. Walked to center of Ampuero. Many cafes open, but no other businesses. Wandered around, then she announced she had to take a taxi to visit someone. So I gave her some money, showed her the taxi rank, and I walked home. Got rained on a bit for the last 1/4 mile. Home before 3.
Very windy in late afternoon.
Dora finally home before 6. She has a leasurely dinner, then finally starts to pack. She's convinced she's a master-packer, but in fact what happens tonight is that same that happens most times: as I warned her, she has twice as much stuff as will fit, and by the deadline she's only half-packed and furious at me for not helping (but when I help, everything I do is wrong). I hoped to get into the car at 8, but she's packing and packing and screaming at anyone who tries to hurry her. I plead with her, and carry bag after bag down to the car.
Finally she is done, leaving a heap of stuff in the room. We don't get going in the car until 8:30; we're definitely going to miss our 8:40 bus in Laredo. Tense in the car all the way. We pull in to the bus station about 3 minutes late, and fortunately I'm able to run over to the bus and flag them down. Dora can't be bothered to hurry over there as I asked her to do. The bus had the doors closed and the driver was putting it into reverse, but he stops and opens up for us.
We haul about 12 bags of stuff into the bus, driver checks our names on the list, take the only 2 open seats, everyone on the bus is mad that we've delayed them by 10 minutes. But we're on.
Cooling down on trip to Bilbao. Out at the station, light rain, move all the bags under the roof, hit the bathroom.
After half an hour, bus to Barcelona starts loading on the other side of the parking lot, so haul everything across. At first, it looks like the luggage compartment is full, but the other side is empty. Finally we're on.
Into Barcelona ahead of schedule. 90% of the passengers got off at Sants Estacio. We went to end of line at Estacio Nord. Got the huge pile of luggage off. Dora disappeared for 15 minutes to the bathroom. Then relayed the luggage over and up the elevator and to the taxi rank. We need a big taxi, so had to wait, but not too long. Into taxi and we're off.
Short ride to our hotel by 7:30 or so, and dumped the pile of luggage on the street-corner. Hotel entrance doesn't look good, it looks like an apartment building, unattended and no way to buzz in. But someone answers when Dora calls the phone, buzzes us in, and we move all the luggage inside. Up to Reception on 4th floor, and a huge relief to find we can get into the room now instead of having to wait until official check-in time of 3 PM.
Relay the luggage down to 1st floor and into room. Small but okay. I have the first decent shower I've had in 2 weeks, plenty of hot water.
We're supposed to meet the lawyer at 9, but we don't get out of the room until 9:15 or more. To Metro, L1 to F-i-P, to lawyer's office before 10. No one home, then his son arrives and lets us in, soon we decide not to wait for the father, then as we're leaving we buump into him, and go back inside. I thought it would be a quick "get the keys and go", but instead Dora was in with him for 45 minutes or more talking about her various cases.
Out, and we're sleepy and starving. To a cafe nearby, get food and drink, then I'm having trouble keeping Dora focused on the main goals: getting into the apartment, getting the utilities going, etc. She's talking to other people about other things.
Finally out, and going the wrong drection, away from the apartment and to a bank. Where Dora takes 30 minutes or more trying to straighten out various things.
Up toward the apartment, and we stop in a phone shop. I recharge my mobile SIM, Dora picks up a phone she left there to be unlocked.
Finally to the apartment by 1 or so. Keys work, we pick up mail, then upstairs and into the apartment. I think it looks pretty good cosmetically, pretty clean and undamaged, but Dora picks out every little patched spot on the walls, every scrape on the floor (most of them probably from long before the apartment was rented to these people).
But some issues: no refrigerator, no dishwasher, no washing machine [later, we find out her sister had refrigerator and dishwasher moved to her place in the south when she rented out this place, annd gave away the washing machine]. No gas and water. The electric is on; the stove and oven work, the air-conditioner and associated fan work. Can't test the heater and the water-heater and the toilets and sinks and showers, because the gas and water are off. We're not sure if someone has turned off the valves to the apartment, or the utility company has done it, and the building-manager-friend we have here is not answering his phone. Ceiling lights in the living room have been removed for some reason. There's no microwave; probably that ended up in the south too.
So, we have Dora's parents and niece arriving in 2 days. We have zero furniture, few appliances, no gas or water. Also no towels and bedsheets and cutlery and dinnerware and cookware. Lots of those last things in Sanlucar and Jerez, so I don't want to buy a lot here. If we bought some decent mattresses, bare minimum of the other stuff, and got the gas and water going, this apartment would be livable for a while. Really need to buy a washing machine, I guess.
Again I can't get Dora moving; I want to get out and to the utility company offices and then to a store to look at mattresses, but she wants to take pictures of every little patch on the walls and scrape on the floors.
Finally out around 2:30. One utility company wants everything done online, other wants details that only the sister has. Dora hands that one over to the sister.
To a cafe for food and drink and bathrooms. We lounge for a while, and I want to get down the street to El Corte Ingles to look at mattresses and refrigerators. But Dora is talking on the phone and texting. Then she gets a call that her medical test scheduled for 8:50 tonight has to be done before 5, the doctor is leaving after 5. It's 5 minutes to 4 by the time we get out of the cafe.
To Virrei Amat metro, long ride to Sants Estacio, connect, to Maria Cristina, hustle up the hill to the hospital. Where we then make every wrong turn we can, up and down floors, etc. Finally to a counter, where I think Dora is being told we came to the wrong facility. She disappears, I think into a bathroom, and I wait and wait. Finally call her on the phone, we still aren't meeting, finally we meet. Turns out the news is good: she had the test she came for, it's another one that will be done tomorrow, not today. But a third test she wants will be done now; we go downstairs and I do my best to sleep while she waits almost 30 minutes and then the test takes another almost 30 minutes.
Done and mostly out around 7. She chats with a friend of her son who's working there as a nurse, then we're out. Take a different route back to Avinguda Diagonal, looking for a restaurant. Find a PERFECT place, interesting Indian place, only to be told that dinner doesn't start serving until 8:30.
Down to the big shopping center at Diagonal, and eventually find a "Vienna" cafe that turns out to be decent. We're planning to go to El Corte Ingles and then IKEA afterward, but we're running out of energy.
Out of cafe, get lost in a shopping center for 10 minutes, then across street to El Corte Ingles. Find the mattresses, but the sale is only 20%, and prices are horrifying. Find the appliances, and prices are okay, €400 for refrigerator/freezer, €340 for washing machine, €130 or so for microwave.
Out, sit for a while, then into Metro. Long ride to Catalunya, connect, one stop, out, to hotel, into room by 9:30. Dora soon sleeping heavily.
I went out at 8. Around block and to a cafe for a coffee and criossant. Street art: pic. To print shop at Urquinaona, where it took 20 minutes to make just 3 copies and print my residency photos. This PC doesn't work, switch to that one, photos wrong size, came out with second set of photos which also probably are too big. Metro to Sant Marti, out, looked for place to print photos again. Found a shop, took them 20+ minutes to print what probably is the rigth size, and they charged 6x what the other shop charged. I suspect they're punishing me for not having them take the photos themselves.
Across street and into the extranjeria office, to try to notify them of my address change. Usual situation: line unclear, finally pushed through and talked to the guy. You'd think the receptionist at the foreigner's office would have SOME English, I know I should speak more Spanish, but this guy has ZERO English. Finally someone else translated, I knew I wouldn't get a new card, but I have to file the form, guy says I need a cita that looks like I'm renewing residency, but it will be at a different office. I'll go home and try online. Absolutely standard result for this place; at least I was in and out in 10 minutes. Back into Metro, home before 10:15.
Online, was able to make pediatrician cita for the niece, and an extranjeria cita (same office; other office the guy specified is not listed). Getting that second cita is a bit of a miracle; people try online for days or weeks to get such a cita.
Out with a big suitcase and a bag on top, all full of coats and other clothing. To Metro, to F-i-P, and hauled it to the apartment. I'm in a hurry to get there, because I have to continue om with documents to meet Dora at INEM. Although I'm sure she'll be late.
I dump the suitcase and bag in the apartment, grab the small suitcase full of documents, head up to INEM on Valldaura. I arrive 3 minutes after the 11:45 appointment time. No sign of Dora. I settle in to wait.
Try calling her, finally get brief contact, she's well late. She comes in over an hour past the appointment time. Soon she's seeing various officials, and unfortunately I have to haul all the heavy stuff up the stairs twice.
Finally out, and we're both hungry, and I'm tired and aching, my neck got pinched somehow as I slept. Down to a cafe near Llucmajor. I duck out to an ATM while the food is being cooked. A big meal, we both needed it. Dora dawdling a bit at the end, but not as bad as usual. The apartment's water still hasn't been sorted out, and that's trouble. Handyman still not found, problem.
Out of cafe, down to apartment, empty out suitcase and bag I brought earlier. Dora taking her time, and suddenly I find she's later for her NEXT medical appointment, at 4 across town. [And she's made ANOTHER appointment for early tomorrow morning; I think the apartment should be a higher priority.]
Out, and she heads to L5 while I head to L1, with empty suitcase. Into hotel room before 4.
Waited there, doing internet, as Dora was at the hospital waiting and then having some test. I was dehydrated today; drank 7 cups of water and still peeing very little.
Dora didn't finish at hospital until after 6. When she called me, I left and got on L1. She has to walk downhill to the Metro and go about 4 stops on L3, and I have to go about 6 stops on L1. We'll meet in Placa Espanya train station.
So of course I get there, train leaving in 10 minutes, I wait, no Dora, train leaves. Another leaving in 10 minutes, I wait, Dora shows up 30 seconds after it goes. Why did it take her so long to get here ? No idea.
Next train in 20 minutes. We go have a coffee 100 yards away. But when the train comes, Dora is on the phone with the water company, won't walk down the tunnel to the train, we miss it. 15 minutes to next train.
We get onto that one 10 minutes early, and sit in comfort while we wait. Dora says the water company (and gas company) says the service to the apartment was not cut, so just somewhere there are valves we need to open. That's good news, because the name-change on the water bill just is not happening, they want info we don't have.
To Europa Fira station, walk to IKEA, get there before 8. Dora gets sucked into signing up for some kind of loan-card, wastes 10+ minutes of precious time. This store closes at 9.
Finally we get to the mattress section. Lots of fairly expensive mattresses, but we home in on the cheap ones. They don't feel any different than the expensive ones, mostly. Hard to tell. We settle on one twin-sized (90 x 200 cm) for €129 and three double/bigger-sized (160 x 200 cm) for €249 each.
Wait for a sales clerk, finally get him, he tries to sell us €550 of bases for the mattresses. Maybe it's a good deal, maybe it's not, but I say no. We haven't checked prices on those, we don't need them right away, and I don't want the order delayed if one of them is out of stock or something.
Add €55 for delivery, and then the bad news: can't deliver tomorrow, it will be Friday afternoon. Which means tomorrow night the 5 of us will have to sleep on heaps of coats and comforters and such. This is why I tried to get us to IKEA several times over the last couple of days, but we never made it because medical appointments and such kept chewing up all our time.
Put €931 on my credit card, to another station to pay without having to stand through the long cashier lines downstairs. Then we wind our way out of the store, which takes 10 minutes. I hate the layout of this place, I hate being stuck anywhere.
To train station, wait only 10 minutes or so, train to Placa Espanya, L1 metro back to hotel. Arrive by 9:40 or so. Eat some food and drink we just bought from a small store.
I'm out again at 10:30 or so, with one very heavy suitcase. To Metro, a bear of a job hauling it down the steps. Onto train, to F-i-P, hauled it to the apartment. Dumped out the contents, put the smaller suitcase of documents inside it. Then started searching the apartment again for any main gas or water valves. Eventually decided they must be outside the apartment, probably downstairs in the main hallway.
Out of apartment after 11:30, to F-i-P metro, ride to Urquinaona. My exit closed, as they're closing for the night. To other exit, up, home by 12:15 or so. Surprised to find that Dora is out; thought she'd be asleep. But she's out looking for coffee. I'm in bed after 1, she by 1:30.
Start moving out of the room before 7. Dora goes upstairs to check out, I haul all the luggage down to the ground floor, then out the door. Lots of free taxis go by while I wait for Dora. Finally she's out, and we have no trouble hailing a large taxi. Load in, and we're off.
To the apartment, unload luggage, I haul it up through elevator. Dora knocks on door of the house lady, and chats with her. Apparently they open the water cabinet with a special key the lady has, but they're unable to get the water working, they don't know what to do.
Dora up and into apartment, luggage in. Soon she's off to get a taxi to hospital for several medical appointments, starting at 0815.
I'm out around 8:15, to L5 metro, ride to Diagonal station. Walk down and across to extranjeria office, but I'm her before 9, they're not open yet. To a cafe for coffee and chocolate croissant and use the bathroom.
To extranjeria office after 9:15, no line, guy speaks no English but is helpful. Very simple operation to change address: fill out a small form, show ID card and padron, done in 5+ minutes, no fee. Wonderful !
Out and back to metro and back to Virrei Amat station. Down and across to ferreteria run by my friend.
We chat, I tell him all the stuff that's been going on with Peru and moving back here and Dora's back injury etc. Nice conversation. Then I tell him about our water and gas problems in the apartment. He sells me a very weird standard water key, and a possible key for the gas cabinet, total €6.
Stop in Condi's to buy two big jugs of water; if we have no running water, at least we can use bottled water to drink and shower and cook and flush toilets. Lug them home.
Call Dora, and she says ALL of her medical appointments were cancelled ! But she has other errands to do.
I take the new keys downstairs. Gas key doesn't fit anything, but the weird water key opens the water cabinet. Up and down a couple of times before I spot the problem: each apartment has TWO valves, and one of ours still is off. Turn it on, and hear water running ! Go upstairs to apartment, and cold water works everywhere, sinks and toilets and showers. Now the apartment is livable.
Call Dora, and she's happy about the water, but wants hot water.
Fiddle with the heat and water-heater, and I seem to get some hot water, but not sure if it's real or just room-temp contents of the tank. Pretty sure we're not getting gas for the house-heater. Not sure what powers the water-heater.
Out before noon, and walked up to the public library. Did computer and phone and charging and internet.
Done around 1, stopped at Dia for groceries on the way home. At home, figured out the hot-water heater and I tnink it's working. It's a heat-exchanger system using solar water panels on the building roof. So all you need to do is run enough water through it and you start getting hot water.
Dora called, and I went to meet her in BBVA on Borbo. Waited a bit for her, had to give her €150 to pay something. Then around the corner and lunch in a cafe. Good news: she's finally had contact with the handyman-friend; he's been out of town working hard on home repair in Girona. So on Saturday we might see him and get our (somewhatt unknown) items out of storage and maybe get the gas turned on.
I gave Dora €150 to pay for lunch and buy bedspreads and such, left before 3:30, hit ATM, then hustled down to F-i-P metro. One stop to Sant Andreu, hustled a couple of blocks to the train station. Thought I'd get the train with 5 minutes to spare, but I had less than 2 minutes.
Took train to airport. Arrived at T2, shuttle bus to T1, to Arrivals just before 5. Plane with Dora's parents and niece is listed as having landed.
Waited 20-25 minutes for them to appear out of baggage claim. Down to taxi rank, and filled a large taxi with luggage and us. Long fairly fast ride to the apartment; taxi/bus lanes let us cut right through the city without too much problem. Paid €40, luggage and people out, hauled everything up to the apartment by 6:30 or so.
And found that Dora had done nothing, not even showered, in the 3 hours since I left her. I thought she was going to buy bedspreads etc, at least. Nothing.
So while she showered, I hustled out to Dia for groceries. Home, and found Dora and father going out. Went with them to a Pakistani shop, bought some blankets and plastic tableware and more. I carried it home while Dora and father continued to a bedding shop. I returned and met them there, supplied €120 (where is the €150 I gave her earlier ?), we came out with three big bags of towels and pillows and more. I took 2 of them home, father took one, then I went back out to meet Dora at the Peruvian chicken shop. But she wasn't there, no sign of her, and I searched. Went home. She called, somehow thinks the chicken shop was closed, she's getting food from somewhere else. I took a shower. Eventually she was home with chicken.
The only entertainment in the house for the niece is some videos on my computer, so we watched some parts of those.
Tonight, we're all sleeping on a couple of layers of coats and such, with a couple of layers of blankets on top, and we have pillows. No heat, but the weather here has been moderate, it's only slightly cool in the apartment.
I'm out at 0915 or so. To local ferreteria. I'm surprised when the guy says he can duplicate the building keys for me; maybe he's doing me a favor. Dora said they could be duplicated only at one place at great expense. But he makes 3 duplicates for me, for €8 each.
To Dia for groceries, then home. Bad news: only one of the 3 new keys works in the building front door. Using a screwdriver I just bought, I take the cylinder out of the apartment door lock. Back to the ferreteria. After some head-scratching, the guy realizes blanks from two types were mixed together in one slot on his rack. Worse, he has no more of the one I need. So I got only one new key for the building door. He subtracts the €16 I paid for the two bad keys, and I buy a cylinder and 5 keys for the apartment door. Would have been additional €49, I pay €33.
Back home, put new cylinder in apartment door, all is well. Done by 10:10. Hand out keys to Dora's parents.
To library after 10:30, to do internet. Phone connected to Wi-Fi okay, but laptop gave me fits, never did get Wi-Fi to work on it.
Home, then out with niece for a walk. She's looking for some park she remembers, but there are a zillion parks around here, and she can't describe it. None we go to are the one. Into a store and buy a football, but she's sulky because I won't give her money to buy stuff. Home.
Dora supposed to be home before 1 so we can go do some errands, but no sign of her by 1:45. False alarm with the mattress delivery at 1:45, when someone buzzed us but didn't come to our door. Would have been nice to get that over with. But 5 minutes later the guy who buzzed appeared at our door with 4 mattresses ! Took them in and signed for them. No instructions on the outside as to how to unroll them, but did one the hard way and then the last three the right way. No more sleeping on heaps of coats ! Pics.
Dora called around 2, said she now had appointments at 3, 4:15 and 5:30. So I guess we're not picking up the schoolbooks today; maybe we can at least do the uniforms tonight. I'm fairly irritated at her, keeing us waiting and then not showing up.
Niece having fun using 4th mattress as a gym mat for gymnastics.
I go out for a walk, scoping out times for a movie the niece wants to go to, and finding her school. It's closer to home than I thought.
No messages from Dora, she doesn't answer phone calls.
Suddenly at 7:45 Dora calls, she's nearby, and there's a big "Three Kings" parade too. I go out and meet her at the bookstore, and we get 8 out of 9 schoolbooks we ordered for the niece. Everyone lining F-i-P, waiting for the parade. Home to drop everything off.
Out again, towing the niece with us, and to El Corte Ingles. Pick up all the niece's uniforms and other clothing for school.
Heading out, and I want to stop somewhere for food. But the niece is mad that Dora won't let her spend the €50 she got for Christmas, and she dashes out ahead of us, heading home. I manage to keep her mostly in sight, and she stops a few times to look back and see that we're following. Home by 9:20 or so. Missed the parade, but I've seen similar before. More important that we got the school things, especially since this is a holiday weekend and those two stores might not be open tomorrow. School starts on Monday.
Like pulling teeth to get Dora moving, through shower. We're all going out together, have some key errands to do, and this is a holiday weekend. But it's like herding cats, can't get us out the door until noon or so.
Down toward Heron City Center. Stop in an estanco to order paper/pens/etc for niece for school. Stop in farmacia to drop off prescription. To McDonald's in HCC. Order food and eat. No AC outlets at all in here, it must be deliberate. Takes forever to get Dora to get on her laptop and the Wi-Fi and do bank transfers to pay rent for Jerez apartment and son's Kosice apartment. This always is a week-long fight between us; rent due on 1st but contract is not violated until 7th, so I want to pay on 1/2/3 and Dora wants to pay on 6th at midnight.
Finally out. Turns out Dora didn't know about a laundromat here, despite telling me several times she did. Back up street, parents far behind. I wait for 15+ minutes outside estanco while Dora buys school supplies; how can it possibly take so long ? [Later, I found she spent €50, got ruler and other drawing/measuring tools, plastic covering for books, highlighters, etc.] Then she's out. I go home and drop off the stuff. Come back out, no sign of Dora and niece. Find her father, but no sign of mother. Take father to the ATM, but his bankbook doesn't work. Call Dora, she says she's a block away, but then takes 10 minutes to arrive. Meanwhile her father and I have gone a couple of different places, but many things are closed now that it is after 2 PM.
We go up F-i-P and Molist, but all the things we want are closed. I do manage to recharge my phone SIM with €5. Into pastisseria, and they're closing, we buy some stuff and leave. Realize no one knows where Dora's mother is, and she doesn't have a building door key. Go home, and she's waiting nearby.
Out again at 4:30 or so. All of us, up to F-i-P and down to niece's school, to show where it is. Then around corner to Chinese restaurant for dinner. Good food, but it came out of order (main before appetizers), and half of us had our food 10 minutes before the other half had theirs. Pics. Then at the end, Dora had a big dispute with the staff about getting a "factura", a legal receipt she can use for a tax deduction. She always does this, and it always adds 10 minutes to getting out of a restaurant or store. Finally I paid and walked out, and a few minutes later Dora came out too.
The other 3 went home, and Dora and I went for a bit of a walk, then to a farmacia, then to a small grocery store for bread and soda. Home by 6:30 or so, then soon I was going back out to that store to buy laundry detergent. Doing laundry in the bathtub.
At 8, Dora and niece out to mass, and to ask to sign up niece for a First Communion group. Niece comes home at 10, gives me some story about accidentally going up and taking Communion at mass, so now she doesn't have to do First Communion. Dora home at 10:30, laughs when I tell her the story, I think it's a joke between them. But ten minutes later, Dora comes out and repeats it.
Watching videos on my computer with Dora and niece.
Dora's father went out and bought a laundry-drying rack. Okay, we need it. But I'm trying to resist their impulse to buy lots of stuff, because a truckload of stuff should arrive from Sanlucar at the end of the month. But of course that's 3 weeks away.
We also have some unknown stuff in storage nearby, but the handyman controlling that storage isn't answering his phone, again. Also need him to fix the gas and hot water.
Dora and father and niece out after noon, to a movie.
I went out at about 12:40. To ATM for cash. To several shops, bought a cook-pot and a mug and some tea. Back home, showed Dora's mother water heating on the stove, fixings for tea available; she was grateful.
Out again at 1:30, and to HCC to meet Dora and crew coming out of the movie. But got there, messaged her, and found they were in the supermarket under HCC. Went down there, found out the movie wasn't when the machine told me it was, they have to go back at 4:30. So they went to McDonald's instead. I was just in time to pay €50 for the groceries and carry the heaviest two bags back home through the rain. Home by 2:15.
I heat a pot of water on the stove and take a sponge-bath in the bathroom. Come out feeling a lot better.
At 3:20, I'm out again to quickly buy meat and sauce, so we can make spaghetti. Home again, Dora starts cooking, but she and niece have to go out soon to movie. True to form, she runs out of time, and then I find that she's done her usual with spaghetti: cook ALL of the pasta, the whole package, not matter how big. So she and niece leave, and parents and I are looking at about 4 kilos of spaghetti. They each have a small bowl, I eat a couple bowls, and tons are left.
Dora and niece home at 7:30. They ducked out of the movie early, I think it was too scary. So they went shopping in El Corte Ingles for a couple of hours.
Settled down in our bedroom to watch "Titanic" on my laptop, at Dora's demand, and in 30 seconds Dora was asleep. I soon turn off the movie and just listen to my MP3 player.
Up at 9:45, and Dora startles awake and thinks it's morning. She goes back to sleep. I super-glue a couple of things: a doorstop, and my shoes.
So, by 8:15 we were hustling to the health center. Waiting room is full, but Dora barged her way to the Information desk and got her stuff done. To niece's school, and met niece and parents on nearby corner with 10 minutes to spare. To school, and inside before the students are allowed in. Soon in a conference room with the director doing paperwork and explaining rules etc. Dora and I scramble to get together enough cash to pay for 2 months, about €275. Niece is a little emotional as she's led away to class.
Dora takes off for a medical appointment across town, parents head home, I try to do free Wi-Fi in nearby park. But after 10+ minutes the download freezes, and I'm cold too. Head home, meeting parents on the street, and dropping in to ferreteria to consult with my friend about getting a handyman to look at gas and water-heater. Home before 10:30.
To library by 10:45. Wi-Fi working fine. Message from Dora that we'll be getting stuff out of storage at 1. Out of libraray, stopped at ATM, home before 12:30.
Out before 1, to other side of building, where the storage is. Surprised to see Dora's mother there. She was on the phone, and soon said it's been postponed until 2:30.
Back home, got my stuff, out again. To key-shop, had two more building door keys made (€16). To Dia for groceries. Home, and met niece and mother going out to McDonald's to eat.
Dora home before 2, and wants to go out to eat. So around the corner to a small cafe, she and her father have meals, I don't want anything, I ate leftover spaghetti earlier. Around 2:30 I start going out to look for the guy who's going to open the storage. No sign. By 2:45, we're out of the cafe, father goes home, we go to the storage area, nobody around. We head home, get to door, phone call that lady is at the storage.
We go back, find her across the street, go down into the storage. The ladies look around and talk, and I'm impatient, because I know Dora has yet another medical appointment across town in about 30 minutes. And I need Dora to help me haul the heavy washing machine out, to steady it as I haul it on a hand-truck. Finally we start hauling stuff out. Get the washing machine done, head back for more, Dora leaves for her medical. I haul a 4-person dining table, 4 dining chairs, an office chair, a couple of boxes of various lights and curtain rods and such. Father is wiping heavy dust off everything. Done for today at 4.
Connect up the washing-machine and it works fine.
Washed glasses and pans that we got from storage. Found there is some warm water in the tank, so gave myself a head-shampoo in the bathroom sink.
Sometimes I get WhatsApp messages like this from Dora: pic.
Out at 6 or so. To a computer shop, but new charger for niece's laptop would cost €30. To game-shop, and bought a new charger for her Nintendo for €5; she tends to lose chargers. Stopped at a couple of places for a little free Wi-Fi. To Dia for groceries. Home by 7, and Dora arrived a few minutes later.
Out at 8 or so with Dora and niece. To estanco to order some notebooks, then El Corte Ingles for swim gear (surprisingly affordable) for school tomorrow, then back to estanco to pick up the notebooks, then home by 9:30 or so.
Out after 11 with Dora and parents. To health center, find they have no appointments, get temporary health cards.
Out, to bank, and it takes over 90 minutes to straighten out the bank accounts for the parents, transferring them to this branch.
Then Dora and I go to asesoria/finca for the apartment building, and find the sister owes €1850. Out and to a bar where the "president" of the building works, and we have a bad lunch and get some info from him. Home before 2:30.
Dora and niece out at 2:45, to drop niece off at school and then Dora go to a couple of medical appointments.
I'm out at 4:45 with Dora's father. To niece's school to pick her up, then to a church to drop her off at a First Communion class. She wasn't too happy about that.
Stopped at the ferreteria, then Condi's for a couple of groceries. Home, put new battery in garage-door key, still doesn't work.
Out at 6:20, to church, met Dora's parents there, and we all waited for the niece to come out. Home by 6:50.
Went upstairs a couple of times to try to meet the lady with the utility closet keys, but she wasn't there. Then she buzzed our door at 7:20. Went downstairs with her, and as she was opening the first closet, Dora arrived home. So we took pictures of electric meter and water meter, then up to the roof to photograph the gas meter. Hoped to find a gas valve turned off, but it's on. So the problem must be in our heater, or we don't know how to operate it.
So, we're still screwed, no heat, can't get anyone to come look at the heater. Can't find a user manual for it on the internet. Don't smell any gas, so I assume it's not getting gas. Igniter doesn't cause any spark I can see. No pilot flame. I'm reluctant to stick a match up into it.
Chicken and rice for dinner.
No one set an alarm, so we all jump up when Dora gets up and finds it's 8:50, niece is going to be late for school at 9. Niece and father and I get out the door at about 9, hustle to school, get her there by 9:15 or so. I turn around and hustle back home, since I left without being able to use the bathhoom.
Out after 11 with Dora. Stopped at a gas place, and they'll call a guy who maybe can be there this afternoon. Then to niece's school to drop off documents. Walked Dora to metro, then I stopped at ferreteria to buy electrical tape, then went home. To library by noon.
Got my laptop started at the library, and Dora calls saying I have to go home, the gas guy is coming in 15 minutes. No, her father is home, maybe he can let the guy in. If not, the guy will have to come another time.
I do internet, until library starts closing before 2. So I'm home at 2.
Dora says the gas man was here and everything is working now. I check, and the gas-heater is working, we have tons of hot water. [Later, I found out the gas-heater has had no maintenance for 3 years or so, and the pilot tube was dirty or clogged or something.] It appears I was wrong about what does what: the big tank indeed is a heat-exchanger with the solar on the roof, but it is in series with the other heater, which I thought was an air-heater but actually is a water-heater. The air-heater must be electrical, is elsewhere, and still is not working.
