Quiet day. Out for a walk in early evening. Still a slight headache at midnight.
Out after noon. To niece's school, but it's closed. To Caprabo for groceries. Cooked pork and pesto-spaghetti and salad for dinner.
Still headache in later afternoon; took a sumatriptan.
Walked Dora to metro before 6, to work 7-1. To fruit shop, then hustled home. Cold.
Felt a bit better after dinner.
Online, bought tickets to Cirque du Soleil "Toruk" show. Four tix for total of €209.
Out a couple of times in late afternoon to buy a lot of groceries. Then I'm feeling a little achey and scratchy throat. Took a Neobrufen.
Family won't be returning from north tomorrow evening on the tickets I bought for them, they've changed to return Monday evening. Niece starts school on Tuesday morning.
Felt okay in the middle of the day, but achey and headachey in the evening. Took a Neobrufen.
Took a Neobrufen, then out after 6. To F-i-P metro, to Arc station, to Estacio Nord bus station. Good timing, the parents and niece got off the bus less than 5 minutes before I got there. And they have a ton of luggage. Up in the elevator, and the taxi guys try to cram us into the first, normal taxi, despite me telling them we need a big one. They fail, and we walk back to the big one in line, and load up. Slow trip through traffic, maybe not the quickest route, but we're home around 7:20.
Took a sumatriptan before bed.
Had a bad night's sleep. Had coughing fits until finally Dora dragged me into the kitchen and made me drink honey-lemon tea and start taking antibiotics.
Out after noon. To niece's school and paid for this month. To a shop to buy a garlic-press. To Dia for groceries.
Home, and the mail is full of bills. Dora's mother cooking, and she filled the kitchen with smoke and both smoke-detectors went off.
Walked Dora to the metro after 2, to work 3-11. Then I went to ECI and paid the water bill. Home, and online started a payment of the building fee (finca).
Took a Neobrufen in early evening. Feeling fairly lousy. Took anti-biotic and paracetamol before bed. Dora home at 11:45.
Again coughing badly 10 minutes after lying down in bed. Took tea and cough syrup.
Online, ordered 8 GB of RAM for my current (old) laptop, which has only 3 GB.
Out after 5. Cold. To farmacia, and bought medicines for the whole family. Nine boxes of medicine for a grand total of €11, and it would have been cheaper except one of them wasn't covered by the NHS. Still amazed at the low prices for medicines here. To Dia for groceries, and home.
Dora's son arrived from the north. Dora home by 11:20. Penetration Testing and Bug-Bounty Hunting.
Out after noon with Dora and her sister. To VA metro, to Vall d'Hebron, to the big hospital. Ask several times, finally find the office we need, all the way up the hill in the back. I wait while Dora and her sister try to register her sister onto the "bolsa", the list of doctors eligible to work for the govt in Catalunya.
Out of the office, down to cafeteria for lunch. Dora and sister taking pills; they both have various pains. Sister will have to make more photocopies and come back here again tomorrow.
Dora off to work 3-11, sister and me to home before 3. Out again later for groceries.
Dora home just before midnight.
Sister left in midafternoon, heading back to the south.
Trying to do the Spanish tax filing, but Linux has no free PDF app that can handle the PDF file, so had to use a Windows machine. Then I ran into a number I reported a year ago that looks like a total mistake, can't figure out how I calculated it. Will just have to stick with it, doesn't really matter, this is a declaration not a tax.
Then someone is calling, there's flooding from an apartment downstairs with no one home. I have a key to the water-meter closet, but Dora doesn't want me to use it. Someone calls the water company.
Then the package of new memory for my laptop gets delivered. The two DIMMs are from different manufacturers, look different, but both are the right type and specs.
Drill holes in the bureau, get the pieces in but we need 3 or 4 more screws. Clean up and leave the bureau on its side for now. After dinner, father had bought new screws, put them in and put drawers back in. Not the greatest situation, the wood is soft, but it's okay.
Sent the ETE form in to Spanish web site.
Put the new memory DIMMs in my laptop. Took two tries, first time it just beeped, DIMMs not inserted far enough. Second time came up and I ran diagnostics for a long time, finally stopped them and booted into Linux. 8 GB now instead of 3 GB.
Dora out to work 7-1.
Watched half of Barca-Levante game on TV; stadium looked half-empty. They've been having very-low-priced deals on 3-game ticket deals in these two weeks, but they're playing minor teams and we decided we didn't want to sit in the cold even to watch Barca.
Dora home by 3:15, and she's not mad at me, so that's good.
I'm out at 7. Cold out. To flower shop to buy flowers for Dora, tomorrow is our 1-year wedding anniversary. Well-received back at home.
Out in the evening to hit ATM and get groceries. Messages back and forth with Dora to get the niece signed up for a gymnastics program, which means we'll have to get up at 7:30 on Saturday mornings. Made a pizza with the niece; she likes hotdogs and chicken lunchmeat slices on her half.
Dora home at 11:45. pic.
Left the niece in class, and Dora and I went upstairs and over to the big gymnasium, and watched a gymnastics competition in progress. I kept pushing Dora to talk to other parents, and eventually she did so, and found out about some other classes closer to home.
Killed some time, had a coffee, back to niece's class at 11 to pick her up. She had a good time, wants to do more of this. We'll see if we do it here or somewhere closer to home at a more civilized hour.
Headed for the metro, stopped in a cafe for a while. Into metro, long ride home, home after 12:30.
Dinner, napped, napped again.
Out after 4 with Dora and son and niece. Down to F-i-P metro, long ride to Placa Espanya, into a line for busses running up to the Palau San Jordi on Montjuic. Into the arena and our seats with 15 minutes to spare. Bought popcorn and soda.
Then it was time for Cirque du Soleil, the "Toruk" (Avatar) show. Turns out none of us have seen the Avatar movie; somehow I assumed the kids had seen it. A nice show, slow in parts, really good in other parts. Some great athleticism, loved the dragon, loved the flowers growing. I think we all enjoyed it. Hard to take pictures, only really got one (from Dora): pic. [Later got this from her son: pic and video.]
Out by 8 or so. Quickly caught a bus down to Placa Espanya. Long metro-ride back to F-i-P, most of us standing all the way. Up F-i-P and into a bookstore so Dora could buy a Catalan textbook, and it took forever for her to check out. Son went home, and the other three of us stopped in an outdoor cafe. I had a cognac, which was much bigger than I expected, but tasted strange, I think it was watered. Fine with me, plenty of alcohol in it.
Home before 9:45. Tired.
Out before 6 with Dora, to walk niece to a friend's house. Cold and a strong wind blowing, strong enough to stagger me sometimes. To friend's house, and some screwup, friend and mother aren't there. We head back home, I buy some fruit in a shop, then into a cafe to relieve me of €10 so we can have coffees and pastries.
Studying Spanish, found that the word "esposa" means "wife" and "esposas" means "handcuffs".
Sore throat in the middle of the night; took paracetamol.
Out with Dora at 1:15. Cold and a little windy out. To sports complex across from ECI, to ask about gymnastics class for the niece, but they just gave us a phone number for another place. I went to Mercadona for groceries, Dora went to the gym.
Dora out again at 8 or so, to a 1-on-1 medical Catalan-language lesson. Then the rest of us cleared out to our bedrooms so the son could have some privacy with a friend of his, dancing, cooking dinner etc. Friend left around 11:30, Dora home at 11:45, much later than I expected.
Out in midafternoon to Dia for groceries. Out with Dora at 6 to walk her to the metro, then I went to a pharmacy. They had only 4 pills of sumatriptan, at €3 each. That's about what I paid for pills from India last year. Need to find something cheaper.
Headache in the evening; took paracetamol. Still headachey at 10:20, halftime of the Barca game on TV, took a sumatriptan.
Out in late afternoon for a walk with Dora. Still have headache. Napped, couldn't get rid of it, took a sumatriptan.
Dora working 11-11 today.
Niece out at 11, tried going home on the bus instead of the metro. Found the stop, only waited 7 minutes, onto the bus. Then it went one or two more stops and sat for 5+ minutes. Finally going again, lots of stops, eventually our stop. Home at noon, about same as the metro.
Niece is supposed to be having lunch with a friend, but Dora is the only one who knows if and how and when, and she didn't tell any of us, and isn't answering calls or messages (she's at work).
Finally, her friend called, and they picked up the niece at 1:45 or so. Then she was gone all afternoon, finally home at 7 or so.
Dora home before midnight.
I created a simple quiz for home users, about phishing: Go to Phishing Test page 1 of 3.
Out for a walk in late afternoon; cold out.
Dora home at midnight, and she had a busy day.
Online, paid tuition for another half-year of medical school for son.
Lots of confusion around dinner, niece stayed at school to eat, finally a late dinner.
Out with Dora pursuing me, to ATM and groceries. Cold. Out again later for a few more groceries.
Dora out to work 3-11. Quiet afternoon and evening. Dora home at 11:45.
I went out at 8:45 to a cafe to watch the first half of the Barca - Real Madrid game. Home, only to find the game showing on free TV. Good game, but ended 1-1.
Online, bought tickets for son to go back to medical school in Slovakia.
Went to bed and couldn't sleep at all. Dora home around 1:45, with a nasty cough that she took a while to stop with medicine. I still didn't sleep much all the rest of the night, just couldn't sleep.
So we went out after noon, to clinic, and waited maybe 45 minutes before she was seen. Bronchitis, she's excused from work today and tomorrow, she was going to have the weekend free anyway. Out, and to a pharmacy to buy about 5 medicines for a total of €3.50 or so. Home by 1:45.
Dinner, then soon Dora took lots of pills and to bed. After a while, I went out for groceries. Then joined her for a nap. Later she's up, still sounding terrible, then back to bed for a while.
Headache in late afternoon; took paracetamol.
Niece home from school, after time in a playground etc, and some time later we realized she'd left all of her schoolbooks at school. So she and I hustled back to the school, but too late, they're closed. To pharmacy to get something for Dora, then home.
Still have headache later. Took a sumatriptan.
Down to the class at 11, picked up niece, to bus stop, waited 5 minutes for the bus. Home before 11:50.
Dora felt well enough today to go to her zoomba class at the gym. But she still has a nasty cough, lots of fluid in her bronchi.
Dinner. Dora out to beauty parlor in late afternoon. Afterward, niece and I went to meet Dora and son at a cafe for coffees and sandwiches etc. On the way home, I went for groceries.
In late evening, made a pizza with the niece. But when I tried to get it out of the oven, I couldn't grasp the tray safely, and the pizza slithered out and fell face-down on the floor. We ate it anyway, it was fine.
To metro, to VA, waited for rest of family to join us. Off to a Peruvian restaurant to have a birthday celebration for Dora's mother. Decent restaurant, nice time, but I wasn't too happy to learn the niece was skipping an afternoon of school to be here. We all came out tired and full. I stopped to buy flowers and then fruit on the way home. Home, and down for a nap.
Headache in the evening; I knew that very nice beer I had at the restaurant would give me one. Took a paracetamol.
Online, made reservations for Dora and I to go to Prague for two weeks in late June. Used 70K of my 70.1K frequent-flyer miles, plus $205, for the plane tickets (business class going, economy coming back). Apartment for €780 for two weeks. It's a big modern apartment and close to a major metro-and-bus hub, but a bit of a strange layout and only one window with no view. It was the usual deal with AirBNB: other apartments all had some flaw, such as no elevator or no big bed or too expensive. But I'm fairly surprised so much was available at all in Prague in the summer, I thought it would be booked up.
With Dora's father, pick up the niece after 1, home, finish cooking dinner.
Out for a walk with Dora in late afternoon, but just slightly too chilly to be nice.
Dora out to gym. Son back home around noon.
I went out for groceries, then it turned out we weren't going to cook them, Dora had me go out again to buy a couple of roast chickens at the Peruvian place.
My tuition payment to son's medical school bounced, even though all I did was push a button to repeat the same transfer I did for last semester. Getting him to email the university to see if they know what happened.
Started working on my Spain 720 foreign assets declaration.
Out with Dora in the evening, for a walk. Still nice weather, just slightly cool.
Which was fine, because they were having a gymnastics competition in the main arena, so we watched that for 10 minutes. Then niece was into gymnastics class, and father and I started killing time. Warm, sunny day. I watched a little of the gymnastics, studied my Spanish book, dozed, listened to MP3s.
Picked up the niece at 11, back into main building to watch some of the gymnastics and buy a snack for the niece (in addition to the powerbar I gave her).
Walked down to bus stop, bus came in 1 minute, on. Gave niece another powerbar. Longish ride, and then Dora called and said she'd meet us, which means a cafe. So we got to VA plaza, off, and to our usual cafe. Ten minutes later Dora joined us. Coffees and pastries etc.
Home by 12:40, and I'm tired. Dinner, nap, headachey.
Out in late afternoon. Not so warm any more. To farmacia, walk, groceries, fruit/veg. Home. Later took a paracetamol.
Early evening, walked Dora to the gym and then I went for a walk and to grocery store and fruit/veg shop.
Strolled through an unusual area of old town, I've only been through here a few times. Stopped in two churches I've never been in before. Light was low, the pictures didn't come out too well. Esglesia De La Merce: pics. Esglesia De Sant Just i Sant Pastor: pics. Street art: pics.
To Jaume I metro, to Llucmajor, home by 12:45 or so. Dora holding an ice-pack to her jaw, she's hurting from dental work.
Dinner. Then I was out at 2:30 to go sit in the sun. But all the sunny seats in VA plaza were occupied. Soon went to grocery and fruit shops, then home.
Dora still hurting in the evening, from the dentistry.
Out at 8:45 with Dora, down to a cafe to watch El Clasico, Barca vs Real Madrid, on TV. Turned out it's on a free channel, but that's fine, it's nice to get out of the apartment for a bit. Watched the first half, and Barca was lucky to escape 0-0, Madrid mostly outplayed them. Home by 10.
Second half was mostly Barca's game. In 20 minutes or so they scored 3 goals. Game ended 3-0.
In the evening, Dora coughing like death just before going out to the gym.
Out again before 1, to niece's school, to pick her up and get costumes from a friend's parent.
Dora still at hair salon, and niece seriously perturbed as time to go to school approaches and Dora is supposed to do something with niece's hair. Dora arrives at 2:30, does the hair while I eat a quick dinner. Then the three of us are out and to the school. Clouds have come over and temperature has dropped a couple of degrees, on the edge of chilly. We arrive at school 15 minutes late, but our timing is perfect, they're still taking pictures and lining up. The theme is "costumes from around Europe".
Then they're off, in a little sidewalk-parade, 5 blocks up and then cross, 6 blocks down, cross, and back to school. A couple of other schools are doing the same. Hard to take pictures, everyone's so close together, and the kids tend to be turned inward, talking to each other. Pics.
Finally we're done, Dora and I head for home. But into a bookstore where Dora liberates €100 from me to buy a stack of Catalan textbooks. Into fruit shop, buy some stuff, home by 4:40. Tired and a little cold.
Killed time, dozing and listening to MP3s, walked a little, studied Spanish a little. At 11, picked up niece from class and paid €19 for some competition registration, I think. Missed the bus by one minute, waited 10+ minutes for the next. Home by noon, tired. Dora working 11-11 today.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen with dinner.
Before 6, out with niece and Dora's father. Heading for ECI to buy a case for niece's phone, but I want to see a parade that's starting at 6. Happily, we ran right into it about 2 blocks from home. A nice parade, smaller than I expected, mostly children. Crowded, and I only took a couple of pictures. Pics.
Over to ECI, looked at phone cases, but few/none will fit niece's phone, and only 2 or 3 out of all of them have a design that's at all interesting to her. And I'm amazed at some of the prices; I didn't know you could spend €30 or more on a pretty plain case for a big, new model of phone.
We gave up on the phone case, headed for food stores, then I realized I should look online for phone cases. To Dia and fruit shop, then home.
Then I went right back out, up to govt complex, to where the parade ended. Lots of people and something happening on a stage, but not so interesting.
Home, and eventually got online and found phone cases. Niece sat down to look at them and wants a dozen of them. But finally she chose one and I ordered it, for about €11. [But later I realized it doesn't have a cover over the screen, it just protects the back and sides.]
Dora home before midnight, tired but not sick.
Quiet day, went for a bit of a walk, sunny but a bit cool for comfort.
Dora home at midnight.
Dora returns, and says money has been stolen from her son's credit card, we need to get him to do something about it. Apparently someone's been just about draining his account, and he never noticed ! Dora yelling over the phone at him, calling banks, etc.
Out at 4:30 or so with niece and Dora. Cold wind blowing, so we grabbed a taxi. To big Maquinista shopping center. To Decathlon to buy gymnastics clothing for the niece, and Dora found a couple of things she wanted, and later we returned to buy some hand-weights, so I paid about €130 total.
To a cafe, where service was slow and people were smoking near us. But we relaxed and had coffees and focaccio and a crepe.
Out, back to Decathlon for the weights, then out. Found the bus stop, and the bus we wanted was due in 21 minutes. Took a less-desirable bus in 5 minutes, long slow ride, out and walked about 8 blocks, home by 7.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen.
To waterfront, to sports complex. Badminton and kids trampolines and stuff in the main building. Delivered niece to gymnastics class and paid €35 for a maillot for her.
Killed time, then Dora arrived, we had a snack. Picked up niece after class, Dora talked to teacher, then we're off to the bus. Out near home, into a cafe for ham and drinks. A bit pricey, but worth it. Home by 12:45.
Nap. Dinner. Loaf.
Out at 6 or so with Dora and niece. I wanted to go to the library first, but instead we went to ECI and exchanged pants for me that Dora bought yesterday. Eventually got out of there, walked to F-i-P and looked for a store to buy a jacket for the niece, but no luck. To fruit shop, and home.
Started trying to learn Bootstrap/Angular/Electron so I can write an app I want: My "Develop an Application" page.
Out at 7:30 or so with Dora. To metro, to Diagonal, and walked several blocks to a disco. Place is hopping, full of old people (our age and older). Dancing to all kinds of songs, and some of them very good dancers, they probably come here a lot.