Chicken and rice for dinner.
With help of Dora and her son, I put up one of the ceiling lights in the living room.
Cold evening, inside the apartment and outside. To the library by 6:45, and almost every computer-compatible seat is taken. Worked on gathering data for a Spanish tax form, and various other stuff. Home by 8:30.
Out with Dora at 9 or so. To HCC to exchange an electric kettle, then to a locutorio so she could print some stuff, then an ATM, then home by 10.
Out with Dora at 9:20 or so. Down across Meridiana and to INEM/INSS office. She talked to them about her baja, then we asked about my convenio especial, but got directed to another office.
Out and to a cafe for breakfast (Dora) and pastries (me). Then up F-i-P and to gas place, where I paid €90 for the two house-calls of the repairman. To a couple of shops, bought a lightbulb and a small screwdriver set. I'm home by 11:40. Thought Dora would be home soon after me, but 15 minutes later no sign of her, and I headed up to the govt complex.
To TGSS office, had to wait 20+ minutes because I had no cita. Got upstairs and asked a lady about my convenio especial payments. She spoke little English, but I spoke enough Spanish. The answer was unclear, it's a tough question. She consulted with another lady, they think no change, pay to same IBAN.
Out and over to library before 1.
Home by 3:15, and ran into Dora in the elevator coming to join me in the library. Went back into the apartment, and it's time to eat anyway, her mother is cooking chicken.
Out before 5 with Dora. Already late, but she stops to talk with a neighbor about our heat problems etc. To Virrei Amat metro, to Vall d'Hebron, to Mundet. To son's former school, but priest/director is not there as scheduled.
Back onto metro, to Vall d'Hebron. To a cafe for bathroom and coffees and newspapers. To farmacia. Then back into metro and home by 7:30.
Ate some food, then out to Dia for groceries, then out to fruit shop for fruit and veg.
Thought of going to a bar to watch the Barca game on TV, but it's cold out and we're out of energy.
Out around noon. To F-i-P metro, to Universitat. To main medical administration building to ask about convenio especial. They assured me no change because of my move from Andalucia to Catalunya, hard to believe, but I've had that answer from several places now.
Messaged Dora, and I go to meet her at the hospital. [On the way, I see a 50ish guy lying on a bike path, with people helping him and an ambulance just arriving; looks like he fell off a push-scooter and broke his elbow or something.] Find her in a pharmacy nearby. Soon we're into an Indian restaurant for lunch. Pic. Good food, but portions a little small for the price. While we're eating, Dora gets a call from her son, the air-heater in the apartment is leaking water. Have to get the repairman back again.
Down to metro, connect at Sants Estacio, to Virrei Amat. Home by 4:20. Tired.
Called the heater repairman, and good news: he says just run it for an hour, the leaks will stop (maybe seals and gaskets need to get wet). And he's right.
Lentils and rice and egg for dinner. Glued my shoes some more; these shoes came from USA, can't find this size in Spain, and after they got rain-soaked in Ampuero, they've been peeling a bit. Watched the last 2/3 of Titanic on my laptop with Dora and niece.
I'm out to library before 10:30. Filed Spanish ETE tax form. Looked for apartments. Did lots of other stuff.
Home around 2. Soon out again with the niece, to Mercadona in HCC for groceries, then to an estanco to buy a pen for her. Home by 2:45, and Dora and son are home. He has a tale of woe of going with her and the medical appointments were at different times than expected, he had to wait while she shopped, while they ate, while she demanded a factura from the cafe. Same problems I have with her.
To Mercadona in HCC with niece, for chicken and various groceries.
To ATM, locutorio to print some stuff, Dia for groceries.
Niece found my last little tube of super-glue and almost glued her fingers together.
Out at 7:15 with Dora and niece. Fairly warm out. To ATM to send money to various people, then to library through light rain. Dora and I did internet while the niece explored.
Out before 8:30, as they were closing. To a cafe for snacks and drinks, and took a paracetamol. The niece told us a big story about her two boyfriends at school (she's only been going there for 5 days now). Home by 9:45. Took a sumtriptan.
Niece and I, and later Dora and father, watching Titanic on my laptop yet AGAIN. When we were done, I deleted it, I don't ever want to watch it again. pic.
Out at 1 or so with Dora and her father. At first I thought the niece was going to the park with us, then I thought we three were going for a walk around the neighborhood, then Dora says her father wants to take a bus to "the center", then it turns out he wants to take a bus to Placa Espanya, which is a good deal past "the center". So we hit a cafe for coffee and pastries, then go to the bus stop. Lucky timing, bus comes within 3 minutes.
Long ride, almost an hour, to Placa Espanya. Into Arena shopping center, wander around the top outside for a while, enjoying the views. Out and walk about 12 blocks toward the center, eventually into Urgell metro. Longish ride to F-i-P, walk home, in by 4.
Friedrice-egg-hambits-chickenbits etc for dinner.
Online, re-notarized the boat bill of sale; first one was rejected because signature was machine-generated. Was able to email this one with payment, instead of paper-mailing; nice.
I went out after 8:30, looking for lightbulbs for the kitchen ceiling fixture. But most places closed, they're an odd type of bulb, only found one that is too long to fit.
Out at 9:15 or so. Hustle to F-i-P metro, buy T-10, go one stop to San Andreu Comtal, to train station. Arrive 10+ minutes early; perfect.
Train to airport. On the way, Dora realizes she forgot to bring her back-pain medicine (but she DOES have her makeup kit). Free shuttle bus to other terminal. Get boarding passes from machine. Through Security. To a cafe for a quick drink and snack. Hustle down to gate, boarding is half-done, soon onto plane.
Arrive Jerez airport around 1:30. Out and to train station, and Dora buys wrong tickets despite me pointing her at the right machine. Onto train, and no one checks tickets. To Jerez, home around 2.
Into the building complex, then we find they've changed the locks on the building doors ! We're stuck for 5 minutes until I hail a passing lady and she lets us in. Up to the apartment, and all is well there. Dora's family stayed here several times, and I feared they had left the heater running or something. But all is fine.
Before 3, I'm out to Mercadona for groceries. Come back home, and find that apparently our door-buzzer isn't working, and foolishly I left my phone at home, so I'm locked out, can't contact Dora to let me in. After 10 minutes, a kid coming homing from school lets me in. Dora goes upstairs to ask the building president, and finds they put new keys in everyone's mailboxes, but not ours for some reason. We'll get ours tonight, I hope.
Pesto-spaghetti and salad for dinner. Wonderful to be cooking again, in my nice kitchen here. I'm going to miss this apartment; what we'll get in Barcelona will be 2/3 the size and 3/2 the price. And it's wonderful to have just 2 of us in the apartment; six of us in the apartment in Barcelona was beginning to wear on me. Of course, this apartment is fully-furnished and the one in Barcelona is mostly empty right now, not even having a refrigerator or TV or microwave.
Dora's sister delivered some documents we need, plus a packet of important medical/employment documents that went missing 6 weeks ago and caused harsh words from Dora to her family.
In the evening, I drank some cava. Haven't had much alcohol in the last month or so. Ate some ice cream, too.
Man came from upstairs at 8:30 to give us a building door-key.
We slept long and deeply.
Around 1:30, I go out to have the building door key duplicated. To a shop only a block away, copy made for €1 (would be 2x or 3x as much in Barcelona). Back home, key doesn't work in either door. Back to shop, guy makes a new key. Back home, it doesn't work in either door. Back to shop, guy touches up key, closes shop, and comes with me to see for himself. Key doesn't work in either door. Back to shop, he touches up two keys, I go home, both work in both doors.
To Mercadona for groceries. While I'm there, Dora calls me. She did okay at Juzgados, then went to center to see one of her lawyers. This morning I asked her if she had an appointment, and she said yes. Turns out that a more accurate answer would have been no. And they won't see her without an appointment.
Dora home at 2:30. She stopped at a free workers-association lawyer, who also told her she needed an appointment.
Chicken-zucchini and rice for dinner.
Trying to pack, I showed 15 purses to Dora, and she agreed to donate away only 3 of them. Showed 25 pairs of shoes, with about 30 or so to go, and she agreed to donate 3 pairs, then made me stop showing things to her.
Out after 8, down to the church across the street. Put the purses/shoes/etc in the Caritas donation box, and put the big toy car next to the box.
To sister's house. Looks like she hasn't made much progress at packing to move. I went out and bought chicken, fries, soda, and Dora made rice, and we had dinner. Went to basement, and it's as full as ever. Whenever I point to some big toy her daughter has outgrown, or some stupid big knick-knack, and say she should get rid of it, she refuses. I guess it's all going to Barcelona, to be crammed into the apartment there. She did give me two loads of blankets and such to take to the donation box, and a load of other stuff to take to the garbage.
To center with Dora, stopped at a jewelry-type shop, then caught the 6:15 bus back to Jerez. Home after 7.
There by 11, for our 11:30 appointment, and there are half a dozen other groups waiting too. We're here to do "pareja de hecho", civil union. Lots of picture-taking; Dora never tires of having pictures taken.
I felt a little embarrassed; Dora bought rings yesterday, and her sister bought flowers this morning. I should have done that stuff.
We get called in by 11:45 or so, and the five of us are before a judge. He asks me if I understand what's going on, understand the language, and I say "si" and am not quizzed further. I can follow most of what he's saying as he reads a short statement, and Dora and I say that we agree, it's of our own free will, we agree to care for each other, etc. Then four of us are signing a document, we get a "Libro de Familia" that attests to our union, and the judge congratulates us and then we're out. More picture-taking.
Then around the corner to a restaurant, but they're not cooking yet. We have coffees and cakes and a (too-big) glass of wine each, and talk and drink and eat. Pleasant. Pics.
Back into the car and we're home before 1. Feels strange to be wearing a ring.
In early evening, spending money: Paid for plane ticket for son to go back to medical school. Then out at 7 with Dora, to one ATM to get cash, to another ATM to put €680 into youngest sister's account so her husband can start a course to get a commercial driver's license. Into a couple of shops, and bought an MP3 player to replace the one that just died on me. A little cold outside. Home before 8.
I guess I had too much ice cream and alcohol; didn't sleep well, took a sumatriptan before dawn.
Out at 10:40, trundling one very heavy suitcase, a smaller suitcase, and balancing bags on top. Very foggy morning. To 11 AM bus to Sanlucar. Not sure why we're hauling all this stuff, since a truck will be running from our apartment to the Sanlucar house on Monday. But here we are.
Arrive at sister's house around noon, and it's the usual story. Any suggestion I make about the packing is rejected by one or both sisters, and any suggestion about throwing away or donating anything out of this house is rejected by Dora's sister. So I give up and watch TV.
They do some packing, discuss details, we have something to eat. Then Dora and I are off to catch the 2:10 bus, trundling mostly-empty suitcases. Home by 3:10.
Out to Mercadona for groceries, along the way sneaking some items to the donation box without telling Dora. Came home and found she'd tried on various pairs of shoes as I'd asked, and there were half a dozen pairs and some clothing to donate, so I took those to the donation box. Brought out another 15 pairs or so for Dora to try on.
In the evening, finally got Dora to start doing some packing, mainly by turning off the TV and hiding the remote-control. She gets two big bags of clothes packed, and I make another run to the donation box.
Foggy again outside in the evening, and damp and chilly.
Up at the crack of 10:15. After noon, Dora finally starting to do some packing. I take a load to the donation box. Chicken-rice-salad for dinner. Slowly, with my prodding, Dora fills 5 or 6 huge plastic bags with clothes, and we fill 3 or 4 big boxes. Two more runs to donation boxes. By 7:30, starting to see light at the end of the tunnel: back bedroom is empty, middle bedroom half done, my office mostly empty, living room cabinets half-done.
I wanted to go to a bar to watch Barca play at 8:45, but Dora is tired and cold and doesn't want to go out, and we have several more hours of packing to do. [I think the game was 0-0 until about minute 65, then Barca won 4-0.]
Results of packing (does not include a couple of suitcases already taken to Sannlucar, and two boxes in another room): pics.
Headache at midnight; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 8:50 or so. To taxi, to medical clinic. Met guys with moving truck. But SNAFU: the clinic is not open (I told Dora twice yesterday, call the clinic to tell them we're coming, but she refused), and the truck is smaller than we expected. Soon we're all into the truck, and to our apartment. Guy looks at our 8 boxes and 5 bags (so far), and has long discussion with Dora about everything fitting, price, etc, I think.
Eventually we settle on plan B: send almost everything via Correos (post office). Simpler and cheaper than getting a bigger truck and mixing our stuff up with her sister's actions. These guys have to leave now, but they'll be back at 3 to take our boxes to Correos for €50. I print address labels to put on the boxes, then go out to Correos to buy 6 more boxes and another roll of tape (€28) while Dora starts emptying bags of clothes into boxes. I'm home again at 10:30. Looks like each bag is giving two boxes; we're going to need more boxes.
And of course this knocks a hole in our day, and I had a list of half a dozen things for Dora to do before we leave town, 3 days from now. Lawyers, niece's school, hearing-aid place, banks, etc.
We pack some more, until we're out of tape. I go out and buy more, then to Mercadona for groceries. Pesto-spaghetti and salad for dinner. More packing. Then we're out of boxes. I count 17 boxes going to Correos, 4 or 5 suitcases and bags going to sister's house. And we'll still have some more stuff to pack tomorrow and take to Correos or sister, I think.
Movers supposed to show up at 3, but called and said 3:30, then showed up at 4. We needed the extra time, to pack one more box, do another run to donation box, etc.
I guess Dora had told them 10 boxes, so when I said 18, they told her €50 per hour instead of just €50 total. We hustled to get the bags and boxes down into the truck. Then off to Correos, arriving by 4:30 or so.
No line in Correos, and we were able to bring the boxes in a side door. But then each box had to be weighed and stamped separately. I'd been telling Dora she was making the boxes too heavy. Most of them are 20 to 23 kilos, but one is almost 32 kilos, and turns out Correos has a limit of 30 kilos, so we had to put that one back on the truck. I paid €494 to send 17 boxes to Barcelona cheapest way. Out of Correos around 5.
Into truck, up to medical clinic, and brought out echography machine, examining table, TV set belonging to Dora's sister. The machine weighs a ton, can't be disassembled, and the guys really groaned lifting it up the 2 steps into the truck. At first they thought they wouldn't make it, but they did, with a tiny bit of help from me and Dora. I paid them €100 and they left around 5:40.
Dora and I walked a block or two towards home and then settled in a nice cafe for coffee and pastries. Eventually out, walked home, in after 7. Apartment looks a lot emptier now, but still lots of stuff to throw away. And the overweight box went to the sister's house in Sanlucar; we'll have to deal with that tomorrow.
Out to make a run to the donation bin and garbage bin. Later made another run to garbage bin, but now it's full to overflowing.
To Correos and bought another box.
Chicken-rice-salad for dinner.
Around 4, I trundled the packed box to Correos and sent it. Turns out the price is €27.45 if less than 20 KG, €31.90 if more than 20 KG. So of course this box weighed 20.1 KG.
In the evening, it's like pulling teeth to get Dora to do more sorting and throwing-away and packing. Not until late at night does she really start on her jewelry, and I think we're going to have to do another box to Correos to hold all of it, or our clothes. We can't get both of them into one suitcase.
At 11:30, suddenly Dora says the owner is coming today at 1, instead of tomorrow morning. So we hustle to pack and donate before he arrives.
Owner arrived just before 1, with a real-estate agent. Dora gave them a tour, we showed two things that are broken (toilet-button and unusual lightbulb) and a thing that needs to be changed now that the building entry is changed (video-phone to buzz people in). All seems good. Owner showed pictures of his newborn grandson. They left around 1:15.
Started cooking, then to Mercadona for a few groceries. Chicken-sausage-rice-salad for dinner. Then took a box to Correos.
Out at 5:15 or so to take the LAST box to Correos. Home, then out again with a bag of garbage.
Out at 6:40, trundling one soft-suitcase with printer inside and TV strapped to the outside, and another heavy suitcase. To bus station, and caught the 7 PM bus to Sanlucar. Dora's sister waiting at the Sanlucar terminal with a taxi, and to her house. Unloaded the stuff, chatted with her for a while, then at 8:50 we're off to the bus terminal again. Caught the 9:10 bus to Jerez, home by 10. Place looking pretty empty, and now no TV.
Several runs to donation box and garbage. Packing. Cleaning.
Coming down the home stretch after 12. Last cleaning and packing. Out at 12:30, trundling one heavy suitacse and one smaller but heavy suitcase, with a bag perched on top of each. Down to courtyard and then put keys into mailbox for owner to pick up later.
To train station by 12:45, for 1 PM train. To airport, and they didn't mind that our big bag was 1 KG over the limit (after shifting 1.5 KG), and they even checked our smaller suitcase for free !
Through Security, had coffees ar the cafe, onto plane, which was surprisingly full.
Uneventful flight, nothing to see but clouds. Landed at Barcelona around 4. Grey and a little cold here.
Walk, baggage claim, to shuttle bus, to other terminal, over to train, no wait, onto train around 5. To San Andreu Comtal, to Metro, home by 6 or so. I'm tired and sweaty from hauling all the stuff, since Dora has a back injury.
Nice to be with Dora's parents and niece and son again. Turkey-rice for dinner. 9 boxes have been delivered from Jerez so far. And a truck full of stuff from Sanlucar should arrive on Monday.
Out twice, to grocery store and fruit/veg shop.
Out before 9:30 with Dora, to find a bar to watch some of the Barca game. Found a small sports bar on Dr. Molist that I don't think was even going to show the game until we asked, and then half the people didn't even watch. We watched the first half, it was nice, Barca 2-0, home by 10:30.
Didn't sleep well, maybe because of the (one) beer I had at the bar, and the stress of the day.
At 11, Correos delivered 9 more boxes, bringing them right up into the apartment, great service. I thought we were going to have to hire a truck here to bring all the boxes from the post office to the apartment.
Out before noon into the cold rain. To ferreteria to buy lightbulbs for kitchen, screw for living-room light fixture, ask about garage opener, chat with my friend Jose who runs the store. To Dia for a few groceries, and hit a slow line. Home after 12:30, and ran into first Dora and then her father on the street, heading out. Handed off my umbrella to the father, so he and the niece will both have one. Put the new bulbs into the kitchen fixture.
Niece home from school from 1:15 to 2:45, and spent most of the time dancing to YouTube videos on my laptop. Turkey and rice for dinner.
Still have headache at 4; took sumatriptan.
While I napped around 5-6, and my headache finally went away, Correos delivered the last two boxes shipped via them from Jerez. So we have 20 now. So many that I can't back away far enough to get them all into a photo: pic. Equivalent of about 4 more boxes should be coming on the moving truck on Monday.
Watching the niece play a videogame, getting to play it a little myself, then we watched some Rabbid and Larva videos on YouTube on my laptop. Then she did dance videos while Dora and her mother were binge-watching telenovellas on the other laptop. I went to bed at midnight; I think they stayed up until well after 1.
After various delays, Dora and I and her father are out around 12:30. A little cold, especially when you're not in the sun. Down to F-i-P metro, to Arc de Triomf station, out. Walked through the Arc and down to Parc Ciutadella. Lots of people and lots of sunshine; nice. See the big fountain, and the mammoth statue.
Eventually across to old town, and into Born CC for a while. More walking, want to look into a church, but we're at the time when churches charge admission, which I won't do. To Via Laetana and into the cafe next to Jaume I metro station. Coffees and chocolate-and-churros and chocolate-criossant and a focacia. Watched some football on the TV.
Eventually out, into metro, out at Llucmajor. Dropped Dora off at a nail-salon, and father and I are home by 3. Weather getting greyer and colder.
Achey; took a Neobrufen. Beef ribs and rice for dinner. Niece throwing a tantrum because I wouldn't let her watch dance videos during dinner.
Out to Dia for groceries. Headache; took a sumatriptan.
Anothr evening of the women watching telenovellas and the niece watching videos. I have to retreat into the bedrooms; this is getting a bit boring. And the niece is monopolizing my laptop, so I can't use it.
Online, found that there is a gymnastics/trampoline competition fairly nearby today, but they don't give the times. So I'd like Dora and me and maybe the niece to go to it; niece wants to join a gymnastics club.
Out at 10:30 to go to metro station to buy a couple of T-10 cards. Home again, niece says she wants to go to the competition.
Out after 11 with Dora and niece. Gorgeous sunny fairly warm day. Over to near HCC, tried to find stop for 36 bus, couldn't. Eventually found a stop down on the next street which said 36 bus is discontinued or something, take 4 other buses to accomplish same. We're going in an odd direction, no other good way to get there. So, into a taxi. To sports center near La Pau metro, in, and eventually we find that the gymnastics thing is a big special class, not a competition we can watch.
So, out, and wander down Rambla Prim, and find a nice cafe. Niece orders a lot, I end up eating and drinking half of it. By the time we come out, I'm on a sugar high.
Down to Carrer Cantabria, very confused by the bus stops there. Niece plays in the park for a few minutes, then we're onto the V29 bus. It takes us right near home, on F-i-P. On the way home, we stop at the fruit/veg stop. Coming out, the niece gets into a foul mood about being asked to carry two small bags of fruit, and argues with Dora and me all the way home. Home by 1:20.
Beef and rice for dinner. Debating whether to go to a movie or go out scouting areas for an apartment. Niece wants a movie, we can't agree on one, but finally Dora and I and niece dashed out just before 4 to see Star Wars. I paid €30 for tickets, then niece was upset that I wouldn't buy a basket of popcorn, probably for another €8. Seems this was the whole reason she wanted to go to the movie, to get the popcorn.
Movie okay but not good. To McDonald's afterward for a Happy Meal for the niece. Home by 7:40, in good moods.
Dora and mother soon binge-watching telenovellas again, niece soon watching videos on my laptop again.
Soon movers are bringing stuff up, and Dora's in the bathroom, I can't get any answers about what is on this truck, are the sofas here, etc. Finally she comes out, and still no answers, except that there are no sofas, there will be a SECOND truck in a few days. Great, her sister is paying 2 x €1500 to move mostly stuff she should have thrown away (IMO).
Father and niece head out, delivering niece to school.
We do get the refrigerator, that's good. [Later found that a dishwasher arrived, but we never use that.] A big heavy bag of shampoo and stuff ? Looks like two TV sets, good. All of the old mattresses; Dora said they were dirty and should be thrown away, but her mother and sister disagreed. So I guess I spent €930 on new mattresses that we used for only 3.5 weeks. Maybe Dora and I can take them to our new apartment when we get it, but I'd like to get a furnished apartment.
Looks like sister and mother are going to recreate the old arrangement of this apartment, before they moved to Sanlucar. Stuffed with furniture, lots of stuff stored out on the balconies, etc. I hate that; they have far too much stuff. Sure enough, a big wood-and-glass display cabinet comes in, useful only for displaying some knick-knacks. I would have gotten rid of that. A child's bed that even her mother agrees should have been given away.
I retreat into the bathroom for a shower, and let the movers do their thing. Dora leaves for medical appointments. Her mother directs the movers. I think she's happy to have all of this stuff again.
Movers left at 11:40. Looks like Dora and I have the foundation of a bed but no mattress that fits on top of it. I 'll let her deal with it when she gets home.
Out after 1. Elevator is broken, doors on our floor stuck halfway open. Same happened last time we moved, several years ago; I think this elevator doesn't react well if it tries to close the doors on someone or something.
I run into Dora around the corner, and we go to Pakistani shop and then Dia for groceries. Home, and niece is home from school. Soon dinner. Then open the few unknown boxes that arrived, finding nothing useful, just ornamental stuff to display in the big wood-glass cabinet. Did get a toaster. But no microwave, no silverware, no pots and pans.
And apparently in the process of the loading, her sister in Sanlucar lost her mobile phone or it was stolen. This is a disaster; she uses it for everything. Can't find it in any of the boxes that have arrived here.
I went to pick up the niece from school at 5. She tried to run away from me on the way home, but I kept up with her, to her annoyance.
Out at 5:45 with Dora, niece, parents. Everyone heading to medical center, but I peeled off and went into El Corte Ingles and mailed a set of keys to the owner in Jerez. Then to medical center, found the others, and we waited and waited in a hot waiting room. Niece is mad that I won't give her money to spend in a vending machine.
Finally the parents were in, one at a time, then out. Found the niece, downstairs, and I waited in the cool outside while Dora tried t straighten out the paperwork. Had to leave her father there to wait for the doctor to write prescriptions she forgot to write while seeing him.
We walked toward home, then Dora's mother disappeared. Dora and niece continues home while I went into Mercadona and found her, and helped her buy some groceries. I carried them home, walking at her slow pace. Home by 8.
We were thinking of going out to put out apartment-wanted posters, but Dora was cold and tired, so we didn't go. And we forgot to call the gymnastics club for the niece.
Out with Dora around 11:30. To metro, to Camp de l'Arpa. Out and started walking, seeing what the neighborhood is like, and putting up little "apartment wanted" posters on lightpoles and such. We put out all 18 or so that I printed, running out near Hospital Sant Pau. We'll see if we get any responses. Need to print more and put them out. Street art: pic.
To a cafe for coffees. Then Dora into metro to go to another medical appointment. I wandered around Sagrada Familia for a while, then into metro and back to Virrei Amat. To Caprabo for groceries, hit an ATM, home before 2. Dinner.
Put third screw in one light fixture in lliving room ceiling, then removing burnt-out bulb from other fixture. Opening boxes to see if I can find documents we need, and antenna cable for TV. Also getting Dora to call a couple of gymnastics club for the niece.
Out at 5:30. To niece's catechism class (paid €27 for books), to ferreteria, to locutorio to print more apartment posters, to another ferreteria, to Chinese shop to buy lightbulb, to fruit/veg shop, home by 6:45. Put new lightbulb in. Niece and Dora and mother home before 7.
The news from Sanlucar is that Dora's sister has found her phone (good), but can't afford to send a second truck (totally unsurprising to me). But she still has some of our stuff; none of it came on that first truck. A couple of suitcases and a heavy box and a TV and printer. We're not sure if anything very important is in the suitcases and boxes; we can live without them for a while.
We went out around noon. Put up apartment-wanted posters around Virrei Amat plaza etc. To a couple of ferreterias and another shop, bought TV antenna cable, shower curtain bar, mailbox key duplicated. Home by 1:30.
Connected up the TV and can't get any signal in any mode. Then looked more in our box of electronic junk, and found a cable similar to the one I just bought (but shorter). Waste of €4.
After Dora's mother cooked for the others, I cooked for Dora and me, as we agreed yesterday. Cooked pesto-spaghetti and salad, and then when I put the two plates on the table, the parents said "where's ours ?". Turns out Dora told them this morning that I was going to cook for ALL of us, and never told me. They wouldn't like what I cooked anyway. Dora says no problem, but I'm upset and embarrassed. Sure enough, mother can't eat the sauce I made, she just has plain spaghetti. Father went out hungry to deliver niece to school; he'll eat spaghetti and the leftover sauce when he gets back.
And after saying no truck, it turns out sister is sending a second truck from Sanlucar, tonight. Maybe this one will have some of our stuff on it.
Headache; took a sumatriptan.
And maybe an hour later, Dora and I both felt cold and chills, I had a splitting headache. I started wondering if we had food-poisoning or something. I took a Dolocatil, we both went to bed. Took another hour or more before I started feeling better, but Dora had abdominal pain and vomited. I was up at 8, feeling okay, but she kept sleeping. Dora feeling better by 11 or so.
Out around 11 with Dora, leaving movers still bringing stuff in. Cold and grey out. To niece's school, to ask about payment and other things. Paid €91.50 for four more books. To dentist office to arrange things for Dora. To two more schools, asking about gymnastics programs for the niece, none of the 3 schools were any help at all. To ATM for Dora. To cafe for coffee and pastry. To another shop. To Dia for groceries. Home after 12:30.
Apartment is a mess, hallways clogged. We have a second medical examining table; moved that one into a room. Moved big leather armchairs, put a folding sofa in place, starting to get a little control of things. Dinner.
Weather getting very grey, colder, raining.
Futzed around with 2 of the 3 TV's we have, 1 set-top box, and 4 remote-controls, and found a combination that worked. Our building antenna has lots of digital channels on it, so now we're happy again. We really missed TV.
Out into the cold rain with Dora after 4:30. To Vodafone store, to ask why our monthly bill was €300 again, and why these unknown phone numbers are showing up on the account. Turns out the extra phone numbers are free, available if we need them. And apparently we made €200 of calls last month. I'll have to investigate further.
To a shop to buy a shower-curtain, then to locutorio to print some pages. Home, and hot chocolate. Later, put up the shower bar and curtain.
Thought of going out to a bar to watch Barca play on TV, but we don't feel like going out into the cold. Supposed to be colder tomorrow, too.
Home, grabbed documents, and to metro. To Diagonal station. I led us the wrong way, we came back around, went to Tourist Info in Palau Robert to get more maps. To Triodos bank to close my account there. Started putting up apartment-wanted posters. Into a cafe for coffees and sandwiches; we're chilled. Got a phone call from niece's school; no one picked her up at 1; parents thought we were picking her, for some reason. Out, more posters, eventually into Sagrada Familia metro and home by 3:30.