Dora can dance up a storm, and I mostly just move as much as I can in time to the music, and try to follow her. I did pretty well tonight, I think.
Then I bought a gin-and-tonic for €10, and it was pretty large and about half gin (or, at least, what came out of a bottle labeled gin). We shared it, we were thirsty. Danced a couple more times, then I'd had enough.
Out and to the metro. Home before 11:30. Tired and feeling the alcohol.
Dora out to class 12-2 and work 3-11. I'm out in midafternoon to grocery shopping.
With help from people online, got the very basics of Bootstrap/ng-bootstrap/Angular/Electron working for my app.
Dora home before midnight.
Out again after 2:30, to sit in plaza, but it's just slightly too cool and windy for that.
Out at 4:30 with Dora, to the library. She got a card and then 4 books.
Late in the evening, looked at the box of 60 pills I bought for €0.16, and it only has 24 pills instead of 60 ! Looked around, I don't see how I could have lost part of them out of the box. And I can't imagine it's legal to sell a partial-box. Strange.
More programming with Angular, hit a nasty problem with tables, finally figured out why it was happening, will have to deal with it tomorrow.
Dora out at 8:15 to meet with niece's teacher.
Out with Dora after 11. To kids-clothing shop to buy a gymnastics jacket for the niece. Walked Dora down to Meridiana so she could catch the metro to Catalan class. To Dia for groceries etc.
Late dinner with Dora. Quiet afternoon. Then she's out to work 7-1.
Dora home around 2, but then she stayed up all night. Later I found out she couldn't sleep, so she just stayed up and worked on taking a test online for some medical class. She went to bed at 8:30.
Out with Dora and niece at 8 or so, niece needs to buy a present for a friend's birthday party tomorrow. Crowded on the main streets. To half a dozen clothing stores before they bought something, and then they said they were going to ECI. I said bye, went to Dia. They changed their minds, caught up with me there, also hit the fruit shop. Home.
Niece out at 11, and we went into the main building. An intermission in the competition, unfortunately, but we sat and watched, as the niece inhaled two snacks from the machines and 4 powerbars I gave her, and a Coke.
Out, and longish walk to bus stop and then a bit past it. Into a big traveling dinosaur show for which I had bought tickets. About as I expected: we were tired and a bit hungry, and it was crowded in there. Also a bit hot. Dark, too, hard to take good pictures: pics. We spent less than half an hour, then out and walked a couple of blocks to the next bus stop. Waited 5+ minutes, then on. Home by 1.
Took a paracetamol. Dinner. Nap. Still headache, took a Neobrufen.
Out in the evening for groceries and fruit. Headache slowly receding.
Out after 5 with Dora. To bank, then to Western Union in ECI, then she went to gym and I went to Mercadona for groceries.
Hit a roadblock with the application I'm developing (Promises, in Typescript). Switched and started my US federal tax return, and hit a roadblock there, it demands a SSN for Dora. Sent request to Support and gave up for tonight.
Out after dinner, to walk Dora to the metro to work 3-11. I went to shop to buy a lightbulb, and bumped into niece and father buying glitter-glue for school. Then to Dia and fruit shop, and home.
Back into Dora's Yahoo email, and got it down to 3500 messages, 560 of them unread. And Facebook is going to unlock her FB account.
Had to switch to different tax-prep software to avoid Dora having to register with the US tax system.
Dora home before midnight. Restored access to her FB account.
Dora stayed up all night doing some medical coursework.
Dora out to class. Dinner. Headache, took a Neobrufen, laid down. Dora home. I took a paracetamol.
Dora slept about 3 hours; I napped next to her for about 1.5 hours. Then she was out to work 7-1.
At 7:30, an accident on the street outside our balcony, looks like a car hit a motor-scooter, the driver is on the ground. Someone called right away, but it took 15-20 minutes for ambulance and police to arrive.
Out for groceries and fruit.
More work on US federal tax return. More work on the application I'm trying to build.
Dora home around 2, I think.
Dora out at 11:45 to go to class and then work 3-11. I'm out in midafternoon to sit in VA plaza and then go for groceries and fruit.
Was doing my taxes online when TaxAct suddenly said "oh, you have capital gains/losses ? You have to upgrade to Premium+, that will be an extra $58." So I'm looking for another site.
Dora's sister arrived from the south, around 5:45.
Someone pointed me to the tax site Free File Fillable Forms, and it's great, so much easier than the fancy web sites. And free, and I can keep Dora's info out of the US tax system.
Everyone out in different directions. Dora to gym, sister and mother out to banks or something, I went out to hit an ATM, pay the finca (building fee) for our apartment, get groceries.
Confusion at dinnertime; who's cooking what ? Everyone arrives home, we get food on the table.
Out with Dora at 2:20 to walk to metro, she's working 3-11. I sit in the plaza for a while, then go home. Still a little headachey; took a paracetamol.
Picked niece up from class at 11. Long walk to Metro, stopping in various stores, and then a long stop in a cafe. Finally into metro, long ride, out at Llucmajor. Stopped at fruit shop, home after 1:15. Tired and still a bit headachey.
Great: ribs have been cooked, table is all laid out for dinner. But then Dora announces her mother wants to go to the Peruvian restaurant for dinner. I'm not going anywhere for a while. They go, I stay and eat ribs and potatoes and rice.
Nap, still headachey.
Online, filed my US federal income tax return. But it got rejected with various errors. Most of them look easy to fix, but it looks like they're requiring Dora's name in the spouse field.
Out at 6, down to Heron City Center where there will a band tonight. Dora said 6, but as we arrived she said the band starts at 7, she wanted to get here early to get good seats. I'm not happy. We do get a good outdoor table on second level. Her sister catches up with us, and we nurse drinks for a while. Friends arrive, and we add a table and more chairs. But after a while they go down to the ground level with other friends. I thought we were done with the cafe, but then Dora's sister is ordering food. Soon I go retrieve her father and niece and lead them to the table.
Then a bunch of the niece's friends arrive, and she dashes off with them, then the food arrives. Then niece is back with friends, the music gets going. Pretty good band, although it's just a drummer, bass player, and singer. Pic. Eventually the food is done and paid for, we head down to ground level. Dance slightly to a couple of songs, and then the band is finished.
Nice walk with Dora over to F-i-P and then up it, to fruit shop, and home by 9:15 or so.
Online, fix my tax return and submit again. I'm holding my breath that it doesn't fail again, this time demanding a US ITIN for Dora. It did fail, error message is related to spouse but not clear. Can't put "NRA" in spouse's SSN field. Tried checking the box for "spouse itemizes on separate return", maybe that will get around it. Submitted again.
Online, my US federal tax return was accepted ! Form had a couple of tricky things about it, I had to give Dora's name but not in the obvious place, didn't have to give an ITIN or "NRA" for her.
I did a little more work on my JAva application, got a little life out of the database.
Dora home after 11.
After 45 minutes or more, niece sees doctor. Eventually out, it was a waste of time, the kind of appointment Dora wanted can't be made online, have to do it in person here. So we'll have to come back another time. They stand in line for 10+ minutes to make the new appointment. Out, and Dora liberates €20 from me and catches a taxi to go see some doctor.
Home before 11, picking up Dora's father along the way, he's been waiting for us almost 90 minutes on the street. Niece out to school (actually, swimming this morning) about 15 minutes later.
Dora out 2-7. I'm out after 9 to try to buy calling-cards, no luck. Did get a prescription filled.
A little headachey; took a Neobrufen.
Dora's sister arrived from the south around 6. She had a suitcase full of stuff she'd bought at bargain prices, for us and for the sister in the north, and wanted to show all of it to me and tell me the great prices. But I was feeling achey, begged off and took a Neobrufen and laid down for a while.
Dora and her mother out all evening. To a beauty salon, it turned out, to spend the money Dora liberated from me. Home around 11:15.
Finally got popup menu working in my app; it was a struggle. Took a paracetamol.
Small parade came by right under our front balcony at 10:30, about 6 drummers and 4 people with tambourines etc, half a dozen family walking alongside. They sounded good.
Back to lie in bed for a while. Later, a little exercise. Online, paid (from Dora's account) rent for son's apartment in Slovakia.
In the evening, out for groceries and fruit. More fun working on my app. Dora found out we're losing an hour of sleep tonight, clocks are changing.
Took a paracetamol before bed. Coughed a lot during the night.
I'm out after 12:30. To metro station, buy T-10 cards, to bus stop, wait 5 minutes. Longish bus ride to the waterfront, get to sports center around 1:15. Gymnastics competition going on. Soon Dora finds me. I don't want to sit with her and sister and mother in the middle of the crowd. I wander and listen to MP3s and sit in the sunny corner.
Finally after 2, the niece gets on the floor with 2 other girls to do a dance-type routine. She seems to do okay. Afterward, 4 or 4 other routines and then the competition is over. They all line up and get certificates and then the crowd starts filing out.
Takes a while to assemble with everyone, and they take some pictures. We start heading for the metro, but then they hail a taxi. No room for me, which is fine. I keep going to the metro.
Home before 4. And Dora wants me to go to a birthday party at about 4:30. No, I'm going to lie down. Dinner first. They're out at 5:15 or so.
Up later, still headachey, took a paracetamol.
They're back from the party at 8 or so. I'm still coughing and headachey. Did more work on my app. Took a Neobrufen and to bed early.
Achey and coughing and sneezing. Took a paracetamol. Dora going very late to her Catalan class.
Waited to have dinner with Dora, and that was a mistake. She and her sister got home after 3:45, and the three of us were starving. Dinner, then I went out to pay tuition at niece's school (€146 this time), then for groceries and fruit/veg.
Still feeling bad. Took a Neobrufen. Worked on app in the evening. Did tech support for Dora and sister as they did lots of computer stuff.
Typical: after 11, sister says her phone is full. She's flying out early tomorrow, but she says maybe when she comes back next week I can copy stuff out for her. She rejects every suggestion I make that she delete old junk out of the phone
More work on my app. Dora home a bit before midnight.
Dora stayed up all night, never went to bed.
Picked up niece at 11, brief snack stop, then to the bus stop. Home by noon, feeling cold. But right back out to hit ATM and buy ribs at the butcher.
Dinner, loafed, out in early evening for calling-cards but couldn't find any, got groceries.
Out at 8:35 with niece and father and Dora. To a bar to watch first half of Barca - ATM game. A bit crowded, the game was good but 1-1 at the half. Home after 9:45.
11, going out with Dora to go dancing. Tried going to a new disco, but they're CLOSED on a SATURDAY night ? Went to our usual place. Crowd younger this time, mostly our age. Different kind of music this time. A lot of it was 90's pop that we didn't recognize and didn't like much. But the rest was okay, danceable, we had a good time. Home a bit before 2:45.
Out at 1:30 or so, Dora and mother before us, niece and father with me later, to a Peruvian restaurant. Nice meal of chicken, potatoes, noodles with beef. Loafed at the table afterward. Home by 3:30. Dark skies and some thunder in the distance.
I'm out after 4, down to metro L1 through light rain. To Arc de Triomf, to language school, picked up refund. Walked to Placa Catalunya, but it's crowded and the weather is grey and almost raining. Into metro, crowded, out at FiP, to fruit shop, home after 5:30.
Headachey in late evening; took a Neobrufen.
Out again, at 6, to pharmacy to buy a ton of medicines for Dora's mother and for the household in general. The paperwork for only the medicines for Dora's mother says that on the open market (I guess) they would cost €490. I bought them plus various household stuff (pain relievers, antibiotics, creams) for about €20, because she's on the NHS and listed as extremely low-income.
Dora out to work 7-1.
Out after 1:30. To Llucmajor metro, stopping on the way to get change for a €50 bill. To Alfons X, out and hustled up to the medical clinic, only a couple minutes after 2. Dora had said she might be done before 2, but she came out at 2:20.
To a kebab shop for lunch. As we were finishing, Dora got a call that her niece has pain when breathing deeply, she and Dora's mother are off to the medical clinic near home.
Back to metro with Dora, to Urquinona, long walk to connect to other line, out at Placa Catalunya. Dora headed off to a train to Sarria, I went to La Rambla and sat for a while, listening to MP3s.
Eventually walked over to the cathedral square. Loads of people everywhere. Over to Jaume I metro and rode to Maragall. Down to the medical clinic and found niece and mother waiting.
I got there a little before 5, they'd probably been waiting at least half an hour, and they didn't get in until 6. Hot in the waiting room, I'm overdressed for this. Out in 10 minutes, niece probably has muscle strain or spasm, no problem, not even a directive to take ibuprofen or something.
We walked home, stopping halfway in a pastiseria to give the niece a dose of cheesecake (and some and a coke for Dora's mother, who tires easily, and a chocolate donut for me). Home before 7.
Dora's sister arrived from South around 7:15, and Dora arrived at 7:30.
People going all different directions. Dinner without Dora and Mily and son. I went out to sit in VA plaza for a while, then to farmacia, then groceries.
Dora and sister home around 4:15, tired and starving.
Online, started my wealth tax return for Spain.
Out after 8 with Dora. After much back-and-forth, we figured out how to open a car-entrance door into the parking garage underneath the building; the clicker works on one set of doors but not the set on our side of the building. To a donation box to donate clothes. To Caprabo to buy groceries and a cake, and I was reminded why I hate grocery-shopping with Dora. As usual, we came out with 50% more than we could carry comfortably, and 100% more than I intended to buy. Home after 9. Cake we got barely fits into the refrigerator.
Good thing we didn't go dancing as Dora had suggested. By 10:30, I was mostly trying to stay out of the way as they cleaned and rooted through boxes and laid out a mattress and did several set of sheets etc.
Dora out to work 11-11.
A couple of false alarms, then the car from the north arrived at 11. Loaded with stuff, and one of the twins was car-sick. I was wrong, people who told us the building car-door would open if a car was near it when we clicked the remote were right. They drove in and down to -4 in the parking garage. Three trips for 3 or 4 of us to haul everything up in the elevator.
So now there will be 11 of us in the apartment, for a week or so. Except Dora will be working, and her sister's husband has to go back north tomorrow night because he has to work.
My cough getting worse in the afternoon. Took a paracetamol and napped. Out for a bit to sit in VA plaza and then do groceries and fruit.
More napping, then took a Neobrufen, then we had a birthday party for the niece, Dora's father, and sister's husband. The cakes were delicious.
As expected, around 2 Dora's sister handed her smartphone to me, it's down to zero free space, I have to move stuff to a backup disk and remove obvious junk.
Took a sumatriptan, and half an hour felt better but tired.
Did sleep at all during the night. Headache, and cough. Finally at 5 or 6 AM, took a paracetamol and started antibiotics. Still can't sleep.
Found out later that niece still isn't feeling well, and one of the twins has been vomiting so much that they took him to the medical clinic. What's really flooring me is a sinus-type headache I can't get rid of. Probably should have taken sumatriptan, but Dora fed me Nolotil and various other pills, an inhaler, and something to help me sleep.
Finally got 4 or 5 hours of sleep in the evening. Up at 10:30 or so to eat soup, and felt half-decent, only the barest hint of a headache, and still a bad cough.
Dora out to work 3-11. Online, ordered some legal documents about Dora's sister's properties. Had to wade through various paper legal documents first, and the situation is not pretty.
Out before 6 to walk a little and buy fruit.
After a big screaming match with Dora about homework etc, niece is out to stay at friend's house overnight.
Dora's son and father both feeling a bit sick, maybe getting what the niece and I had.
Out at 3:30 or so (?) with Dora and sister and the 4-year-old twins. Down to F-i-P metro and out at Arc. The boy fell asleep on the metro and I had to carry him from the train, through the station, and across two streets to the Arc. His mother says he weighs about 20 KG, I was glad to put him on his feet as we woke him up.
Fun to walk through the Arc and down the promenade. We bought helium balloons for the kids. Down to Parc Ciutadella, across to the fountain area. Stopped for sodas and coffees. Around the corner to take pictures at the statue of a mammoth. To the rowing pond, and soon we're all piling onto a rowboat. I rowed us around, Dora kept wanting us to go longer and longer. then Dora wanted a turn, and while shifting positions I managed to let one of the balloons get away.
Out, and over to Born CC, making a couple of overshoots as Dora insisted on ranging out front of us although she didn't know where we were going. In and used bathrooms.
Out and across to a church. I felt strange going in holding a big blue shark helium balloon. But no one stopped me.
Then the plan kept changing. I thought we were going to the Jaume I metro and going in, Dora to work and the rest of us home. But when we got there, Dora led us into a cafe and went off to work.
So we rested and snacked. One of the twins found some coins under the seat-cushion of their chair, and that led to a treasure-hunt, they ended up finding €2 or 3.
Finally out, and over to the cathedral. In, but they're having masses, and kicked us out after 2 minutes. Stopped so the kids could chase soap-bubbles made by a street guy. Started heading for another metro, but had to stop for bathrooms, even though I'd told them the cafe had bathrooms and they didn't use them. Throngs of people everywhere. Up to Placa Catalunya.
Into Metro, crowded ride to F-i-P, tired walk home. Got in before 8:30. I flopped down on my bed to rest for an hour.
I'm up at 10:30. Felt well enough to do some exercise. Out to ATM after 1. Dora home at 2:30.
Out at 5 or so with twins and Dora and Dora's sister. To VA plaza and onto 82 bus, and up to Castell Torre Baro. Which was closed, and the restaurant nearby was closed, and it was a little chilly, but we enjoyed it anyway. Back down and to a cafe near home. Home by 7. I went to lie down.
Out after 1, with Dora and twins and father and sister and niece. Cool windy day. To metro, out at Vall d'Hebron, to special bus stop to go to Tibidabo. Why we're going to the top of the hill on a cool, windy day, I don't know. And this place is expensive, just about the most expensive excursion in Barcelona. And by doing this, we'll miss the free parades around the cathedral at 5 and 6.
Now they're doing ticketing down here, but it's a bad as ever, each family takes a couple of minutes to figure out what to buy. So the fairly short line takes 15+ minutes. Fortunately, Dora lets her father go home, then lets me duck out too (after paying for everything, €105 for tickets, gave Dora more money to cover food etc). I see Dora and sister and niece and twins onto a bus, where it looks like they won't get seats, then head for the metro. Home by 2.