Had to hunt to find the router we brought from Jerez; the installer is supposed to come this afternoon. Dinner.
Installer for internet/phone arrives at 5:15. I take him up to roof, then down to entranceway. But only the building president has the key he needs to get into the cable closet. He leaves at 5:45. Apparently he and the president will come at 7.
Cable-installer came again at 7:30 or so. Soon a building representative (maybe president) met us downstairs. And she immediately started giving Dora a tirade about her sister not paying the building fees, amounting to total of €1600 or so. She wasn't going to open the utility closet for us. But then Dora says she has paid half of the fees recently (news to me, I told her not to do that, and gave her an earful about it later), and the person unlocked the closet. Then the installer had some trouble figuring out everything, started pulling a new fiber-optic cable, etc. We got a new modem and router. He didn't finish until 10.
Out at 2 or 2:30, with parents and niece and Dora, and down several blocks to a Peruvian bar/restaurant. I thought it was a little hole-in-the-wall place, but it turned out to have an upstairs dining room. Not big, not fancy, but okay. Then it turned out they didn't have much choice of food, several items were unavailable, only one fish tamale left, etc. Dora and I had seafood soups which turned out to be large and terrific. Others had ceviche and the one fish tamale, and said they were good. Then we had second course of chicken-fries-salad, which was okay but not great. Basically one choice of soda to drink. €60 for the 5 of us, not particularly cheap. But Dora and her parents enjoyed a taste of their native country.
Out at 4:30 or so. Parents headed home, Dora and niece and I jumped on a bus to go to science museum. But it turns out this bus crosses itself and loops here, and the bus map just doesn't capture that, and we're going the wrong way. Off, walk a little, niece is getting antsy, I decide to take a taxi. Which is pricey at €14, but gets us there.
Free entrance to the museum, thanks to Dora's Caixa card. But we can't get niece's ticket to work, she goes back to front desk twice, finally I just lift her over the gate.
Science museum is okay, I've been here twice before, niece oscillates between interested and not.
Out, onto the nice plaza on top of the museum for 5 minutes, but it's too cold to enjoy it much. Down street to bus stop, then another, then a third, then back to second. 60 bus to Vall d'Hebron, into metro, L5 to Virrei Amat. Walk home, stopping so niece can play in a playground for 5 minutes. Home after 7:15.
Found my padron certificate, so maybe back to govt office on Monday to see why machine is lying. Got ethernet connection working; connector in my laptop is a little intermittent.
We've flipped the direction we sleep in our bed, to get our heads away from the cold outer wall. The change has Dora all discombobulated, which is amusing to me.
Cold, grey and raining. Dora out at 11:15 to dental appointment. I'm out at 1 to buy lightbulb and other stuff at Chinese shop, groceries at Dia, fruit/veg at fruit/veg shop. Not raining.
Dinner. I made pesto-spaghetti again, and Dora had a bad reaction to it again. I guess I won't make that any more.
After I spent several hours over the last couple of days looking for the envelopes of filed papers we brought from Jerez (utilities, banks, schools, etc), Dora admitted she threw it all away instead of bringing it here. So we have to start it again.
Headache later; took a sumatriptan.
I'm upset with Dora about a number of financial and paperwork things. Pressing her to straighten out the enormous phone bill, a medical congress she registered for without telling me, niece's school, her social security situation across three countries, more. Headache; took a Neobrufen.
Turns out Dora registered for the Congress but didn't pay yet, so maybe she'll skip it. I found the printer cables and cartridges I've been looking for all week.
Napped, still headachey, took a sumatriptan.
Out to buy printer paper, and fruit.
Big argument about schoolwork between Dora/mother and niece.
Out at 5. To El Corte Ingles to mail letter and buy a power-cord for TV in one bedroom. Home and got the TV going, everything works except using the remote to turn off the power.
Out with Dora before noon. Grey, low clouds, extra-cold, maybe it will snow. Put up some more apartment-notices nearby; I think the city workers have torn just about all of the ones we put up previously. Major traffic lights on F-i-P are out; police directing traffic. To butcher shop for beef, pork ribs, chicken.
Raining after 1. Raining harder later, but stopped around 3.
We just huddled inside, feeling chilled, watching TV, doing internet. Watched Barca play on TV, they won 2-0.
Dinner. Then confusion at 2:45, apparently niece is not going to school at 3 because they're doing some Carnaval event today, then Dora's father says niece's teacher wants to see us at 3 ? Dora and I hustle out to school, but a crowd of parents there as kids are coming out in costume for photo opportunities. Dora tries calling the school, no answer, we decide her father got it wrong, and leave.
We look in park near Virrei Amat; most of our apartment-wanted notices have been torn down. Schoolkids running around in costume, and a whole school parading up the sidewalk. To Dia for groceries. Home by 3:45, cold. Hot chocolate.
In the evening, a band playing in the park across the street, but it's too cold to go out. I had suggested that Dora and I go out dancing, or to a parade, or other places, but we just want to stay inside. Supposed to be a bit warmer the next couple days, then cold again Monday.
Watched MIB3 on TV, had a snort of some liquor I bought today, nice.
Out at 7:30 or so with Dora, to go to a fire-parade downtown. Cold but not windy or damp; it's okay. Up to Llucmajor metro, longish ride to Jaume I, out. And the parade is not where it used to be, right down the major street Via Laetana. We go up to Placa Jaume, everyone seems to be heading the other way. Over to cathedral square, and people gathering there.
Soon paraders start arriving, but it takes a while before any "fire" stuff starts happening. The crowd surges back when everything gets going. But this is far inferior to past parades; they've changed the route, I guess to avoid closing the major street. But now it's hard to see anything, the parade has little room to move, etc.
Eventually it moves up the side of the cathedral and to Placa Jaume, where we came from. We wander around and come to the placa via another route, and more fire-stuff goes on for a while. Pics. Still hard to see anything. But people are having fun.
Eventually it starts ending, we wander down to metro stop, soon go in and back to Llucmajor. Home by 9:30.
Out after 10:30. to Virrei Amat, metro to Vall d'Hebron then Penitents. Out and met a group of people assembling for a hike; I signed up for this via MeetUp.
Chatted with people, more arrived, the leader recognized me from a couple of hikes with this group 2 years ago. Most people are 30ish, but a couple are my age. All friendly, one from USA, some speak very good English, others speak less. I try to speak some Spanish, but soon lapse into mostly-English.
We're off, in a hard-to-describe route across hills, stopping at a couple of interesting architectural things (unusual cutouts on outside of this building: pics), through a park with an interesting sculpture (Parc Creueta del Coll: pics), etc. We're hill-hopping sideways, parallel to the foothills above the city. Lots of people out and about today: it's slightly cool, but sunny and nice.
Then a tough climb up a rock slope to a hilltop. Down and up and onto the top of Parc Guell, from behind (street art: pics). Then down and up to the top of the Carmel Bunkers, with newly constructed access by the govt and a couple of govt guards keeping watch on everything. Lots of people lounging and hiking. We chat and wander. A serious conversation about Spanish modern politics and history (civil war, Franco, Catalan independence, etc).
I step aside to read an explanation for a couple of minutes, look up, and the group has disappeared. Can't find them. So I head down off the hill, and get totally lost. I have a map, but it doesn't have a lot of street names on it, and roads here are twisty and there's a lot of vertical. No metro stations very close; this area is a bit isolated. First I'm trying to head for El Carmel metro, then I think I'm closer to Horta metro, then I realize I've come down differently and eventually I get to Alfons X metro. Into metro, out at Llucmajor. Home at about 3.
Nice ribs-potato-rice dinner waiting for me.
Out with Dora around noon. Cold and rainy, miserable. To ferreteria to buy a lightbulb, to school to pay for swimming (€37 registration/year plus €57 charge/3months). To a notario to see about doing a legal document. To fruit/veg store. Home before 1, chilled. Dinner.
Out at 4:30 to Dia for groceries. Out again later in the rain, to two locutorios to buy a calling-card for calling to Peru.
Online, reserved an apartment (this one) in Toulouse France for the first two weeks of June. $824 for 14 nights, $59/night. I'm pretty excited about it.
To El Corte Ingles to mail a letter, which took forever. To a cafe. Home by 1:30.
Online, spent about 4 hours deciphering the Spanish pension system, to try to figure out what kind of state pension Dora will qualify for eventually. Lots of fun.
Dora went home, I went to INSS. Where the ladies had some trouble understanding what this crazy foreigner wanted, but one of them spoke English, and was willing to accept and stamp the four suggestion/complaint forms I had, about deficiences in the pension web site. Home after 10.
Out after noon to buy a couple of groceries and fruits, and roses for Valentine's Day and Dora's mother's birthday.
Online, looking for an apartment for a vacation in Malaga in May, but prices are a bit high.
Out after 5. To Vodafone store, to wait 45 minutes in line and then at counter, for the privilege of paying €20 for a SIM to replace their SIM that died in Dora's son's phone. To Dia for groceries.
Time for a confession here: we thought we were doing just "pareja de hecho" (domestic partnership) in Jerez, but it now seems we did that first and then civil marriage. We were confused, the procedures were unclear, we thought just two offices were involved in doing PdH. But now we realize we did PdH at first office and civil marriage at second office. We're married. I've told my family, but Dora hasn't told her family, they think we're PdH.
Marriage has implications for money and inheritance and tax filings (PdH doesn't). So we're doing this document to keep the money separate during the marriage. And I have to figure out what to do about inheritance.
I suppose we could get divorced. But then we'd have to do PdH again here in Catalunya (it's regional, not national), which would be more expense and time and mess up other paperwork. And Dora would be hurt if I asked for divorce. So we're going to stay married.
Out at 3:30 or so with Dora. To El Corte Ingles to mail letters, send money to Slovakia, do a little shopping. To a cafe in HCC for coffees and pastries. Loafed. Home before 5:30.
Out to Dia for groceries.
Out after 6 with niece and Dora. To metro, 4 or 5 stops, out, and soon realized I had put us on the wrong metro line, L5 when we should have taken L3. The two stops have similar names, Sant Pau Dos de Maig and Guinardo Hospital Sant Pau. So we had to walk an extra 8 or 10 blocks, to much grumbling from the niece.
Some trouble finding it, but then we found the gymnastics place we're coming to look at. In, and it's smaller than I expected. They're moving to a bigger place in 6 weeks. We watched the class for 5 or 10 minutes, outside for a few minutes, back in and watched for another 5 minutes. Niece more interested than I expected.
Out, and head for the metro, looking for a cafe along the way. No luck, into metro, out at Llucmajor, into a cafe. As usual, niece got grumpy until we'd buy her one more thing on top of what we'd already bought. Home before 8:30. I went right back out to hit an ATM.
The gymnastics thing presents some problems. The gym has only certain time-slots open, and it's slightly far away and about 8 blocks and a turn from any metro station. So to get there right after school, we'd probably have to take a taxi. Could take the metro home afterward. But probably it means Dora and/or I would have to be in town to take her there and back, and we/I want to go on a couple of vacations. And money is a factor: about €60 registration, maybe €40 for a uniform, about €40/month for classes, and probably €100/month for taxis.
Home around 2:15. Found power off in the apartment; I think we have a main breaker which shuts off without tripping. Turned it back on. I think the parents and niece have been without power for a couple of hours, not knowing how to fix it.
Online, reserved an apartment (this one) in Palermo Sicily for the first two weeks of May. €500 for 14 nights. Also plane flights, $337 for 2 people roundtrip with 1 big suitcase. The only hassle will be that the flights are early in the morning, 6 AM out of Barcelona, we'll have to get up at 2 AM and take night buses.
In early evening, headache, took a sumatriptan.
Out with Dora at niece around 3. Beautiful, sunny, only slightly cool day. To Virrei Amat plaza, perfect timing for the 82 bus at 3:20, up to Castell Torre Baro. Walked around for a while, enjoying nature and the view. Not many people there, because we're a bit late and the tower itself is closed. Fine with us. Back onto bus at 4:20, down to VAP, into a cafe for a while. Home after 5.
Then at 1, lots of confusion, sister in Sanlucar needs mother and me to go to bank to pay a big bill. Lots of trouble getting the details to us, then we go to bank, mother is confused, finally we get it done. Not sure why the sister didn't just pay it directly, Dora's family seems to spend loads of time going to banks in person. Less now that I made Dora get online access to her accounts.
Out in late afternoon for groceries.
Headache before bed; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 11:45 with Dora. Heading for niece's school to pick her up early and take her to a medical appointment. Get 3/4 of the way to school and Dora says she's forgotten to bring the papers. I hustle back home, managing to trip and fall in the building entranceway, pick up the papers, hustle to the medical clinic. No sign of Dora and niece. They show up 15 minutes late, the niece had swimming and couldn't get out on time. They go in to see doctor, they're out 3 minutes later, he says nothing broken in her foot, nothing to be done.
We stop in a playground for a while, then home before 1. Dinner. Out again in late afternoon to Correos in El Corte Ingles.
Online, did most of a Spanish tax form not due for another month.
Thought of going out to a bar to watch Barca play Chelsea, but then found the game on our TV. Barca didn't get many shots, frustrating, ended in 1-1 tie.
Out after noon. To four ferreterias to find a lightbulb. To Dia for groceries.
Out at 2:30 or so with Dora. To F-i-P metro, to Placa Catalunya, into Catalan language institute office to see about Catalan language classes for Dora. The starting date don't match well with our schedule over the next few months: nothing starting right away, they start much closer to the times we've carved out for vacations.
Through the placa, into El Corte Ingles, up to the top for coffees and pastry at a window table looking over the city.
Out, and I want to walk, but Dora wants to go home. I guess she's right, it's getting later and colder. Into metro, out at F-i-P. Up and into Abacus to buy three Catalan-language coursebooks for her, total €35. Weather getting greyer. Home by 5:45.
I started cooking after noon. They came home around 1:15, and I put dinner on the table, they were pleased.
Turns out we're paying for an online law-school for Dora's BIL, as well as his bus-driver-license course. Didn't know about the law-school thing.
Online, got access to Dora's private pension account, something I've been trying to get for a while. Now we have to understand it.
Took apart the rice-cooker with the missing power cord, in hopes of installing a new cord.
Out with Dora at 5:30. To my ATM, took out a bunch of cash. To Dora's ATM, sent €600 of it to BIL in the north. To ferreteria, and the guy cam up with a part that I can use to fix the rice-cooker. Left Dora at the fruit/veg shop, I went to get groceries at Dia.
Home, and managed to attach a new power-cord to the rice-cooker. House didn't blow up when I plugged it in: success !
Dora's sister arrived from Sanlucar around 8:15.
Online, bought plane and bus tickets for Dora's son to come here at end of March.
Out at 2:30 or so with everyone, to a Chinese restaurant on F-i-P for a big meal. Sat upstairs, nice, food was good, but service was erratic. And the niece was feeling bad, maybe because in the last 18 hours she's eaten about half of the huge box of chocolates her mother brought for her. She ate 2 or 3 right before coming out to this dinner. After the meal, they headed off to buy antibiotics and other medicines for her, while the rest of us went various directions. But half an hour after we got home, she seemed okay.
Online, filed my US FBAR form.
Before noon, out for a couple of hours with Dora. F-i-P metro to Catalunya, strolled down La Rambla. Lots of people, slightly cool sunny day. Got to the Columbus statue and I wanted to walk up through Raval, but Dora had had enough. Back into metro and home by 2:15 or so.
Big turkey-rice-salad-potatoes dinner with 6 of us.
Headachey in mid-evening; took a Neobrufen.
Gave myself a bit of a haircut, with scissors. Can't find the hair-clippers from Jerez. Headache by 1; took a sumatriptan.
Niece not well in afternoon; stayed home from school.
Out at 4:30 with Dora. Cold, grey, raining lightly. Down to Meridiana and to a physiotherapy place. She had an evaluation of her back for €20, and will go for electrotherapy twice per week at €20 per 1-hour session.
Out with Dora at noon. Extra-cold day. To two banks, then photo booth in metro station, then lawyer's office (no answer to the buzzer). Back home after 1.
Tiny little snow-flakes around 1:30, then a bit more substantial coming down at 2.
Dora out after 2:15, to do an awkward trip halfway across town to an office for a 3:30 appointment. She wanted me to go with her, but I stayed home. Starting to snow pretty steadily around 3. Later, alternating between snow and rainy.
Dora home before 6, not as frozen as I expected. But an hour or more later, she was cold and into bed and feeling bad.
Online and talking with Dora, we're starting to figure out her private pension plan. It appears to be a deferred-taxation plan like a 401K or IRA.
Headache; took a sumatriptan. Later joined Dora in bed, napped until 10:30 or so.
Cold, wet, grey, rainy morning. Back to bed for a while, to enjoy the warmth. Dora's noon appointment has been postponed, so she's back in bed too.
Around 12:30, niece out with her mother and grandmother, to supermarket. I guess she's well enough to go out in the cold and rain for that, but not well enough to go to school.
I cooked dinner. As usual, niece ate 1/4 of her food and then went to get some snack she likes; today it is popcorn.
Online, started my US income tax return. But started it wrong, selected "married", when we weren't married until this year, not married last year.
Dora into clinic for a 1 PM interview. I sat in waiting room. She was out by 1:45, and they have a couple of types of work contract available to her, in the ER. Mostly night-shift or late-shift, and this place is pretty far from home. But it's encouraging that she has an opportunity.
Into metro, connect, out at F-i-P, into another cafe for drinks and bratwursts. Then to her 3 PM physiotherapy appointment. I dropped her off, got groceries in Dia, home before 3:30.
Out in midafternoon for a walk and sit in Virrei Amat plaza, but it's too windy and a couple of degrees too cool to be comfortable. To fruit/veg stand for a few things.
Tons of art, much of which we've seen before. Some new Renaissance and Baroque stuff, mainly painted-wood alterpieces and such. Spectacular building, worth coming just for that, but you can't get far enough away from the domes and columns and such to get a decent photo of them. After resting a couple of times, we did some of the modern art section, then we'd had enough. Pics.
Out of museum a little before 6. Weather a bit cooler and windy. Down to metro, long ride to F-i-P. Wanted to stop in a cafe, but it was full.
To Dia for groceries, and met Dora's father at the entrance. Home after 7; tired. Had tea and ate some cheap sugar-coated croissants we just bought, and they turned out to be cream-filled, yum !
Later headachey, took a paracetamol-plus.
Out after noon for a nice walk over to Maragall. To fruit/veg store for some things. Home at 1:30.
Cooked a big dinner, with help from Dora's mother. Weather getting grey; rain by 3.
Thought of watching the Barca - Atletico game, but it's raining so we don't want to go out, and it's not on TV. Watched 10 minutes of it streaming on the computer, but that's not so convenient. Later saw that Barca won 1-0 on the strength of Messi's 600th career goal.
Moving my web site to a new host today, and it's taking all day.
Sunny in late afternoon. Out for a nice walk, weather a bit cool but otherwise fine.
Finally finished uploading the web site around 10:15. It's big, about 1.65 GB.
Headache in mid-morning; took a Paracetamol-plus.
Out at 11:15 or so, by myself. To F-i-P metro, to Catalunya. Walked down to Placa Angels, but can't find the artistic-dance thing that's supposed to happen there at noon. Into cathedral for 10 minutes, out and back up to the plaza exactly at noon, nothing. Strolled around Placa Catalunya, then wandered down to Urquinaona. Street art: pics. Saw a big chocolate thing in a cafe window and went in and had one, which turned out to be cream-filled, yum. Down to Arc, past Estacio Nord, eventually to Marina metro. To F-i-P, groceries at Dia, home by 1:30 or so.
Headache in early evening; took a sumatriptan.
Out to fruit/veg store for some items.
I've been slowly working my way through a bottle of pacharán, a very nice drink. Nice to have a shot or two in the late evening with a snack.
Out around 4:15 by myself for a long walk, down past Rio Janeiro medical center and back.
Freaked out a bit: suddenly my laptop said "Windows has disabled your touchpad", and nothing I did made it work again. Rebooted several times, went through control panel and settings etc. Finally Googled on Dora's laptop, and found there's a key on mine that disables the touchpad. Pressed that key, everything is fine again. Whew !
Just read that supposedly Spanish women are on strike today, for Women's Day of Equality, I think.
After moaning about it for a week, I finally paid the building fees for the apartment. They're a year or more in arrears, and I keep saying Dora's sister should get rid of other properties she has, but if we don't want to get more fees and lawyers after us, it's best to pay this. We are living here rent-free, so I guess it's fair. But we're also paying to support 2/3 of the family. Their finances have been a disaster since the 2008 crash.
Out with Dora after 11. To building finca. They haven't received our payment yet, took a copy of our transfer receipt. Gave us elevator keys to get to parking decks, but they know nothing about the beeper for outside door to let cars in.
Traffic lights at big intersection not working again, second time in a few weeks. Lots of police standing around, one directing traffic, a couple of special-police with machine-guns standing around too.
To notary. Surprise: price of document was less than we paid, here's €19 or so refund ! Cover-sheet has me titled as "doña" (female), but that's not part of the actual document, secretary just crossed out the "a" for us. Surprised to see that the official document doesn't have our signatures in it, just the notary's stamps. I guess they file the signature page locally instead of including it in the filing to the registry. Another surprise: they're going to file it in the Barcelona registry, I thought we were going to have to file it in the Jerez registry somehow.
Stopped in church, and there's Dora's mother and sister too.
Headed home, and tried keys in doors. Elevator keys work, we went down to parking decks, not sure if ours is -3 or -4, but no car in our slot on either floor. Up and into apartment before 1.
Out after 5 with Dora. Dragged her down to the lawyer's office, where our timing was good, 5-minute wait and he arrived. We've had no communication for a month, I wanted to force some answers out of him. Turns out Dora misread a request from him, he needs a POA from the sister, we lost money and time by not providing it. But now we can do it, and get things moving again. He still won't provide a receipt for the €1000 we've paid to him, and I have to interrogate Dora closely later to find the terms on which we've hired him. And of course she has none of it in writing. Very sloppy way to do things, and she fights me every step of the way when I try to get her to do things better.
We walk to a nice park, stroll there for a bit, then up to Meridiana and up F-i-P to our favorite coffee-shop, where we relax for a while. Then to Dia and fruit shop, and home by 7:30.
Didn't feel like going to bed until 1 AM, and even then I laid in bed listening to MP3s for a while.
The bad news keeps coming: there's probably a couple of years of past-due property tax due on this apartment; will have to find out about that next week.
Out at 3:30 or so with Dora. To ATM, then F-i-P metro. Out at Arc de Triomf. Nice walk down through the park, loads of people, weather sunny and warm. Through the train station and to the edge of Barceloneta, and then we've had enough. Into Barceloneta metro, to Llucmajor, to a cafe. Then Dia for groceries and home by 5:30.
Out at noon for a long walk up F-i-P and to Parc Turo Peira (I think). Gorgeous sunny day, just slightly cool, perfect.
After dinner, around 3, dragged Dora out for a walk up the Nou Barris city hall park. A little windy but still very nice weather.
Headache; took a sumatripan.
Out in late afternoon, but it's windy and a bit cooler. To fruit/veg shop for a few items.
Headache in the evening; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 2:45 with Dora, walked her to physiotherapy, then I went for a walk. A little cool and breezy, but nice sun.
Online, submitted my US federal and state income tax returns.
Out before noon with Dora. To ATM to get cash, stopped at mercado to ask about raw pizza-dough, to another ATM to put the cash in, went for a walk, to fruit shop, home. Then online, sending the money to the north to pay for BIL's commercial-driver school.
Soon I was out for another walk, and to sit in VA plaza for a while.
Dinner. Dora out to go to CUAP for job appointment. Soon I went out for another small walk and sit in VA plaza.
Home, and then Dora back out, to dentist.
Dinner. At 2:45, Dora out to physiotherapy. Soon I went out to sit in VA plaza, then to Dia for groceries. At 5, out for another little walk and sit in the plaza.
More bad news: Dora's sister needs €5K to pay to bank to stave off foreclosure and maybe eviction. I thought having her daughter and parents living here would stop that. I guess we need to hold off paying the tax bill until we get some clarity on the situation.
Dora talking to sister's lawyer at my insistence, more bad news, he hasn't been paid since middle of last year. And bank mortgage hasn't been paid since middle of 2015. I was hoping for an answer that bank can't evict us while niece and parents are living here, but apparently Dora didn't ask that question directly, and lawyer said we just have to see what bank and judge do. She also didn't ask the other question I wanted her to ask, about title on the second apartment.
Reviewing most of the money paid in last couple months: €2.5K paid for BIL's schooling, €2.5K paid to finca (building management fees) for apartment here, €3K paid (half paid; about to pay other half) to retire Dora's 28% credit-card debt, €1K paid to Dora's lawyer for the eviction and misc.
And debts outstanding for the apartment/sister: €5K minimum to bank/mortgage, €3K for property tax, say €3K to sister's lawyer.
Theoretically, we should be getting lawyer's fee and several thousand more back from the evicted renters, and sister may get many thousands back for "clausulo suelo" on her two apartments. But that could take months or a year or more. And she'll still be far underwater on the mortgages on the two apartments.
Other things in the mix: a medical machine for which sister still is paying off a loan, and a car worth maybe €1K that she refuses to sell. And titles on car and other apartment are a little complicated.
Out for a couple of walks, to VA plaza, to Dia for garbage bags. Weather getting colder.
Wanted to go out tonight, to center to some Irish bars for St Patrick's Day. But it's cold, grey and damp out. Raining by 6:30 or so.
Later, out for a little walk and sit in the plaza. Pleasant for 20 minutes, then clouds came over and a little windy, and suddenly it's 10 degrees colder. To Dia for a couple more items, and home.
Later, getting colder and greyer.
Headache at 9; took a paracetamol-plus.
Dora home by noon, with straight-straight-straight hair, the way she likes it: pic. It will start to be kinky and curly again in several days.
Out with Dora at 12:35. Cold today. Up to government complex to give our fingerprints for a free-entry-at-parks program. Took a long time and a lot of typing, which surprised me, since I typed all of our info into a web site for this a few days ago. Turns out Dora got registered for it a couple of years ago, but never gave her fingerprint, which confused everything. But finally we succeeded, and went back home.
Out at 2:30 to stroll and sit in the plaza and look into a couple of stores. Out at 4:30 to do the same again.
Home, and started making a pizza, using pre-made dough from supermarket. First time using the oven here. We have no garlic. Put it together, it baked about twice as fast as I expected. Came out toasted thin-crust, edible but not great. We ate it.
Dora wanted me to go to medical center with her father for 10:30 appointment, but he never came from taking niece to school at 9. So after 10 I went to medical clinic, found him at 10:15. He'd already had his blood test, showed me a new appointment for 11:30 to have a tooth extracted. I was debating whether to go home and come back later. But then the doctor's door opened and they took him in, and he was back out in 10 minutes, minus a tooth.
To Correos with him, waited 5+ minutes, then received a big lump of cash sent to the father from Peru. We stopped at a shop to buy meat, then home by 11:15 or so. Relieved that everything went so smoothly.
Dinner. Out around 2:30 to sit in plaza, but it's cold. To Dia for groceries.
Dora home around 4, all went well for her trial-day at work, she'll be starting in April.
Out at 7:30, to fruit/veg shop. Cold.
Out a couple of times in the afternoon to stroll and sit in the plaza and hit a couple of stores. A little cool, but nice if sitting in the direct sun. Out again after 4:30, but now it's starting to get too cold.
I supervised while the niece made a pizza. Came out fairly well, for one featuring hotdogs.
Out at 4 to Dia for groceries, and then right back out again to the fruit/veg shop. Raining and cold.
Wanted to go to an anti-gun demonstration in Placa Catalunya at 5, but I'm not going in this weather.
I went out around 11. Not too cold. To F-i-P Metro, and in the turnstile a couple of guys tried to come through behind me, cheating the fare. But I stopped just as I passed through the gate, and the first guy and I had a bit of a shouting and pushing match. He kicked me weakly in the thigh, then his friends pulled him back and they started leaving. He came back to shout at me, and I shouted back, and then they were gone and I went down and caught my train.
To Placa Catalunya, and out. Flocks of tourists everywhere. Guys in tents around the placa, protesting the central govt denial of independence for Catalunya, but they're looking a bit worn and wet. I wandered down La Rambla, and soon found a religious procession with a platform and band going down one of the side streets. The platform wasn't much, but the band was nice, I listened to them for a while. Then down to Placa Pi, where there were gegantes and other statue-type things: pic. Wandered through the cathedral plaza and Placa Jaume and then Placa Reial. Street art: pics. Back to La Rambla, and the same platform was coming down as I was going up. Strolled up La Rambla, into PC metro, out at F-i-P. Light rain. Home after 1.
Out at 5:30 with Dora for a walk. Pleasant but chilly.
Made a pizza, and the niece was eager to do it until she saw the toppings I had readied (mushrooms and chorizo). Then she refused to have anything to do with it, other than eating a slice. Fine with me.