Quiet afternoon and evening. Then we're wondering, as it gets later and later and the group isn't home from Tibidabo.
Finally they call after 10, they're at the local VA Metro stop and need help carrying the kids the last several blocks to home. So I hustle out and meet them. They load me up with a heavy shoulder-bag, and I carry one of the twins home while the rest follow us. In after 10:15. And the kids start playing with toys, they're not falling asleep. Dora is aching; I make a hot tea for her and she takes some pills.
Apparently the plan for tomorrow is that sister and twins will go to airport at 4 AM and tell police the ID card was just lost, need temporary papers so they can fly to the north. Hope it works.
Up at 11. Heard that everything went okay at the airport, sister and twins are back in the north now.
Out at 9:30 with Dora. To metro, to Diagonal, walked to a disco we haven't tried before. In, and took a while to get comfortable, seating a little limited, and the music was changing too often for my taste. A second room had some good music, we stayed there a little. Came back from dancing and found a waiter had cleared away our drinks with 1/3 still left in them.
Then suddenly people were clearing out, the second room closed, the dance floor mostly emptied, the music started winding down. So we danced a little more, hit the bathrooms, and out. It was only 11:30.
Down to metro and home after midnight.
Dora home after 5 after spending time in beauty parlor. She gulped some food, then tried to edit some files on the computer to fit abstracts under word-limits. We ended up annoyed with each other, and she went out to work late, so I had to give her money for a taxi. She's working 7-1.
Online, finally starting to change all my bank accounts etc from my NJ address to my Spain address, holding my breath that nothing breaks. Had to make a couple of Skype-calls to 401K company, but so far everything is working.
Out in evening to walk and do some shopping.
Dora home at 10:15, very tired.
Out a couple of times during the day for walks etc.
Received a package for Dora, paid €73. Found out later I'm supposed to use it to paint the living-room walls, pronto.
Headachey in the later evening; took a paracetamol.
Dora home at 11, with two ladies from her medical congress who will sleep here tonight.
Out in midafternoon for groceries.
Dora home after 11:45, very tired, and she has to go early tomorrow morning.
Out after noon to hit ATM. Out again before 1 with niece and father. Lots of people lined up to vote; it's election day. To niece's tutor, where I paid €190 (owed €10 change) for lessons for niece and her mother. To VA plaza to sit for a while.
Dora home after 5:30. Neobrufen for her, paracetamol for me. I went to lie down.
About 8:30, out with niece, to HCC to meet Dora and a friend of hers in a cafe. Food I didn't really want, some nice conversation. Finally out before 10, home before 10:15. Still headachey.
Train came quickly. Long Metro ride to Placa Espanya, and I had to stand all the way. Out and up to bus stop, and soon onto H12 bus. Had to stand again.
Out, went a bit the wrong direction for a couple of minutes, finally got there. On the way, Dora mentioned that she thinks her power of attorney may be expired, so this may be a problem. SNAFU.
And then we found out the trip had been a waste; whoever Dora had called and said the office was open until 5 had not mentioned that the building entrance was closed at 2:30.
As we head back to a bus stop, Dora mentions that she needed to take the papers right to a homeowner's-help meeting at 5 back near Placa Espanya. No point in going to that, now.
Onto bus, to Placa Espanya, into Metro station. To a cafe and relaxed with drinks. Onto L1 metro, which is delayed and jam-packed. Standing all the way, of course.
Home by 5:15 or so, and I laid down for a while. Dora starts scanning documents into the computer, for some other chore she has to do with a medical association.
Tried to change address on my credit card from USA to Spain, Skype-calling to USA, and twice agents said no problem, but made minor mistakes. Third time, agent says they're sending out letters this month saying if you do that, they close your account. So I'll have to work around that somehow.
Headache in late evening; took a paracetamol.
I ended up cooking dinner, and Dora's mother was very late coming home from banks etc, and tired.
Dora home at midnight, very tired.
Afterwards, to HCC with Dora and niece, to get ice-cream at McDonald's and walk around. Home before 4:30.
Out at 8:45 with Dora, to find a place to watch the big Barca - Liverpool football game. To a sports bar just a block away, which turned out to be far bigger than we expected, with pool tables and hookah-smoking etc. But most tables are reserved, and we found one only to be told there was a €30 charge for the table ! Moved to a smaller table with no charge, but it was in the back under a bright light and there was a forest of heads blocking our view of the TV screen, which was massive but too low down. Out of there.
Walked down to a place we've been before, but it was full. Same at a smaller place. Walked a big figure-8 trying to find a place, even looking in HCC. Lucked onto a small place in an unusual direction, and we'd missed the first 25 minutes of the game. But our timing was good, a minute or two later Barca scored the first goal.
Watched the rest of the game, which was a corker. Coffees and a very nice leg of roast lamb. Tough game, Barca won 3-0, but it could have gone either way. Lots of fun.
Home by 11:15, and fortunately Dora has given up on her idea of going dancing tonight, especially since she has to be up early for a job interview tomorrow.
We went to bed, but I couldn't get to sleep until about 2, and I think Dora got up around 3 or 4.
Out around noon, and came back €400 lighter. To locutorio to buy a couple of calling-cards. To ATM. To niece's school where I paid €388 for tuition and lots of other charges including a trip-charge I didn't understand. To Dia for groceries.
Dora home around 3:30, and after some food, she's falling asleep. We went in for a nap.
I'm out at 6 or so, to ferreteria, to buy masking tape and a 5-liter bucket of paint for the living room walls.
Out at 8:40 or so with Dora, me carrying a big box to ship (although it weighed only 12 KG). Hauled it to ECI, and found we were there with only a few minutes to spare, they closed at 9, not 10. Shipped the box, took a quick look at disk drives, out. To estanco where Dora chatted with her friend who runs it, while I sat outside. She paid a €13 tab the niece ran up at the store. Home before 9:45.
Then Dora immediately starts preparing another box to ship. I'm supposed to buy a disk drive and then ship that box tomorrow, I think.
Out at 11, to ECI to buy 2 TB disk for Dora's son, €75. Raining steadily and moderately hard.
We have to go out the door to catch train to airport and meet people, and of course Dora arrives home late from the beauty parlor and says we'll take the next train, the people will have to wait in the airport.
So out before 1. Longish walk through rain to FIP metro, ride to Clot, go to train station section. Found that father's metro-pass is no good for the train, so I stupidly bought a roundtrip ticket for him instead of going back to the metro side and buying a T-10.
10-minute wait for the train, then on and to the airport before 2. Longish walk to the shuttle-bus, then over to the international terminal.
Had a bit of trouble finding the people we were there to meet, relatives arrived from Peru, because they didn't recognize each other at first. I guess it's been a while since they've seen each other.
We sit down, some of us hit the bathrooms, I gather maps from Tourist Info, then I buy food and drink. They talk and talk, and every now and then I'm poking Dora, telling her they need to get to the rental-car counters and see about a car. They're staying in Sitges, south of Barcelona, because some relative in Madrid told them to. Bad idea, because the husband needs to go to an international-studies institute in Barcelona every weekday.
Finally I lead them and Dora to the rental-car counters, and it's almost 3 hours before everything is set. They had trouble with debit and credit cards, one person paying while the other is the driver, all kinds of stuff. I mostly sat and waited with Dora's father and the grandmother who came from Peru, and spoke my limping Castellano to the lady.
Finally we head for the parking garage, get confused a couple of times, get there, more confusion, finally get to the car and load it up. Say goodbyes and Dora and father and I head for shuttle bus, train, walk home through very light rain.
Home at 8:15, and we're beat. Then I realize I need to do some errands before tomorrow morning, at a couple of shops and metro I just walked past. So back out into the light rain and did the errands. Home again and had some food and drink.
To bed at 11, slept well.
Dora's cleaning and moving boxes etc, and I just avoid it by going to lie on our bed and nap and listen to MP3's.
Out with Dora to buy a ton of fruit and veg, then to a shop to buy new pillows and sheets.
After dinner, I start getting ready to paint living room walls. Dora has bought some miracle-tools from a show on the TV, so I have to figure them out. I get started, and the edging tool barely works. The roller tool and corner-tool are better, but I could have done as well with the usual roller and brush (for much less money).
I planned to stop after one wall, but Dora tells me to keep going. She's helping with taping and stuff, and moving furniture. The TV said you could paint your living-room in 20 minutes, but it takes me about 3 hours to do 2/3 of ours. The first wall where I was painting white over white looks fine, but the second wall was white over tan, and it could use a second coat. And I don't think I have quite enough paint left to do the remaining wall anyway.
Cleanup, moving furniture back, then shower and some food.
In late night, Dora's hands and arms aching badly, I guess from ironing and cleaning and moving furniture.
As we're getting ready to go to Sitges, Dora asks me to super-glue her shoes. But the glue comes out a lot faster than I expected, goes a lot further than I wanted, now I have both paint and glue on my fingers.
Out around noon with Dora and father and niece. Tried to hit an ATM, but the only guy ahead of me was doing multiple transactions or failing each time or something; I gave up. Into VA metro, and long ride to Sants Estacio, standing all the way.
Bought a 10-trip ticket for €28 or so. Down to the track, and the train came within 10 minutes. On, and it's packed, I had to stand again.
To Sitges. I wanted to walk the 10-12 blocks to the apartment, but Dora arranged for them to come in the car to pick us up. So we had to wait 10-15 minutes.
To the apartment, and we relax for a while. These are relatives from Peru, and later a family friend from Peru.
After while, we had a dinner. Later, we all went down to the swimming pool. I said it was too cold to swim in, but the niece insisted. So she and I went swimming, and it was cold.
Out, dried off, and now they want to go to the beach. Great, it's only about 4 blocks away. But no, they want to go in the car to a hotel on the beach a 10-15 minute drive away. Foolishly, I wear my swimming clothes.
We get dropped off, then a long fairly cold wait while Dora goes into the hotel and changes into a swimsuit. Eventually she's out, but we go inside the hotel lobby to get out of the wind while we wait. Eventually the car shows up and the friend joins us. By now, the wind is strong, and sucking all the heat out of us, and there's not much sun left.
We head over a couple of blocks to sand beach, and now I'm really cold, worried about hypothermia. The only relief is on one side of a shack, where we're sheltered from the wind. Soon Dora and niece go to water's edge, and I go with them, and we take some photos. They splash in water up to their ankles, but we're all cold.
Out and back to the car to send the niece home, and we're back to the hotel, and I'm really chilled, and have a headache. I take a paracetamol, cover up with clothing, and doze while we wait yet again for the car.
Finally into the car and then home, and I get into warm clothing and start to recover.
We have birthday-cake for Dora's birthday, and a little cup of hot oatmeal-type stuff for each of us. Dora is talking and talking, while the friend and I are trying to get us moving toward the train station, it's getting late.
Finally out and into the car and to the train station, with about 2 minutes to spare to catch the 9:22 train. Plenty of seats, and I hand out powerbars to niece and the others.
To Sants Estacio a bit after 10, bathroom stop, then to the metro. Say goodbye to the friend. Onto crowded metro train, but miraculously we all get seats.
Long metro ride to VA. Home by 10:45, and we're all pretty tired and bit hungry. Took a Neobrufen and slept well.
Out at 10:15 with Dora. Brief stop at niece's school to question a payment I made, ended up coming away with an additional payment I have to make. Into FIP metro.
Long ride to Placa Espanya. Quickly onto a bus, and to Justice center. We're trying to find out the state of the bank's mortgage on her sister's apartment, the apartment we're living in.
Several false starts, then got directed to the central information desk, where we stood in line for 20-30 minutes. It's clear Dora's going to completely miss her 12-2 Catalan class today, as I thought.
Finally a consultation, then sent to a series of offices. I thought we were making progress and gathering information, but later I found out everyone was just saying "get a lawyer and ask the lawyer". Well, the sister has a lawyer, but in the South not here in Barcelona, and she either is ignoring the lawyer or not telling us what is going on. At one point, we thought the legal process was over and eviction was next, but by the end it sounds like that still could be avoided or at least be some months away.
Out to another building, then another. Last stop is a free-help place, which is crowded. Dora stands through a 10-minute line and is told to start at Social help place in local govt complex, I think.
Out and into a restaurant, but now Dora is mad and in a hurry, and irritates the staff. We get out of there, catch a taxi to near her work, and go into a small Peruvian place. I don't like it, not much space, I'm jammed in and we're sharing a table with another couple. Dora eats a couple of first courses and some bread, then has to go to work. I get my second course, eat it, get hers to go, pay.
Out, into metro, connect at Diagonal, home around 4:30. "Good" news: the second notice of the huge water-bill finally has arrived in the mail, so now I can pay it. For some reason, the first notice never includes a bar-code, so I never can pay it. I go lie down for a while.
Out at 6:15 or so. To ATM and got a wad of cash. To ECI to pay the water bill, but there was a huge line, so I skipped it. To Mercadona for groceries.
Out again at 8:15. To ECI and only 2 people in line. Paid the water bill.
I'm tired in the evening, and Dora must be dead tired, she's still working.
I'm out at 3:45, to niece's school to pay a bill, then to Dia for groceries.
Out before 5 with Dora, to niece's school to pick her up. I went to ferreteria and bought shipping tape, paintbrush, and another 5 liters of white paint.
Home, and started emptying furniture and moving it away from the wall I have to paint. Slowly got things going, started doing edging with the brush, and Dora taped mouldings. When it came time to use the roller, the niece wanted to try, but after 30 seconds she was bored, and left it to me.
More bad news from the relatives in Sitges. The husband drove into Barcelona to go to the international institute for his class or whatever, and found there's a €10 congestion charge for driving into the city, and parking at the institute costs €13 per day. And today he looked at his driver's license and realized it expired in March.
Didn't need the second 5 liters of paint I bought today; finished the living-room just as the first jug of paint ran out.
Done painting by 8:30 or so, and cleaned up and moved furniture back. Really done by 9. The wall I did today looks fine, but the long wall I did a few days ago, over darker paint, definitely needs a second coat with the roller. And Dora wants me to paint the hallway and then the middle bedroom, I think. So the paint won't go unused.
Shower, paracetamol, food, adult beverage.
Online, paid tax bill to IRS; apparently I didn't click a field in the software to calculate my tax, so it left a zero in the field. Stupid software.
Dora out again to Catalan class.
After dinner, I'm out to sit in VA plaza (warm day), hit ATM, get groceries.
After 6, out with Dora to walk her to metro to work 7-1, sit n VA plaza, then groceries.
Went for a walk at 10:30. Warm out.
Did some work on my Spanish wealth tax filing.
Out in midafternoon to sit in VA plaza and walk. Dora home from class, long enough to eat and to tell me she has to be at the congress a day early, so I have to look at everything again. Then she's back out to class for an hour. And her sister and the relatives are coming to visit tonight, so I have to go buy fixings for dinner.
Dora and sister arrived from airport by taxi at 8.
The plane tickets just are not working, €700 or more for the 3 of us roundtrip to Rome. Later, Dora tells me she has to work (in Barcelona) until 1 AM on the Thursday and then be in Rome for a (nominally) 9 AM class at the congress, further tying my hands on the tickets. Now I don't want to go, but her mother wants to go to see the Pope, and someone has to escort her mother while Dora is in the congress.
For some reason, Ryanair doesn't like my PC, had to use Dora's. Started to make progress on tickets, then the relatives from Sitges arrived, and Dora started serving food. Bought tickets to Rome, but no confirmation has arrived in my email. Paid €444 (at a extortionate exchange rate to USD: $531) for the three of us and slightly more than hand-luggage, roundtrip.
Got a confirmation a couple of hours later. So we have tickets to Rome.
The relatives gave us some fine foods from Peru, including a very expensive coffee that has been eaten by a ferret or something and then excreted and processed. Dora was laughing when she gave that one to me, but I know what it is. (It's from Chanchamayo highlands in Peru.)
Almost 1 AM, and it appears the relatives are sleeping here tonight !
Dora and I out at 10:20, to go see an apartment. Dora forgot the address and didn't have a phone number, so it took us a while to find it (FIP 159). Turned out to be a lovely all-new place on top (7th or 8th) floor of a building close to niece's school. Terraces on both sides, with great views. But only one bathroom (I'd like two), no air-conditioning (big problem for Dora), and rent €1500/month. Dora desperately wants an apartment just for the two of us, but I'm leery of paying an extra €1800/month (rent, utilities) on top of what we're paying already. I want to wait until the legal situation of the current apartment is resolved. And Dora's parents and niece really need someone living with them.
Trying to finalize the AirBNB for Rome, but Dora (and her sister and her mother) is out for the rest of the day. And she hasn't registered for next week's congress yet, either.
Out at 3 or so with the relatives. To VA metro, rode L5, out at Sagrada Familia. They took lots of pictures. But we don't have tickets to go inside. We walk around, more pictures. Lots of tourists everywhere. Then they want to go to Placa Catalunya, a little awkward to get to from here.
But into the metro, 2 stops, connect at Diagonal, 2 stops, Placa Catalunya. We come out and find a bench and it's time to feed the baby. So we sit there for about an hour. Pleasant at first, but a little windy and cool later. We watch a swarm of police gather across the street and searching a couple of guys.
Then up and into the plaza, which is loaded with pigeons and people. As I'm walking in, some idiot stampedes all the pigeons into flight, and I stand still and turn away as a thousand pigeons go rocketing close past me.
Lots of picture-taking in the plaza, with pigeons and feeding pigeons etc. Feels nice to be out in the sun.
We start to go into El Corte Ingles to shop for a stroller, but that gets vetoed. We go down through Placa Angel, and to the Cathedral plaza, which is a big hit. Loads of people everywhere. Lots of picture-taking.
Finally done, and we go down along the side of the cathedral and to Jaume I metro station. Wait for train, and it's very full, but we push onto it. After 1 stop the mother with baby gets a seat, after 2 more the grandmother gets a seat, and a couple after that we all have seats.
Out at Llucmajor and walk home. Home at 6:45, tired.
At 7, the relatives leave.