TV news has been showing some riots in the center of Barcelona, last night, I think. People fighting with police. Several leaders of the pro-independence movement were put in prison a couple of days ago, and the top guy detained in Germany, another fled.
Out after dinner to sit in VA plaza. Pretty quiet; this is a holiday week.
Weather turning ugly after 6 or so. Out at 7:20 with Dora, into rain. To Virrei Amat, L5 metro to Diagonal, raining hard, but across one big street and into a church. We're here for a concert by a group from MIT.
Turns out to be mostly choral music, not my favorite, but still it was nice. A full house, too. And a nice church; we've been here before. Pic.
Out after the concert, and we just want to go home. Not raining. Into metro, out at VA, home by 9:40 or so.
I went out after 3. Lovely day out, just slightly cool. Went for a longish walk down into Sant Andreu, one goal being to find a restaurant we went to a while ago. Found it, wandered, got some decent exercise, stopped in a couple of stores, home by 4:30 or so.
Headache in late evening; took a sumatripan and went to bed early. I think I've been using the computer too much.
Dora's son arrived after midnight, from Slovakia.
Out at 11:30 to go sit in the plaza for a while. Lovely weather.
Out at 1:30 or so, all six of us, to a Peruvian restaurant. Nice meal, better than our previous time here. Had the whole upstairs room to ourselves. Pics. Gorgeous weather outside. Home by 3:15.
Out later to stroll and sit in the plaza, then to Dia for groceries.
Napped, headache, took a paracetamol-plus.
Out for a walk and sit in the plaza with Dora, and to fruit shop. Lots of car-traffic as people leave town for the holiday.
Headache in late evening; took a sumatripan and went to bed a little early.
Out at 3:30 or so to walk and sit. Getting a little cooler. Out again later.
Out at 11 or so for a walk. Gorgeous warmish sunny day. Dora intercepted me at VA plaza and we went for a walk around Cotxeres / Maragall. To fruit shop and home before noon.
Out around 3 with Dora. To VA metro, longish ride to Entenca, out and into a decommissioned prison that just opened to the public as a museum. Turns out this place was an active prison just last year; it's freshly closed. Dora was a bit weirded out by the place. Interesting but not great, and it didn't take long to see it. Pics.
Out, back into metro, connect at Sants Estacio, out at Liceu in the middle of La Rambla. Hordes of people. Down a side street, and browsed briefly in several shops. Street art: pic. Joked that we'd buy this as niece's First Communion dress: pic. Came out at Placa Jaume, but nothing happening there. To cathedral, line to get in didn't move so we gave up. Hordes of people in the cathedral plaza. Down to Jaume I metro, in, long ride to Llucmajor. Into a cafe for a while. Home by 6.
I went out at 10:20. To F-i-P metro, to Placa Catalunya, and hooked up with a hiking group at Cafe Zurich. Waited and chatted, bought a bottle of water. Then we were all onto a train, and out to Peu de Funicular. Off the train, to base of funicular, onto funicular car. Which went up, stopped at halfway station, then to top station. Where the doors opened and closed so quickly that only a few people made it off, the rest of us were stuck aboard and it went back down. We got off at halfway station, had to wait 5 minutes, eventually got on another car and up to top.
Hiked over the foothills and through woods. Good exercise, some stiff climbs, enjoyed chatting with a couple of people, mainly with an Indian woman. Got warm; took off my coat. No good photo opportunities, just lots of trees and trails.
Eventually out to La Floresta, and to train station. Some people stayed to eat, but several of us paid the €5 fee to the leader and grabbed the next train back to Placa Catalunya. Out, said good-bye, and I went and sat on a chair on La Rambla for a bit, resting and eating an apple. Had some water, strolled down past the cathedral, nothing much happening. Into Jaume I metro, ride to Llucmajor, home by 4. Shower, food, rest.
Out later for a walk.
Headache in late evening; took a sumatripan.
Dora home at 11:45.
Out at 11. To niece's school and paid a month's tuition (€132). To Dia for groceries.
Out with Dora at 12, up to govt complex for an appointment.
Dora out at 2, to work 3-11. I went out for a couple of short walks in the afternoon.
In the evening, somewhat-long walk down to Meridiana and Garcilaso to check out a free concert-tournament thing. But I hadn't been able to find out the starting time, and I got there at 8 to find it started at 9. Didn't feel like waiting. Headed home, stopping at the fruit/veg shop on the way.
Dora home at midnight.
In the afternoon, Dora and I home alone, so I cooked dinner for 5. We started eating. Dora's father came home, apparently he accidentally took a bus all the way to the airport. He ate. Dora's mother and niece came home, but they ate at McDonald's.
Out with Dora for a nice walk. Grey and cool and trying to rain a little.
Out with Dora after 8:30, to local sports-bar to watch Barca play Leganes. Fairly boring game but a pleasant enough bar, Barca up 2-0 at the half. Home.
I think it rained all night, maybe starting at 11 or so.
Walked Dora to metro at 6, to work a 7-1 shift. Too cold to stay walking or sitting much; went home.
Dora home at 2:25 AM. She had an ugly trip home. Out of work after 1, just missed a bus, had to wait nearly half an hour. Then a kilometer or two from home, the bus hit a garbage truck of some kind. She caught a taxi most of the rest of the way.
Out around 6 with Dora and niece. Not as cold out as I expected. Up to Llucmajor metro, to Girona station. Out and 3 long blocks to an ice-skating rink. €23 to outfit the niece and get us all in. Then it was fun to watch her and encourage her, and see her slowly get more confident and enjoy it. By the end she was saying she wanted to come back tomorrow, wanted to invite a couple of her friends to come with her, etc.
To metro, to Llucmajor, stopped at a bakery, then into a cafe for some food. Home by 9:30.
Rain stopped around 3. Out a couple of times for groceries, then out in evening to walk and sit.
Dora home before midnight.
I went out after 1. Into L5 metro, connect at Diagonal, heading down to Paral.lel to see a big demonstration, I assume in favor of Catalan independence. But as we neared Drassanes, the driver made an announcement that I think said "this train isn't going to stop at Paral.lel". So I got off, and soon found loads of people strolling down from Avenida Paral.lel, many carrying flags or banner and wearing yellow shirts. Watched for a while, but nothing interesting happening. Wandered with the crowds, down to the harbor, then up La Rambla. Sat for a while, into Placa Catalunya, eventually into metro and out at F-i-P. Picked up a felafel pita at a place and sat on a bench and ate it. Home by 4:30.
Out at 7 or so to walk and sit. Lots of people out everywhere. Weather slightly cool but quite nice.
Dora home before midnight.
Out at noon to go to ferreteria and then Dia for groceries. After dinner, out for a nice walk with Dora, getting sprinkled with rain a little (but we had umbrellas). To fruit shop.
Headache again in the evening; took a Neobrufen, but that didn't get rid of it. Out at 7 or so with Dora. To ATM, to ferreteria to buy a shopping-trolley (€61.50), to clothing store for a sweater, to HCC and a shoe store. Home after 8. Still headachey; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 9:15 or so with Dora and her mother. Walked down to Janeiro medical clinic, waited a bit, in on time for her 9:56 appointment. Out of that, downstairs to administration, came out with a pile of prescriptions. Took a few minutes to find a taxi, then over to CAP Chafarina medical center for another appointment. Big cheap-clothes fair going on right next to the clinic, so after the appointment we went there. Dora and I went over to a farmacia and bought about 5 boxes of various medicines for grand total of €12 (old poor people get a steep discount on prescriptions). Caught the 132 bus and home by noon.
Out for a walk and sit in the plaza; strong sun. Online, Dora sent €360 for more of BIL's commercial-driving school. Out again at 6 to walk Dora to metro to go work 7-1, and I walked and sat in the plaza. Out a couple more times in the evening; lovely weather.
Dora home at 2.
Online, signed up for an account at GDAX to do trading of crypto-currency.
Dora home at 11:45.
Out around noon with Dora. To building manager (finca) office to find out how much the current bill is.
Then Dora says she doesn't want to go home, she wants to go to work (almost 2 hours early). Instead we walk down to our favorite cafe and she has a coffee and sandwich and I have a pastry. We relax and talk and read a newspaper. She's upset about frictions of living 5 people in one apartment, and some small recurrent arguments with her mother and niece. She'd like to own an apartment again, but I'm not going to do that, I don't want to be stuck in one place, and good apartments here are pricey. I also don't want the two of us to move to a separate apartment, at least until we find out what's going to happen with this apartment, the bank might kick us out. I go home and grab medicines and bring them back to Dora. Finally after 2 we walk down to the metro and she goes off to work 3-11.
I head home, soon eating dinner. The niece announces that she can't see the writing in school, she needs eyeglasses.
Out in late afternoon, to sit in plaza. Home, then out at 6 with niece and Dora's mother. Led them to an eyeglass place nearby, then things were confusing. Figured out later that the niece said she hit her head earlier in the week, so the ladies said we should take her to the hospital to be examined. We didn't want to do that (I didn't know about the head-hitting at that point, and she looks fine). Then a lady took her in and did the usual eye exams and apparently found nothing wrong (I can't understand what Dora's mother says about the results). So we'll have Dora come back here tomorrow when she's off work. Home.
Out to walk and sit a couple of times in the evening.
Dora home just before midnight.
Suddenly Dora wants to dash out at 11:30 or so. I take a quick shower and follow them. Find them in a different optician on P Molist. I wait on a bench outside, while Dora dn mother and niece are inside. Niece having great fun trying on many eyeglass frames, looking in mirror at various angles. I supply €120 when the time comes. Finally we're out, and I find out the glasses won't be available until Wednesday or so.
Briefly up to the govt square, to an eco-feria. But it's hot and we're hungry, so soon we leave. Retrace steps, buy a couple of roast chickens at the Peruvian place, home by 1:30.
I went out again around 3. Up to the feria, which was about as I expected: not so exciting. Down to VA plaza and sat for a bit, then headed home, but diverted to Dia for a big load of groceries.
Out at 9:15 with Dora, to a bar to watch the Copa del Rey final, Barca vs Sevilla. Lovely gane for Barca, they dominated, 3-0 at halftime. We left the bar, and Dora wanted to do some running ! So I went along, although I'm too old for this nonsense, and I'd just had a beer. We ran and walked down near heron City and around and home. Found the game on broadcast TV, so watched the rest of it. 5-0 Barca, and Iniesta had a goal in his last game, he's retiring.
Out after 2 with Dora. To F-i-P metro, connect at Clot, out at San Antoni. Stopped for a quick coffee for Dora, then walked her close to work and said good-bye. She went on to work 3-11, I started strolling through town.
Over to Rambla Raval and sat for a while, in a big Sant Jordi Day fair. Not very interesting, lots of booths selling roses and books and jewelry and such, but some seriously-beautiful women. Eventually wandered over across La Rambla, which was full of people. Over to City Hall, where they're having tours today, but the line is too long. To cathedral square, again loads of people but not much of interest.
Eventually down to Jaume I metro, long ride to Llucmajor. Got out, and there's the most interesting thing of the day: a big dragon statue next to some kind of booth on the street. Pics. To Dia for supplies. Home before 5.
Out at 8 or so for sit and walk. Loads of people out, because it's the holiday.
On WhatsApp, strange messages from Dora, as if cross-linked from her BIL in the north to her. Sounds like he needs another €310 pronto; we sent €360 for his commercial-driving school just 5 days ago. But how are these messages showing up on my WhatsApp feed from Dora ?
Dora home before midnight.
Out at 2:30 to sit in plaza and walk a bit. Came home, and there was a notice in our mailbox about the gas utility. Gave it to Dora, she called, and found that our gas has been turned off. Her sister never changed the name on the account as she said she had, and now it might take us 2 weeks to get the gas back on. I check our gas, and it's off. Wonderful.
After 4, I drag Dora out to try to find the office of the gas technician. She says it's futile, it's just a contractor, and she's probably right, but I have some questions. We walk out into Maragall, and try to find the office, but it's very confusing, several streets with similar names, finally people tell us the street we want still is far, we give up. Into a bakery and have coffees and pastries. And Dora tells me she hasn't been paying the electric bill either, it's still in the name of the previous renters. Wonderful. Home after 6:15, hot and tired and frustrated.
Dora gets on the phone about the electricity, and finds out how much we owe and changes the name on it, apparently. So we shouldn't lose our electricity unexpectedly.
Out at 9:30 or so for a sit in the plaza and walk. A little cool, quite nice evening.
Feeling stressed-out by the utility-bill problems.
Out after noon. To ferreteria to look at door-locks, to plaza to sit for a while, to Dia for groceries. Coming home, there's an ambulance at the corner of our building, some accident between a motorcycle and a small truck, guy from motorcycle on a back-board on the sidewalk.
Out at 6:30 or so with Dora, for a longish walk. A fire in some store a couple of blocks away; we could smell the smoke at our apartment. Stopped in a ferreteria and then BonPreu. Out by myself for another walk later, cool evening. Offered to take Dora to a cafe or bar/dancing, but she wasn't interested.
So metro back to F-i-P, we go to Dora's 10:30 dental appointment, I duck out and hit an ATM, and confirm that niece's school is closed today, I can't pay the tuition. Wait for Dora, out of dentist, to cafe for coffee and snacks. I give Dora money for the tuition and for the jacket she bought.
Head home, but I duck into Dia and fruit shop while Dora goes straight home. I arrive home at 11:30 as she's leaving to meet her mother in a bank and then go back to the medical office. Soon I realize I have a blank form they gave to Dora, so I go to bank to try to give it to her, but she's not there. Back home.
At dinner, Dora had a filling come out, so she has to go back to dentist at 4. Weather greyer outside, so my shower was barely lukewarm.
Walked Dora to dentist, then went to sit in plaza and walk. Cool and windy.
Dora home, and good news, it wasn't a filling, they had to rewire her braces. She made a phone call, bad news on the gas. It will be off for a couple of months, it looks like. Well, I'm going to be out of town 4 weeks of the next 7 or so.
I'm leaving for vacation after midnight tonight, so of course Windows is doing a huge upgrade on our laptops overnight and today, and also my phone has decided to die somehow.
Sunny in the afternoon. Out for a longish walk with Dora. Out again to buy a metro card and sit in plaza, but then clouds set in and light rain started. Went home, soon pouring rain.
Couldn't get my Samsung phone working, it's dead. Moved SIM to a spare Doogee phone that Dora had; getting that set up and everything installed and running.
Watching Real Madrid play Bayern Munich on TV, and it's a heck of a game.
Trip to Palermo, Sicily:
To Placa Catalunya by 2:30 or so, and had to hunt a bit to find the next bus's stop. Asked one bus driver, then found a bus I could take but it was out of service, driver eating something. He pointed me around the corner, and the stop I want actually is slightly outside the placa. Onto N17 bus, and within a minute it left. Soon realized the other choice, N18, would have been direct to airport, there's a sign announcing that change as of 2 months ago. But I'm in no hurry.
Bus really took the scenic route, through back streets of Hopitalet and Bellvitge. To airport before 3:30. Went in, fair number of people, but the lights are down and none of the counters are open yet. Supposed to open at 3:30, I thought.
Waited, hit restroom, found a comfy chair, waited some more. Vueling counters finally opening at 4:15, the auto-ticketing machines work fine, but they can get only one baggage-acceptance machine going. A tech is running around trying to reboot all the others, but no luck. Wait a couple of minutes in line, get my bag in, go through Security.
To the gate area by 5 or so, wait for exact boarding gate announcement, and long walk to the gate by 5:20 or so.
Onto the plane. Empty seat for Dora next to me. About a 2-hour flight, just listening to my MP3 and then dozing. Pretty good turbulence as we start to descend. Cloudy and rainy at Palermo, but little wind at ground level, decent landing.
Wait to get out, get into terminal, restroom, baggage claim, out and buy a shuttle-bus ticket, see the bus go by and follow it to a loading bay where a couple of buses are waiting. Onto bus, and within 2 minutes it departs.
45-minute ride into Palermo, with lots of stops. It's a lot more urban here than I expected, very built-up. Very lush greenery; they must get a lot of rain here. But not actually raining right now, which is nice. Surprised slightly when my stop is announced: driver used the name of the theater (Politeama) instead of the plaza (Castlenuovo). But I recognized it and got off and found I was in the right place.
Walked 6+ blocks, a little unsure of the last street because no street-signs on it, but then someone is calling my name. It's the host's father, as I expected, and I'm right on time. He shows me how to get in, gives me a tour of the apartment (tiny, but nice outside patio/garden), and leaves by 9:15.
Connect the phone to Wi-Fi and send a message to Dora. No place to set up the laptop, but I get out a folding chair and use that as a table. This place really is small, no dining-table or anything, and a small spiral staircase leading up to the bedroom. And it has a mosquito problem, at least downstairs, which Dora would hate. But kitchen is well-equipped, with microwave and coffeemaker and water-heater and two sizes of percolator, and supplies of coffee and pasta and some free snacks and a free bottle of wine; very nice of them. Pics.
Had a small snack, napped (in bedroom upstairs, ceiling is too low for me to stand straight upright), took paracetamol, loafed, showered.
Out around 3:15. Quickly found I was overdressed; it's warm and a bit humid. Tourist Info is supposed to be just a few blocks away, near the big Theater Politeama, but I had trouble finding it. Went to theater, no signs, eventually found a sign pointing across to the other side of Via della Liberta, so went over there. No luck, did a square-search, found another sign pointing back across the road. Went back across and into the theater, and an attendant told me Tourist Info indeed is here, but only open in the mornings (my info says open 8-8). Never did see a sign inside the building or on the building saying exactly where it is.
Walked half a dozen blocks down Via della Liberta just to see things. Most crosswalks here have no signals controlling them, and on the big streets you have to just pick a bit of a gap and step out with confidence, and cars will stop for you. Plenty of traffic. Most streets are one-way. Sidewalks are not wide, and sometimes slippery even with no rain on them.
Turned and went across to a Carrefour Express I'd seen on the map, and found it. Smaller than I expected and crammed with stuff. But no bananas. Bought a load of groceries and hauled it home. Sandwich and olives and pastries for lunch; I was hungry. Nice to eat out the garden patio, but a few mosquitoes.
Headache; took a sumatriptan. Laid down for a while.
Out at 7, planning to find the free circular downtown bus and ride it all the way around. But it's raining. Walked down to Via Cavour, where the bus should be, but couldn't find a stop. Found one stop where one of the routes was faded off; maybe that was it. Walked down toward the waterfront, but the traffic keeps getting heavier and the sidewalks narrower and the rain a little stronger. Eventually found a stop, but traffic is thick and the bus ride would not be fun. Gave up.
Managed to circle around and find Via Roma again without getting lost, which would have been easy to do. Feeling tired. Walked home, planning to get something to eat at the kebab shop on the corner. But I went in, and it's a shell, just some people watching TV, a case full of soda, one skewer of lamb, and a few accompaniments such as onions. I wanted a place where I could just point at number 9 and get that.
Out of there, walked another block or two looking for a simple food place, no luck. Home after 8.
Sandwich and yogurt etc for dinner. TV remote doesn't work, and the buttons on top of it don't work well, but I watched TV. Eventually managed to wrestle it around to a Sicilian news channel. But soon gave up and watched some video on my laptop.
Out at 11 or so. To the theater, and they really hide Tourist Info well, even being directed to it I had trouble getting the right door, and then door doesn't have an outside handle, someone inside has to come push it open for you. Found this is just a tiny branch office, and open only 9-1. Got a good map and some brochures, and the guy told me to get the free bus at Teatro Massimo.
So I walked down Liberta to Teatro Massimo. Pic. Free bus supposed to run every 11 minutes according to internet, every 14 minutes according to sign here. Waited 15 minutes or so with some other people. Tour train: pic. Bus came, and it's small, seats 15 and another 10 standing. It was going to be crammed, and I decided to give up and walk, but then an identical bus came right behind it, almost empty. Got on that one, got a nice seat.
Nice tour of the waterfront and center, nothing particularly scenic but all of it interesting. Very much reminds me of Rome, with the roads and sidewalks and buildings definitely showing more age and maybe less maintenance than those in Spain.
After we passed the central station, I acquired a seatmate who wanted to show me every street on my map and get money for it. Fortunately I was getting off soon. Got off before the cathedral, and inventoried my stuff and counted my fingers to make sure I still had everything.
Strolled in Villa Bonanno gardens for a little while. Quite nice greenery, but the central fountain has seen better days. Pics.
Then over to the cathedral and inside, and it's quite nice. Loads of people, inside and outside. Lots of tour-groups and school-groups. Pics.
Up a back street behind the cathedral. Street art: pics. And then it turns out I've stumbled into the Capo open-air market, lots of produce and meat for sale. A couple of times, a guy carrying a half of a pig (I think) came down the narrow street. Not sure if both halves came from the same pig.
To the end of that, and had a sandwich and soda at an outdoor place, and watched people go by. Some incredibly loud car-alarm going off every 5 minutes or so. Rain.
Wandered a block down to Piazza Vittori Emanuele Orlando, but that turned out to be totally uninteresting, just a massive concrete slab of a building. Back to the end of the market street, and bought fruit at a stand (couldn't resist a too-big bin of gorgeous strawberries).
Over to Theater Massimo, stopping at a sidewalk table to buy a case for my phone (€8). Up Liberta (called something else here, I think). Started raining again; it seems to rain about once an hour here, this time of year. To Theater Politeama, past it. Pic.
Home by 2:30. Still headachey. Strawberries and yogurt. Took a Neobrufen. Napped for a long time, until 6:45, trying to get rid of the headache. But gave up and took a sumatriptan. I don't want to run out of them, but what good are they if I just suffer through headaches ?
Thought of going out for a walk, but it's raining pretty hard this evening. Sandwich etc for dinner.
Out at 9 or so. Raining lightly. Walked up a street away from the center, pretty uninteresting. Did find one kebab/panini/pizza place that looks useful. Did a U-turn and moved one block over, and found the street is full of trendy restaurants and some boutiques and such. Will have to come back here sometime when I'm hungry.
Out at 10:30 or so. To Theater Politeama and bought a ticket for a concert tonight. Into Tourist Info and got a printout of what museums are free on 1st Sunday of the month.
Down Via Roma, and decided to stop in any church or piazza that I went near. Into Holy Cross Anglican Church, where the priest wanted to talk. Turns out he was born in New Jersey too, and loves Spain too. Pic.
Then to Piazza San Domenico, and into Chiesa San Domenico. Pics.
Then to Piazza Santa Anna, but not much there. Pic.
Down to Piazza Magione. Pic. Then around to some church. Not very interesting.
Over to the central train/bus station. Not very interesting.
Up Maqueda or a parallel street. Street art: Pic. Street market in the Corso/Ballaro area. Pics. Eventually found a cafe and had a sandwich and soda.
A little lost, into Chiesa del Gesu. Quite nice. Pics.
Still a little lost, but emerged on Maqueda at Piazza Bellini. Into Chiesa di Santa Caterina. Quite nice. Pics.
Around the corner and there's Fontana Pretoria. Pics.
Up to intersection Quattro Canti, up Via Emanuele Vittorio (nice pedestrian street), took a while to find Palazzo Alliata di Villafranca. In, €5 admission, and then it was disappointing. Not allowed to wander by myself, lady giving me the tour spoke almost no English, some renovations going on. Some nice furniture and chandeliers (Murano glass) and marble. Pics.
Out, sat for a while, then up Maqueda (nice pedestrian street). Into a church I think is Chiesa di Senora Ninfa dei Crociferi. Pics.
Up to Theater Massimi. Race-cars and a stage being set up; some race must be starting here. To the box office and bought ticket for some kind of musical-comedy thing tomorrow evening.
Into a bank to use ATM, but it says "unable to connect to your bank right now".
Need bread, only place I could find was a fancy bakery, overpaid for some rolls. Crossing the street, slipped on a sloping marble curb and narrowly avoided disaster.
Home at 3:30. Ate, computed. Napped for a couple of hours. Took a paracetamol-plus.
Out around 8:40. Three blocks over to the Theater Politeama, and in. Up, up, and finding my seat is a bit confusing, but it doesn't matter because the place is practically empty. Music started after 9, and the upper deck is 98% empty, the overall theater is about 10% occupied. A shame, since the music is lovely. Symphony orchestra of about 45 pieces (only about 6 women), playing Chopin concerto number 1 opus 11, then Schumann symphony number 2 opus 61. I think I like the Schumann a little better, but they both were very good. Alexander Lonquich playing piano and directing. The theater itself is a bit tired and not very ornate, nice dome and a nice sculpture on the roof, but not much else. Pics.
Out at 11, and soon home. People are filling up the bars, the night is young, but I am not.
Walked up Liberta to big park on the map (Giardino Inglese and Parco di Villa Trabia). It has some nice trees, and there was some kind of cosplay gathering going on. But it is bisected by a busy street and some other stuff. Pics.
Out of the far end of the park, looped down toward the place where I had lunch yesterday. Tried an ATM, but it seems to want to use my debit card as a credit card. Then around toward Teatro Massimo. Crowds around here on a Saturday evening, and Maqueda is a pedestrian street and full of people. Walked down it a bit, looking for an ATM, but gave up and turned back. Into the theater by 5:20 or so for my 5:30 concert.
Into a round room, seats for about 150 people, and a 15-piece orchestra, and a stage set of a cafe. Ushers encouraging families with kids to sit in front. I got a nice seat on the end in the back, no one next to me.
Music started, and it's lovely. We're here for a musical comedy, "Il Duello Comico". The singing is nice, but I understand about 1% of the words. No problem, it's all fine. I can follow the plot. Bartender at the cafe pours drinks for a couple of patrons, then hands drinks to several kids in the front row. And I think his own family is in the front row too; a couple of times he has to motion to his young son to stop waving at him and stay quiet.
I notice the orchestra director is also singing in some of the choruses. And a few times they have dialog between the actors and the orchestra, which is amusing. The comedy ends up with everyone pairing off in love (except the bartender). Pics (the pics didn't come out well).
Out at 6:30. Street is full of people. I go up to the bank I tried before, ATM still says "can't connect to your bank". Out of there, soon notice a different bank behind that one, and my card works in their ATM, I have plenty of cash again.
Across to Carrefour Express, which is pretty busy. Pay €21 for a €20.91 bill, takes a little talking to get them to realize they owe me change. Other cashier gives me 5 cents; I let the other 4 cents ride. Home after 7:30.
Out at 8. Wandered a direction I haven't been, in search of dinner. Had a deep-fried thing (spiediti ?) at a roadside stand. Couldn't find anywhere right. Eventually came to the kebab/pizza place I saw the other night, and bought a kebab. Took it home, it was big and fairly good. Drank a bottle of dark German beer.
Out at 10:30, feeling tipsy from the beer. Over to Liberta / Maqueda, and it's a pedestrian street, and it's mobbed. Down to Teatro Massimo, and load of people. A few street-performers, but mostly everyone's just walking and meeting friends and going places. I found a nice big concrete barrier and perched on it for a while, just watching everyone go by. Home after midnight.
Walked down Via Roma to the Archaeology museum, which was fairly boring. Pics.
Down to the waterfront, to an "archaeological area", but from the outside it looked like just some ruins of walls in the middle of a field; didn't go in.
Then to Galleria R. della Sicilia - Palazzo Abatellis. Pretty nice, lots of religious art. Pics.
Out and tried to find Oratorio dei Bianchi around the corner, couldn't find it. To Palazzo Ajutamacristo, which turned out to be just a ground-floor sculpture exhibit; I don't know if upper floors are open on regular days, but I don't think so.
Tired and out of time. Started heading home. Found Chiesa San Anna is open, went in and sat down, but 2 minutes later some old battleaxe of a woman was chasing everyone out, the place was closing. Longish walk home on Via Roma. Home before 1:30. Tired.
Ate. Did laundry. Can't get my photos out of my phone. Short nap.
Washer finally finished at 4:20. Out at 4:30. Longish walk down Via Roma. Some trouble finding the GAM art museum. In, and it's okay, some nice paintings and sculptures. Not great. Pics.
Out, and found Chiesa de San Anna open again, went in for 10 minutes. Pics.
Then over to Palazzo Riso art museum, supposed to be open and free until 8, but it's closed for a special event today and tomorrow. Backtracked to another church, Chiesa di San Guiseppe dei Teatini. Pics.
Then tried to go in another church, but they're closing. Started heading home up Maqueda, it's a pedestrian street, and it's mobbed. Pic. Just too slow, and I'm tired. I cut down a side street, and run across a small parade carrying a religious platform up an even smaller side street. In fact, they're stuck, the balconies on either side won't let their big cross pass through. Pic. So they start backing up. I leave and get to Via Roma, and longish walk home. Home by 6:40, tired.
Finally got todays photos off my phone. But my photos from Palazzo Ajutamacristo seem to have disappeared, or I was doing something wrong when I was there; small loss. And I got a little confused about which pictures go with which museum or palazzo, but I think I got them right.
Thought of trying to find a bar to watch El Clasico football game at 8:45, but I think I'll just try to stream it on my laptop. [But couldn't get it on TV or laptop, oh, well.]