Message from Dora says her mother won't go to Rome without the niece, and we don't want the niece to miss 2 days of school plus gymnastics plus sessions with her tutor. So I may have wasted €148+ on a plane ticket. On the other hand, I'll have a better time in Rome without the mother, and our AirBNB should be slightly cheaper.
Dora is home after 8, and she has a kidney stone, with pain and frequent urination and later feeling worse.
Out at 10:30 or so with Dora and sister, to emergency room. It's full of people waiting. Dora gets in within 5 minutes, but only to drop off a urine sample, then we wait and wait. She's finally in by about midnight, and she's in for a long time. Out before 1; they gave her a pain shot and prescriptions and a "don't have to go to work" paper.
Home at 1:15. I'm straight to bed, and I think the sister is too, she has to get up at 7:30 to take niece to gymnastics. But Dora stays up for a while.
Dora feeling bad again after dinner.
In midafternoon, finally got the Rome AirBNB apartment done. Took about 8 tries to pay, had to fall back to PayPal. A little more expensive than I wanted, but it should be nice. Also Dora paid for her congress and course, which required me to set up a PayPal account for her.
Out a couple of times for various groceries and other items.
In the evening, Dora doing facial treatment on her sister.
Restaurant is full, and it's a small place. We wait only 5-10 minutes for a group to finish and we get the table, but then it takes a LONG time for the food to come. The tamales and soda are disappointing, the chicken and potatoes and salad and sauces are fine. Desserts, lounge for a while, home after 4:30.
Dora feeling bad. I did some taping of woodwork in the hallway, she did some phone calls. Then we crashed for a long nap. I'm up at 7, headachey, but ready to paint. Took a paracetamol.
Painted the hallway for almost 3 hours. Lots of doorways and fittings to tape, and then a lot of the painting was with the brush. Like the one wall in the living-room, it's over tan paint, and will need a second coat.
Done and into shower after 10. Still headachey. Took a Neobrufen. Later gave in and took a sumatriptan.
In the evening, I put a second coat of paint on the one living-room wall and the hallway. Didn't intend to do brushwork, but some of the edges really needed it, so I did that. Done by 8. Dora and mother out to medical clinic. I had to go out to meet them to carry their groceries home. Headachey in late evening; took a paracetamol-plus.
I cooked dinner, and it went over fairly well.
Headachey; took a Neobrufen. Out in the evening with Dora and her mother. To Pakistani phone shop, then mother went home and Dora and I continued. To Correos desk in ECI, then to Correos office by Llucmajor. Then to a jewelry shop Dora knows, where she's friendly with the people.
I thought she had picked out a ring to buy, for around €500. Instead, I found she wanted to buy "couples rings" for the two of us, plain 18K gold bands for a total of €400 or €500. I don't want to do this. Then we looked at diamond rings for her, pretty small diamonds, rings in price range of €1000. Lots of talking, then finally we got out without making any commitment. Home by 9:15. I want to do some research, and look online.
Headache; took a paracetamol-plus.
Out after 2, lugging a bag full of folders and papers for Dora. To VA metro, met Dora as she went past in a train. We went to Vall d'Hebron hospital, up the hill to the HR office, and she spent over an hour typing stuff into the computer and talking to a worker there. I dozed and listened to MP3s. When we came out, she said it had been a great visit, she got a lot accomplished and got a lot of questions answered. Home after 5.
Dora out to farmacia and (tried) to gestor. Back.
At 9 PM, apparently Dora's mother has decided to go to Rome with us. And after 9, I find out the niece is going, too. She doesn't have a plane ticket, but Dora is trying to buy one for her. Going seems to be no problem, returning is a problem. I'm washing my hands of it, it's Dora's problem.
Trip to Rome:
No traffic but plenty of traffic lights. To airport by 4:15 or so. The women into the bathroom for a while, then out and into check-in line. A bit of a delay at the check-in counter, because indeed Dora's mother has brought two small suitcases instead of the limit of 1, and some of our suitcases are a little bigger than their limit. But we get checked-in, and the women head back into the bathroom supposedly to reduce 5 suitcases to 4 and throw one away. But they come out and we still have 5 suitcases.
I have arranged wheelchair assistance for Dora's mother, and that solved all our problems. Friendly guy who enabled us to bypass all the lines, arrive at the gate just before boarding started, jump past two long lines of people waiting, and breeze in with all of our luggage, no problems about number or sizes.
Despite the lines, I'm surprised to find we end up with empty seats in the plane. Niece and mother get to sit together, and Dora and I each have an empty seat next to us. Uneventful flight, but at one point we went over an island with a snow-capped mountain at one end, and I didn't know what it was. Later looking on internet, I'm still not sure, maybe Corsica, too small to be Sardinia.
Land, haul our luggage out of the plane, wheelchair waiting for mother. Through terminal and to taxi line. Lots of freelancers trying to get us to their cars, but we go to the official line. Friendly driver, and he's a pretty good driver.
Long ride through bad traffic, but fortunately we're going to one of the nearest corners outside the city, not into the city. Lots of winding back roads, but eventually we end up at the hotel where the medical congress is housed. €53 plus a small tip for the taxi. Arrived at 9 or so, Dora's class is starting now.
It's a Waldorf Astoria resort hotel, way out of our league, with attendants everywhere who would like to help us. But we get in and find the congress area, and they're willing to stash our suitcases until this afternoon. One problem overcome.
Then Dora is into a class, and niece and mother and I don't know what to do. When this trip was just Dora and me, I had planned to take a bus down into the city and walk around. But now I'm stuck with mother and niece and too much luggage to move.
We move outside onto the terrace, and rest on sofas overlooking the pool. Nice day, nice place. But we're tired and hungry. I go inside and order a Coke and a slice of lemon-cake for each of us, that's about the limit of the selection available. We eat and drink and feel better, but the niece wants more.
An hour later, when I pay, I find out that our little snack cost me €27 ! I go downstairs and check out the restaurant, and prices are at least as high down there, we're not buying anything more in this place. We sit and doze.
I get Wi-Fi on my phone, and send WhatsApp messages to Dora, but it's well after 11:15 when she comes out and meets us. She has a tiny bit of food from the class: a thin sandwich and a glass of orange juice. The niece eats most of it, maybe Dora's mother gets a little. Dora and I go back inside and stand through a line to get one more sandwich and a jar of juice, and take it out to the others.
Looks like Dora's class has another 2 hours to go. She goes back in, and I head out to see if there are any stores in the area. Dora has been here before, she says there are some down the hill.
I find the area without any trouble, but it's a bit far for the mother to walk, and I wouldn't have taken her on an exploratory walk anyway. I go into a small grocery shop and buy a couple of kinds of cookies and a couple of apples, and back up the hill to the hotel. We eat and feel better, but the niece wants something with salt on it.
Finally Dora's out at 1:30 or so. We hit the bathrooms, retrieve the luggage, haul it out front, and get a taxi. This driver is a stereotypical Italian male hotdog, flooring it, tailgating everyone (even motorcycles). But we get there in a hurry, and the ride costs only €15. I noticed he was driving with his door ajar and no seatbelt, and I couldn't see any meter. So I think this trip was "off the books".
Out at our apartment, but we're early, and hungry. So around the corner and find a nice Italian restaurant, almost empty. Mother has lasagna, Dora has Tagliatelle, niece has spaghetti Carbonara, I have a pizza "capriciosa" (ham, egg, olives, artichoke, mushroom). We enjoy the food, but then Dora tells me that her son is coming from Slovakia to join us, now. Trip for 2 has turned into trip for 5. Fortunately the apartment sleeps 6, but I have to pay more for each person.
The others go to the apartment, I stay behind to pay the €50 bill. To the apartment, and the owner is friendly, but collecting €52.50 accomodation tax that is paid to the govt, and tonight he'll be back for €120 to pay for Dora's son staying here too.
The apartment is nice, everything's fine, except few electrical outlets and the extension-cord and expander I've brought don't fit in the outlets. But our chargers all fit into the outlets, so no big problem.
Dora's son arrives after 4. After 4:30, he and Dora are out to get him something to eat. Looking around 20 minutes later, I see that niece and mother went out with them too.
I went out around 6:30. Kept half an eye out for the others, but it would be an amazing chance to find them. I went up to St Peter's, stopping at a couple of ATMs before I found one that would give me €200. St Peter's was closed as expected, but the plaza had lots of people.
Walked down to the river, and Castle St Angelo. Bought an electrical adapter from a street-vendor. Walked around the Justicia building, then got slightly lost, couldn't find our street coming out of the far end of Piazza Cavour. Not seriously lost, but my map doesn't show all the streets, and it took me 4 or 5 blocks to get right.
Home by 7:45 or so, and the others are home, and they're beat. They walked and shopped and got a bit lost too. Dora is feeling sick and has a headache.
Soon I'm out to the supermarket-coop on the back side of this block, and buy a load of groceries and supplies. Home, stash it, and soon back out for another load. And as I left the store I think they were getting ready to close.
Online with Ryanair, was able to get a ticket for niece to return to Barcelona on same flight as the rest of us. Paid $267 one-way, but had to do it, and it's a relief to have that fixed.
Then Dora's son tells me that Dora told him the wrong end date, so he's staying in Rome one day more than the rest of us, and has to find a place to stay on Sunday night.
Then suddenly no one is using the bathroom at all, and I get a shave and shower. Can't figure out how to get the water to come from the showerhead, but Dora tells me the secret.
Out at 10:30 to walk Dora to the metro, down Via Ottaviano, a shopping street she knows very well, and I remember from our last trip. Then I headed for a supermarket, finding an ATM along the way. A little confusion finding the supermarket, but got there and got groceries and got home by 11. Dora's son still not up.
Out at 12:30 with son and niece and mother. Up 4 blocks and over 3 and into Piazza San Pietro, and we find a LONG line to get into the basilica, a line that covers half the circumference of the piazza.
We get on line, and it moves reasonably well, but still we're 15 minutes getting to the end of it and through Security. Up and into the basilica, which is a bit crowded.
We wander through, taking pictures etc. Pics By the end of it, Dora's mother is exhausted and never wants to walk anywhere again, and the niece is dying of hunger. I gave powerbars to both of them while we were waiting in line, and now give powerbars to them again as we sit on the steps outside for 10 minutes or so.
Finally up, and across the piazza and heading toward home. We pick a cafe in Piazza Risorgimiento, because I don't think the mother can go any further, and she agrees. A decent meal, but €70 and not as good as yesterday's dinner.
Home by 3:15 or so. Niece immediately wants more powerbars, I won't give them, she starts eating muesli.
Out late to see if the print shop nearby was open, and had trouble finding it, because it was closed with a heavy barrier pulled down over it, and the restaurant next door had parked a table of 10 people on the sidewalk in front of it.
Dora not leaving the medical congress until around 7:30, but she had down to walk to a bus stop, just missed one bus and had to wait for next one. I walked to the bus stop near Ottaviano metro, and she had already arrived and was sitting outdoor at a cafe. She's tired, and lugging 4 bags of stuff. She had a coffee, we got groceries in a small Carrefour Express next door, then home by 9 or so.
Dora cooked tagliatelle for us; she says no more eating out, it's too expensive.
Out with Dora after midnight; she wants to go to Piazza Navonna. We caught the 492 bus a block from our apartment, and I suspect it was the last run of the night. Ticket machine was broken, so a free ride. Off and the walked in wrong direction for a while, had to backtrack, but it's a nice night and we're in a fashion-shop district. Eventually got to the piazza, and sat for a while and took some pictures.
Then Dora wanted to head in the wrong direction, said we'd end up at Termini station where all the buses start. But I can't even find the station on my map. And we ended up in the center, near the north end of the Colosseum district.
Luckily, Dora found a stop for the night-7 bus, which will work for us, and it came in 5 or 10 minutes. On, and it retraced our route. Crossed the river and we got off, maybe one stop earlier than we could have. But across the piazza and up Crescenzio about 8 blocks and we're home. At 2 AM.
Up, shower, breakfast, rain has stopped and sun is coming out a little, but the others want to wait until later to go out. And Dora's mother doesn't want to go out at all today.
Got an AirBNB hotel room for Dora's son for Sunday night, and it also solves our what-to-do-with-the-luggage problem on Sunday. The place is only about 3 blocks from here, even better.
Out at 12:45 to print plane tickets and hit an ATM. And of course the copy-shop one block away closed at 12. Another I found is closed on Saturdays. Tried a couple of ATMs. Walked up and down, eventually found an ATM that worked for me, and 2 doors away an internet cafe where I did the printing. Home at 1:45.
Dinner before three, and then we're STILL not ready to go out, son has to take a shower. I go out and find a tabac shop to buy bus tickets.
Finally out after 4 with son and niece. To nearby bus stop, and a group of people have been waiting for the 492 bus too, I think. After we're there about 5 minutes, they give up and walk. We wait almost 30 minutes for the bus; I think one bus must have had a problem or missed a rotation. But then we're onto a crowded bus, and stand. We get off earlier than planned, and walk to the Pantheon.
Loads of people everywhere. And the Pantheon is closed 4-6 for a mass, so we can't go in. It's 5:15. We linger for a few minutes, then head across to the Trevi Fountain. Crowds everywhere. We go down to the lower level of the fountain area, and son and niece take pictures of each other and throw coins in the fountain. Pics
Eventually we break out of the crowd.. I stop in a church for a minute, but the others won't even go in. We start heading east. We do a little window-shopping; this is a shopping street Dora likes. As we near Piazza Barbieri, a little rain starts. We find a shop and get gelatos, and when we come out the rain has stopped. Wander toward the piazza, eating ice cream and looking at shops.
Get to the piazza, go to the fountain in the middle, and finish our ice creams. Then, looking around, we notice that every metro entrance is chained closed; the station is closed.
So we head back down, I buy bus tickets on the way, and then we wait 10 minutes or more for a bus. On, and niece and I get seats. But the bus is packed.
Cross the river, get onto street for our apartment, and son and I are trying to coordinate our exit. But he hops off before niece and I can get to the doors, and we're carried another 6 blocks and past our apartment before we can get off. But no problem, we meet at the apartment door. Home by 7:15 or so.
Dora is home, in bed, and groggy and very tired. I lie down and nap with her for more than an hour. Up by 9 and have some food, and after a while, others are stirring.
I'm out for a walk, down to the castle and up to St Peter's and then home. Nothing special happening. Tonight is the "night of the museums", but I don't think too many museums here are doing much for it, and none of them are near us. And we're all tired, with an early day tomorrow.
Get home, and good timing, Dora has just finished cooking.
Then everyone's upset with everyone else, about luggage and bathroom and where we're going today etc. No shave or shower for me.
Finally we get the luggage done, we're leaving it here until later in the day, and everyone but the son is out at 9:05. And of course it's raining. At the building door, Dora says she's off to the congress, and leaves. Her mother sends the niece back to the apartment to get a coat, so we wait another 5 minutes for that.
Then the slow walk up to the Vatican and Piazza San Pietro; Dora's mother can't walk fast. We find Security screening at the outer perimeter, and then the niece and I get separated from Dora's mother and her mother has to wait in a later group. Then the niece is talking to someone who's already gone through Security, and it's Dora ! What is she doing here ? She wants me to tell the police to let her mother go first, she's an old lady, but I'm not going to tell police what to do.
Then we're all through, and we go up to the basilica. Dora and niece disappear while I'm waiting for her mother. We get inside, and can't find Dora anywhere. Ten minutes later I call her on the phone, and she says she's going to the congress and taking the niece with her, they'll be back to see the Pope at noon.
Dora's mother and I look around the basilica a little, and watch a procession of priests and altar boys and I guess a cardinal come in and go up to the altar at the far end. A mass is starting at 10:30. I'm going in and out, Dora's son is supposed to be coming here soon. Pics
We go around and up to the front to try to see the mass, and can't get close to it, you need a ticket to get into the actual mass area. Then we get moved along on one direction, and end up going down stairs to the crypts, not what we intended.
Eventually through them and dumped outside again, and we go around and back in. Soon I find Dora's son, and we sort-of-sit on some stonework and relax for a while.
Around 11:40, the mass is still going on. We head out into the piazza to see the Pope. It's fairly full, but not as bad as I remember from 3 years ago when Dora and I were here. Mother and son get a corner of a column-base to sit on, I have to stand.
Then the Pope appears at a high window on the other side of the piazza, everyone cheers, and lots of people get up, so I grab a seat on a column-base. I can see the Pope on a screen, which is good enough for me. He gives a speech in Italian, mentions a bunch of groups who are here in the crowd, blesses everyone, and is done in about 20 minutes.
We wait 10 minutes until the crowd thins, then make our way out, the way we came in. Dora's mother buys some souvenirs, and a Coke to boost her blood-sugar.
Now we head for an AirBNB where the son is going to stay tonight. We find it, get in, and the owner/manager is completely confused. He expected one person, here are three, he thinks we are two different groups, then he thinks two of us are staying the night. But he speaks Spanish, so soon we get it straightened out. Son gets keys, pay accomodation tax, I use the Wi-Fi while they use the bathroom. Dora isn't responding to our messages.
We head back to the original apartment, only a few blocks away, and start looking for a restaurant. Most are closed, but we find a nicer-than-we-wanted place on the next street over. Order food and get Cokes and keep trying to contact Dora. She's staying at the Congress longer than she intended. We're running up against a 3 PM deadline to get our luggage from the original apartment. I have a nice pizza, and the other both have lasagna, and the food is good.
Finally Dora says she's on a bus, and we pay and head to the apartment. The owner is very friendly and helps me carry the luggage out, and talks to us on the street. Then he has to go.
It's about 2:45, and we start waiting for Dora, and trying to send messages to her. We wait, and wait, and wait. Nowhere to sit. At least it's not raining.
Finally she and niece show up after 3:30. She lied to us about the bus (we think), and stopped to buy a suitcase, and then went to the wrong street (but that should have added about 2 minutes). The niece has been thoroughly bored all day, but perks up when I give her a piece of pizza I saved from our lunch.
Now I'm trying to hail a cab, but we need a big one, and they're all not stopping for me. Finally I hail a small one, Dora and I are shouting at each other, she tells me to go to the piazza to find a big one. The son and I go about a block in that direction and then suddenly a biggish one stops for him. So we get in and drive a block and start loading luggage. Say goodbye to the son, and we're off.
To the airport by about 4:40, plenty of time for our 6:15 flight. But Dora has to re-pack the luggage to match the weight limits, and of course today she acquired 5+ kilos of medical brochures to add to our already-pushing-the-limits luggage, and she's brought the leftover shampoo and stuff I wanted to just leave in the apartment. She re-packs and throws away half of the brochures as I take suitcase after suitcase to a scale to get the weights. I'm hot and sweaty.
Fortunately a short line at check-in, but the agent checks everything, every weight and the sizes of the suitcases. But we're all legal. Nothing said about the niece having an adult ticket (I had to fake her age so I could buy her solo ticket); I'm sure the adult ticket cost extra anyway, so they have nothing to complain about. Check the bigger bags, go off to wait for a wheelchair-assistant for the mother. I take off my coat and hoodie and feel cooler. Wheelchair appears in about 5 minutes.
The others go to a special line, but I have to go through the normal Security line. Not too bad, and I get to the gate ahead of them. Hit the bathroom, grab a seat, watch all the stuff while the others use the bathroom. Niece eats the second piece of pizza I saved from lunch.
Before long, the flight starts boarding. Through the gate, down ramps, onto a bus. Wait for it to mostly fill, then long drive to the plane. Up narrow stairs and in. Stow the suitcase and sit in my middle seat.
But fortunately, again every seat on the flight is not full, and I'm able to move to the window seat and leave the middle open between me and some guy on the aisle. Uneventful flight. Lots of cloud and rain over Barcelona as we approach.
Land, I'm off quickly, sit and wait 10 minutes for the others to appear, with mother in a wheelchair. Through the terminal and to baggage claim, and get our bags. To taxi line, and there's no line, we get a big cab right away. A woman driver, and she and Dora talk nonstop all the way.
Home after 9, and haul everything up to the apartment. Soon a shower and then food. But Dora says her relatives from Sitges will arrive tonight to say goodbye before flying back to Peru. So I have to get dressed again, can't just go to bed. I take a Neobrufen.
No sign of the relatives. At 11:25 I interrupt Dora on the phone, and she says they're not coming tonight, they're coming tomorrow at 7 AM. Wish she'd told me earlier. To bed.
[So, not a great trip. Spent more than 2x what I planned (happens when you add 3 people at the last minute), and didn't get to any museums. But Dora did her congress, mother saw St Peter's and the Pope, we had some good meals, I learned about more areas of Rome, etc.]
Dora home after 2:30, as I'm going out for a bit. Walked a little, sat a little, got groceries.
Home, and Dora is in jammies and watching TV after eating. She's falling asleep in front of the TV, too.
Around noon, everyone's out for various reasons, and I go out to buy ribs and fruit/veg. Home, and I start cooking dinner. Salad, rice, vegs, ribs. Niece and father home at 1:15, but niece doesn't want to eat. Dora says she and her mother are on their way home, but before 2 I give up and father and I start eating. Dora and mother home 10 minutes later.
Out with Dora around 4:45. To VA metro, out at VdH, catch H4 bus, go to medical association building. I sit outside for half an hour while Dora gets some certificate. Back onto H4 bus, a bit of confusion as we get separated at VdH metro station, but we meet on the platform, take the metro to VA.
I thought we might go to a cafe, but at last minute we go to optometrist, where Dora's parents are being measured for new eyeglasses. Then niece shows up with a friend and friend's mother, they've been to visit a gymnasium. They talk and talk, I wait outside, it's getting cooler. Father goes home.
Finally the talking is done. Dora and I go home, mother and niece stop in a cafe to buy a slice of cheesecake for the niece. Home by 8:30.
She heads off to get a taxi and go to class, I go home. Warm day, just about T-shirt weather.
Switched off the pipes to the leaking solar-heat water-tank.
Out after dinner, to walk and sit and hit ATM and get groceries.
Opened the U-trap under the kitchen sink and removed all kinds of gunk. The drain had started backing up a little.
Out at 6 to meet Dora and niece at the medical clinic. Got there and couldn't find them. They came in 10 minutes later, they stopped at some lingerie shop or something.
Waited 10 minutes or so, they went in to the nurse, and she told them it's no emergency, go away and make an appointment (which I've already done, for next week).
Up to the jewelry shop, and in there Dora loves to talk, while the niece and I are standing around bored. I prod Dora a couple of times, and they bring out the diamonds they have to offer. Dora wanted a thickish ring, a big stone, and for me to spend a lot of money. They've only satisfied the third point. Thin ring, natural (I assume) diamond of 0.27 to 0.30 carat, for about €960. I can buy an equivalent (maybe; don't know about cut and clarity) natural-diamond ring on Amazon.es for 1/3 that price. Or a much bigger lab-grown diamond ring. But Dora doesn't want to buy online, she wants to buy in the place where she's chatted with them for hours over the last few years. And I guess buying online is not romantic.
Eventually out of the shop, start heading home, then Dora takes niece and they're headed for metro and Placa Catalunya for something. I stop in a fruit shop, then home by 7:30.
Out at 5 or so to walk Dora to the metro, she's going to a medical congress this evening. Got groceries and fruit. Home, just got changed into comfy clothes etc, then got a message from Dora asking me to get books out of the library for her. So back into clothes and out to get two books.
Dora home at 11:30. And wants me to move photos from her phone to an external disk. Which turns into a huge pain because she has 5400 photos probably totalling 10 GB in the Camera folder of her phone, and when connected to the computer the file explorer wants to access all of them before letting me do anything. To bed just before 1.
Out at 11 or so with Dora and her mother. Very light rain. To medical clinic. Waited half an hour or more, Dora went in, came out with a referral to another place.
Out, and now it's raining moderately hard. Stand on a busy corner for 5+ minutes trying to hail a taxi, but no luck. Walked up to a bus stop, soon onto bus. We're only going about two stops, looking for an address, but we manage to miss our stop and have to walkl back about 4 blocks.
Into another medical clinic, wait 10 minutes or so while Dora does the talking, use bathrooms. Out, and we will get a phone call from a doctor later.
Into a restaurant next door, and have drinks. Dora and her mother talk, and talk on phone to her sister. After a while I'm ready to go, but Dora wants to rest.
Finally out around 2:45. Dora into metro to go to congress, I lead her mother home through light rain. Home after 3, hungry.
Raining pretty hard after 6 or so.
Filed my Spanish wealth tax return.
Dora home at 10 or so.
Dora's mother not home, her father and I cooked separate dinners for ourselves.
Out after 3:30 to get groceries and fruit.
At 4, a message from Dora, please come to the congress at Sants Estacio and escort her mother home. So out, to VA metro, ride to Sant Estacio. Find the hotel in the station, which I'd never been to before, and it's decorated in a spaceship / astronaut theme. Find mother, call Dora, wait 5 for her, she gives me more stuff to carry home.
Out of hotel with mother, around and into metro, home by about 5:45.
In the evening, started my Spanish income tax return. More complicated this time because I got married last year. Took a while to figure out how to get the web page set up with info about both of us and Dora's son. But then it worked well and showed three columns: numbers if we filed jointly, and numbers for each of us if we filed separately. Stopped for tonight; will put in my actual numbers later.
Watched Copa del Rey, Valencia - Barca, and Barca was down 0-2 at halftime.
Dora home before 10. At 5 in the hotel, she'd asked me to wait one hour until she was finished. Glad I didn't wait.
Barca lost 1-2.
Talked to Dora, and the next 4 days are packed with about 6 medical appointments, it seems.
After a false step, Dora got a taxi and came home to pick up the mother and me. Off across town to the big Sant Joan de Deu hospital. Spent several hours there, out at 5:15, into a taxi, and down to an ENT clinic in Sarria. In, and we just beat a crowd by about 5-10 minutes. Out in about 45 minutes, and we're lost, this part of Sarria is a dead zone for mass transit and most of the streets are not labeled on my map. Up a couple of blocks, no better, went into a bar and had drinks and a rest. Took a paracetamol.
Out, hit ATM, over to Via Augusta, down to Mitre, caught H6 bus with about 5 seconds to spare. It's jammed, but Dora's mother gets a seat, and soon Dora and niece get seats. I stand all the way.
Out near VA plaza, I want to go home, Dora wants to go to a shop to pick up a coat she left for repair. First they go into a cafe to use the bathroom. When they come out, I say I'm going home, and take off, carrying a couple of heavy bags.
Stop in the fruit shop. Home before 8:30. Dumped my stuff and into the shower. Niece and mother home 10 minutes later.
Later, still headachey. Dora gave me a Lyrica and a diazepam, and I took a Neobrufen.
Out at 9:30 with Dora's mother. To VA plaza, where Dora is supposed to meet us and we'll all get on a bus to the ENT clinic. But turns out Dora is in a hearing-aid store with her father, and I have to wait. By the time she comes out, we're late and I'm mad and we go without her anyway.
Bus comes quickly, long ride, off and slow walk to the clinic. Get there about 10 minutes late, but it doesn't matter, they're just opening for the day. I sit in the nice waiting-room and mother gets a treatment.
Out, walk to a bus stop, bus comes quickly, long ride back to near Cotxeres clinic. Head for home, but stop in a cafe to use the bathroom and have drinks. Home by 12:35, and we're tired.
As soon as I get comfortable, messages from Dora saying make medical appointments for tomorrow, come bring an umbrella to me, etc. Lots of back-and-forth over WhatsApp, make and then cancel appointmens, finally I get appointments. Get dressed again and go to meet Dora nearby. Give her an umbrella, take a bag of stuff to take home, and I go. Home, lie down. Take a Neobrufen with dinner. Dora home as we're finishing eating.
Online, doing my Spanish income tax. Not too difficult (although the place to put capital loss carryover took some effort to find), but the new wrinkle is that we're married now. I push a button and get a three-column display of how things would look if we filed separately or jointly. But the numbers don't match Dora's printed return, and they say we should file separately, which doesn't make sense to me. She earned a salary and I have mostly a break-even return, so I thought a joint return would save money. But her situation is complicated, she worked part of the year as both autonomo and salaried.
Out in early evening, Dora and I and father to the eyeglass place. We pick up his glasses, mother will pick up hers some other time. I pay €300.
Go with Dora to try to see gestor about taxes, but they're closed. Dora goes off to phone shop. I go to metro to buy T-10 cards, then to pharmacy, then to Dia for groceries.
Go home, stash the groceries, and Dora didn't go to stationery shop. So I go out, try another pharmacy, and then pick up stuff she ordered and paid the small bill the niece has run up. Home.
Well, got €400 out of the ATM yesterday, spent €365 this evening.
And later Dora tells me that, after we left the eyeglass shop, her father went back and returned the glasses, saying he didn't like them. So maybe we wasted €150.
Later, still headachey, took paracetamol.
Out with Dora to pharmacy at 9:45 to get lots of medicines for niece and mother and rest of household. Home around 10:15, Dora is off to a medical appointment for her son.
But we forgot to transfer the niece's medical card to me, so I'm back out to find Dora at a clinic. I overshoot it and do a lot of extra walking, but get there and get the card, and home by 11:15.
Out at noon, to take niece to pediatric-urgent, and Dora's parents to medical appointments later. Gave up trying to get a taxi after 10 minutes, called Dora and she did Cabify. Back to apartment, car came, in and to medical clinic.
Waited about 45 minutes for someone to see the niece. Later she was out and to bathroom to give urine sample. Dora showed up (she left class early) and took her parents upstairs to their appointments. Niece in to have a blood sample taken. Dora and parents back. I took a paracetamol. Some more talk, then downstairs for some paperwork.
Eventually out, need two taxis, because Dora isn't going home, she's going to a lecture at work ? She called Cabify for her, I think, and I managed to flag down a taxi for mother, niece and me. Home around 2:45.
Dinner, then out to pharmacy, but the missing item hadn't arrived.
Out after 5 with Dora's mother. Slow walk to the bus stop, long crowded hot ride to the ENT clinic. Was trying a new stop today, a wheelchair was coming on, so I had us get off at what I thought was one stop early, but it was two stops early. Longish slow walk to the clinic. Still headachey; took a Neobrufen.
Out 20-25 minutes later, walk to bus stop, bus very crowded, I had to stand almost the whole way.
Out, over and across VA plaza and to the eyeglass shop. Waited while mother had her glasses fitted, then found I could have left 15 minutes earlier, because Dora was back there with her. Home by 8:30.
Still headache. Took a Lyrica and a diazepam, and they mostly worked.
I tried the expensive coffee from Peru, the one whose beans have been eaten by a ferret or something and then excreted and processed. It's from Chanchamayo highlands in Peru. Dora was laughing as I brewed it. It tasted smooth and nice. I'm not sure if she tried any of it. I was going to joke "it only tastes a LITTLE like feces" after she tried it.
Dora out to bank, and gestor about taxes. Online, I did tickets for her son to come here from Slovakia next Tuesday.
Out to pharmacy. Home, out to Dia for groceries etc. Warm day.
Dinner. Later, out to carry bags home for Dora, at 4. I asked her if she drank the coffee this morning, and she said she gulped it as she dashed out the door, doesn't remember how it tasted. So I said the feces joke, and she protested.
Headache; took a paracetamol.
Out around 5:15 with Dora's mother, walk to bus stop, long ride but not too crowded. To medical clinic, in, wait, out. Long bus ride back, and I had to stand about half of the way. Home, and I'm immediately back out for groceries and fruit. Home again by 8:20.
Niece still home from school, she's not 100% and they're having a class trip today, I think.
Around noon, people going out to medical appointments, Dora in metro and then going to get a taxi when she gets out and meet them at clinic. But I'm staying home, I don't feel like getting involved.
Dinner, then Dora home later.
Out after 5 with Dora's mother. Walk, bus, walk, ENT clinic, walk, rest, bus, walk, rest, walk. Home a bit before 8.
Niece still a bit sick, so we don't have to get up early tomorrow to take her to gymnastics class.
Dora and mother stayed out, and finally I cooked dinner for niece and father and I.
Out twice in afternoon. To Mercadona for various things, home, out again to Dia.
Out before 8 with Dora to buy cake-baking pans.
Thought of going out to a bar/cafe to watch the Champion's League final, but decided not to bother.
Dora started cake-making around 9, and the baking continued after 11. She mixed up big vats of mix, and then I found it was for two cakes, my birthday cake and something else ? The first big layer did some kind of volcano thing, but the next couple came out okay. Then Dora backed a thin layer and sliced it horizontally, and made some kind of roll-cake with peaches and caramel or something. Pics.
With cleanup, finished with the cakes after 11:45. Assembly and icing to be done tomorrow. Pic.
By 10:30 or so, Dora crashing to sleep for a couple of hours. I joined her for a while.
Dinner at 1:30 or so, very nice pork ribs and more.
In the evening, out for a walk by myself, then out again later with Dora for a long walk and talk about various family issues (health, where people are going this summer, etc).
Dora arranging a private-medical visit since the NHS lost her reservation for a scan. Her mother not feeling well, may skip the normal daily visit we've been going to by bus. As usual, the burden of everything is falling on Dora.
Out after 9:15 with Dora and niece. Walked to Janeiro medical clinic, got there after 9:30. Dora in to see her doctor fairly quickly, and got a paper saying she doesn't have to work. Downstairs to the pediatric floor a little before 10, and they said niece will be seen at 10:20. But she didn't get seen until 11:30. Long, hot, noisy and boring wait. They're in and out in less than 5 minutes, I don't know if anything was accomplished.
I hustled home to grab stuff, and met niece and Dora at tax gestor's office. In and I tried to see if the gestor was correcting the mistakes in Dora's income tax return and why the gestor's numbers are the opposite of what I printed from the Renta web site, but it was impossible. Neither of them wanted to listen to my questions, the gestor was typing away, Dora kept squelching me. The current numbers look very favorable but I don't understand the discrepancies. Later Dora said she added a whole set of income to her return after I looked at it and printed the three sets of numbers; maybe that's true.
Gestor filed the joint return and printed it, and started talking with Dora about other business while I looked at the printout. He misspelled my first name (not a problem, my ID number is correct), the return consumed almost none of my carryover capital loss (good for me for next year, but I don't understand why, it should have offset some of Dora's income or some of my interest/dividend income), and it says we still were renting in Jerez last year (totally wrong and I hope it doesn't cause a problem for our former landlord there, his ID number and the apartment's ID number are in our return, but gestor says it doesn't matter). Sloppy and unsatisfactory, but done and Dora will get a big chunk of money back.
Home at 12:45.
Out after 3. Walked a big triangle-plus, to ECI to mail a letter, to niece's school to pay the tuition, to metro to buy T-10 cards, to Dia, to fruit shop.
Out at 5 with Dora's mother. Walk, bus, walk, ENT clinic, walk, rest, bus, walk. Home by 7:50.
Napped after 9. Headache; took a paracetamol-plus.
At 11:30, son and I off to medical clinic to see doctor and nurse about Dora's mother. Good news on one item, but came away without new prescriptions we wanted.
Dora still at private hospital at 2; home by 4 or so.
Headache in the evening; took a paracetamol.
Out to Dia for groceries. Package arrived for me: new keyboard for my laptop. Started cooking dinner.
Niece staying at school and eating there. Dora's mother, father and son not home until before 3, and the son won't eat now, he has to go out.
Out to ATM and Dia and fruit shop.
Dora and son home at 6:30. She's tired but in good spirits; I thought she would be dragging.
Out for a late-evening walk; lovely cool weather.
At 12:15 or so, I had bad kidney pain in my left kidney. I knew what it was; I have a long history of kidney stones. Laid down and felt a bit better. Lousy timing; Dora is going to have a kidney stone procedure this afternoon, and we're starting vacation on next Wednesday.
Dora home, and gave me a Dexketoprofeno to take. It worked pretty quickly.
Out to Dia for laundry detergent etc.
Out at 4, late as usual. Dora has to be at hospital by 4:40 for the procedure at 5. Her mother catches up with us at the bus stop; didn't know she was coming. Onto H6 bus. Long ride to CIMA hospital, arrive a little before 5. Up to 2nd floor for Dora, then I take her bottle to lab on 0, back to 2 to wish her luck as she goes into the room. Then I'm down to -1 to Urgencies.