Out after 11. To Theater Politeama, bought ticket for concert on Friday. To Tourist Info in same building, got info about football game, going to Monreale, going to Bagheria. Down to Theater Massimo, tabacchi there doesn't sell football tickets, but official store 3 blocks down does, got a ticket.
Back to Theater Massimo, waited 5 minutes for free bus, got on. Which was a mistake. Saved 10-12 minutes of walking, but ended up spending 35 minutes on the bus, because in a remote corner of the town, the driver got out and took a 15-minute break. Fortunately I had a seat all the way.
Got to Palazzo dei Normanni, big groups of schoolkids, finally got to ticket window, €10. Then a Security check, all bags through the machine. Into the palazzo, and really it's only two big rooms. The first is the chapel, and it's absolutely spectacular. Second is full of nice but formulaic religious paintings, in slightly dim conditions. Then that's it, through the bookstore and out. Pics.
Into Piazza Independencia, and had lunch at a nice bar/cafe there. Lasagna, and some big pastry containing meat and peas etc, and a soda. Waitress looked at my order a little funny, I guess I ordered two main dishes. But I was hungry, it all was delicious, I had no problem eating it all. Pic.
Looked up a couple streets away from the center, but they looked boring, so I backtracked. Into the cathedral to sit for a while; nice.
Marionette: pics. Down the street and stepped in the courtyard of the central library; nice. Pics.
Down to Palazzo Riso, the art museum. I was here on Sunday, they said closed for two days for a private event. Now there's a printed sign saying closed those two days, and a handwritten addition saying heck, let's stay closed on Tuesday too. Bummer.
To a postcard place, bought 4. The cards are cheap, €0.50 each, but a stamp to Spain is €1.30 and a stamp to USA (which they don't have, apparently, or the lady didn't understand me) is €2.50. Filled out the postcard to Spain, but I don't have the addresses for USA with me. Up Maqueda, looking for a mailbox, found one little one but it says nothing about times it gets emptied. Into a post office, no obvious mailslot, took a number, filled out postcards, got tired of waiting, left.
To Carrefour Express for groceries. Post Office next to home is closed, and no obvious mailslot or mailbox. Home after 4, tired.
Out again at 5:15, with postcards. To post office a block away, which is closed and has no mailbox or mailslot. Lady in line for ATM-like machine outside says I have to go to a tabacchi, points me to one a block away. There, eventually I get stamps, the guy points me to a green (he says) mailbox back near home. I go there, no green mailbox. Walk up and down, ask some people, eventually parking lot attendant tells me to use the red mailbox. But I saw something earlier saying use the yellow boxes, not the red boxes. At least this red box has slots on it; I've seen some that don't, they're totally closed. Nothing saying how often this box is emptied. I put the postcards in. We'll see if any of them arrive. Home before 6.
Later, I notice the envelope my postcards came in, and it says don't post into red mailboxes. I guess the stamp to Spain that the lady sold me is a special stamp, only for yellow mailboxes. So the postcard to Spain probably won't arrive. But the other three should be okay.
Kind of sucks, because the color of the official post offices also is yellow, which just adds to the confusion.
Down to central station piazza, bought ticket for bus to Monreale, into train station and looked up trains to Bagheria and Catania. Back to bus stop, onto 12:30 bus, and we're off.
Into horrible traffic, bumper-to-bumper all the way out of Palermo. Explains why 10 KM or something takes 50 minutes in the scehedule. In fact, it took us 45 minutes.
But the bus did not let us off right near the cathedral, as my map shows, but at the edge of the center. Managed to find our way to the center, and I stopped for a slice of pizza and a soda, I'm starved.
To the cathedral, find it's closed from 12:45 to 2:30, and it's about 1:40 now. So wandered, bought some terrific ice cream at a place, sat in piazza and ate it. Lots of people, and schoolkids, gathering for the 2:30 opening at the cathedral. Wandered around a little, nice views over Palermo (I assume) to the sea. Pics.
I was afraid I'd have to wait in a long line, but turns out there's no charge, we all just plunged inside. I did buy a €2.50 ticket to get into a special area of the church, which turned to be barely worth it. But the cathedral itself is very nice, same style as the Palazzo dei Normanni I saw yesterday. Pics.
No bathrooms anywhere in this town, not in the cafe or gelateria or bakery I went to, or the cathedral.
Out of there after 3, wandered, bought very nice cookies/pastries, sat and ate some, wandered down to the bus stop, sat and ate some more. Finally onto the 4:00 bus and back to Palermo. Out at Piazzo Independencia, waited 5-10 minutes for a city bus, tried to get on but found you can't pay on the bus, you have to buy a ticket somewhere else first. So walked home.
Home after 5:15, hot and tired. Good to get to the bathroom.
Napped. Spaghetti for dinner. Out before 10 for a walk down Maqueda, loafed a bit. Pics.
Out, and saw a big Carrefour supermarket next door, went in and bought a soda and a whole roast chicken. Wanted to eat in the big park across the street, but I guessed wrong about where the entrance is, walked 3/4 around before giving up and finding some shady steps on which to eat lunch.
A little detour, then up Vittorio to Palazzo Riso. Into art museum, but only first floor is open, price only €3, but it was pretty lousy. Decent bathroom, though. Pics.
Sat on a bench for a bit. Up Maqueda, sat some more, past theaters, near home, checked bus timetable. Lion outside Theater Massimo: pics.
Home at 3:05. Quick, charge devices, use bathroom, back out again after 3:15. Bus I want is supposed to be leaving from the seaport at 3:15, so I think it will be here at 3:25 or so, time enough to buy a ticket and get to the stop. But I get to the stop and there's the bus leaving. So back home.
Back to bus stop at 4:45, and bus is there already. But the driver says he's waiting 10 minutes, until the scheduled 4:55 departure. I thought I'd have to buy tickets at the tabacchi, but the driver points me across to what I thought was a parking-lot booth, but instead it's actual a bus-ticket station. Buy two tickets, total €2.80.
Soon onto the bus. Talk to a couple there; turns out she was born in Barcelona, he's from Ireland, they've been living in Dublin for 14 years, not far from the Guinness brewery.
We wait while the validation-machines on the bus boot up, and it takes a couple of minutes. Validate our tickets, then we chat. Turns out they're not going to the top as I am; they're staying in a hotel a mile or two from here. So, soon they're out.
Bus gets stuck in traffic, lots of honking and rude gestures and comments. Then it winds its way up the mountain, some nice views of Palermo and the port etc.
Get to the end of the line at 5:30, and I'm off. And I quickly take stock of the situation. No good views from here, one church that doesn't look so amazing, lots of trinket-booths. Pics. Apparently to get to the top, you have to do a bit of hiking. No trail maps, hard to see how far it would be. And I'm not up for hiking, and already have gotten a lot of sun today. Bus goes back down in 20 minutes, and next bus is at 7:30.
So I look around a little, then get back on the bus and back down we go. I take pictures out the bus window as we descend, and to my amazement they actually look okay: pics. Off near home, walk down Via Roma, to Carrefour Express, home with groceries.
Home at about 6:45. Hot and tired. Ate some strawberries.
Not going out tonight. Found a rerun of yesterday's Juventus - Milano game on TV. Can't get today's photos out of my phone, again. Wild football game, it was scoreless until about minute 60, then in the space of about 15 minutes Juventus scored 3 times and Milan had an own-goal, 4-0. I guess it was the league championship game, too: they had an awards ceremony afterward.
Loafed all day. Out before 4. Long, warm walk down to park where I was yesterday. Tried to go into Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri, but not chance: have to take a tour, next tour in 25 minutes or so, and by the way all the interesting parts are closed, all you can see is the courtyard and the prison.
Long slog up Emanuele Vittorio. Stopped in Chiesa di San Matteo church. Pics.
Through Quattro Canti intersection. Pics.
Up to cathedral, and tried to find Palazzo Asmundo. It's not exactly where the map shows it, had to ask. Found it down a side-street, with a sign saying "entrance by appointment only".
Followed signs for Palazzo Conte something, lots of twists and turns, stopped for a moment in some well-used local church, very plain. Found the Palazzo, and it closed at 4. Got a bit lost in back streets, eventually came out at Piazza Bellini. Sat for a while.
Up Maqueda. Sat for a while. Nearing home, ducked into a fairly modern workaday church, sat for a moment, and a mass started. Pic.
Home before 6:15. Ears very red; I've been getting a lot of sun, despite using sunblock.
Out again at 8:40. A couple of blocks over to Politeama Garibaldi theater, and in for a Haydn and Mozart concert. Thin crowd again; about 1/4 of the general seats filled, and there's a whole upper-upper deck they're not using at all. Lovely, lovely music. Out around 10:15. Pics.
Not feeling 100%. Will stay in and do laundry tonight.
Again, can't get photos out of my phone. Annoying. Tried another cable, different behavior but still doesn't work.
Cryptocurrencies have dropped, I'd like to buy some, but SMS is not working on my phone here, so I can't log in to my account.
Plugged phone into laptop and it worked first try, got my photos.
Out at 1:15 or so. About 8 bus-drivers hanging around the ticket-booth in the piazza. Bought two tickets, and soon onto a bus to the stadium. Actually, 3/4 of the people were going to Mondello beach, but I'm going to the stadium. After a couple more stops, bus is packed, no one else can get on.
To stadium, and I was too slow to realize it, thought they might make an announcement, so I had to get off at next stop and walk back a couple hundred yards. Through ticket-check and security-check at an outside fence, and I had to throw away my empty water-bottle, no bottles allowed. Walked 1/4 of the way around the stadium, and in through another fence and computerized ticket-check and police security-check. Then around another 1/4 and to my entrance.
Up, up stairs, and found my section. Back into stairway to stay in the shade. It's only 2:05 for a 3:00 start.
Up into the seats at 2:45, and the sun is strong. My seat seems to be (no numbers on the seats) somewhere in the back row of a section, and I'd have to sit on concrete. So I go up a couple of rows into the next section, where there are seats and plenty of room. Less room by game-time, but still extra room.
Game is fun, lots of team spirit, home team has some good scorinog chances. They miss a penalty shot, pretty badly. At halftime it's 0-0, and I've had enough. I'm broiling in the sun. Pics.
Out and to the plaza where I got off the bus. Two stops for a total of 6 bus routes, and only one of them will work for me. So I sit in the shady bus shelter and wait for the 106 bus. Someone was there before me, maybe not for the same bus, I don't know.
We wait and wait. People come, wait, leave. After 55 minutes, I give up. I think I haven't seen a single city bus, for any of the 6 routes. Lots of airport buses and tour buses, but not a single city bus.
I walk across, trying to find the roundabout where the 101 bus should be, but I don't recognize it, have directions wrong, overshoot. I'm off my map here, so don't know any of the street names. But I'm not disoriented; I know which direction to go. Zig-zag back to Della Liberta, and now lots of people are walking away from the stadium. There are buses, and they're all packed completely full. Oh, well, I figured I'd probably have to walk home, when I bought the football ticket. But my confusion has turned a 2.5-3 mile walk into 3.5 or so.
I stop in a Carrefour supermarket for a few groceries.
Home before 6:15. Hot, sweaty, tired, headache. Took a paracetamol-plus, a shower, cooked dinner.
Found out the game ended 0-0.
A few days later, I bought a team banner: pic.
Yet again, can't get the photos out of my phone.
Out for a walk at 10 or so. Thousands of people strolling and talking on Maqueda and around Theater Massimo. Throngs of people. Home around 11:20.
Took a sumatriptan.
Out after 1. Strolled down Maqueda, which is blocked off for pedestrians, very nice. Bought several souvenirs, but I always have no idea what to get for Dora. Down to Emanuele Vittorio, got an ice cream, ate it in the cathedral courtyard. Into cathedral and sat and wandered for a while. Pics. Eventually wandered back same way. Home before 4.
Out after 8 for a long walk down Maqueda etc. Loads of people out walking. Into a shop and bought a hair-clipper; my long hair has been bothering me for a while now, and my hairclipper disappeared during the move from Jerez to Barcelona. Bought a stupid trinket necklace for too much because the picture on it made me laugh, reminded me of me and Dora. Home by 9:15. A bit headachey; took a paracetamol-plus.
Gave myself a bit of a haircut. New haircutters are not so good, but they mostly got the job done.
Out after 1. Grey, cool day. Walked up Dante. For some reason, most stores closed. Not very interesting area. Street art: pics. Looped around, walked more than I wanted to, eventually arrived at the cathedral. Sat in there for a while.
Down Emanuelle Vittorio, up Maqueda. Had a little Indian food from a small place. Stopped in a couple of shoe stores. Home by 3:15.
Internet, bought bus tickets in Spain, napped, cooked dinner.
Out at 9 or so, weather cool and clear. Walked down Maqueda, sat for a while. Nice.
Out at 10 or so. A bit of walking and then wait to get a bus. Down to central train station. Bought a ticket at a machine, found train, short wait, off at 10:40.
To Bagheria at 11. Out with the crowd, most of them went two directions, no maps here, one set of signs pointing to the left. So I went that way (big mistake). Soon lost, no more signs. I see something that looks like a palazzo, get there, turns out to be some kind of school/university. Public map is nearby, but all the useful parts of it are torn off, and it covers a huge area anyway.
Into a nearby tabacchi, and the three men there are super-friendly and the owner insists on giving me a nice map and refusing payment for it.
So I head down toward the center, which turns out to be fairly far away. Near it, try to go to one "villa" on the map, and it turns out to be a closed ruin. Get into the very center, pay €6 to go into Villa Palagonia. Got in, nice courtyard/gardens, but couldn't find any way to get into the buildings. Back to entrance, guy confirms you can't go into the buildings. Rip-off. Pics.
Try to go to Villa Valguarnera, didn't read the map carefully enough. Hit a bunch of dead-end streets, turned the wrong way, found myself on a road looping out of town or something. Turned back, gave up on the villa, in a foul mood.
Started heading to Villa Cattolica art museum, back near the train station. Long walk. Found two churches in center of town, both closed. Pics.
Found the villa, and it's open. Another €6. Nice modern art. Pics.
Had some pizza from a bakery.
Back to train station before 2. Just missed a train, but as I expected there's another in 10 minutes. Plenty of time to buy a ticket and find the platform. Did so, and soon realized the display is showing train delayed by 10 minutes. But every 5 or 10 minutes, the delay increased by another 5 or 10 minutes.
Waiting, I realized that my ticket (even though bought at the window, the machines had signs saying they couldn't take money), had to be validated. So back under the tracks and to validation machine. After I went back, a couple of people who'd seen me do that went and did the same.
Onto train before 2:40, although it has a different number than the one on the display. Express to Palermo; nice.
Out at central train station, and walked up Maqueda. Into some place that was having a free art exhibit, and the lady keeping an eye wanted to explain everything to me, she must have been bored out of her mind sitting there all day. Pics.
Up a little more, into some kind of university, sat for a few minutes. Up to Theater Massimo, and they're setting up some kind of display of a train.
To Carrefour Express for a few things. Home after 4. Hot and tired.
Out at 8:30 or so. Walked down Maqueda. Found an internet cafe and printed my airline check-in docs. Strolled, sat. Cool evening.
Home, and of course found the cafe put an infection on my USB drive. Why do these places never use anti-virus software ?
To bed at 11:30 or so, alarm set for 4:45, but I can't get to sleep.
And check-in desks for Vueling are not open. I repacked, loafed, ate. Free Wi-Fi. Desks finally opened around 7; through line and done by 7:20 or so. Upstairs, ate banana, hit bathroom, through Security by 7:40. Connected laptop to AC power and reloaded an MP3 player. Flight boarding started at 7:50, but there's a good line, I'm in no hurry.
Uneventful flight; I dozed as much as I could. Landed around 10:30. Usual drill: long walk through the airport, short wait at baggage claim, out and to shuttle-bus, over to other terminal, to train, it sat for 10 minutes and then left, sat another 5 minutes at the junction with the main line. To Clot, off, onto L1 metro, out at F-i-P, walked to apartment.
Home by 12:15. Lovely to be with Dora again.
Still can't get photos out of phone. Drowsy from not getting much sleep last night. Dinner with the family. Online, bought train tickets to go to Toulouse France first two weeks of June.
Long nap. Then managed to get my phone's SMS working, so I can log in to my cryptocurrency account. Placed an order for BCH at $1250, about $30 below current market price. Will wait to see if price drops and order executes.
Walked Dora to metro at 6, to work a 7-1 shift. Sat in VA plaza for a little while, then to fruit/veg store.
Found my right shoe is coming apart, glued it.
Out at 8 or so to hit ATM, buy lightbulbs, to Dia for a lot of groceries. Replaced lightbulbs in Dora's father's room.
Finally got the remaining Palermo photos out of my phone. Still don't understand why it fails most of the time.
To bed at 11. Dora home at 1:50.
Dora and I out at 12:30 to go to local govt office to get a padron. We walk in and there are huge lines, but not for the machine we need. And then no wait at the actual officials; we go right in and get the document I need, then Dora asks for 4 more that she maybe sort of needs. We go home, and find out they gave her documents for her mother (also Dora), not for her. But my documents are okay.
Dinner for 3 of us, then niece arrives home, seems mostly okay. But then Dora says she has to go to clinic this afternoon, maybe to get an x-ray.
Dora off after 2, to work a 3-11 shift.
After 2:30, niece and Dora's mother and I went to the clinic. Long wait, maybe almost an hour, with one false alarm, they went in and came out almost immediately. Finally they were in, out again 15 minutes later, apparently no x-ray and no prescription, just go home and rest. I'm not sure. Home after 4:30.
My cryptocurrency buy order executed, so I'm the unproud owner of some Bitcoin Cash.
Out at 5 to Dia for a big load of groceries. Big concert starting up in the plaza across the street, but it's all old people. Made a pizza with the niece. Out at 8:30 for a walk and sit in the plaza; cool, grey evening. Back home, and glued my shoe again. Niece in pain from her back. Dora home before midnight.
Out with Dora after noon. To F-i-P metro, two stops to Navas, none of the streets match my map, but quickly found the govt office at Murcia 42. In, and no wait for our 12:30 cita. Sat down in front of an official to apply for Tarjeta Comunitaria. Handed over ID cards, passport, Libro de Familia, copy of all pages of passport. He didn't ask for other things I expected, such as proof of medical insurance or proof that Dora is "alta" on Social Security. But one problem: we need to provide a marriage certificate (which we don't have) instead of the Libro de Familia, to prove our marriage. Out in 10 minutes, and I have to get that certificate.
To a Chinese restaurant for a nice, slow lunch. Turns out the sister in the north is having money problems, so I have to fix an emergency up there.
And I said to Dora, the apartment here will be crowded in a week or so, when two more people (her son and sister) are added to our usual five (Dora and me, her parents, and her niece) for the occasion of the niece's First Communion. She said: that's not all, four more people (other sister and family) are coming from the north too ! We'll have eleven in the apartment for two days. I don't see how we'll fit.
To Metro after 2, and Dora went one way to work, I went other way. To a shop to buy more superglue, then to Dia for several items. Home by 2:45.
Out at 8 or so. Sat in plaza, to Caprabo for groceries, to fruit/veg shop.
Dora says she can go to France with me. So online I bought another train ticket, but it came out with my name on it, not hers. Hope I can fix it.
Looked into an AirBNB for the one night we'll have eleven people. But then figured we can move some stuff onto the balcony to make sleeping-space for all 11 of us. Of course, we still don't have gas for hot water.
Dora home before midnight.
Out at 7:30 or so, with Dora. And to my surprise her niece wanted to come with us; she usually doesn't want to go out. Tonight is the "night of the museums", but mainly I just want to go out. But first we have to go to the main train station to see about the tickets to France.
To Virrei Amat metro, long ride to Sants Estacio. Wait 5 minutes to get to counter, they think the tickets are okay, but send us to a second counter, which sends us to an office. There they confirm everything is okay, and in fact print boarding passes for us. The tickets don't carry names, so I don't know why I had to type passenger name into the web site.
To a cafe in the station, for coffee/soda/snacks.
Long walk under the station to L3 metro, and to Drassanes. Out, and to the Maritime museum. Disappointed to find no band playing outside, but when we got deep inside, we found an orchestra playing. Listened for a few minutes, but it was too hot. Up stairs and looked over a huge old ship, then back down and out into the cooler air. But it's a warm, still evening.
Strolled up La Rambla. Bought an aerial light-trinket thing for the niece. Into Placa Reial and sat there for a while. Lots of people everywhere. Up to Placa Jaume, nothing happening there. To the cathedral square, hoping to go into the Diocesan museum, but there's a long unmoving line. Sat in the square for a while.
Down along the city wall, and stopped for ice cream. To the metro, bathroom stop in a cafe, then into metro and long ride to Llucmajor.
Out, and heard music. Went up to the govt plaza, and there's a small nightclub-type band playing, various food booths, etc. Strolled through and headed down towards home.
Home after 11:30.
Out for a walk and sit in the plaza; lovely sunny afternoon. Then out at 8:30 with Dora, to a local bar to watch first half of Barca game. Pretty boring, Messi wasn't playing, 0-0.
Home, watched a little TV, then poured myself a drink and started doing my Spanish Wealth Tax return.
Dora didn't come home for dinner after 1. Not answering my messages on WhatsApp. By 2:15, I assume she's going straight to work.
Out at 2:45 for ATM, sit in plaza, to Dia for groceries. Home at 3:30, and Dora's there. I was wrong, she doesn't have to work today, she went to a class this morning.
I'm starting to get a sore throat, maybe the same thing Dora has had for about 4 days now.
Out in late evening with Dora and niece, to the plaza across the street, to use this toy we bought on La Rambla the other night. You shoot a lighted thing up into the air and it comes down spinning. We weren't able to shoot it as high as the guys selling them do; I wonder if they cheat and use a different rubber band ? And it started breaking a little after 5 minutes. But we had fun, and back home I repaired it with some tape, we'll do it again some other night.
Sore throat bothering me after midnight; took a Dolocatil.
Online, more work on my Spanish income tax return. Got through the international double-taxation section, which I don't really understand at all. Came out with a reasonable number for total tax.
Dora home around 2, I think.
Coughing, headachey. Took a paracetamol-plus around 5 AM.
Dora's father off to airport to meet her sister. I went out to sit in plaza, then to Dia for groceries. Home, and started moving furniture to make room for the people coming to stay this weekend. Dora's sister from the south arrived at 7:15. I went out later for another walk and sit. My sore throat has turned into a cough.
Slept okay, but headachey. Took a sumatriptan before dawn.
Out later to walk and sit, and buy some supplies at a shop. Headache; took a Dolocatil and laid down for a while.
Out at 6:15 with Dora and sister and niece to take niece to a doctor's appointment. I dropped them off and went for a sit and walk. Home, then Dora called and I met them in a jamon-cafe. Later to Pakistan phone shop, then home.
Setting up two phones for Dora's parents, lots of fun.
Moved mattresses and light sofa-bed around to get ready for 5 people arriving tomorrow morning. I think we did it totally wrong, ended up losing a lot of seating in the living room.
Online, ordered more sumatriptan. Prices have gone up, and fewer places have it. Not sure where it's going to ship from, maybe India. Paid for it with a virtual credit card from Privacy.com, first time I've used that. Delivery to Barcelona. We'll see if it arrives, any of about 4 things could go wrong.
Out at 11:30 or so. Inside handle has broken off front door off the building; need to use your key to get out. To Pakistani phone shop, and the guy determined I needed a new battery and new charging cord for my Samsung phone, €23. Walked down and up F-i-P, sat in plaza, then to fruit/veg shop. Home, and most people are out somewhere.
Dinner, in a couple of shifts.
Samsung phone not working. I left it on charger, now it won't do anything again.
Laid down for a while. Out at 6:30 or so. To HCC, and found the children and Dora's sisters and son. Headed home with them, then we split up and son and I carried the groceries home. Out again, and to phone shop. Showed the guy that the phone still was dead, he says it needs repair for €45. Told him I'd think about it. Went and sat in the plaza for a while.
Back to phone store and left the phone for repair. He's already gotten rid of the battery he replaced this morning, but it was an old battery anyway, probably needed replacing.
We watched Real Madrid - Liverpool on TV, but I went out for a walk at halftime, and most of the scoring took place while I was out. Final 3-1.
Took a quick shower at 11:30, because I expect the bathroom will be full tomorrow morning. Dora home at midnight or so.
Out of apartment around 10:45. Walked 6 blocks or so to the church. Not crowded, maybe 1/2 full. Most of us men lurked around the back while Dora's parents and others sat in the first row. About 14 victims, I mean First Communicants, sitting on chair around the altar. 5 or 10 minutes in, the three-year-old twins had had enough, and had to be taken outside, where they demanded their mother come out too, etc. In and out, and I missed the actual moment of first communion, no big deal. But a normal mass, and a pleasant time.
Done after noon, then Dora's sister insists on taking a million pictures of everyone in various combinations, until the niece rebels and we're able to go out. Home, with a stop at the plaza across the street for more pictures, then inside. Niece goes straight for the presents and opens them, then her mother is demanding more pictures. Finally done, and dinner is being cooked.
Dinner in shifts, sort of. Laid down for a while.
Out at 4:45. I thought it was going be just one sister and the niece and I, taking the niece to go ice-skating. But it turned out the other sister and the 3-year-old twins were coming along too. So 6 of us through the Metro, having to use the elevators everywhere. Virrei Amat connect at Sagrada Familia, out at Tetuan. Route suggested by Dora's son, and I didn't like it, with so many people.
To ice-skating rink at 5:30 or so, and perfect timing, there's the niece's friend from school arriving with her parents just as we are arriving. In, got the girls outfitted, and they had fun skating and clowning around.
I thought the place would be open until 8:30, but they closed at 7, which was fine with us, time to go. Took a different route home, Girona to Llucmajor, much better.
But then as we neared home, the niece insisted on going to the playground in the park across the street, and soon she and the twins were having a great time, and I had to push them on the swings and worry that they'd fall off things etc. Dora's father arrived to help supervise. I noticed the twins needed the bathroom, niece refused to go home, eventually she was helping each of them to pee in the bushes.
Finally they were willing to leave. Home before 8:30. I'm tired.
I thought the crew from the north was leaving around 9-10 or so (Dora gave me that impression), but they didn't.
Dora home at midnight.
Family from north left at 1 AM. I showered and went to bed. Dora stayed up for a while.
Out with Dora in the evening. To ATM, then to phone shop. They replaced the whole guts of the smartphone, losing the data and OS etc (something I hadn't expected, but not a big loss). Paid €45, supposedly I have a 6-month warranty, although later Dora pointed I didn't get a receipt or any paperwork about a warranty.
To Chinese shop to buy lightbulbs and flashlight etc. Then across street to drag Dora into a woodshop to ask about repairing a broken chair. Had to push her to go back in and ask more. Finally found out they will do it for cheap. Dragged Dora home, got the chair, went back to the shop, waited through a line to give them the chair, should be done Wednesday.
Walked down F-i-P, bought some clothing, eventually to our favorite cafe/bakery for coffee and pastry. Lounged and leafed through magazines. Finally out and home by 8:30.
Handed a couple of smartphones by Dora's sister, copied more than 30 GB of data from them. Have to copy it to an external disk (which I can't find right now), and also delete some of it off one phone, which is completely full.
Out with Dora at 11:25. Warm day. Across Meridiana and to INSS for an 11:40 cita. No wait, right in, and soon out with a paper saying I'm entitled to healthcare coverage because I'm married to her and she's a worker. Longish, warm walk to the medical center at Rio Janeiro. I waited 15-20 minutes, while Dora went upstairs to do something else. My turn came, I handed over ID cards and paper. The official was old and spoke no English, but we got past the few stumbling blocks and got it done. Dora appeared as we were finishing and they were handing me a new temporary health card. Home by 12:50.
Dinner. Dora out after 2, to work 3-11. I went out at 2:45 to sit in VA plaza. Sister wanting me to copy stuff from her phones to USB drives, etc. Out again in evening.
Dora home around 11:45.
Out at 2:30 to sit in plaza, then walk to HCC to mail a letter. Warm.
Put new light-fixture up in son's bedroom, and it doesn't work. Maybe the problem is the wall-switch.
Dora out after 6, to work a 7-1 shift.
Out at 8:30 or so, wearing sandals for the first time this summer. My feet have been too hot the last few days.
Dora home some time before 2.
Marriage certificates came in the mail, so at 12:15 I dashed out. Dora out before me, to go to another office and then work 3-11. I went to F-i-P metro, to Navas, to Extranjeria office. Waited through slow line to be told I'm supposed to mail the papers to another office. Back into metro, back to F-i-P. Stopped at bank to deposit some cash for Dora.
Dinner. Then around 2:30, got email saying our train tomorrow to France is cancelled because of French strike. Quickly found bus tickets, but struggled to buy them. Tried two credit cards and PayPal. Finally had to switch to different browser and turn off VPN to get it done.
Looked at wall switch in son's bedroom, couldn't see anything wrong with it.
Out before 4:30. To VA metro, long crowded ride (but I had a seat) to Sants Estacio. To the RENFE office, short wait, got refunds for the two cancelled train tickets, made sure they're not cancelling the return tickets. Metro ride back to VA, standing half the way. Longish walk to El Corte Ingles to mail a letter to govt office. To ATM for cash. Home by 6 or so.
Out in the evening to buy a few snacks for tomorrow, and sit in the plaza.
Dora's mother said the overhead light in her bedroom stopped working. I found a light-switch had been turned off; there are three switches for that light. Then it occurred to me to look in the room where I'd been replacing the overhead fixture, the son's bedroom. Sure enough, there's a second switch in there, and it was keeping the light turned off. D'oh !
Dora home before midnight.
Trip to Toulouse, France:
Out after noon, heading for F-i-P metro. But right away Dora announces she has to stop in an office to pay something. Why couldn't she do that yesterday or this morning ? But it only takes a minute or two.
To metro, to Arc de Triomf stop, to Estacio Nord train/bus station. Find our Flixbus pretty easily, and we're 15+ minutes early. Driver won't accept my residency card, but I brought my passport too, so we're okay. Load the luggage, wait a bit, then depart on time at 1.
Long, uneventful trip. Wi-Fi didn't work for the first hour or two, then it did. Across the border into France, and police board and check everyone's ID. I thought we'd stop at a rest stop near the halfway point, but we didn't stop until about the 5/6 mark. Bathrooms and bought hot drinks from a machine.
Into Toulouse, and quickly to the center, it's maybe not quite as big as I thought. Lots of construction. Bus arrives about 15 minutes early, at 6:40.
Get our luggage, and head down past the train station, looking for the Metro station. We find it, just as police are herding everyone out of it. I suspect someone involved with the train strike has phoned in a bomb threat.
We decide to walk to the apartment. It turns out to be less than a mile, we arrive 15+ minutes early.
Friend of the owner shows up a few minutes late, lets us in, but has little to tell us. He leaves, then we realize we don't know how to connect to the Wi-Fi or use the TV. I get the Wi-Fi going, but not the TV. The main set of towels is pretty damp.
I reserved this apartment a while ago, forgot the layout. It's ground floor (not great), very quiet (fine), main bedroom is in the basement (not good). No closets. Everything else looks okay.
Eventually got the TV going. Took showers. Headachey; took a sumatriptan. Skype-called my credit-card company to get my card unblocked.
Out at 9 or so. Strolled down towards the river. Into a Lebanese place for dinner, food was nice but expensive, €32 for a not-huge meal. To the river, lots of people walking and talking, but we notice it's different from Spain: not a lot of old people, no little kids. It's all 15-35 or so. Lovely still evening.
Back home by 11:15; tired. Bed has no top sheet, which I hear is fashionable now. Slept well.
Out after noon. Around the corner and across the plaza to Tourist Info. Got lots of maps, and some info about museums etc. Dora in the plaza: pic.
Farmer's market in the plaza, and prices are shocking: €20 for a whole roast chicken, about 3x what it would be in Barcelona.
Two blocks down to a Monoprix supermercado. Prices maybe 30% higher than in Barcelona, not too bad. Home with a big load of groceries.
Out at 3 or so. Interesting building: pic.
Up to Basilique St-Sernin. Interesting church, lots of columns and walls and iron barred walls everywhere, I figure it's pretty old because there are no big open spaces. Pics. Eventually we decide from the signs that they started building it in 560, maybe another burst in 1060, finished it in a big effort in the late 1200's. [But when we got home, Wikipedia said original built in 300's then torn down, what we see today is from 1080 and later, consecrated in 1180.]
Also see a sign inside the basilica, first of many we'll see, saying what to do in case of a terrorist attack: pic.
Down the street, doing some clothes-shopping and marveling at high prices. Into Eglise Notre Dame du Taur, a much simpler church with wooden floors, but nice. Pics.
Then down to Place Capitole, where there's a big rugby-themed fair going on, fun to watch kids playing rugby and doing various attractions. Pics. Dora into another clothing store.
Over to the Monoprix supermarket, another big load of groceries. Home a little before 5.
Can't get photos out of my phone, again.
Dora made spaghetti-pesto for dinner. A challenge in this kitchen; there's zero counter space, and the stovetop has two burners but if one pan is a little big it crowds out the other and you can use only one at a time.
Out after 7. Moderately long walk to the Halle aux Grains symphony hall. Brief line, picked up our tickets, soon in. A little trouble finding our section, but got there, and by 8 the theater was almost full. Huge orchestra, probably 50 pieces. Pics.
I think the program has a misprint; the first piece was Montovani and supposedly 6 minutes long, but I think that was supposed to say 26. And it was a terrible composition, very modern and disjointed. Audience clapped and clapped, thought it was wonderful. Then a long Debussy segment with piano, I thought it was okay, the audience clapped and clapped, thought it was wonderful.
It was fairly warm, I had to stifle coughing and sneezing fits a couple of times.
Then lights up, everyone trooped out, Dora got in line for the bathroom. By then, it was 9:30, I was confused about how many pieces we'd heard, thought it might be over. But an usher said it was halftime.
So, back in for almost 30 minutes of Debussy and almost 30 minutes of Ravel. Both okay, maybe the Debussy was better. Audience clapped and clapped, thought it was wonderful.
I'd had enough. We didn't stay for any encore. Out at 10:40 or so and down to bathrooms, then out.
Soon passed on the sidewalks by lots of older couples hustling to the Metro, maybe it closes at 11 ?
We walked back to our apartment, then past it to go sit in Place Capitole for a little while.
Home by 11:15, time for tea etc for Dora, and cola and ice cream for me.
Out after noon. Today is free day at public museums. To Musee du Vieux-Toulouse, and it's closed, looks like it will be open at 2. To Hotel d'Assezat Fondation Bemberg, and it's open but closing in 20 minutes for a lunch break. Saw a small religious procession: pic. Dora says today is Corpus Christi. To Musee des Augustins, and it's open.
A bit humdrum at first, just a standard set of arcades or whatever around a central courtyard. Nice flowers. Pics. Pic. But then through one corner we go through into a church, and it's been turned into an art gallery. Pics. We wander and look at the art, and then there's applause in the other half, and I assume it's for someone giving a tour or something. But no, the pipe-organ starts playing, we go over, and some teenage ballet troupe is doing some dancing to the music. The music was nice, the dancing was of no interest to me, and the crowd kept me from seeing some art down that end. But it was a fun experience.
Out, and saw various old sculpture, and a lovely big room full of column-tops sitting on top of column-like stands. Pics.
To a bakery/cafe near Metro Esquirol, to split a sandwich and have 2 Cokes, total €8. But nice, sitting outside, relaxing.
Back to Hotel d'Assezat Fondation Bemberg, and it's open, but now the guy tells us it's a private museum, not free today, so we leave.
Back up to Musee du Vieux-Toulouse, but instead of opening at 2 as I thought, people are waiting outside, it's 2:40, another part of the sign looks like it will open at 3. Decide not to wait.
Head for Musee Paul-Dupuy. Interesting building on the way: pic. Have a little trouble finding the museum, and then they're turning away people at the desk. But I step up and try ask about tickets, and they give us free tickets, let us in. Confusing.
And confusing inside the museum, too. Lots of floors, up, down, around. Some nice stuff, especially a floor of clocks and watches. Pics. A flute-concert or something going on in one room; I think that's what was happening at the front desk, they were telling people the concert was full, no tickets for that.
Out, sit, and then down to Museum de Toulouse. Across a boulevard full of lovely trees: pics. There's a big eco-fair outside, bikes and electric vehicles and renewable energy etc. In, and it turns out to be a big natural-history museum, nice but quite crowded. Pics.
Out, and to the gardens behind the museum. Look at some plants, then sit and rest and relax for a while. Plenty of people.
I'm willing to take the Metro home, but for some reason Dora wants to walk. So we do, looking in shop windows as we go. But everything is closed on Sunday evening except for some cafes.
Home at 5:45, tired. Plugged the phone into the laptop, and all of the photos came across no problem. Food.
Tv set box giving us fits, but eventually got it working. Downstairs, I found a laundry rack. Also a dehumidifier, plugged in and indicating "water full". Emptied the bin in it, and it started running.
At 9, watching football on TV, Spain playing Switzerland.
Loafed in the late afternoon; Dora feeling a little headachey.
Out at 6 or so. Walked up to the main train station, got a couple of timetables, couldn't figure out the ticket machines. To the bus station next door, and completely struck out, no office open, no schedules, nothing. Miscellaneous pictures: pics.
Walked back a new way, looking for a coffee-shop kind of place, no luck.
Ended up at an outdoor table at Bali restaurant, a couple of blocks from home. Couldn't get an answer about what the plat du jour was today, but just ordered that and tabouleh and chicken schawarma, knowing this was going to be expensive. Nice meal except that the evening started getting cooler, and Dora got cold and feeling a little bad. Service was slow, and we never did get our closing coffee. But the food was good, not great. Pics. The Nutella cheesecake was pretty good, I thought. But as expected, the total was €36. This is an expensive town.
Home by 9:20 or so. Some notice about reading water-meters, I think, on the building front door.
Dora up at the crack of 11:45. At noon, I went out to walk and sit in the fountain plaza. Very grey skies.
Out around 1. Down almost to the river, then hairpin turn and into Eglise St-Pierre des Chartreux, which turned out to be pretty spectacular. At first I thought it was plain, but that was just the entranceway chamber, through a gate into the main church. Pics.
Out and up the street, and into the university cafe, which turned out to be nice, cheap food and great views out big windows onto lots of trees etc. Quite nice. Pic.
To the river, down along it, and into Espace EDF Bazacle, which turned out to be an old decommissioned hydro power plant now turned into a free museum. Very nice. River is running fast, over a dam, and full of mud/silt. Pics.
Up the river a little, across a bridge, and to Dome de la Grave. Which turns out to be a functioning hospice or something, not a museum or monument as I expected. So we didn't go in. And didn't go to Les Abbatoirs behind it (later we found out it's closed today anyway).
Instead to Eglise St-Nicolas, which was an unexpected find, quite nice. Pics.
Out and down to the next bridge, milled about for a little while, then into a cafe as drops of rain started coming down. Coffees and muffin, and then it started raining, soon pretty hard. We dawdled as long as we could. Found out the free History of Medicine museum across the street is not open today. And then a bit of a disappointing surprise when it was time to pay: instead of the €1.50 coffees I thought we were drinking, they turned out to be €3 grand coffees.
Across the street, with Dora using the umbrella and me with hat and plastic bag, and into Galerie du Chateau d'Eau. Which turned out to be admission €4 and I wasn't sure what was inside, decided not to do it.
Across a bridge, and down to Eglise Notre Dame de la Daurade, which turned out to be very disappointing. Very dark inside, even the flash on my camera refused to work. Under renovation, large parts curtained off or empty.
Still raining moderately, but we went out anyway. Dora wanting to cover me with the umbrella, but I just wanted to hustle home fast.
Home after 5:30. Feeling damp.
Spaghetti for dinner.
Hustle up to the main train station, find a ticket machine, attendant helps us buy tickets to Carcassonne. They're twice as expensive as I expected; didn't realize I was looking at one-way prices. €66 for the two of us roundtrip.
Hustle to the train, on with 5 minutes to spare, and it leaves 10 minutes late.
Then it threatened to turn the day into a fiasco. A couple of stops down the line, the train slowed several times, then stopped a couple of times, then stopped for 20 minutes or so. I'm guessing some problem with the tracks because of recent rain; we seem to tilt a lot on a couple of sections that are not curves. But maybe I'm wrong.
Finally we arrive at Carcassones at 12:45. What was supposed to be a 1:15 trip took 2:30 or so. And of course the skies, which had been getting darker and more threatening, didn't start raining until we got out of the train. We have one smallish umbrella. No Tourist Info at the station, just one map in a display outside. No sign of the castle and old city; we assume we're going the right direction.
But down into the center, and things turn out well. The town is not too big, we find Tourist Info, the people there are nice, get a map, use the bathroom, buy another umbrella for €10.
Head over and through a nice plaza: pics. Then across bridge to the neighborhood below the old town. Make a couple of missteps, but soon find the Porte de Aude entrance to the ramparts, and up and in.
Thought we'd have to pay €9 admission right away, but no, we go in for free. Soon into a cafe. Nice windows out onto a small plaza, and have cassoulet du porc and sodas: pic. Expensive, as expected, and the cassoulet just has one sausage in it, but it's filling and we relax a bit. €30 total.
Out and around the corner to the cathedral, and a male quartet is singing inside. They sound good. Then they're done, we take pictures of the cathedral, it's not the best. pics.
Out and wander among the ramparts for a while. General pictures from outside and inside: pics. Out the back entrance and back in, through some back streets, to a cafe for coffees. And see the difference between a cafe-au-lait (€2.80) and a coffee (€1.70): pic.
Over to the main castle part, and see where we'd have to pay €9 to go in, but we don't. Dora buys a dress for herself and a shirt for her niece, then we're out and heading back to the new town. Light rain starting.
Over and into the art museum, which is free admission and quite nice. Free bathrooms, comfy sofas, good art, what more could you want ? Pics.
Eventually out, into the center of new town, looking into shop windows. Pics. Into a very plain church, dim and hard to take pictures. Raining more. Dora bought a cheap ring at a shop. Up to a church near the train station, but it seems to be closed. To the station with about 10 minutes to spare.
Onto 18:04 train, although the train number doesn't quite match what's on our tickets. Uneventful trip home, slowing down a couple of times, arrive on time at about 7:15.
A bit cold here; cold walk home, glad to get inside. Home at 7:30. Food. pic). Two runs to Monoprix for groceries etc.
Out at 3:30 or so. To FNAC to see about rugby tickets, but they don't sell them. To the Cathedral St-Etienne, which is big but awkwardly shaped, looks like they added one church onto another. Pics.
An unfortunately-named boutique: pic.
Across to Fondation Bemberg art museum. €8 apiece to get in. Lots of antiques and paintings, ending with some nice big-name paintings: Picasso, Degas, Renoir, Monet, etc. But a lot of stairs, very quiet, left me a bit tired. Pics.
Down to Esquirol metro and then up a shopping street, Dora looking into many windows. Most things very expensive, to my mind. Sneakers that looked not-amazing to me, for up to €205 per pair, although they had a few on special for €30 per pair. Earlier we saw expensive jewelry, including a ring priced at €22,600. And in FNAC we saw a camera-body for €3500 and a lense for €5000.
Home by 6:50, a bit tired and hungry. Dora cooking pesto-spaghetti.
Online, looked for tickets to the rugby game on Saturday. But the cheapest ticket is €10, and Dora would be going reluctantly, so I decided to skip it.
Out at 8:45. Up to Basilique St-Sernin. €15 each admission, to a choral symphony concert. Started badly, with some commentary mixed with music, then some short lecture, of which we understood not a word, of course. But then they got going with the music and singing, and it was nice. The only drawback was that we were far in the back and everything was on the same level, so we saw very little. Pics.
A break for intermission, then more music and chorus, and done at 11:20 or so. Home after 11:30. Pics.
Out, around the building, asked at Tourist Info, and then into the Metro. Bought a 10-trip ticket, and down to the platform. Trains are narrow and short and fewer seats, compared to those in Barcelona, but probably they run more frequently. A bit hot and muggy; no air-conditioning. To the Reynerie stop.
Out, and into the park. Nice, lots of trees, a lake, playgrounds, but warm and humid. And no signs to the chateau. We wandered and searched and asked directions, and circled outside the park, and eventually found it. As I expected, it was closed and disappointing, I just wanted to see what was here. Pics. Sat a bit, found our way back to the lake and the Metro, and home by 3:35. Hungry.
Around 5, went out by myself to walk and sit in a plaza. Back at 6:30.
Dora cooked dinner. I went out again after 10, to walk and sit. Zillions of people out. Big crowd of roller-skaters, followed by a car with warning signs to keep them from getting hit.
Wandered out of the park and back along the tram line. I wanted to wander a bit further, but Dora doesn't like the heat, and we just went to the next tram stop and back onto the tram.
Took the tram to the end, Palais de Justice. Out and onto other Metro line. Crowded train, but only three stops, out at Jean Jaures. Loads of people, and a LGBTQI parade with several sound-trucks going down Boulevard Carnot. Home by 3:15.
Out at 5 or so, but it's a mob-scene outside, the parade is going down the street next to our building, a zillion people walking and sitting everywhere, loud music and noise. Soon went back home.
Headachey in early evening; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 7:15 or so with Dora. Lots of people everywhere, but not the crush it was earlier. Dora wants to shop, but all the stores are closing. Walked quite a bit, sat and listened to a singer for a little bit, sat in Wilson park for a while. Home at 9.
Dinner. Later, still headachey. Took a sumatriptan, went to bed a little early.
Which is nice. Very much like mass from when I was a child (although in French). Great pipe organ, good singing, lots of incense from a censer. Some interesting touches, such as 9 out of 12 assistants in the procession being girls (but they didn't go up to the altar, they stayed outside most of the time). After 10 minutes, the youngest children were led out, maybe just to play, or maybe for a little catechism (I'm guessing the former). They came back in at Communion time. Several readings and a longish sermon, all just French to me. Near the end, a family went up with a child and baby, and I'm not sure if it was a new family joining the congregation, or a blessing of the new baby.
Out around 12:15, strolled back home doing window-shopping, a few drops of rain starting. Didn't realize the last few days have been a St George's festival. Pics. Home by 12:40 or so.
Out for a walk at 4:30, under grey skies. Soon a few drops of rain, then more. Strolled up a direction we haven't been much, looped around, eventually back home by 5:20 or so. I'm a bit wet from the knees down.
Soup for dinner. Ice cream later.
Out for a walk around 10:30. Cool out, humid, not bad.
But the tickets work. Smooth trip up to Albi. Arrive around 12:20. Buy return tickets in the station, also €5 one-way.
Out, and no Tourist Info at the station, no map. But we can see the steeple of the cathedral over the rooftops, and some signs direct us toward the historic center. Statue: pic. Soon we come to a cultural center that supposedly has a Tourist Info office in it, but we don'e even go in, the maps on columns outside show that everything we want is grouped together, about 6 blocks away. So we head there.
Into "So Wok" for lunch; pretty good, and not expensive.
Into the cathedral, which is nice, although part of it is closed off so they can charge €5 admission. Pics.
Out through light rain, and into the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. Which costs €9 admission, but is pretty huge and has some nice art. Pics. Confusing, winding building. Something I've never seen before, a rack to lock your umbrella: pic.
Out and around the back to the gardens, nice views. Pics.
Start heading toward the station. Dora sees a dress she wants, for €59, but I won't spring for it. To a cafe for espressos and muffins.
To station by 4:50 for 5:06 train. You can pedal to generate energy to charge your phone: pic. Onto train and settle in. Smooth ride home, but a little longer than the trip out, I think we made more stops. Some rain.
Off the train and through wet streets. Home at 6:40.
But 3 minutes later, another bus opened up and we're off again. Looped through town more, stuck in traffic a little. Approached Capitole again, pushed the Stop button a block or so ino advance of the stop, and the bus screeched to a halt right away and let us off short.
But we backtracked anyway. To a shoe store. The sandals Dora has been eyeing for a week don't fit her. Talked her out of buying a different pair just for the sake of buying something. Down and across Placa Capitole, and to a dress shop she's had her eye on. Turns out to be quite reasonably priced. I waited and waited while she tried on 5 or 6 dresses, and finally we bought 4 for total of €55.
Home at 3:30.
Out before 6. Fairly sunny but cool. Stopped at Placa Occitane. Pics. Walked over to Eglise St-Aubin, but it was closed. Pic. Walked back to near our apartment, and into Monprix for groceries. Drops of rain as we came out. Home before 7.
I went out for a long walk at 9 or so. Cool and damp out, but not bad. Pics. Sat on a bench in the park outside for a little while. Art outside a music/dance school nearby: pic.
Then down to parliament / palais justice area, and over to the Natural History museum, to sit near the gardens for a while.
Up 4 or 5 blocks, waited 5+ minutes for the free bus, out at Placa Wilson, home at 2:50.
Dinner. Later, out to sit in the plaza for an hour. Came home to find the power had just gone out, and it's out in stores in our building, and much of the building across the street.
Out with Dora for a walk and sit. Back at 7:50 and the power is back on.
Headachey; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out at 9:30 or so for a walk by myself.
I had looked at a map ahead of time, but the direct street to the bridge and over to old town was blocked off by construction. Took another street, ended up going across a different bridge. Pic. Went up along the river. Lots of tourist signs, but we got very confused. Finally had to stop someone and point to the sign for the natural history musuem, and he pointed us to the door of it about a block away.
Into the building, up to 2nd floor, through a door, and the museum is crammed with stuff and also a loud group of schoolkids. One of them is amazed that I'm an actual English-speaker; I think he's been learning English and never met anyone who spoke it.
The group leaves, we look through the museum a bit more, pay €7 total for admission. Pics. Downstairs, use the bathroom, out.
Up a block to Eglise St Jacques, which is nice. Pics. Then into the center, past some worker's demonstration, which explains why we've been seeing police standing around. Streets here full of boutiques. Pic.
Find the main cathedral, and it's big and fairly nice. Pics.
More into the center, and find Tourist Info well-hidden and as far as you can get from the train station. It's big and mostly idle, and the guy who helps us is disappointed when all we want is a map.
Out and to a bakery/crepe place we saw, for lunch. Coffee and soda, a Nutella panini, a crepe. Dora has brought 3 or 4 oranges, so we eat several of those.
Start heading for the train station. Pic. Went through a big garden that is billed as some "Magic Xperience" thing. Pics.
We duck into Eglise Etienne for a minute. Dora lights a votive candle and can't find the slot to pay for it, we start to leave, a priest comes out and tells her she is on videosurveillance and he'll call the police if she doesn't pay. She finds the payment slot up on the wall. I think it's a pretty funny example of Christian feeling.
To the station with only a few minutes to spare, and buy tickets. Onto 13:38 train, and it's a nonstop to Toulouse. We're there by 2:05 or so, no one has checked our tickets. Out and walk home through warm conditions, home before 2:30.
Light dinner. Later, out at 5:30 or so to sit in the plaza and listen to my MP3 player and people-watch. Later Dora came out (leaving the apartment unlocked, I didn't like that) to join me, and then we went for a walk and shopping. But she wants to buy more sandals, and there are too many people to walk comfortably, so it wasn't so much fun. Home after 7.
Cooked an unhealthy but delicious dinner for myself, eggs and sausage and cheese, as we're eating the last of the food.
Out before 10 for a walk with Dora.
Uneventful trip, stopping 4 times even though only 2 are shown on the display. Police come on at the border and check everyone's IDs.
To Barcelona by 11:20. L5 metro to Virrei Amat. Home by 12:10.
Nice to see everyone again, but soon various chores and problems to attend to: Dora call the notary, son's laptop has stopped working (probably needs new battery and keyboard), niece dropped her tablet and broke the screen, need to pay for previous doctor's appt and another one this evening.
After dinner, out for a sit in the plaza, walk, to fruit/veg shop. Warm.
Watched a little of Morocco-Iran World Cup football game on TV.
Out at 7:30 to meet Dora and niece in a cafe after doctor's appt, later joined by her son.
Watched most of Spain-Portugal World Cup football game on TV. Exciting game, ended 3-3 with Ronaldo scoring all 3 goals for Portugal.
Out at 10 to sit in plaza and have a nice walk.
Watched first half of Argentina-Iceland game, another draw.
After 4, to Mercadona with Dora and niece.
Watched Peru-Denmark game, with a room full of Peruvians, and we all were disappointed. Not as good as the other games, and Peru lost 1-0. They even missed a penalty shot, badly.
Out to walk and sit in the plaza. Nice outside, a little too warm inside.
A little confusion about WHICH boat, since the name is not on the receipt, and I don't see the blue flags it says to look for. But we're on, and we have plenty of room, only about 15 people aboard including us. The boat waits for a party of 5 or 6 arriving from a hotel, then we're off a little after 6:30.
Immediately the niece wants a hamburger; no problem. Dora has a coke, and they settle inside while her father and I are outside. Too bad there aren't any big cruise-ships in harbor tonight, but there's a fairly big Club Med sail-cruiser. We go out into the sea, and there are plenty of boats to look at. Eventually I coax the niece out of the cabin, and she starts roaming around. Dora comes out, but she wants to stay in the shade. Niece enjoys trying some yoga, then seeing how her hair blows around. Later she goes below and uses the bathroom, and is amused by how the boat bounces while she's in there.
We do a nice big loop, nothing fancy, sea is calm but has just enough swell to amuse Dora and niece. I'm happy. Pics.
Back in by 8, and Dora says her father enjoyed it a lot, and the niece is happy, so it worked out well. Long metro ride back; wish it didn't take so long to get here.
Home at 9. Started watching second half of Brazil - Switzerland football game on TV, and it's a good one. Ended 1-1 tie.
Out around 11, to metro and to extranjeria office. Waited 20-25 minutes in line to get to Information desk, where they weren't very helpful, told me to send my expediente number to an email address. Frustrating. Home by 12:15.
Correos delivered a confirmation of matrimonio document for Tarjeta Comunitaria, and a Customs letter about some more sumatriptan I've ordered.
Dinner, then Dora out to work 3-11.
Online, wrestling with web sites for ADTPostales and Tributaria to pay Customs duty on the sumtriptan shipment.
Out at 6 or so, to a couple of shops, bought a small USB fan. To plaza to sit for a while, but it's too warm for comfort. To Dia for groceries.
Online, managed to finish the paperwork for importing the sumatriptan. For 30 tablets, it cost $60 purchase, $20 shipping (from India), €16.45 to Spanish Customs, and will cost €5.60 to Correos. That's about $106, or $3.50/tablet. I think they cost more like $5/tablet in a pharmacy here; will have to check for latest price. I used to be able to get them in USA (delivered from elsewhere) for more like $1.25/tablet. But something changed in the worldwide pharma regulation of them a year or two ago, now they're hard to get.
Out for a walk in the cool of the evening.
Dora home before midnight.
Then at 1:15, son and I and Dora's mother and niece and 5 suitcases pile into a taxi and off to the airport. Arrive, I pay €43 for the taxi, then pay €30 to wrap the three big suitcases in plastic. Slow line at check-in but all ends up well. Get wheelchair assistance for the mother, to security, and niece and mother go through, they're off to Peru for almost 6 weeks. Son and I take shuttle bus to train. I get out at Passeig de Gracia and stroll in the center for a while, sitting for a while, people-watching. Lots of people. A little too warm for comfort. Eventually to Jaume I metro, to Llucmajor, home by 5:20.
Dora out at 6 to work 7-1. The little USB fan I bought 2 days ago has stopped working. Took it back to the shop and was surprised when they exchanged it for another, no problem. Home, then soon out again to recharge the SIM on my phone. Sat in plaza briefly, then home to watch Spain - Iran football on TV.
Dora home after 2, a couple of buses were full.
And then Dora wanted to re-arrange our bedroom totally, and another 1/4 of the apartment with it. Switch mattresses, move a chest of drawers and a rack and who knows what else.
And finally news about the sister's situation with apartments, banks and courts. The bank probably will end up taking both apartments, and we might end up moving. Just my guess.
Out for a walk and sit. Home again, watched last 30 minutes or so of Argentina - Croatia game, and Argentina ended up losing 3-0.
Out after 2. F-i-P metro, connect, out at San Antoni. Waited 10+ minutes for Dora to come out of work. We wandered a bit looking for a cafe, and stumbled across a nice one, Granja Cafeteria just off Manso. Two menus del dia and watched Belgium slaughter Tunisia on TV; score was 5-2 but could have been 8-2 except for various misses.
Dora back to work after 4. I lingered, then checked out the newly refurbished San Antoni mercado. Across to La Rambla, passing through somewhat-dodgy Raval. Street art: pic. Found a free art exhibit, but nothing inside really could be photographed well: pics. Saw a guy carrying a bottle of whiskey, and stopping to pour some of it into a friend's mouth. Then up to sit near Placa Catalunya end of it. Eventually into the metro. Home after 6.
Out to fruit shop. Watched Germany - Sweden game on TV, off and on. Germany won with a goal in the last 15 seconds or so of extra time.
Around 11, the party across the street in Placa Soler really got going, with the bonfire lit and some aerial fireworks and music. I put on my audio earbuds for a bit of hearing-protection, and went out there. Nice, except there are far too many loud explosions for my taste. Took some pictures and went back home. Pictures from earlier in the day, and at night: pics.
Headache, not from the noise; took a sumatriptan.
Dora home at 11:50, and of course she wanted to go to the bonfire across the street, to throw in papers with things written on them that you want to get rid of. So we went out, but didn't get close to the fire. Lots of explosions. Took some more pictures and went home. To bed by 12:15.
The music and explosions continued in the park until 4 AM, but we had the windows closed and our bedrooms are on the other side of the apartment, so it really didn't bother us.