I show my card, get a number, wait a little, into Triage. Tell my story, nurse takes temperature, off to pee in a bottle. Wait, get called into main area of urgencies, wait. Examined by someone, IV tap put on my wrist, wait. Out to main area, wait.
Eventually a nurse takes my vital signs. Wait. Wheelchair guy takes me to x-ray, where I think they do both kidneys. Back to urgencies, and wait.
Dora's son shows up and tells me she's fine, just a little sore and groggy after the procedure. Wait more.
Dora shows up, and she looks sore and tired. Some talk with the personnel, then she leaves to go hit the cafeteria for coffee, she hasn't eaten all day.
Wait. Dora's son comes back and stays with me, and he knows at least one of the nurses here. We wait and wait.
I'm reaching my limit, but finally his friend shows up with the results and explains them to us. X-ray didn't show a stone, but I had blood in the urine. Prescriptions for various medicines. A nurse takes out my IV tap, and we leave.
Up to street level, find Dora and mother, decide to take the bus home. Long ride, but not bad. Home at 10.
Dora's sister has arrived from the south.
In late evening, Dora doing a medical treatment to her mother. Then her mother wanted to do all kinds of packing and such, but Dora slipped Diazepam into her mother's IV and she fell asleep. They had to muscle her into bed, and she slept very well, and they all were laughing, and laughing again the next morning when they told her.
Took Dexketoprofeno and laid down, but the pain stayed bad. Dora gave me an injection of Nolotil, and a skin-anaesthetic pad, and some cream. Within 10 minutes or so, the pain was greatly reduced, but not gone. Rested, eventually found that lying on my stomach made the pain go away, slept.
Niece and sister and father out to niece's gymnastics exhibition, but Dora and I are staying home, we're not feeling well.
Up at 4:15, a little pain came back now that I was standing. Food.
Out after 6 for groceries.
Out with Dora at 9 or so. I joked that we've done so many trips to medical places in the last two weeks, I'll be lost going out and NOT going to a medical place. To stationery shop, to farmacia, then to a cafe in HCC for coffee and ham and bread. A band playing in the center.
Out for a couple of fruit/veg items. Dora cooked up a storm for dinner, chicken and then cilantro-rice with a spicy Peruvian yellow-sauce.
Massive luggage-packing going on, two people leaving for Peru tomorrow.
Out for a walk around 8.
Kidney pain after 9, took a paracetamol-plus.
Dora and sister and father heading out at 10:15, to do a couple of errands and then meet us at the airport. The flight is at 4 PM; they're going to be way too early, and Dora wants us to be early too. Dora's mother and niece are flying to Peru.
At noon, lugged two enormous suitcases down to the street and into a Cabify taxi. The others came down with two small suitcases and a backpack. Off to the airport. Driver severely tailgating everyone ahead of us, even motorcycles.
At the airport, I soon had to eat crow. The niece's name on her ticket was wrong, and could not be changed for love or money. Back and forth between check-in and central Avianca desk, on the phone with Expedia, because I bought the ticket through them. Avianca refused to fix it and Expedia said there wasn't enough time to fix it. Fortunately we have about 2.5 hours to deal with it.
And I've screwed up by not bringing a printout of all the travel details, including itinerary and ticket numbers. I did print one copy for Dora's mother, but she lost it. I can't get Wi-Fi to work here, so my email in my phone won't show me existing messages, where I have a copy of the details.
I suggest changing the tickets to tomorrow. Dora insists they have to fly today. And they have to fly together, no question of separating them. But no empty seats on the flight they have tickets for.
Finally decided to bite the bullet and buy another ticket; somehow a seat may be available. So my ticketing mistake will cost me about $1500. Dora and I try paying with our credit cards, but the machine rejects both of them. Mine is rejected instantly, as soon as it's put in the reader, so Dora says they don't accept Mastercard.
Between us we have about €500 in cash, not enough.
We head over to a couple of ATMs, but they reject both of my ATM cards and Dora's card, even though 2 of the 3 cards are for the banks which own the ATMs.
I'm back on the phone with Expedia, we keep going to the Avianca counter, but no luck. I go downstairs and try two other ATMs, but one says it's empty, other rejects my card (which is for the bank that owns that ATM).
Finally Dora gets it done, I don't know how. We head to check-in, the two enormous bags are accepted. I go off to buy a Coke for Dora's mother, we all munch some powerbars I've brought along, then suddenly the wheelchair attendant is there. Mother into wheelchair and piled up with bags, and off to the wheelchair entrance. We say good-bye, then the others watch them all they way through Security, while I'm itching to go home.
To a cafe, where we buy coffee etc on son's credit card; we have almost no cash. Sit down, and eventually Dora tells me how she fixed the ticket. She was putting the wrong PIN into the ATM, it locked her card, she called her bank and got it unlocked, and got €1000 out of the ATM.
Eventually out of the cafe. To shuttle bus, to train, to St Andreu Comtal, to metro, one stop, walk home. Stop on the way at an ATM for same bank as in airport, and my ATM card works fine. Home a little before 5. Bathrooms and water and then food.
Contact credit-card company, and they say Mastercard declined the transaction, because Avianca airline is blacklisted by Mastercard. Nothing is wrong with my card.
Log on to Expedia, and I can't see enough detail to see which parts of niece's name are in which fields. Like people in Spain, she has four names: given name A + B, surname C + D. The problem is that the ticket ended up with D as her surname, which didn't match her passport. If it had been C or C + D, no problem.
Call Expedia, talk to an agent, and their systems are having technical difficulties, call again later.
Out for a walk. Home, then online trying to do documents for Dora's sister, got a little accomplished.
Called Expedia again late, same story, systems are down.
Out after 9, to ATM, groceries, fruit.
Mother and niece arrived safely in Lima.
Got through to Expedia on phone, they consulted an Avianca agent, and as I expected I'm out the $1500 or so for the extra ticket. They offered a voucher refund of the one remaining leg of the bad ticket, I'd have to pay 150 to change the name on that, and we're probably not going to fly there again in next 9 months. Told them to change nothing, I don't want any chance of messing up Dora's mother's return ticket.
Dora's son pointed out I probably made the same name-mistake on August's tickets to Romania, and he's right, will have to fix that.
Online, did check-ins for our trip to Prague, starting tomorrow.
Out at 11, in pretty hard rain. Down to Meridiana and a branch of my Spanish bank. My ATM card for their bank doesn't work in the ATM inside the branch. Sat down with an agent and she said my card was turned off in January, I think because they had a data breach. They tried to phone me, but they didn't send a message on their web site. New card will come in the mail in a week or so.
On the way back, had two duplicates made of the mailbox key.
Lock man arrived after 11:30. He had been waiting for our call, Dora thought he was just going to come over.
Dora and sister home around 12:15. I went out with the sister 10 minutes later. Up to government center, where we were lucky that there were no lines, and they only made us jump through one hoop that delayed us for 20 minutes for no reason. Got the digital certificate info we needed and home after 1:15.
Dora stressed and snarling at everyone. But soon she and sister were back out, leaving us men in peace.
Lock guy done after 2. I paid €435. Ribs and rice for dinner. Later found a lot of steel shavings on the floor in several places where the guy had worked; spent some time cleaning them up.
Called Expedia, they walked me through procedure to change name on outbound ticket to Romania, have to wait 48 hours, probably will cost money. Had to send separate message to airline for return flight, probably will cost money too.
Out in rain around 6:30. To lock shop, got factura for the big payment today. Had them duplicate the elevator key for me, €7.50.
To another lock shop, made duplicates of two door keys, €9 each. Home, and the new door keys work but the elevator key doesn't, won't even insert into the keyhole. Back to the shop and got my money back.
Out with Dora at 8:30, through very light rain. To gym for an errand, then to farmacia.
Trip to Prague:
Wanted to get into a taxi by 6 or 615, but Dora is just getting into shower at 6:15. I have to exercise willpower to keep from shouting. Finally we're in a Cabify taxi by 6:45, with two big suitcases and two small (one is empty) and our personal bags.
To airport by 7:15 or so, for 8:30 flight, and fortunately everything works perfectly, mainly because we have "fast track" / business-class tickets. We avoid a long line at check-in, check 3 of the bags. Bathrooms, through Security, to gate area, and boarding starts within 2 minutes. We're in the priority line, so no waiting, soon aboard.
Business class is nice, enough legroom, well-fed, and best of all an empty seat next to each of us. We're in separate rows, which is fine. But even in row 4 of the plane, it's too noisy to listen to my MP3s through my crappy earbuds.
Land at Madrid, bathrooms and then 45 minutes in a cafe. Walk 5 minutes or more to our next gate. Again in priority line, little waiting. Again free seats next to each of us, again in separate rows, well fed. Although the only meal left when they get to me is black pasta stuffed with salmon, and black pasta is weird.
Land at Prague. Airport seems pretty empty as we walk in from the gate. Hit an ATM and get 12,000 CZK (about $600). Into baggage claim, and plenty of people there. Soon have the bags, and through nothing-to-declare.
Find the transport office, and buy bus-metro tickets for 32 CZK (about $1) each. Out, and it's HOT here. Across the street and just miss the 100 bus, it didn't stop for more than 10 seconds, and I was looking for a ticket-validation machine before I saw the "validate on bus" sign.
Wait 5-10 minutes for next bus, and we have to hustle to get the bags on and hop on before it zooms away. The buses here don't give you much time, and they drive fast and roughly.
But the bus only goes half a mile until it stops at end of line, and all 6 of us aboard have to get off. Some confusion, then we figure out we have to cross the street and wait for next 100 bus. Hot.
Wait 5 minutes, bus comes, hustle off, zoom off. I'm starting to feel bad, headachey and sweating and tired.
Pretty long bus ride, only 3 stops to end at Metro station Zlicin. Out and into Metro, where fortunately there is an elevator down to the platform. A little confusion about the signs, and the trains come too quickly, but this is the end of the line and it's hard to make a mistake. On, and the train zooms off, same guy who drove our bus must be driving the train.
Long ride, 14 stops to Florenc. Which is a massive station, lots of levels. Longish wait for an elevator, then up several escalators, lost, but hope that up has to mean out eventually. Bathroom, then up to street level.
Get oriented a little, cross street, but still no street signs anywhere. Hot. Down slightly wrong street, but see a supermarket that is on my map, move across to what should be the right street. Still no street-signs. Ask a couple of people, one says we're on the right street (Za Poricskou branou), go 100 meters, there's a restaurant that's on my map. Suddenly one of the two sets of house-numbers makes sense, and we've arrived.
Takes 10+ minutes for our host to arrive, and it's hot and we're sheltering in a narrowing strip of shade. But she arrives, lets us in, is very friendly. Dora wants to talk and talk to her, but I'm feeling lousy and want to cut it short.
Host leaves, and I'm using bathroom and into shower. Starting to cool off, but my headache is getting worse. Apartment is okay, but no air-conditioning and only one fan, and electrical outlets are sparse and a but different from Spanish outlets.
Fortunately we've been well fed, and I had some snacks in my luggage, so we don't have to go anywhere soon. We rest and try to relax. Dora starts a load of laundry. There seems to be a water-leak from the toilet.
But soon I'm in bed and feeling worse, stomach not good, headache getting worse. We have plenty of medicines; I was joking that one suitcase was for our clothes and the other was for our medicines. After a while my headache is very bad. Take a sumatriptan and two Diazepams, and eventually to sleep.
Wake up at 1 AM, and my head feels okay. Dora has been sleeping too. Soon back to sleep.
Starting to feel human again.
Out at 8:45 or so. Around corner and explored a little. Loads of shopping right nearby, two supermarkets and a small mall. Looked around, then into Albert supermarket and got groceries. Prices pretty cheap (compared to Barcelona) except for laundry detergent.
Home, ate a bit, then out after 10. Walked down Sokolovska / Na Porici into the old town, looking at shops etc. Streets curve, intersections not square, so we're just heading vaguely into the center. Get to Nam Republiky square. Come across the municipal theater, lots of guys trying to pull everyone in. We go in, look at prices, go out again. Down a block or two to a friendly tour operator, buy tickets for a boat-ride tonight. Back to the theater and buy tickets for tonight.
Through an old gate-tower (powder tower), and down Celetna and into the tourist-center. Random pics. Looking into some shops. Get to Staromestskenam square. We can see top of a big synagogue, but can't seem to find an entrance. We wander around the square, trying to stay in the shade. Dora finds a bathroom in a restaurant.
I'm starting to drag. Into a small modern cafe which seems to be the only place with reasonable prices, but their air-conditioning sign is a lie. Paninis and drinks for CZH 406, about €18. I take a Neobrufen; Dora takes about 3 pills.
Out after a while, still can't find entrance to synagogue. Sign says catholic church is closing right about now, I think. We start heading home slowly, with stops in many shops and then in a modern mall.
Home after 2:15, a little headachey and tired and hot. Showers.
Napped. Headache, took paracetamol.
Dora sleeping after 6. I hustled out to the supermarket to buy fixings to make spaghetti, but got home only for her to say she would cook later, after we went to concert and boat. Then she got on a Skype-call to her mother in Peru for a while.
She finished, and suddenly we realized it was almost 7:40, we have to be at the concert hall by 8. Quickly dressed and out, and hustled down to the place. Got there with 1 minute to spare, plenty of empty seats, music started about 5 minutes late.
Lovely classical music, nice orchestra. Mostly standard favorites, which is fine with us. Longest rendition of The Blue Danube Waltz I've ever heard.
Out after 9, and we lingered to take pictures etc. Pics.
Down to Staromestskenam square, right turn, and to the river. Stopped at ticket office and then to dock for boat. Waited 5 or 10 minutes, boat appeared and emptied out, and we were last on. Everyone ahead of us took all the seats on the top deck, so we stayed on the lower deck. We could have joined someone at a table upstairs, there were some empty seats here and there, but we were fine downstairs, and sat in an open door to get a cool breeze and unobstructed view.
Gentle, quiet cruise up and down the river, several other boats out cruising, historic buildings ashore all lit up. Went past a flock of white swans, but I was too slow to get a picture. Pics.
Done before 11, off the boat, slow walk home, stopping once for sit for a bit. Pics. Dora still having pain from her kidney procedure, still taking painkillers 3x per day.
Home by 11:40 or so. Showers and food. Didn't get to bed until 1.
Hot day. Half a block to the metro, Dora bought some clothes at a booth outside. Onto train, two stops, out next to National Museum. Enjoyed the view from the steps, then in. Bought tickets to go up to the cupola, waited 5 minutes, soon up top and seeing more views.
Down through the museum, which mostly is a spectacular building with all kinds of marble. But lots of bronze sculptures of dead Czechs, some nice paintings, skeleton of a huge whale. Pics.
Out, next door to the new building of same museum. Asked and found that our tickets, which are good for 9 buildings of the national museum, can be used over a 5-day period, not just today.
Into the bistro. Dora had a coffee, we shared a panini, and I ordered a "cider", which turned out to be a beer (standard lager). Drank, ate, rested. Pic.
Into the exhibits, which turned out to be nice (about Celts) but not too big.
Out, into Metro, 2 stops to Florenc. To supermarket for lots of stuff, stopped at fruit stand, home after 3:30, tired and footsore.
Showers. Dora made spaghetti. A bit afterward, I collapsed into bed.
Napped. Headache, took paracetamol. Watched football on TV.
Out after 11 with Dora. Walked in a direction away from the center. More shops and stuff than we expected. Nice park with a huge church; sat for a bit. Warm and humid. Home after midnight.
Dora Skype-calling Peru late.
Out at 1130 or so. I wanted to take trams to the Lapidary museum, but it's pretty hot waiting for the tram, and Dora wanted the metro. So we took the metro across the river to Nadrazi Holesovice. Came out of the metro, disoriented, very hot. Trying to read the stops on the tram-route sign, but nothing made sense. We could walk the 5+ blocks to the museum if we knew the direction. Then a tram comes, we hop on, it's comfortable and relatively cool. Dora is happy.
But after consulting with a couple of people, it's clear we're going the wrong direction. So we change plans, and head for a church that Dora wanted to go to later in the day. We go around to a much different side of town.
Out at Malostranske Nam, and wander around a square for a minute. Pic. Then Dora spots a church with an open door, and we go there and go in. Sant Tomas church. Lovely inside, and quiet and cool. I lose my grumpiness and start to enjoy the trip. Pics.
As we finish looking, they start closing the church at 1. Out into the heat. Start looking for bathrooms and a place to eat. Everything seems pretty full and a bit expensive. Eventually we get out of the square and things calm down.
We end up in a Subway sandwich place, of all things. Simple and (downstairs) cool and quiet. We relax and linger.
Eventually out, and head to the Church of Maria Victorius (approximately). It's close by, and so is the Music museum for which we have free tickets.
Into the church, and we're there at 2:30 but the Spanish mass Dora wants to attend doesn't start until 5. Beautiful church, and an infant Jesus which they dress in different clothes every week or two, outfits donated from around the world. Also a small museum of the clothes. We take lots of pictures and relax. Lots of tourists in and out. Pics.
Then, just before 3, a mass starts. Dora says it's in Portugese. We sit through that, and Dora is delighted to take Communion and then pray at the shrine with the priest and take pictures with the priest etc.
Out before 4, and down a block or so to the Music museum. Which turns out to be cool and quiet with a nice cafe and free bathrooms. We go through the exhibits, which are pretty nice and have a few nice hands-on opportunities. A working scale-model pipe-organ which I enjoy playing with, and a cheap mockup harp which I get to strum. Pics. The only downside is several Communist-era women watching everything who growl if you step back to a previous room or deviate in any way. The "free to play by anyone" piano down on the ground floor of the big atrium is played a couple of times by people who definitely know what they're doing.
Bathrooms again and cafe, and Dora buys some souvenirs and chats up the guy running the place.
Back to the church at about 5:10, and Dora attends the mass in Spanish. I get bored after 5 minutes and sit outside listening to MP3s on my phone.