Out in midafternoon. To ECI to buy envelopes and mail a document. To ATM, then Dia. Out for more walks in the evening. Watched a little of Spain - Morocco football on TV, and Spain was lucky to escape with a draw, they didn't look good. Out with Dora for a late-night walk; lots of talk about money and apartments etc.
Out with Dora before 1. To F-i-P metro, longish ride to Universitat, walked to computer repair place. As I thought, her son's laptop needs a new laptop, someone spilled water into it. We waited 10 minutes while they did it, I paid €45. Out, and to a Lebanese cafe nearby for a fairly nice lunch. Then to metro, Dora got on to go 1 stop (!) to work, I started walking. Over to La Rambla and sat for a while. Over to language school near Arc, but turns out they're closed 2-4. Into Arc metro, had to stand all the way home, out and home after 4. Hot. Turned on the air-conditioner.
Out for several walks in the evening. Dora home before midnight. pics. Then across to the language school and paid €150 to register for the July classes. Into metro at Arc, warm and crowded, out at F-i-P. To Dia for groceries, home after 1:15. Hot, started running the air-conditioner. Dinner, nap.
Online, a sudden rush to buy tickets for Dora's son to come back from Slovakia on Saturday. Dora out at 6 to work 7-1. I went out for a couple of walks in the evening. Dora home before 2. Pics. Also looked at her dermatology machine, but it's not putting out high-pressure air, probably it's irreparable.
Hurried dinner, then out with Dora at 1:45. I had two errands to do with her, but at the last minute she announced we had to go to a shoe store to try to return shoes, so we went there. By the time we got to the Metro, and to the photo booth where I need to take my photo, we were hot and rushed. She was combing my hair and buttoning my shirt, telling me to sit up straight which put my face out of the picture, I was sweating like a pig, we were rushing, and in the rush I forgot to take off my glasses. Got halfway home and realized the photos probably are worthless, waste of €5. Home at 2:30 and turned on the air-conditioning.
Put up light-dome in Dora's son's room. Out at 7 or so, under dark grey skies. Got change at fruit shop. No photo booth in VA metro, ended up back in F-i-P metro, took a new set of photos. Back up and sat in VA plaza for a while. A little rain as I got home.
Opened up the dermalaser machine. Motor is working, so the problem is either the pump or the solenoid.
Out for a late-evening walk, fairly cool out. Dora home at 11:45.
Waited, got closer, finally my number came up at 1:30. In, and the official knew his business, but spoke no English (par for the course in this office). At the beginning I thought he was explaining that I wouldn't receive a new card until October when my current card expired, but then at the end he said pick up my new card in 4+ weeks. Out at 1:40, to metro. Thought I would run into Dora going out to work, but she must have taken a different route. Home by 2:10.
Out several times in the evening. Concert setting up in Placa Soller across the street, and music started at 9:15. Dora home at 11:40.
Took the motor-pump assembly out of the dermalaser machine, but now I need an Allen wrench I don't have. And it looks like when they assembled the pump, they rounded off some of the Allen-bolts. Pics.
Finally got the last few days of pictures out of my phone; the cable is bad.
Out after noon with Dora. To shop to see about new screen for tablet. To another shop to buy Allen wrenches and a scale. To fruit shop to buy a ton of fruit and veg.
Watched a bit of France - Argentina game. Out with Dora in the evening, to a couple of computer places, a couple of shoe shops, and a cafe for coffees. Home, and watch some of the Uruguay - Portugal game. Out for a late-evening walk.
Out at noon or so. Cash at ATM, then paid €139 at niece's school. To Dia for a load of groceries. Home, then back out. To ECI to mail letter to UK, then to fruit shop for fruit/veg.
I thought Dora was cooking dinner, but all she did was cook the meat, then at 2 she's heading out to work ! So I cooked and we had a late dinner. Watched a little World Cup.
Out at 5:50 or so, to F-i-P metro, to Arc. To language school by 6:20, for 6:30 "false beginner" class.
6 students: 3 male, 3 female. Looks like the women all are continuing a previous class with this teacher, and the 3 guys all are new. The teacher talked fast and we dove right in, and I had a very hard time. We're doing possessive and reflexive adjectives and pronouns, and I never really learned the basic nominative pronouns correctly. Halfway through the class, I found the teacher had been ABBREVIATING a couple of the basic pronouns, which is a terrible thing to do, and explained about 10% of my confusion. And one page of photocopies was almost unreadable. But I kept going, and learned some stuff.
Done at 8:40, and my brain is fried as usual after a language class. Wandered over to the Arc and sat there for a while, watching skaters and people walking by. Eventually into the metro, and home by 9:20 or so. Showered and ate. Dora home before midnight.
Out at 5:45 or so. To metro, to language class. A struggle as usual. Down to 5 students, but maybe 1 is just out temporarily. Out at 8:40 or so, sat for a while, into metro and home. Watched much of England - Colombia game.
Out to Dia for groceries. Before 6, out to language class. Not too bad tonight. Sixth student was back again. Home by 9:15. Son out at 10:30 or so. Dora home by 2. Son home around 6.
I cooked dinner, spaghetti-pesto-chorizo-zucchini-broccoli, to a decidedly lukewarm reception. I think Dora's father thinks sauce on spaghetti should be red, Dora thinks vegetables should be cooked to death, and her son thinks vegetables should not be eaten. Anyway, they all ate it (except the son took out all the vegetables).
Out at 5:50, to metro and language class. Not too bad today, a few rough patches. Out at 8:40, and I wandered through the neighborhood between Arc and Palau Musica. Turned out to be pretty interesting, and a lot of street art: pics. Into Placa Catalunya metro and home by 10:15.
Around 11, had a nice shower, started to think about bed, but Dora wanted to go out so she could run ! And she wouldn't go without me. So we went out, and I walked a bit fast as she ran in various places. Nice out, but a fair number of people walking their dogs. Home at midnight. pic. Class not too bad today, and one new student, a German guy. Out at 8:30, strolled a bit and to Placa Catalunya, eventually into metro and home by 9:30. Out with Dora at 10:30 or so for a nice walk, but it's still and very warm and humid out.
Out before 6, metro, to language class. Not too bad, but not exciting. Irritated in the metro: two people jumped the turnstile behind me, no police around, and they dashed onto a train before I could find anyone to report them to. Hustled home. Surprised to find Dora home, thought she'd be at work, but her schedule changed a little. Watched most of 2nd half of England - Croatia game, then into overtime. Happy that Croatia won. Took a melatozinc before bed, but I don't think it helps me sleep, too low a dose.
Dora out after 7, to work 8-8. I went out at noon for a walk and sit. Cooked dinner. Out again later to Dia for groceries. Watched 2nd half of Belgium - England game. Out to fruit/veg shop. Dora home before 9.
Out at 10:45 with Dora for a walk. Warm, still night. Up to the govt complex, to the blues concert. Good band, although the music was not very danceable. But we had a good time, stayed until midnight or so. Weather cooling a little, nice.
I cooked dinner. Dora out after 2, to work 3-11. Afternoon getting sunny. Out to Dia for groceries.
Out before 6, stopped at ferreteria, then into metro and to language class. Wandered around the block before going in. Street art: pics. Not a bad class. Out, and strolled down through Arc and Parc Ciutadella and across through old town. Eventually to Jaume I metro and home after 9:45.
Dora home before midnight, and they've called a meeting at work for 8 AM tomorrow morning, something about changing rules and maybe schedules. It was going to be a day off for her, too.
Dora home by 11:30; her meeting was long but not very important.
We can't find the document we need to register. But off to local govt center anyway, for 12:30 cita. Had to wait 10-15 minutes, then the officials had no idea how to register our document, gave us addresses of other offices. It seems that even though they're listed as a registro branch office, they're not really. Home after 1:15, hungry.
Cooked dinner. Loafed. Before 6, to metro and to language class. Pretty brutal tonight, very hot in the classroom despite the fan, and I did badly. They played some audio and I got almost none of it. Home by 9, irritated and hot. Air-conditioning, food, shower.
Out before 6, and to language class. Not bad today. Afterward, went for a longish walk up and across to Sagrada Familia. Street art: pic. Home by 9:45. Dora is working 7-1 tonight.
Still headachey in late afternoon; took a Neobrufen. Out before 6, to metro and language school. Class not bad, and after 20 minutes they moved us to a bigger, nicer classroom with a window.
Out, and wandered across to La Rambla and sat for a while. Street art: pics. Into metro and home by 10:10.
Out again at 6 or so, down to F-i-P metro and two stops to Navas. Found the cannabis club I was looking for (not easy), got in, lady who runs it signed me up. I was sure she would say no, you have to be recommended by a current member, which is what their blurb on some web site says. But no problem. Not cheap: €27 for a year, and the edibles I want won't be available for a week. But I got signed up. (Don't tell Dora; she's totally against it.) Metro back, to fruit shop, home before 7.
Out in the evening for another walk. Warm.
Out after 9:30. Longish metro ride, out and walked down past Dora's work, across Paral.lel, and found a fire-parade I was looking for. But streets too crowded to enjoy the parade and get decent photos. Pics. Loads of people out everywhere, in the cafes and parks and playgrounds and sidewalks.
Picked up Dora at work after 11, and she just wants to go home. So into Poble Sec metro, long ride home, in before midnight. Took a Neobrufen before bed.
Out before 6, to metro, to language class. Not bad, only 5 students, one new guy from USA. Out slightly early, strolled down Arc and up Meridiana. Warm out. Into Marina metro, home by 9:30.
In, took a number, went upstairs, waited. Eventually realized I had taken a number for slightly the wrong "section", since the machine downstairs didn't mention sections. But it was about to be my turn. Went in, lady said I had to go to other section, she kicked me back into the queue, had to wait another 3 minutes.
In, handled by an official who seemed to the main guy in the section. I had every document he asked for, and six others just in case. Lots of typing, one correction, signed, eventually out. They'll send the document to Jerez, I'll get something back in the mail (I think).
To Drassanes metro, connect at Diagonal, out at VA. To fruit shop, home by 12:40. Hot.
Dinner. Dora out after 2, to work 3-11. I'm out before 6, to language class. A tough one today, a couple of new subjects and they're tricky. Out and sat by Arc de Triomf for a while. Home before 9:45. Dora home before midnight.
Cooked dinner. I'm out before 6, to language school. Dora will go out soon, to work 7-1. Language class hot and tough. Walked for a while afterward. Street art: pics. Into metro, home by 9:30.
Dora not home until about 2:15 or later, I think. Taxi strike, buses full.
Out to Dia for a big load of groceries. Hotter than usual; heart of summer is starting. Out again with Dora to the finca and then to the fruit shop. Cooked dinner. Dora out after 2 to work 3-11.
Out before 6, to metro, to language class. Not bad, review of indirect object pronouns that we did yesterday, plus some new vocabulary and stuff. Out at 8:30.
To metro, to Navas, and went to the cannabis club. Went in, and this time I went into the back, and was surprised at how nice it is, two floors with lots of sofas and TV and books and games and a pool table etc. Empty now, but 20 or 30 people could lounge here and smoke or whatever.
I went to the kitchen/store part, and a guy was buying some buds, I think. They had to be weighed and signed for, I think there's a annual weight limit. Then I bought 4 cookies, for €14: pic. She said €3 apiece last week, but maybe the size/potency varies, I don't know. Out, to metro, home by 9:30. Dora home by 11:45 or so.
At 2:45, I ate half of a cannabis cookie. First time I've ever tried cannabis/marijuana. An hour later, feeling a little wobbly, maybe. By 4, definitely wobbly, but still able to use the computer. Ten minutes later, definitely get dizzy if I move around. By 5:15, maybe slightly more wobbly. Thirsty. By 6:20, maybe maintaining right at the equivalent of two stiff drinks ? 7:15, still right about the same. 8:30 I think the buzz is starting to decrease. Told Dora (via WhatsApp) what I'm doing, and she's not happy.
Out at 9:35 to walk and see if the eclipse has started. Feeling a little tired, but otherwise pretty normal. Solid clouds overhead; probably not going to see the moon tonight. Hot outside.
Out again before 11 for a walk. Hot and still clouded over. Home, and Dora's home early, before 11:30. And soon she's giving me grief about the cannabis; now that I've tried it once, she wants me to throw away the rest of it.
And it's getting hot this week. 91F or so today, supposed to be 94F on Wed and Thurs, 93F on Fri and Sat.
I cooked dinner. Dora out at 2, to work 3-11. I went out for groceries and fruit.
Out before 6, to metro and to language school. No sign of taxi strike in Arc de Triomf area. Paid €190 for another 5 weeks (40 hours) of class. Class was a bit hard, just hanging on much of the time. Out at 8:30. Sat by Arc for a while, listened to a nice street-band playing. Into metro and home by 9:30. Shower.
Dora home around 11:45, saying she was tired. Then she stayed up until about 1, I think.
Out before 6, to metro and to language school. Class pretty grim, whole sections where I wasn't understanding much at all. Two other students really struggling too. Out at 8:30, strolled a bit. Street art: pics. Sat by Arc for a while, crowded metro train, home after 9:30.
Out at 1:30 with Dora's son, off to the airport to pick up her mother and niece coming back from Peru. Hot walk to F-i-P metro, to Clot, caught train with 4 minutes to spare, to airport terminal 2. Shuttle bus to other terminal, got to Arrivals at 3. They landed at 2:15.
But we still had to wait more than half an hour. I had ordered assistance for her mother, who walks badly, but the airport staff said they had no wheelchairs available, so she had to walk a long way through the terminal and passport and baggage claim. And then she was wrung out when she got to us, so bathroom stop and then into airport cafe for drinks, which took forever to get. I need to get to language class this evening.
Finally out by 4:30 or so. Downstairs, and no taxis, since the strike still is on. Onto shuttle bus, to other terminal, long slow walk over to train station. Caught a train with about 2 minutes to spare. Crowded and the son and I had to stand until Sants Estacio.
Out at San Andreu Comtal station, and one of my sandals is coming apart. Started walking to metro station, then son called Cabify and we waited about 10 minutes in the heat. Cab came, home about 6, Dora going out the door to work 7-1.
Out again 5 minutes later. To metro, to class, got there three minutes late, and for some reason we didn't get started until 10 minutes late. 2/3 of it was okay, but 1/3 of of it was horrible and I came out mad again. Being hot and a bit hungry didn't help. Metro, out, stop at fruit shop, home by 9:15. Shower, glue sandal (managing to get a lot of glue on my fingers), eat.
Dora's mother has been talking to me as if I know Spanish, which I certainly don't. But I did hear her use a preterito perfecto construct, which is what we learned in class this week, and I understood it. So that was cool.
Dora home around 2.
Started running the air-conditioning at 10 or so, and most of us sleeping late. It's going to be 94F or so here today. Not horrible as long as you stay out of the direct sun, and walk slowly. Hottest parts of Spain are going up to 111F or so.
Online, found out the taxi strike ended late last night, too late to help with our trip back from the airport. But it should help for our trip to the bus station on Saturday.
Big dinner with some nice corn and Peruvian cheese, and turkey and rice and salad.
Out before 6. To a shop, then to metro and to language school. Class much better tonight. Out at 8:30, and wandered down from Arc to Parc, feeling hot and tired. In the Parc, found a concert about to start at 9, lucky to get a nice seat on a bench well off to the side. Concert started, and it was a jazz combo playing sort of free-form jazz, not to my taste. Listened for 10 minutes and left.
To metro and home by about 9:45. Hot and sweaty, and the bathroom with the big shower is occupied. Ate a sandwich, took a nice shower. Tired.
Headache in the middle of the night; took a paracetamol-plus, felt okay for a while.
I cooked dinner. Loafed in the afternoon. Messing with Linux, getting closer to switching my laptop from Windows to Linux. Out after 4 with niece to get ice cream (and groceries) at Dia. Others packing to go to north. Dora and I out after 9 for a walk; very still and humid and warm out. Out again after 10 to hit an ATM.
Had to prod Dora several times to get up, so she was 5-10 minutes late calling for a taxi, and then no answer from the taxi service. So I went down to Piferrer, but not free taxis. Joined by Dora's mother, and we walked up to F-i-P. Finally snagged a taxi, but it's not a big one (beggars can't be choosers). To the apartment, loaded the suitcases and people, had to leave two big kid's toys behind.
Off to the Estacio Nord bus station. Out and found the bus with 5 minutes to spare. Stowed the luggage, they got on, I head to the metro. Missed a train by 10 seconds, next one in 7.5 minutes. Finally on, out at F-i-P.
Home after 10:20. Hot and sweaty and headachey. Dora is out, to work 11-11. Ate half a cannabis cookie, had a second cup of coffee to finish off the pot, and shave and shower. Then laid down for a while and listened to MP3s and maybe doze a little.
Fairly wobbly by 12:10. Slow afternoon. Omelet and salad for dinner. Out at 9:30 or so to walk and sit. Hot and humid and still out. Dora home by 11:30.
Finished doing massive backups from my laptop to two external disk drives, then installed Linux Mint Cinnamon on my laptop, wiping out Windows. System is working fine, but it's going to take a couple of days to tweak everything and get applications and scripts set up and working. One major thing not working yet: uploading files to my web site.
Cooked chicken-potato-rice for dinner. Out for walk in late evening. Dora home at 11:45. pics. Saw an exhibit of Carrefoc statues, "vibras" (?): pics. Through the cathedral plaza, eventually to the metro at Placa Catalunya. Home by 9:45.
Headache during the night. Took a Neobrufen, and later a sumatriptan.
Out after 9. To VA metro, to Diagonal, walked up into Gracia, where there's a district-wide festival. Met Dora after 10 outside Fontana metro, and we walked a bit. Crowded in places. Some nice decorations on sections of streets, and some concerts in plazas. Into a cafe for drinks and snack. Out, strolled a bit more, then we'd had enough. Thought I was heading for Diagonal metro, but came out at Joanic metro, good enough. Home by 11:40. Dora has to work tomorrow, but of course she stayed up for another hour or more.
Out after 10, and to a local bar to watch first half of the Barca - Alaves game. Had a beer, TV was loud, then the bartender turned it up to extra-loud. Boring game, Barca had some chances, 0-0 at half, and I left. [Second half was much better, I found out later. Barca scored 3 goals, won 3-0.] Strolled up past VA metro, and Dora flagged me down, I guess she got out early. Home by 11:25.
Headache during the night; took a sumatriptan. pic). Home before midnight. Slept badly (maybe because of the coffee) and headache around 1 AM; took a sumatriptan.
Totally irritated with Dora's son. He refused to do any chores, just sits around all day watching video and eating. We made him wash dishes the last two days, so now he's refusing to eat with us, and he just bought his own food (using money from his grandmother, that we gave to her, I'm sure). 21 years old, very fat, lazy, childish.
Out before 6, to language class. A mixed bag. Only 3 students today. Trying to decide if I want to continue after this week; I think not. On each of the main subjects we've done in the last 2 months (pronouns, indirect object, reflexives, preterito perfecto, gerundios, preterito indefinido), I feel the fundamentals are eluding me. I can sort of do them, on paper, one at a time, but I haven't learned them.
Afterward, walked over to Media Markt near Placa Catalunya, then sat in the plaza for a while, home by 9:45. Dora home after 11:30.
Dora out with niece to dentist and see about a tutor then for school uniforms. I'm out before 6, to last language class of the month. Okay, not too bad. Out at 8:30, low dark clouds and a few drops of rain, to metro and home by 9:15. Niece needs all-new-everything for school, €300 of clothing to go with the €170 of books we ordered and another €150 or so of other stuff yet to be bought.
Out before 5:30 with Dora and niece. Delivered the niece to a lady for an hour of tutoring. Dora and I walked, which meant I had to wait as she shopped in several shoe-stores. Bought some items in Humana. To a cafe for coffee. Back to pick up the niece at 6:30. Stopped at fruit/veg shop. Dora bought an ice-cream cone for the niece, and we sat in a small plaza while she ate it.
Out for a late walk at 11 or so; pleasant.
Out after 5:30 with niece and Dora's mother. To El Corte Ingles, got a bit lost inside the place, found shoes for the niece for school. €50 for a pair she'll probably outgrow in 6 months !
To Mercadona for a few goodies, then home. Helped the niece make a pizza.
At 10:30, sudden emergency, rent on son's new apartment in Slovakia needs to be paid today, or he loses it. At first I start to send from my Spanish bank account, but then get Dora on WhatsApp and instead I send from one of her Spanish accounts. Also send money to her sister in the north.
Dora home before midnight.
Didn't bother to find a bar to watch the Barca game tonight, but I should have: they beat Huesca 8-2 !
Dora home before midnight, and quickly to bed. I had a headache in early AM; took an ibuprofen-plus.
Out before 6, to language class. Seven students now, four of them unknown to me. And we've moved to the small classrom, maybe we can change that. Difficult lesson about por and para. Out, and strolled down to the big park and then across to Jaume I metro. Home by 9:30.
Out at 5 to bookstore, and bought the Spanish textbook I ordered. Niece's books not arrived yet. Home again, then out before 6 to language class. Pretty discouraging class, in general. Strolled a bit afterward, in a bad mood. Street art: pics. Home by 9:30. Dora home at 11:45.
Headache; took a Dolocatil around 2 AM.
Out before 6. To farmacia to fill my prescription for amitriptyline (Tryptizol), which may prevent my headaches. Only €3 for 60 doses of 25 mg each, enough for 2 months.
To language class, and it's getting bad. Lots of speech and audio in the first 2/3, and I got little out of it. I said so at the break, and the teacher and one student pushed back at me for not studying enough and being pessimistic, respectively. Fair charges. Last 1/3 of the class, teacher introduced a new topic, and it's a nightmare. I already don't understand reverse sentences (reflexive or indirect object), and now we're doing double-reverse sentences: reverse both the direct object and indirect object, and replace both with pronouns.
Out at 8:30, sat for a while, home before 9:30. Dora is working 7-1 tonight.
Took an amitriptyline before bed.
Told the language school I was stopping classes for a while. I need to regroup.
Rain after 5. Out for a walk before 8. Feeling tired. Out for a short walk after 11. To bed, and Dora home around 11:45.
In the evening, out at 7 or so with Dora and niece. To optometrist, to see about getting niece's frames adjusted, and a new prescription and glasses for me. A bit of a circus, but finally got out with prices and a prescription. Met Dora's father, and we all went down F-i-P to our favorite coffee-pastry cafe, and had coffee and pastries and read the magazines and newspaper. Out and back up, and stopped in the bookstore to ask about order for niece's schoolbooks. Alarming news: they say the order wasn't placed because we didn't pay a deposit. So we hustle home to grab the receipt, and hustle back to the store. They're closing, but they let us in. Guy types in the computer, and finds that the order WAS placed, they have all but one book now, I can go buy them on Monday. A relief. Home around 9:15.
Feeling cold symptoms: sneezing, coughing, runny nose, slightly headachey. Slept badly. After dawn, took a paracetamol-plus, and that stopped the coughing and reduced the aching. pics. Up to Placa Catalunya. Loads of people but nothing really interesting. Into metro and home by 6, hot and sweaty. Shower and food. Out later for several walks, partly because it's cooler outside than inside. Met Dora at the metro before 11:45, coming home from work. pic. Home by 10:30. Dora home by 11:45.
Out in the evening with Dora and her father and niece. To El Corte Ingles to buy two more school-uniform shirts for the niece (€33). To Mango where there was a big sale, and Dora (after much trying-on) had me buy 4 dresses for her (€35). To McDonald's, where the niece stuffed herself. Noisy place, lots of kids.
Home, then right back out with Dora and father. To a sports bar, to watch Real Madrid - RC Espanyol game. Saw 15 minutes of first half, and all of second half. Somewhat boring game, RM won 1-0, but it was nice to be out and watching it. Home after 10:45.
Slept very badly; just couldn't sleep much.
In the mail, Tarjeta Rosa for Dora's father arrived; I sent his application on June 25.
Out before 12:45 with Dora and her mother. Into a taxi, and up to a medical center (driver cheated me €1 on the change, we were in a hurry and I didn't notice until too late). Soon had the medical appointment, then around the corner to a pharmacy. Bought a couple of inhalers and blood-pressure medicine, total of less than €4. To a kebab shop next door for lunch. Caught a bus, and home before 3.
Slightly headachey all day; finally took a paracetamol-plus after 5:30.
Dora out to work 7-1.
We all went out to VA plaza around 10 (some group has put a baby-grand piano in the plaza and various people are playing it; pics), trying to find this relative. I had the wrong name for him, and no description. But eventually we found him and took him home. Later, I went out and bought chicken from the Peruvian place. Managed to exchange the bad printer cartridge for another, no receipt required, no hassle, I was amazed.
Jesus stayed all day, I thought waiting for Dora. She got home around 6. But turns out he's staying overnight, leaving early tomorrow morning.
But, but: later, I thought we would go to a bar to watch the Real Madrid game, but instead we're walking Jesus to the train station to go back to Terrassa, he's going to Madrid early tomorrow morning. Out with Dora, niece and Jesus. A circuitous route, going through Heron City Center, but we got to the train station at a convenient time and he caught an 8:40 train. Up F-i-P and to our favorite pastry-cafe with Dora and niece. Home before 9:30.
New printer cartridge works fine; printed several items that were backlogged.
Out, and soon found a restaurant for lunch. Food okay, a little disappointing. Dora is depressed (as she is after any encounter with a lawyer). But we're fine, we have good problems, not the "I have no money and I owe E200K" kind of problems some people have.
Out by 2:15 or so, and into Metro. Dora onto L3 to work, me onto L5 and home after 2:45.
Cool weather today. Wearing long pants and a long-sleeved fleece shirt. With sandals.
Dora home at 11:45, and says she has to go early tomorrow, she's working 8-8.
Walked Dora to Llucmajor metro, so she can go to medical association and then to work 3-11. Loafed most of the day. Walked Dora home from the metro, home before midnight. Stayed up too late, I went to bed before 1, Dora later. And she's supposed to have class 9-5 tomorrow.
Out after 8:30 with Dora and father and niece, to watch Barca game on TV. Our intended place was closed, two other places too crowded, down another place but game not on in there, bar across the street too small, found cafe with space and game. 6 minutes in, Barca down 0-1. But a good game, had sandwiches and coffees. Started raining hard outside. 1-1 at half. We went home, 4 of us sharing 2 umbrellas.
After dinner, Dora out to work 3-11. I went out at 3:30 with Dora's niece and father. Occasional drops of rain, but skies only half-grey today. To F-i-P metro to use the photo booth to take a picture of the niece for school. Delivered niece to school. To Dia for groceries, home. Loafed the rest of the day. Out for walk in the late evening, then again to meet Dora at metro. Home after midnight.
Online, tried 4 times to buy bus tickets for 4 people to go to the north for Christmas. Payment failed each time. Not sure if the cause is my VPN, blockers in my browser, the two-factor authentication I just enabled on my PayPal account (but credit card failed too), or something else. Later disabled the VPN and tried twice more, once with PayPal, other time with credit card, no go.
Pretty strong rain after 8. Rainy and a bit windy the rest of the evening.
Online, still can't buy bus tickets (tried a different browser), both credit-card and PayPal say there is no problem on their end.
Out after 12:30, Dora and Homero and Joesfina and me. To F-i-P and onto L1 metro, and to Arc de Triomf. Beautiful sunny day. The visitors enjoyed the arc and the promenade through it, then we went down to Parc Cuitadella and the big fountain there, and the mammoth statue. Walked across to Born CC. Then more into Born, and found a restaurant near Santa Maria del Mar church. Food was reasonably good, and the four of us split a bottle of red wine, not usual for Dora and me.
Out of the restaurant, wobbling a little, and across to Placa del Rey and then the cathedral. Up Placa Angel, over to La Rambla, up to corner of Placa Catalunya. And got stuck there, sitting on a nice bench, drinking bottles of water. I wanted to go home, but Dora wanted to talk. So we sat.
Eventually across the placa, in to metro, standing-room only to get back to F-i-P. Walked home, and I'm tired. In after 6:15.
Visitors have 60 GB of photos and video on a GoPro, and it's full. I try to move it to a hard disk for them, but their hard disk has errors, won't work on my laptop (Linux) or Dora's (Windows). I copy everything to my disk, and empty the GoPro so they can take more tomorrow.
To metro with Dora, and to Estacio Nord bus station. Through a line, guy typed forever to do the tickets, but he did the tickets I was unable to do online, and somehow for €263 instead of €375. Dora said a bunch of things about her son having student ID and also a Tarjeta Joven; maybe that did it.
Back into metro, and to Plaza Espanya, onto a train, 3 stops to Europa Fira stop, out, and 1 block to IKEA. We're here to buy a wardrobe, but Dora is in heaven, she sees lots of stuff to buy. By the time we get through the ground floor, we've accumulated as much as we can carry home.
We stash the cart and go upstairs to look at wardrobes. There's about 30 choices, with all the details and add-ons for each one. We choose a big one for Dora and a smaller for her niece, then take a number and wait 5+ minutes for an agent. He has to specify every detail, it takes 20 minutes, there are more choices to make. Finally done, total €662 including delivery, I'll do the assembly.
Go downstairs, retrieve our cart, through check-out, total is €726. Fortunately my credit-card works.