Dora out, hits some souvenir shops but prices are outrageous. Back to the square and see a huge church we somehow overlooked, St Nicholas church. But only the tower is opened, the rest is closed now.
We head down and across Karluv bridge, pedestrian-only and thick with tourists and locals. Some nice statues, nice views of boat-traffic and such. And grey clouds have come over, so the weather is a bit nicer. Pics.
Off the E end of the bridge, Dora looking for a bathroom, and the street is jammed with people. Finally she gets into a restaurant, then we start heading N toward a metro station.
Down into Staromestska station. Longish wait for a train, go one stop, connect at Mustek, go two stops to Florenc. We always come out the wrong exit, so I try a new one this time, and it's even worse. Come out at the bus station, takes us a while to get oriented, then have to cross busy streets with no crosswalks. But we're close to home.
Home before 8. I went right back out to supermarket, home by 8:20. Shower. Food; Dora cooked spaghetti again.
Out at 11:45, and down several blocks to the big church (Cyril a Metodej ?) we saw 2 nights ago. No noon mass that we were hoping for, but the church was open and empty and big and gorgeous. Pics. By the time we came out, the sun was out and the day was warming up.
To a cafe on the corner for coffees, but Dora ordered something that turned out to be a whole cutlet of chicken plus fries.
Out and down the street. Past some strange bar or something: pic.
Up and over to Krizikova metro station, and rode it under town and across the river to Andel stop. Dora falling asleep from pills she took. Out and a bit disoriented, but Dora quickly found a clothing store and went into it for a long time, beckoning me in to give her money, and coming out with a bag of clothes. Meanwhile, I had found the synagogue we were mostly looking for, around the corner and with a sign saying closed all weekend "for operational reasons".
Walked down to the river, and across on the Palackeho bridge, not very interesting. Rested in a park on the other side, then to a nearby monastery (Emmaus Monastery) that turned out to be closed on Sundays, and to a church (Jan Nepomucky) across the street that looked closed and locked.
Sat in a park for a while, and Dora dozed. Then up and over to a big gorgeous church (Ignocy something) that was not on the main map I was using. Pics.
Out, and across the street and into a burger place. Ordered and ate more food than I had planned, but it was good, especially the barbequed pork ribs Dora ordered. Pic.
Out and up past new Town Hall, and it's hot and sunny out. Around the corner and found the tram stop. Waited 10 minutes or so for one of the right trams to appear. It took us home exactly as I planned, hooray. Home by 5:45. Shower. Put out laundry to dry. Dora soon sleeping heavily.
Out with Dora at 11:45, looking for a dance bar she saw on the way to the church this morning. Not warm out, pleasant evening. Walked the same route as this morning and didn't see the bar. Bought fruit at a shop and home by midnight-thirty. Pics. But workers are carting everything out of the museum, closed today, and the exhibits are some kind of Swiss statues, not the minerals and jewels I expected.
Across the street and caught a tram. Longish ride, with Dora sleeping much of the way (later, she told me she didn't get to sleep until 4 AM, and got up at 6 AM). Got out where I planned, at the upper corner of the royal gardens. But my plan to walk the length of the gardens was thwarted; a big building and fences block the gardens 1/3 of the way down. We went through a security check and into the garden near the building, where there was an outdoor photography exhibit commemorating the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Nice to relax on benches in the shade.
Then out and up along the street to the corner. Sat at a cafe and had a soda and panini.
Then through security and into the royal palace complex. Confusing; the ticket office is just the cashier counter inside a tiny gift-shop. Came out and was disoriented, we've made a couple of left turns. Dora hit a museum shop, then we went into St Vitus cathedral. Which was nice, lots of bright painted stained-glass, but lots of people too.
Out, down a bit, and managed to grab seats on a bench in the shade. Rested a while. People were doing stupid poses for pictures in front of the cathedral. Eventually we got up and took pictures too, but no jumping or silly poses. Pics from the whole complex.
Next was the "old royal palace", which mostly was a big hall, the rest of the rooms not very interesting.
Then to "the story of Prague Castle", which was a series of rooms with historical information and artifacts, fairly interesting. But the only place to sit was some very primitive flat-rails that formed the seating to watch a video.
Out, and across the square to a cafe. Coffee and a very nice hot apple strudel with nuts in it. Sat there for a while.
Finally got going, down 50 meters to the "basilica", and just as we arrived they were kicking everyone out. Dora wheedled them into letting everyone in for 5 minutes more. The interior was fairly unimpressive.
Down to "golden lane", which I guess used to be artisan's workshops, and now is just gift-shops. Lame, and forced us to go down and out and come back up to try to get to the last item on our tickets, Rosenberg Palace. Which turned out to be closed.
So, eventually out of the complex in a river of people, a few last pictures. Then down, down long flights of stairs to the street, and down a block or two to the metro station. Thought of taking a tram, but the ticket machines are well inside the metro station, and it's cool inside.
So, waited a minute, onto a train, two stops, walked to connect, waited a minute, onto next train, two stops, two sets of long escalators up to street level, and popped out at the perfect place, half a block from the apartment.
Home by 5:45 or so. Footsore and sweaty and tired. Showers. Laid down for a while. Food.
Out after 11 with Dora. Walked down into the center, hitting an ATM on the way. Lots of people out, slightly cool evening but still quite humid. Some very loud German kids. We wandered and looked in shop windows. Dora wanted to go further and further, but I wanted to go home, my feet and ankles are tired. Home by 12:30. Opened a bottle of beer and enjoyed it.
We're out after 10. Into metro, one stop to main train station. Where things go about par for the course for first time in main train station in a new station: Train I found on internet doesn't exist on the schedule-board. Into Information/Tickets, and went to an agent for business class or something, very unfriendly, tried to sell us tickets to the wrong place far away. Into line for domestic travel, got to agent, she says place we want to go doesn't have train service. I guess the web site showed me a bus route instead of a train route ? No idea where the bus might be. Too late to try to find it. [Later figured out the bus went from another station. And the web site mostly was lying to me about the train, it went to a different town and I guess you're supposed to connect to a bus or something, but the site said zero connections.]
We wander around the station, buy some stuff in a pharmacy. Put on sunscreen, buy more metro passes. Pick a spot on the map and into the metro. Up and over to the right direction of the metro. Take it 2 or 3 stops to Vyshad.
Out and to a cafe for bathroom and drinks. Watching some people drinking beer, some of them half-liter beers, with lunch. Beer generally makes me fall asleep.
Up and to a congress (conference) building Dora wants to check out. I get tired of waiting for her, and go site outside and listen to MP3s on my phone. Apparently she comes out later and waits for me somewhere else. By the time we meet, I'm well irritated. Then she has to go use the bathroom again.
Down and find our way into the park/church area I'm looking for. Stop for some scenic overlooks and such. Come to the church through the back way, and it's a fancy cemetery. Dora manages to disappear for another half-hour or more, and I end up going into the church by myself. Eventually we meet again, and I slowly lose my bad temper. She went looking for my family names among the headstones, and found none of them anywhere.
Eventually out and down a hillside, stopping at various scenic spots with good views of the river and parts of town. Pics from the whole complex.
Down to the main street, and just missed one of the trams we wanted, had to wait 10 minutes or so for the next one.
Out at Florenc and across to the Albert supermarket, coming out with lots of food.
Home before 4. Showers and big salads and then big bowls of soup. Laid down for a couple of hours.
To Terezin before 9, off the bus, follow the crowd to the big fortress / concentration camp. In and paid, and started wandering. Not too interesting at first, but then a long passage through the interior of the fortress walls, and out into space in the middle. To a cinema showing videos about the WWII days.
To bathrooms and the cafe, and had drinks and a panini and strudel. Quiet and not crowded, nice.
Out, and the place is mobbed with student groups. Over to the camp pmuseum. Nice enough, and an art gallery upstairs. But Dora is fascinated by this place, and I doze outside for 45 minutes or so while she watches a video and goes through everything. Fairly hot now.
Finally she's out, and she talks to someone as I use her phone to try to find times for the bus back to Prague. I find we have 5 minutes to catch the 2:07 bus, so we hustle out there. A crowd waiting at the stop, so we haven't missed it. Bus comes maybe 5 minutes late, confusion as everyone tries to crowd on. But then we're on and a smooth trip back to Prague.
Wander the train-station part of Holesovice for a few minutes, then into the metro and onto a train. Out at Florenc, to Albert supermarket for half a dozen things. Big raindrops starting to come down as we reach our apartment door. Home at 3:35.
I loafed most of the day. Out after 3 to try to buy tickets to Swan Lake, but they're sold out.
Dora home around 7:30, and she had a good time at the medical congress, learned a lot.
Chicken and rice for dinner, cooked by Dora.
Switched from amitryptilina to propranolol; we'll see if it does better at preventing headaches.
And waited, and waited. Started going for walks and coming back to the university to see if Dora had come out. Finally around 11:30 I met her on the street, looking for me. Pics from the area.
Over to the main plaza, which is full of people today. Found the hard-to-find entrance to Tyn church and went in. No pictures allowed. Nice church, nice wood-gold statuary and such, not much stained glass.
Out, stopped to look at concert offerings. Back toward the university, down some alleys, found a nice restaurant called something like "Maljcek". We shared a Coke and a dark draft beer, Dora had a pork schnitzel that was big but disappointing, I had leg of duck with cabbage and potato-gnocchi that was pretty good. Dora falling asleep by the end of the meal. CZK 500 (€23) plus tip.
Out, to concert office, paid CZK 980 (€45) for concert tickets in a church tonight.
Up and into Palladium shopping mall, and I waited while Dora shopped for makeup. Finally out and home by 2:30.
Out at 5:20 or so. To metro, long walk inside station, catch train, 2 stops, connect, 2 stops, out at Malastranska. 5-10 minute walk to St Nicholas Church. Got there with several minutes to spare for 6 PM concert. Only about 40 people inside for the concert, and no sign of the musicians. But they were high above us, hidden behind a balcony. The music started, and it was nice. Fairly beautiful church, lots of sculptures and other things to look at as we listened to the music. Pics.
Between two pieces, we moved to the other side so we could look up and glimpse the musicians. Surprisingly small pipe-organ for such a big church. The organ parts were nice, the baritone singer was good, and the trumpet was terrific. The Ave Maria was almost totally a trumpet piece, and it was great.
After the concert ended, we hovered for 5-10 minutes to take pictures of the church.
Out, and down to the Maria Victorius church a few blocks away, but it had closed. Sat for a while, then eventually to Karluv bridge. Into a cafe at the W end for coffee and ice cream and a muffin, and we sat on their back terrace for a while.
Slowly wandered across the bridge, which was jammed with people as usual. The waters of the river were jammed with cruising boats, some of them coming close to others at times.
Wound our way through the old town, through throngs of people, only getting lost once. Came out at the main square a few minutes before 10, so we stayed to watch the astronomical clock strike the hour, with windows opening and Apostles parading past. Pics from the evening.
Eventually up to Namesti Republiky, and sat for a bit. Dora walking badly, one of her boot-heels has lost a piece.
Headed for home, looking for a big disco but failing to find it where I thought it should be. Home before 11.
Later found that disco is somewhere completely different from where I thought. I had been looking at a map in a magazine; either the map was wrong or I read it totally wrong or something.
Drank a bottle of Kozel dark beer; very nice. Ate leftover chicken and rice.
Then confusion. It turns out our tickets are general flexi-tickets without a seat assignment, and many people have reserved seats. So we sit down, until someone arrives and says they have a reservation for that seat. Then we hustle to find another open seat.
Dora and I find separate seats. Then a group of German guys arrive at my seat, and say they have reservations for 5 out of 6 seats in my area, all but the seat I'm sitting in. So everyone else leaves, and I keep my seat. Looking at the signs, I'm pretty sure they made a mistake, I should have been told to leave instead of the guy sitting next to me. But I get to keep my seat.
Dora gets kicked out of her seat, and can't find another. Twice I offer my seat to her, but she ends up getting CZK 100 from me to buy a reserved seat somewhere else from the conductor.
Arrive at Plzen train station, half of the people get off, including us. Confusion about where to go, but follow signs to center. Where it turns out there is some major series of outdoor rock concerts today, a couple of stages blaring out music. Looks like all the shops closed at noon. Probably half of the people from the train headed to the big Pilsner brewery, but we're not interested in that.
We head for the main church, which has a major concert going on in front of it. I find some kind of regional Tourist Info office, go in, and find the main two things we're interested in are closed: the church is being reconstructed, the synagogue is closed on Saturdays.
We head to a religious art museum, which is deserted and cool and quiet and nice enough. We linger there for a while. The whole big first room is dedicated to beer; I guess the Franciscans here started the brewery or had their own brewery ? Pics.
Out and start looking for a restaurant. Eventually find one near the theater and across from the synagogue. In and try to translate the menu, using Google Translate, and one of the words translates to a bad word. Then we get menus in English.
We order, ignoring the waitress as she prompts us to order the most expensive items and huge beers. We order pork ribs marinated in dark beer, spicy frankfurters with mustard and horseradish, a Czech cola (they don't have Coke), and a small Kozel dark beer (same I drank last night, but this one is draught, not bottle).
Food comes. Hard to tell the beer from the cola just by looking at them. Pics. Dora loves the pork ribs, which are big and soft and rich and fatty, but she hates the mustard and horseradish and the Czech cola (which is not as sweet as Coke and has some lemon or other fruit in it). This is the food of my heritage (I'm 5/8 German and 3/8 Slovak according to family reckoning), and I love it all. The "spicy frankfurters" are kind of plain, not great, but otherwise it's all terrific. Total came to CZK 465 (about €18). The few sips of beer that Dora had made her sleepy. Moderately hard rain outside for 10 minutes or so.
Out, and there's a few drops of mist/rain every now and then, but it's grey and cool and actually quite nice. We wander a bit and take pictures, then start heading for the train station. Pics from throughout the day.
Get there at 3:40, and as I hoped there is a 4 PM train. Not too many people waiting, so we don't upgrade to reserved seats. Which almost bites us, because the train is 3/4 full when it arrives. I grab a seat that the electronic sign says should be empty, but immediately someone shows up with a reservation for it, and he says those signs only show seat reservations if the seat was bought more than a few hours ago. Move to another seat, immediately get kicked out of that one too. To a third seat, and get lucky, keep it.
Headachey, from the beer I'm sure. Take a paracetamol and listen to MP3 and try to doze.
Out at Prague central station, find Dora, out through the station with a large crowd. Buy tickets and down to the metro also with a crowd. One stop, out, home by 5:45. Drink water and lie down and nap.
Out at 8 to buy groceries. Grey and cool out. In the supermarket, totally mystified by the butter/margarine selections, and when we got home we found I'd bought lard.
Tried to move pictures out of Dora's camera, and she has so many (20K+ ?) that my computer's software keeps blowing up. Pics. Saw a photo exhibit showing that in August 2002 the river flooded and put water about 2 feet deep through the church. Which means the buildings closer to the river and lower down probably had 10+ feet of water in them.
Interesting shop window: pic. To a cafe for coffee and cookies. I had a couple of cookies made with ground poppy-seed filling like my Slovakian grandmother used to make. We also had a pastry with a fruit filling, probably called lekvar, and I think my grandmother used to make that too. Pics.
Down the street and Dora plunged into a secondhand clothes store. I waited, and waited, and finally paid a bill of CZK 1940 (about €78) as she bought a lot of stuff. Home by noon. Dora cooking kielbasa and rice etc.
Around 4:30, on the TV appeared a huge demonstration, and I figured out it was taking place less than 2 miles from here, on the other side of the river. They're calling on the prime minister to resign, because of fraud and corruption. They called for 500K people to attend, maybe they got half that, still a stunning amount of people.
Dora sleeping hard after 8. I went out at 9:30, for a long walk on streets we mostly haven't been to before. Saw a few protesters going home, but no big crowds. Home before 11.
Walking over in the direction of the train station. Found the Jerusalem Synagogue, closed as expected. Pic.
Found a nice catholic church (Church of St Henry and St Kunhuta) nearby and went into that for a while. Main part of it was built circa 1350. Pics.
Out and over, heading for another church, but got diverted into a souvenir shop, and then into a fancy mall. Pic.
Coming out of that and heading into the church, Dora disappeared and I couldn't find her. Loads of people everywhere. Eventually called her on the phone and found she'd gone several blocks up the street. Went there and still had trouble finding her, circled and eventually found her.
Walked home, stopping for a lot of window-shopping. Home after 2, hot.
Headache later, took paracetamol. Dora sleeping. I laid down and listened to MP3s.
Dora slept hard in bed from maybe 4 to 10. Then she got up and laid on the sofa. I suggested we go for a late-night walk, she said yes, then fell asleep again. She woke up once or twice, again said yes to a walk, again fell asleep. Finally at 11:45 she was up and ready to go, but she thought it was morning, not almost midnight. Pretty funny when she saw it was dark outside.
We went walking, away from the center. Pleasant but still very humid. Home by midnight-40. Pic.
Over to the Jerusalem Synagogue, only to find the "closed until 24th" (yesterday) sign has been updated to "closed until 29th" (after we leave Prague). Around the corner and into the St Henry church for a while.
To an Italian shoe shop, where I bought Dora one pair of sneakers for about €60 and she bought another pair of shoes for about €80.
To the mall we were in yesterday, to use bathroom and rest. Out into the main street, and sat on a bench in the shade (still warm) and watched all the people flow by.
Over to the main square, and into a church on the corner that we haven't tried before, Church of St. Nicholas. Nice. Pics.
Out. Nice view of Tyn church across the square: pic.
Then up around the side of Tyn Church, and found another church I was looking for, St James church (Bazilika sv. Jakuba). And it was spectacular, but rope attached to alarms kept people from sitting in most of the pews or straying out of the central aisle, pretty hostile. Pics.
Up to home, stopping in a print shop and then in Lidl for a couple of groceries.
Home after 3, sweaty hot and tired. Showers, food.
Online, checked us in for the airlines tomorrow. Then dressed and out into the heat at 4:30, to a print shop several blocks away. Printed everything no problem, 5 pages for about €2.
Dora out at 7:30 or so to look for a print shop, but the one I used closed at 5 and she didn't find another.