Out, and to the train, each of us hauling a bag of stuff. To Placa Espanya, and it's rush-hour. Standing room only and crowded on the metro. Finally to F-i-P, walk home, tired and sweaty and footsore.
Home after 7. Dump the stuff and into the shower. And the next time I look at the bedrooms, I think "geez, they're small, how are we going to fit the wardrobes into them ?"
Out later to Dia for groceries, and again to fruit shop.
Put together a smallish reading-lamp we bought, and Dora's father says "oh, I have one of those in a box somewhere". Great.
Delivery truck arrived at 12:40, with many tall, heavy boxes. A couple of strong guys carried it in, and now it's my problem to assemble it.
Dora's mother delayed at banks, so I cooked chicken for dinner and heated water for the spaghetti she had laid out. But when she came in, she'd bought a roast chicken at Dia, so we had that instead.
Looking at the boxes in our bedroom, and there's no single set of instructions, you have to sort of figure it out box by box. And the main 3 or 4 boxes are HEAVY.
Dora out to work 3-11.
I put in several good hours of work on the new wardrobe, a little help from Dora's father at key points, called it quits at 8:45, looking fairly good. It's huge and heavy, barely fits into the room, and we'll have to disassemble it to get it out if we move. Haven't yet put on the doors and some of the drawers, and I really should drill holes and bolt the two pieces of it together. Pic.
Out after 10 for a walk. Out again around 11:30 to meet Dora at the metro.
Napped a little. Headache in the afternoon; took a sumatriptan.
Dora called IKEA, and they say bring the broken door back and maybe they'll replace it. But we'd have to take it back in a truck, it would cost us €40 or more.
I put the two wood doors onto the wardrobe, with help from Dora. Figure out that I should have installed rails to hold the wire baskets at the bottom of the wardrobe, and fortunately I'm able to install them without having to move all the drawers up one level or something.
We open the box of the mirrored-door, and the glass is cracked only on one end, not all the way down as I'd feared. And the wood is undamaged. So I use lots of clear packing tape to cover the cracked part. Dora is not happy. But we install the door, which turns out be a major pain, it's heavier and the other doors and has a different kind of hinges. But we get it in. Pics. Then I tape pictures of flowers over the cracked part; Dora can't bear to look at cracked glass or mirror, apparently.
So, 99% done. I need a drill to put on the door-handles on the wood doors, and really I should drill and bolt the 2/3 part to the 1/3 part. But that can wait.
Later, into the "extra" bedroom, and rotate the bed to make more space. Probably still not enough to hold the other armario we bought.
Dora out to work 7-1. I loafed. Later opened the boxes for the second, smaller, cheaper wardrobe and started figuring it out. Tomorrow's job. Went out for a late-night walk. Dora home before 2.
Headache; took a sumatriptan. Heavy rain starting at noon. More rain later.
Got it together, Dora and I slid it over into the "spare bedroom", and it wouldn't fit into place ! I measured this last night with one of the main cross-pieces, it should work. Part of the problem is that the door-molding is sticking out an extra half-inch, but we're off by more than that.
Finally we move the bed-frame a little, push the mattresses hard, push on the wardrobe, and slide it into place. Not 1/4 inch to spare, it's pressed against the mattresses. But it's in. Install hanger-bar and three shelves, done by 12:45. Will put the doors on later.
Dora out to work 3-11. I went out a couple of times to food shops, until cold grey skies.
Later, put the doors onto the white wardrobe. So that one's finished. Pics.
To VA metro to meet Dora; weather windy and a little cool. Home by 11:45.
Opening boxes we brought from Jerez, and moving stuff into the new wardrobes etc. Turned into a huge operation, frayed tempers. Finally got it out of control, but running out of time. Showers, and then we're out the door after 1 to buy sheets for the bed my brother will use. I make a U-turn and go back when I realize I forgot to measure the mattress. WhatsApp the numbers to Dora, go to meet her in the store, but she's not in the store I went to. Gave up, went home, ate dinner. Dore sent her father back with sheets and towels and pillowcases, and went on to work 3-11.
I hurried and went out at 2. Hustled to F-i-P metro, to Clot, onto train to airport. Onto shuttle-bus to terminal 1, where international flights land, got there, flight is not on the board. At first I assume it's just arriving later than I expected, but eventually I ask at Information, and turns out I should have stayed at the other terminal. Shuttle-bus back to terminal 2, locate the T2A building I've never been to before, and there's my brother. He had to wait about half an hour; I would have been right on time if I hadn't gone to the wrong terminal.
To train (no waiting), back to Clot, metro to F-i-P, home after 5. My brother is pretty tired. I get his room set, Dora's mother gives us food, we relax for a while. Rain starting at 6. By 7, my brother is falling asleep, and goes to bed.
Dora has left a 3-foot-high heap of clothing on our bed and more around the room; I start trying to sort and stash that so we'll be able to get into bed tonight.
Out around 7:30 to buy schoolbook for niece, shop for Halloween stuff, and get groceries and fruit. Out at 11:15 to meet Dora at the metro, through light rain.
My brother and I went out around noon. Up to Llucmajor metro, long standing ride to Barceloneta, out with a crowd. Looked for a street-fair that's supposed to be outside Estacio Franca, but no sign of it. Down towards the beach, found a sidewalk cafe. As we were looking at the sign for the menu del dia, a guy changed the price from 12.95 to 15.95. In anyway, and settled in for lunch.
I had fish soup followed by grilled fish. My brother had grilled sardines and a lamb chop. For dessert I had crema catalana and my brother had panacotta. Glasses of sangria. Nice. Pics.
Strolled down to the beach, and along it to Port Olympic. Lots of people out, lovely sunny day (after a grey morning). To Ciutadella metro, and home before 5.
Napped, loafed. Dora home after 8.
Out at 8:30 with Dora, niece, father, and my brother. To a clothing shop so Dora can exchange something, then to our usual cafe to watch the Barca game on TV. But they're not showing it; I guess they changed their cable. Down to another place, got settled at a table, 4 minutes into the game and Barca is leading Sevilla 1-0 already. A nice goal by Messi, and it's 2-0. But then Messi goes down with a bad arm injury, and he's out and off to the hospital.
We stay through halftime and 10 minutes into the second half, eating patatas brava, fried chicken, croquetes, and a frankfurter plate for the niece. Then home. Game ended Barca 4-2. Messi has a hyperextended elbow, which is what I thought at the time; Dora diagnosed it as a fracture. [Later found out I was wrong, she was right: fracture in the radial bone, out for 2-4 weeks.] pics. To VA metro, and to Sagrada Familia. Out and into the park, but no sign of the festival that's supposed to be here.
We rest and take pictures (pics), and find out the activities are in the other park on the other side of the basilica. We go over there, and our timing is good. We see one group of castellers start to make a human pyramid, then stop and take it down and talk for a bit. Then they try again, and get seven levels high, with no mishap.
Up a street, and start looking for a restaurant. We go several blocks and finally find a nice sidewalk cafe with the usual Catalan-type food. We eat and drink and enjoy ourselves. Pics.
Out of there, go about 100 yards to the scenic street that runs down to Sagrada Familia, and sit on benches for a while. Pleasant. My brother buys an ice-cream for the niece, and after she eats half of it somehow it gets dropped on the ground and her foot.
Wander down to the basilica, nothing much happening. Into metro, out at VA, stop at a cafe for more snacks to go, home by 4:30 or so.
Out before 8 with Dora and niece, into park to kick a football (mostly a fiasco) and walk a bit. When they went home, I went out for a real walk. Lovely evening.
Trip to Valencia:
In and stowed luggage and into our seats. Uneventful trip, a little slow at times. I wanted my MP3 player, but I accidentally left it stashed in my suitcase, too much trouble to get it out. Snacks, water.
Into Valencia and to station maybe 10 minutes late, about 1:15. Out and a couple of blocks to Jesus metro station. Bought tickets and down to platform and had to wait almost 15 minutes for our train. Three stops to Alameda, out, hauled suitcases up stairs because the lift wasn't working. Walked up along the riverbed park to next bridge, soon found our street. Guy waiting to let us in is waving from the balcony. We're here almost 30 minutes later than predicted, 2:15 instead of 1:45, but everything is okay. Nice apartment. Relax.
Out for an hour or so, to the cathedral plaza and the Plaza del Reina near it. Basilica door: pic. My brother likes Valencia. He had an horchata in the cathedral plaza. To Carrefour Express for groceries and then home. Watched some football on TV.
Out again after 7. Into the center, and the basilica and cathedral are open. Went into both, but spent only 5 minutes in each because my brother wants dinner. Some small demostration by pensioners in the central plaza, with some police watching. soon settled into a cafe table right on the corner nearest the center of the plaza. A sangria for my brother, a caparaina for me. Iberic ham and cheese platter for him, patatas bravas to share. Fettucini con funghi for me. Nice meal, great scenery, nice people-watching.
We lingered. Then strolled a bit across and back, ended up in Placa Reina, where I had a nice big cup of ice cream and we sat on a park bench for a while. Home by 9:30.
Street art we saw today: pics. Pics. Wandered down and through a tower/gate of the old town, then into the center. Left my brother to find his way home, and I headed for the train station. Got to the right station with a couple minutes to spare, but Dora's train was 10 minutes late. Met her, looked for Metro station, decided to take a taxi. €6 (compared to metro for €4) and well worth it, no more walking. Dora into the apartment before 1:30.
The three of us out after 3. Across the center (pic) and started looking for a cafe; ended up near the north gate of the old town. Dora ordered paella, which wasn't so good, and came with a huge sangria from which she only took one sip (we finished it for her). Chorizo and patatas bravas for my brother, a chicken-bacon-cheese-egg sandwich for me. Pics. Lots of tour groups wandering by. We saw our second bike crash in less than 30 minutes; some streets here have a little 2-inch-high curb lip that is hard to see, and bikes going parallel to them can get in trouble.
Eventually out and down through the center and to the ceramics museum. Full of nice stuff, but a lot of walking on marble floors and a lot of stairs. Pics. My brother was done by the time we finished that. To Carrefour Express for groceries and home after 5:30.
Out with Dora after 7. Into the center after a wrong turn, but we saw a nice church we would have missed otherwise: pic. Basilica (pic) and cathedral are open, so we went into both, nice. A bit of sitting on a bench, then a bit of window-shopping, saw another church (pic), then home. Real Madrid playing but it's not on our TV.
Street art we saw today: pics.
Then up to the north gate, and climbed to the top of it. pics. Okay views, but I'm not fond of heights. Several school groups in the tower and getting some lessons from teachers.
Down, over a bridge to the other side, and walked down to the Bells Artes museum. Mostly religious art, but nice. By the time we finished, we all were tired and footsore. Across another bridge and home by 12:30. Food and drink and relax.
Out after 3 with my brother. Walked across to the central market area, strolled, had some refreshments, sat in the central plaza for a while, sat in the basilica for a few minutes, home before 5.
Out after 7 with Dora and my brother. Into center, went through the cathedral a little, then looked for a cafe. Settled for one on the central plaza, and the food was okay but not as good as the other place. Sat for a while. Pic.
Then to an Irish bar to watch the first half of the Barca - Inter Milan game. Had some nice beer, Barca up 1-0 at the half. Out, and saw a fire-juggler in the central plaza. Home by 10 or so. Later Barca up 2-0.
Street art we saw today: pics.
Uneventful trip. Dora studying, me listening to MP3's, my brother six cars in front of us. Pic. Arrived to Sants Estacio around 2:15, into L5 metro, out at VA, home by 3. Apartment empty, but soon Dora's father arrived, later her mother and sister arrived.
Out at 5:45 or so with Dora and sister and father, to go pick up niece from dance class. I divert briefly to hit an ATM. We get to the dance studio, but really no way to see in, see what they're doing. Eventually they all come out. We head home, but Dora and I stop in a Latin food store, then in a farmacia to buy flu shots (€88 for 6), then at the tutor to pay another 11 hours (€100).
But we found the Dali museum, and had lunch a block away in a cafe out in the plaza. I had pepperoni pizza, my brother had tapas. Nice and relaxing.
Eventually over to the museum, a little early for our 1:30 entrance time. Wandered a little, took photos, and then in. A bit crowded, but with the new assigned-entrance-time system, a lot less crowded than it was a couple of years ago when Dora and I were here.
Nice art, but strange. Nice jewelry collection, but not as big as I remember from before. Pics. Out, a little shopping in the gift-shop, then started heading for the train station. We're both a bit tired. There's at least one more museum in town, but we've had enough.
To the station 15-20 minutes early. A bit of a struggle with a ticket-machine. The train is waiting open on the track, so we went right aboard and sat down.
Long trip home, although this train is 20+ minutes faster than the morning train. I dozed, and took a Neobrufen. Arrived at Clot, to metro, 3 stops to F-i-P, walked home.
Home at 6, tired and a bit hungry. Dora stuck me with a flu shot, then into the shower, then some food.
Four of us out at 8 or so, Dora and sister and my brother and me, ended up in a bar in HCC having tapas and sangria and a Zoco (pacharon) for me. A pleasant time, talking about family and places etc. Pics. Back home by 9:30, all feeling sleepy.
Out with my brother after 11. Rain, umbrellas. To donation box and deposited a shirt that doesn't fit me. To El Corte Ingles to look at laptops. To a coffee-shop for coffees and pastries. To Dia for groceries. Met niece and sister and mother on the street, all of us heading home. Still raining steadily. Home by 12:45.
Dinner, and then my brother and I out into the rain before 2:30. Long slog to F-i-P metro, then a couple of delays, made it to Clot and then the train entrance with about 2 minutes to spare. But even if he'd missed that train, there will be two more in the next hour before he has to start worrying about missing his flight back to USA.
Back to metro, slogged home through steady rain, stopping to buy fruit.
Dora home after 7, tired and cold.
Cooked dinner for everyone.
Out after 7, into cold and wind. To ATMs, but they won't give me more today. To Dia for groceries.
There was a huge anti-drug operation by the police near Dora's clinic today, and they probably brought the suspects there to be checked before booking them into jail. Good thing Dora had the day off.
Out at 9:15 with Dora. To notario in VA plaza. Talked to a lady who only spoke Spanish, about marriage financial agreement and will and inheritance taxes. Answers not much clearer than what we got from the lawyers a couple of weeks ago, and some of them contradicted what the lawyers said. Told her to do the financial agreement, we'll come back next week to start the will.
Down to Meridiana to one bank (shut down), across to another, and they say Dora needs to bring a certain document. Stop at a fruit shop, home by 11:30.
I cooked spaghetti al carbonara (first time I tried it) for dinner, because the niece had requested it. She loved it, the rest of us thought it was okay. Made way too much spaghetti. And Dora didn't have any, she was running out of time to go to work. She went out to work 3-11.
Out for a bit of a walk and sit in the sunshine. Home, replaced a lightbulb in our bedroom. Afternoon turning greyer and colder.
Headachey in the evening; took a paracetamol. Dora home at 11:30.
Heavy rain starting at 3 AM or so, I think.
Lots of Halloween-costuming stuff going on with the niece. Dinner. Then Dora and sister take niece to school. Rain starts pouring down, some lightning and thunder, while Dora and sister are still out. Soon eased up.
Out before 5 with Dora and her sister, and I'm in costume: shiny red cape and a spectacular jester's mask from Italy. I'm wearing the mask and can't wear my glasses, so I have to be careful at curbs and crosswalks and such. But we get to the niece's school okay. A lot of kids are impressed by my costume.
Soon over to the new school building a block away, where there's a party. We're all in the parking/open area under the school building, and it's crowded and noisy. I have to take off my mask to make my way in, but then I put it back on and stand at the edge. Soon some small kids are shooting me with toy guns and trying to talk to me a little.
Dora is too shy to put on the costume she brought, an aqua wig and long green fingers. We mill around, she buys me a couple of nice brownies. Sister and niece are waiting to get into some kind of haunted-house thing. After a while, we head for the door. Stop to talk to the niece and friends, and her friends are excited to hear that I speak English. I tell them the niece doesn't want to speak English with me at home, which is mostly true (she doesn't want to study it with me). Soon we're out.
To butcher shop to buy a lot of meat, then to fruit shop, then home by 6:30. No rain the whole time we were out, very nice. Take some pictures of ourselves in costume, then take them off and relax. Pics. Niece and sister didn't get home until almost 8:30.
And literally at midnight, with the sister leaving early tomorrow morning, she says please copy 1000 photos from her phone to her USB drive. We couldn't have done this 3 days ago, at a normal hour ? Her first USB drive shows as read-only on my laptop (Linux), so switch to Dora's laptop (Windows). There, writing to it seems to start okay, then fails, then nothing was written. Switch to another USB drive, spend 45 minutes or so copying two batches of photos. To bed around 1 AM.
Big portions of ribs for dinner; yum. Out afterward to walk and buy a few things; cool but no wind and a bit sunny, so nice.
In the evening, as Dora's sister had asked, I wrote up a list of 15 spelling words in English for the niece to learn, and gave them to her. As I expected, she blew up. Tore up the paper, started yelling, Dora started yelling back at her, Dora's mother called Dora's sister on the phone, etc. I took the opportunity to go out for a long walk. When I came back, they had quieted down and Dora was teaching English to the niece. I helped a bit for a while.
Out in the evening to buy calling-cards, look in ferreteria, buy more groceries in Dia. Sidewalks too crowded for comfort.
Bad headache around 1 AM; took a sumatriptan.
A struggle to get the niece out the door to the tutor at 6. Dora home shortly after and continuing the argument about handling the niece.
No energy to go to a bar to watch the Barca game. Too bad, Barca won 3-2, must have been an exciting game.
My smartphone seems to have died overnight. Gets halfway through booting and then wedges. Worked on it, took out SIM and SD cards, battery out and in, into recovery menu and cleared cache, with and without cable to PC, no go. It starts, logo, asks for my PIN, "starting Android", logo, then no further. At one point, got into a menu that was all-Chinese except for one item "English - factory reset)" with no obvious Back item; I powered down to get out of that one.
But eventually I gave up and did a factory reset. Fortunately, the phone was connected to Google and the apps are being re-installed automatically. And I didn't keep much on the phone in terms of contacts or pictures. But I'm sure I'll have to repopulate some app data manually: TOTP app data, password manager app data.
Surprised: phone didn't restore my Contacts and Whatsapp contacts automatically, but my TOTP app (andOTP) database was restored automatically.
Dora studying all evening. I have to kick her to start studying, but once she starts, she doesn't stop.
Took a sumatriptan around noon.
Out in late afternoon to Dia for groceries. Weather grey and dark and getting colder.
Out at 5:45 with Dora and her mother. To medical clinic, just in time for 6:10 appointment, but they were running 30 minutes behind. Finally out, and it's raining, but I brought umbrellas. Walk toward home, first stopping in a farmacia, then in Mercadona. Then Dora's mother went home, and Dora and I went into ECI to buy a mat for the shower. Home by 8:30.
Out with Dora, and to our 11 AM appointment at notario. Had to wait, then into a room and wait some more. Finally the big guy arrived, lots of rapid-fire Spanish between him and Dora, we signed the "marriage regimen" document, made an appointment to do a will, soon out. Home by 12:30 under threatening skies.
Out at 3 or so. Grey skies, cool and windy. To ECI. Paid water bill, bought shower mat, looked for fire extinguisher but they don't sell them. To Mercadona for groceries.
Headache in the early evening; took a paracetamol-plus and had a nap, but still have slight headache.
Out at 4 with Dora and father. To a cafe a block away to watch first half of Barca - Real Betis game. Barca looked terrific for the first 15 minutes or so, then it was all Real Betis. Barca losing 0-2 at half. We went to some shops, then home.
Stayed up until 1 AM for some reason. Dora studying until well after 2, I think.
Dora on a new diet, so I have to rush out twice to stores to buy a long list of vegetables and fruits. Out again later for printer paper and some other stuff. Dora studying hard in the evening.
Later, walked to Hipercor, but they don't sell fire extinguishers. Look at laptops a bit, I'm going to buy a new one in the next few months.
Watched Spain - Croatia football game on TV; Spain showed same lack of attack they had in last World Cup, but did better than I expected, only lost 3-2.
To a pharmacy. To bookstore. To carnisseria. To fruit/veg shop. Home by 10:30. Light rain starting at noon.
Had to prod Dora to start studying after 4, but once she got going, she kept going most of the evening. I went to bed at 12:30; she went to bed at 4:45 AM !
Niece went to tutor at 12:30, but ducked out early, triggering a big shouting match with Dora, so lunch was a tense affair with Dora staying in her room and niece soon leaving the table. Out in late afternoon for a brief walk and to buy groceries; cool and damp and grey out. Headache in early evening; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out with Dora at 4:15. Brisk walk to her dental appointment, then I kept walking a little and went to Dia and fruit shop.
Quiet day, weather getting greyer, Dora doing a fair amount of studying.
Out with Dora to 5:30 appointment. Had to wait about 40 minutes, then in to the assistant, he typed some missing full names into the will, printed it. Wait a little, then in to the big guy, the notario. He hit the high notes in about 2 minutes flat, I signed, out to the front desk. Paid €48, got a copy of the will, done.
Stopped at bookstore on the way home, in before 7:30.
Dora studied from 8:30 or so until far into the AM, maybe 3 or 4 AM. linkcheckerhtml. It's a major rework/update/change of someone else's project, in about 4 environments I've never really used before (VSCode, Typescript, Node, GitHub), so it's slow going.
Headache in the middle of the night; took a sumatriptan.
Out in early evening with Dora and niece. Nice long walk, but a bit nippy, then started looking for a cafe. Ended up in several clothing shops instead, eventually Dora bought a shirt. More looking for a cafe, finally ended up in our usual place, La Boheme. Came out and the Christmas lights were on and the wind had stopped; nice. Home by 7 or so. linkcheckerhtml).
Out after 5, glasses on but with only one side-piece. To ATM, then to VA metro. To Sants Estacio, connect, then to Maria Cristina. Out, start walking down Diagonal looking for the address, got totally confused. Must be on other side from where Google Maps said, went across, back, into Hilton to ask directions, they said it was far. Long walk down to 574, got there, wrong place, Dora called and said address was 547. Looked at the messages she sent me a couple of days ago, and I had it wrong, should have been 547. Long walk 3/4 of the way back. No Dora, up and down at thr auditorium, called her, met her at the door. Felt stupid. In and used bathroom and sat for a bit, and she said we have to take a taxi to the dinner, it's not here.
So out and into taxi and up onto Montjuic to Esferic Barcelona. Spectacular small conference center which I completely failed to take a picture of (see their web site). Sat through a medical lecture for 90 minutes or so; I could read the slides but listened to my MP3 player instead of listening to the talks.
Downstairs, and a long dinner, very nice, lots of courses of two or three morsels each. Wine and cava. Desserts.
Out, and caught a taxi down to Placa Espanya, and into the metro. Surprised to see it's midnight-thirty. Home after 1 AM.
Home, and back out after noon with Dora. To bookstore, then dentist, then bookstore again. Home, quick dinner, then she's out to work 3-11. I'm out again after 3. To niece's school to get my change, and instead of €3 they tried to give me €20, but we got that straightened out. To Dia for groceries.
Bad headache in the evening, took sumatriptan. Dora home after 11:30.
Out before 6 with Dora. To optometrist. Ordered a pair of glasses each for the two of us, total €329, should be ready in 7-10 days. Dora off to work 7-1.
Out again to buy Christmas lights, and to butcher to buy some ribs. Home, and put the lights and a star on the tree.
Out in midafternoon for a walk with Dora and niece. A bit cold out, and of course we stopped in a cafe, so not much exercise.
Into metro, connect, out at Drassanes. Walk a few blocks to registro. A little confusion, but finally they took our notarized marriage-finances document to send to registry in Jerez.
Out, wandered and dawdled a little, then to a hotel on Parallel to meet a guy from USA. I was early, waited, and he and Dora arrived within a couple of minutes of each other. We chatted, then to a restaurant for lunch. Nice chat about Spain and USA etc. Dora left to go to work 3-11. The guy and I lingered for dessert, strolled a little, then he had to go do some phone calls. I went into metro, connect, home by 4.
Cold evening. Dora home at 11:30.
Rainy in the middle of the day. Niece cold and tired when she got home from school-followed-by-dance-class, and later in the evening she had a sore throat.
Dora home before midnight.
Walked Dora to metro to go work 3-11, then went to Dia for groceries. Back out again to fruit shop. A little headachey; took a paracetamol. Didn't help; later took a sumatriptan. To bed a little early. Dora had some kind of work-dinner after work, so she didn't get home until almost 3:30.
To a couple of shops to buy a Santa Claus thing, then to Dia for groceries.
The rest of the day, diving into a lot of Linux and computer-security articles on a lot of web sites.
Out in the evening with Dora, to find a bar to watch the Barca game. But no luck, our intended bar said their cable was broken, others weren't showing it, big bar on F-i-P was closed, etc. Ended up doing some shopping, buying a hat for niece and a Catalan-Spanish dictionary for Dora. Wind started blowing, felt very cold, went home.
Before 1, I went to pick her up from class and go to lunch and shopping. Her class finished 45 minutes late, and there were only 2 students left out of 8 by the end. Out, and we took the metro 1 stop to Placa Catalunya. To language class headquarters, and she signed up for Catalan classes starting soon. Out, around the corner, stopped in a clothing store, then into a restaurant and had a nice lunch.
Then back to the clothing store and she bought some shirts. Over and past El Corte Ingles, looking for a bookstore, but never found one. Into a clothing store and bought a couple of pairs of pants for me. Into El Corte Ingles, it's a mob scene as I expected, used the bathrooms, did a little cosmetic-shopping, then out.
Into metro and long ride to F-i-P. Up the main street, stopping at an ATM, then in a bookstore. To eyeglass place and picked up our new eyeglasses. Home by 6:15, tired.
Spent an hour or so bringing Dora's Yahoo emailbox down to less than 1000 unread messages.
Dashed out with niece after dinner, to buy school supplies.
Dora dragged me out again around 4. To Llucmajor metro, rode the line most of the way to the other end, out at Selva de Mar. Into a big skin-care-products office building, where Dora cajoled various people in person or over house-phone for about an hour before someone accepted the medicines she was trying to return. Nowhere to sit while I waited.
Across the street to a bar, for bathroom and coffees and relaxation. Headache; took a paracetamol. Dora took a Neobrufen. Back into metro, long ride back to Llucmajor. Stopped at a fruit shop, home after 6:45. Still headache; took a sumatriptan.
Later, spent an hour or so cutting Dora's GMail account down from 1600 unread messages to 7 unread messages.
Out at 12:30 to hit ATM and then carnisseria. Home, and cooked ribs and rice and salad for dinner.
Dora out to meet a Catalan teacher from 3:30 to 5 or so. Then I went out with Dora before 6, to meet niece's teacher, consult with her, pay her another €100. To a locutorio to buy calling-cards, then home. I'm feeling a little cold and a little headachey.
Headache; took a NeoBrufen and later a sumatriptan.
To bus station, the others are waiting for us. Into the station, down to the buses, and we're almost 45 minutes early. Bus shows up 20 minutes later, starts loading. Luggage on, say good-bye to everyone, they board, and I watch to make sure no one opens the luggage compartment and steals anything. Bus leaves on time at 9:45. To metro, home by 10:20. Apartment is empty; I missed Dora by about 10 minutes as she went out to work 11-11. Quiet here.
Out in midafternoon for a short walk and to Dia for groceries.
Dora home after 11:30.
After 2, out to VA plaza, waited 10-15 minutes for H6 bus, off to Park Guell. Ages ago I registered for free entrance as a resident. Went to ticket point, and their handheld for taking my fingerprint isn't working. But they called someone on the walkie-talkie, read my NIE to them, and let me in.
Wandered around the central area for a while, in no hurry. Took some pictures, sat for a while, listened to my MP3s. Pics. They're renovating the central flat area, so I read the brochure and looked at the exposed parts, and it was very interesting.
Eventually out. Down to main road, and caught a bus within 30 seconds. Out near VA, to fruit shop, home after 5.
Out at 1:15. Metro, connect, out at Poble Sec, to Dora's clinic, waited 10-15 minutes for her. A bit of walking to find a place for lunch, and then food took a while to come. She was back to work after 3, and I walked up to Sepulveda and over to Universitat, but only some cafes were open, little else. Street art: pics. Metro, to ATM, and home after 4. A TV channel is replaying all of Messi's goals, some 600 of them, fun to watch.
Dora home early, around 9 instead of 10:45 as I expected.
Out before 11. A bit cold out. To metro, to Arc station, started waiting for Dora. Waited about half an hour, counted 12 people who cheated the turnstiles in that time. She arrived about 11:40, and we went up and over to the Arc de Triomf. Not many people here. Pics. Strolled down the promenade and back, feeling cold. Then it was midnight, and we kissed and ate 12 grapes each, and listened to fireworks that were a little too low to see. No cafes open. Phone call with the family in the north.
Soon into the metro, and home by 12:45 or so. Drank some cava, ate a little chocolate. I'm in bed by 1:30, Dora by 2:30.