Around 10:45, I thought of us going out for a walk, but it's hot and humid outside, and Dora is sound asleep on the sofa.
Making first steps to pack, we're leaving tomorrow morning.
Dora out at 9:30 to get a couple of page printed, and doesn't come back until 10:30, she's bought a bunch of souvenirs.
Soon we're out the door, not much after my planned 10:30. Then hit a snag: we're supposed to leave the keys in a mailbox next door, but none of the mailboxes is labeled with our apartment number or the name we know. Dora phones the contact and finds out what to do.
Hump 2 big heavy suitcases, 1 medium suitcase, 1 small suitcase, and our 2 personal bags into the metro. THe big suitcases are very heavy; Dora believes in using every last ounce of the airline's weight allowance. Soon onto a train, and 1 stop to the main train station.
There, we don't know where the airport bus stops, and make one false start before hustling and finding it up a couple of floors. We manage to get onto the 1100 bus just ahead of a crowd, and we're lucky to get seats and lucky to be aboard at all. If we had to wait half an hour for the next bus, we'd lose any cushion we had at the airport. Somehow I've managed to mash one fingernail bloody, wrestling with the two big suitcases and my personal bag.
Longish, sweaty, crowded ride to the airport. I hate to start a long day of travel by getting sweaty and smelly and tired. Off the bus, bathroom stop, into a short but slow check-in line at British Airways. I'm delighted when they check all four of our suitcases for no extra charge; I thought they'd ding us for two extra. But in the process, Dora saddles me with carrying her laptop, making my personal bag very heavy.
Another bathroom stop, then to Passport Control, and the non-EU side of it is mobbed and interminable. Takes me a whole half hour to get through, and Dora is waiting and tells me I could have gone through with her on the EU side.
Through a big store, losing Dora in the process. They announce our gate, and we find each other there. They do the Security check just before the gate, costing us another 10 minutes. The flight starts boarding. Good thing we didn't miss that 1100 bus. But Dora hasn't had much if anything to eat this morning, and all I have to offer is water and powerbars.
Uneventful flight to Heathrow, with Dora very tired and trying to sleep.
Off the plane, and our baggage has been checked-through so we don't have to do anything with it. Through transit and Security and into a mall full of people. Bathroom stop, then we find some decent food and have a welcome meal.
Eventually to our gate, but there's a delay, the flight was half an hour late getting in from Helsinki. Eventually on, then they announce Heathrow is having ground-control problems, and we lose another 25 minutes or so. This is bad, Dora needs to make a connection to yet another flight when we arrive in Barcelona, she's going to a medical congress in Malaga. Now her 1:55 connecting interval is cut down to less than an hour. And in that time I think we'll have to get through Immigration and baggage claim.
The plane makes up some time, and lands at 8:30 instead of the scheduled 7:50. We hustle through Immigration, using the EU line. But then lose 10 minutes or more waiting for the baggage.
Out and up to Departures, and now Dora is dumping stuff from one suitcase to another, she thinks they won't let her carry the medium-sized one onto the plane. Then she dashes off to Security. I pick up the pieces and go sit down, waiting to see if she makes it onto the plane.
Finally messages from her, she made it. I wheel my cart with 2 big suitcases and 1 medium and my personal bag down to Arrivals and to the taxi queue. Soon into a taxi, where I do fairly well at conversing with the driver in Spanish as we drive. Expensive ride, at about €44, but there's no way I could handle these 4 bags through shuttle bus, train, metro, then walking 8-10 blocks to home.
Home at 10:30. Shower. Toilet in one bathroom is running forever, valve on water hose to it doesn't work, had to turn off main water supply. Food. Dora arrived okay at Malaga airport.
[So, we had a good time in Prague, despite some issues: Dora still in pain from kidney stone problems, taking lots of medicine, sleeping strange hours. Fairly hot, very humid weather. Dora using my Skype to deal with legal issues in Peru, and preparing for her talk at the medical congress in Malaga.]
Out after 3. To library to return books. To ECI to buy big storage/shipping boxes. Home by 4, sweaty and hot.
Out at 8:30 to buy groceries and fruit/veg.
Online, had to change Dora's return flight from Malaga, at cost of $100. Also called about the Romania flight name change. Seem to spend a lot of time talking to airline customer support these days, and paying fees and penalties.
Gave myself a haircut.
Fontanero (plumber) showed up at 12:15 and soon evaluated the situation (he knows the trick to get the tops off these European toilets; I didn't know it). One toilet needs to be rebuilt, other is okay. He'll replace/rebuild the stuck valves into the walls on both toilets. Looked at the (leaking) solar hot-water exchanger tank and said just replace it, don't try to fix it, which is what I expected. He went to get toilet parts and a price estimate.
Plumber back before 2. He did only the one toilet (and not a complete rebuild) and its valve into the wall; the other is okay. Finished before 2:30, paid him €90, he left, toilet didn't flush. Called him and he came back right away. Soon he said a piece was broken, he'll get a new one and come back.
Started drinking lots of water. Out around 3:20. Slow walk, staying in shade as much as possible, to the H6 bus stop on F-i-P. Long ride to near the CIMA hospital. In and to radiodiagnostics by 4:20 for my 4:45 appointment. Still guzzling water; I'm having a kidney-stone echography done, and they want lots of urine in my system.
Called in a little before 5. Between my Spanish and the doctor's limited English, we got it done. I have a large stone at the top of the bladder, an unusual position. The pain in my kidneys seems to be due to fluid backup. Done with the scan by 5:15 or so.
Upstairs to Urology for my 5:30 appointment. In at 5:45 or so, and this doctor speaks VERY good English. He showed me the scan on his computer, and I have one very large stone with about 3 smaller ones behind it, in descending size. If I was in a lot of pain, he'd recommend a cysto-urethroscopy (although he didn't call it that, he called it "surgery", which was alarming). But since I'm not in much pain, he scheduled a shockwave lithotripsy (same thing Dora had about 3 weeks ago) for about 3 weeks from now. If that doesn't get everything, maybe I'll need a cysto-urethroscopy later. I'm a veteran of many kidney stones, most of them many years ago, and I've had both of these procedures before. Not fun, but not bad. And I'm sure the procedures have been refined since I had them decades ago.
Out and down the hill to the main road, and found the H6 bus stop. Wait 5 minutes for the bus, get a good seat, long ride home. Hot walk from bus stop. Home after 7:15.
Plumber came back while I was gone and finished the toilet job.
Out at 8 for groceries and fruit.
Dora and sister gave their talk at the medical congress in Malaga and it was a great success.
Quiet day. Out in evening for groceries. Not as hot as yesterday.
Dora home at 10:45, about 2.5 hours later than I expected her. And she's acquired another huge heavy suitcase full of stuff somehow, I guess from her sister and from the medical congress. She's tired but in better spirits than I expected after such a delayed trip.
I opened the windows and let the apartment get too hot, had to close up and run the AC for a bit, first time this year.
Having some kidney pain.
Going through medical appointments, and Dora has a horrifying number of them in the next couple of weeks, including 7 appointments on Tuesday.
Doing various computer work, including starting to sort through the 25K or so photos I moved from Dora's phone to her computer.
After 1, I have dinner ready (half of it leftovers), and am wondering where Dora and her son could be, her appointment at the hospital was after 8 AM. I send messages, and find they're in IKEA of all places, buying all kinds of beds and stuff, without telling me. Now she wants me to move stuff out of a closet onto our bed. I refuse to have anything to do with it, and eat dinner.
After 4, Dora and son home with a truck full of stuff and some guy to assemble it.
Dora out again at 5:30. Guy and son moving mattresses and stuff around, guy assembling furniture.
I'm out at 7:30, to walk and sit in VA plaza and buy groceries and fruit. Home at 8:45, and the guy still is assembling furniture.
Furniture guy finished around 9:30. Dora home at 9:30; she had an extra X-ray done, after her echography. Apartment back to a semblance of normality by 9:45 or so.
Dora home before 3. Dinner. Dora out at 4:30 to hospital again. Later, messages about another procedure for her, and rescheduling mine to be with her doctor and a week earlier than planned.
I'm out at 7:45 or so. To ferreteria, but all of their thermostats are 2-wire and I think we have a 3-wire. To Caprabo for groceries, fruit shop for fruit. Home, and found a little USB fan I'd forgotten about; that will come in handy now.
Dora home at 9:30. After 10:15, we carried out a cheap old folding sleep-sofa to the recycle bins.
Dinner. Dora out again at 3:15.
Sudden message from Dora at 6:20, she's about to get into the metro coming home, but she's having bad kidney pain. And apparently she's not carrying any of the pain pills I gave her to carry, or she doesn't have water to drink with them, or both. I rush out to fill the prescriptions I was given today, which include Nolotil.
I meet her at VA metro, but she doesn't want the pills or water or anything I've brought, and now she's on the verge of vomiting. We go to a cafe for the bathroom, then she wants to go home and inject the Nolotil. We get there, and she can't find any syringes. She must have 50 of them in this apartment, but her stuff is all jumbled up in bags and suitcases that I've been nagging her to sort out. Finally her son finds a syringe and they inject Nolotil. She takes Diazepam, Neobrufen too.
I'm out again at 7:45. To shop to leave niece's tablet for possible repair, buy a cover for Dora's iPad. Groceries and fruit and home.
Dora slept until 2 AM, then up.
At 9:30, Dora is sending me messages that my lithotripsy, which we were trying to advance from July 17 to 10, has been advanced to tomorrow afternoon ! So I'm on a liquid diet starting now, and no liquids at all tomorrow.
Soon I shower and then out. To ATM, to farmacia, then onto H6 bus and longish ride to CIMA hospital. Check in at anaesthesiology, start waiting, soon Dora joins me.
In early for my 1200 appointment, questions about allergies and medications etc, then an EKG which is done VERY quickly. Out by noon or so.
Down to a cafe for sodas and rest and bathrooms. Eventually down to L3 metro. To Placa Espanya, find an office, register niece for another round of gymnastics lessons.
Into metro, ride to Diagonal, connect, crowded ride to VA. Home after 2:15.
In the evening, son and father to airport to pick up son's friend arriving to stay for several days. They get home at 11:30 or so, and Dora has been cooking up a storm for them. A ton of dishes to wash.
Dora slept only 2-4, I think; she's studying for a Catalan exam for which she's woefully unprepared.
I'm out at noon. To metro to buy a card. To phone shop but they're busy. To Dia and fruit shop. Hot.
Messages from Dora around 1; she's in pain again, heading to Urgencies at CIMA (doing errands along the way), had to skip her Catalan test.
I'm out after 2, earlier than I planned. Bus to hospital by 3, but Dora still hasn't arrived. I sign in with the scopy/lithotripsy department, but it doesn't look like I'll get in early as I hoped. My procedure is set for 5. They call me in after 4:30, I get into gown etc and start waiting, Dora shows up. She's still in pain but they gave her a shot downstairs, so after a while she's starting to feel okay.
After 10-15 minutes, they wheel me into the lithotripsy room, and feed a sedative into my IV. I don't feel anything but calmer and sleepier. I doze as the machine pounds at my stones. Finally done, back into the dressing room, and after 10 minutes or so I'm starting to feel normal but tired. Use the bathroom, dress, my balance seems to be okay. They give me a bottle of water, then a small carton of apple juice, to drink.
We go out, sit, son and friend arrive, Dora doing paperwork. I use a bathroom again. I'm feeling cold. Eventually we go downstairs. I eat a powerbar. Out and I warm up a bit as we wait for Dora again.
Across the street into a pastisseria for a while. I'd like to go home, and I"m feeling cold again. But Dora wants to relax, and a coke and criossant perk me up a bit. Use bathroom again.
Finally out, catch a taxi, home after 8. I lie down for a little while, then Dora gives me some fruit.
I'm feeling pretty good, happy to be able to eat and drink again. Over dinner I happen to say to Dora "you know, no one told me the results of the procedure". But it turns out they told HER, and the news is all bad. The doctor wasn't able to break up the big stone, I'll need an x-ray or echography to get a new look at the situation, and like Dora I'll need a cysto-urethroscopy procedure. Mine should be a lot easier than hers, since my stones are a lot further down than hers. But, crap, I thought I was cured. [Finally got a copy of my echography from about a month ago: pic. The white blobs coming down from upper-left are a chain of 4 stones in the bottom of the ureter.]
Started taking an antibiotic, Cefixima.
Dora is telling me that, for kidney health, we all should eat a lot less meat, I should stop eating chocolate, etc. I keep telling her I'd rather have a kidney problem every 6 months than give those up. [I don't eat a LOT of meat, at least by US standards, but I like meat.]
Out again for groceries and fruit.
Huge dinner cooked by Dora, with furniture-guy (from Ecuador) and son's friend; six of us at the table, nice.
Headache in the evening; took paracetamol-plus.
Headed for the modern art floor, and it's huge. Dora wants to take a picture of every piece of art, so progress is slow. We're starting to drag by 2:15, but only halfway through. We rest a little, drink some water and eat some powerbars, and keep going.
By 3 we're happy to leave. Hot walk down the hill and over to another museum, CaixaForum, where we have free entry. In and up to the restaurant, and have a nice dinner. Pics.
Out of the restaurant, see a couple of sections of the museum, then we've had enough. Down to the metro, long walk inside the station, hot on the platform, ride to Diagonal. Long walk inside the station, wait for train, to VA, walk home. Home by 6, tired and hot and sweaty.
Watch 2nd half of Women's World Cup finals, USA beats Netherlands 2-0. Son and friend home before 7.
Dora crashed hard into bed. I laid there for an hour or more but couldn't sleep. Later had a headache, realized I haven't been taking the Propranalol I should be taking.
I woke Dora up at midnight, thinking she should drink some water etc. But then she ended up staying up all night.
Pouring rain after 10:15. Nice; we need the rain. Dora home after 2.
Out at 7 to walk and get groceries and fruit.
Got tired of waiting for Dora to get home, cooked dinner and we four ate at 3:30. Dora home before 4, and she ate and then went out to the hospital again.
Online, reserved an AirBNB apartment for our trip to Romania in late August.
Out after 7. To ECI to look at microwave ovens. Walked across and up FIP. To Dia for groceries. Warm.
Online, ordered a microwave oven from Amazon.es.
I cooked dinner again.
Started building a Firefox extension: ContainersExportImport.
Out with Dora after 5:30. To phone shop, then bus to hospital yet again. Arrived early, so of course they took her 45 minutes late. Back onto a long bus through lots of traffic, home after 9:15.
I cooked dinner, and overcooked the meat etc because I was turning down the wrong burner.
New microwave oven arrived, looks good.
Out wth Dora at 7:30 or so. To a pharmacy for a lot of medicines, home, then out to a bookstore to buy a Catalan textbook. To a cafe for coffee and pastry. Eventually out, to fruit shop just as they were closing.
I thought Dora would get a break this weekend, but she has yet another blood test scheduled for early tomorrow morning.
After 12:30, all five of us out to get lunch. To Thai place, but they're just opening, not ready to serve yet. A block more to a Catalan / hamburger place where the food was decent. Nice conversation.
Out at 2:30, a block over to the train station, son and friend missed a train by 2 minutes, will wait 30 minutes for next one. Dora and I went home.
On the computer, doing more work on the Firefox extension I'm making.
Out with Dora at 8 or so. To HCC, where we found lots of people watching a magic-show, sort of. To Mercadona for a few groceries, then sat in the center for a while. Not too warm, but still pretty humid.
To their sailboat there. A Beneteau 347, I think. Nice boat, kept very well. They really pack the boats into the limited marina space here, at least in this section, they're rubbing fender to fender much of the time. Good day for some sailing, grey so we won't get fried by the sun, and a reasonable amount of wind.
They got the boat ready and then we headed out. Once out of the harbor they unfurled the sails, turned off the engine, and engaged the autopilot. And we're off on a long southerly close-reach (I've forgotten many sailing terms since giving up my sailboat about 2.5 years ago).
A few other boats out. Reasonable swell running, and we're mostly parallel to it, so some motion. A few times I felt a little queasy, but nothing serious. Lots of good conversation. Pics.
Out on that tack for maybe 90 minutes, then turned around and headed back in. Wind easing slightly. I'm getting tired. But eventually we're back into the marina. Dock and then we snack and chat for a while. Sun starting to come out.
They close up the boat, eventually we're back into the SUV. Bad traffic at a couple of points on the highway, then we miss a bunch of turns as they try to deliver us to our apartment. Finally we get out a few blocks away and walk the rest.
Home before 5:30. Shower. Food.
Later Dora announces she and her father are going to the south for 2-3 days for some religious holiday. Fine with me. She goes out to do errands and buy tickets.
Out at noon. To ECI to mail a letter, then Mercadona for groceries. Getting hot.
Dora home before 4, and she had a horrible time getting to/from the bus station, because she used the wrong way (trains, and there's a train strike today, she should have used the metro). And there are few seats to the South for the holiday. So she has bus tickets to Madrid, and now I buy BlaBlaCar seats for Dora and her father from Madrid to Jerez. Glad I'm not going on the trip. They're catching a bus at 11, get to Madrid at 0600, car out of there at 1430, into Jerez maybe 2000 ?
And around 7, Dora tells me she just found out from her sister that the main part of the religious holiday, the Virgin arriving on a boat, is happening tomorrow morning instead of tomorrow evening as she expected, so they're going to miss that anyway. Typical.
Plumber supposed to be arriving at 5 to deal with the toilet again. Then arriving at 7. Finally buzzes at 7:20. And he's done in 5 minutes, something in the toilet sticks sometimes, and he showed us how to unstick it. Hope no one breaks the tank-lid in the process.
After 9, walked Dora and father down to the local train station, trundling a huge suitcase. Got there at 9:20 for 9:33 train to bus station. Said good-bye and they went down to the platform.
I loafed all day. Out in evening to sit and walk and scrounge a piece of lumber and buy fruit.
Dora and father arriving in Sanlucar. She sent some pictures of them on the final bus, looking far more cheerful than I would after 22 hours of travel.
Around 7:30, lots of rain and some thunder.
Dora going to stay in the South a few extra days.
Out for a couple more walks.