Barcelona Diary 2023

Bill at Barca football game

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Still in USA

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Still in USA:

Sun for a new day  2023-01-01 (Sunday)

Drove a car for the first time in years.

We're visiting a very sick family member in the hospital.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-02 (Monday)

Visiting with various family members, and a trip to the hospital.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-03 (Tuesday)

Lots of family and hospital again today, and finally a treatment plan from doctors. And the prognosis for my family member is very bad, as expected.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-04 (Wednesday)

More family and hospital. Everything has changed, this has become a hospice / terminal case.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-05 (Thursday)

Started the day with a minor problem: washing-machine overbalanced or something and spilled water on the laundry-room floor. I don't think it's any problem with hoses or anything, there just was a too-big bedspread being washed in the machine.

Driven to train station after 11. Train to NYC. Found the subway and took it two stops to 14th St. Popped out close to our hotel. [We're paying about $240/night including taxes. Same room in early June would be $575/night.]

Into hotel, no problem checking in early, free upgrade of the room, nice. I think the hotel is mostly empty.

Over to Chelsea Market, half a block away. Had some dinner (sort of Middle Eastern fast food, somewhat small portions, $37). Browsed the shops, then out the back and half a block and up stairs onto the Highline park, a former elevated train track.

Walked the Highline, enjoying sights of various buildings and sculptures etc.

Up to Hudson Yard. Into Whole Food Market for the bathroom, into shopping mall to look at very pricey clothing. Dora found some pink fluffy top (maybe alpaca or something ?) that she liked very much, but it was $500 or more). And a long black synthetic coat with some leather shoulders or something that was $2500.

Then out the river side, into a plaza full of Christmas lights, and a building/sculpture called The Vessel. Quite nice. Saw a couple of people that looked like they were from the "jungle" of Peru where Dora worked long ago.

Over to another plaza with a few more lights. Then into The Vessel for a minute, nice. Pics.

Back down the Highline, and to our hotel.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-06 (Friday)

Over to Chelsea Market for some breakfast (smallish hot sandwiches, two coffees, $20). Then up the subway to 42nd St, and walked 4 or so long blocks to the Hudson River. Nice view of the Intrepid aircraft carrier. Then to Pier 83, and onto a Circle Line boat.

Cruised a complete circle around Manhattan. First major landmarks were Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Then up the East River. MC of the cruise talked almost nonstop, giving lots of interesting facts I didn't know, and a lot of references to TV shows and movies that I don't know or care about.

Big mention made of the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson; we went right over the spot, and the Circle Line was involved in the rescue. Some mentions of WTC and 9/11, of course.

Lots of bridges, including several at the N end of Manhattan that we passed under with only 1 to 3 feet of clearance, and one that opened for us. The weather was pretty grey but it was quite warm for January, and didn't rain on us, so it was very nice. Pics.

Off the boat, and it's a bit cold. Up 42nd St half a block and into a "Greek" restaurant, where the Mexican waiter immediately spoke Spanish to Dora, slightly annoying her. I had a nice hamburger, Dora had chicken nuggets, drinks, a slice of cheesecake, $62 plus tip.

Walked about 8 long blocks east on 42nd, not bad with the breeze on our backs. Slight detour to see Times Square. Then into Bryant Park, to see ice-skating and Christmas decorations etc. One vendor was renting time where you sat in a transparent plastic "igloo" that was warm, relaxing on nice furniture and still seeing everything in the park.

Pictures in front of the Public Library. Then strolled up 5th Avenue, stopping in shops. Dora bought several reasonably-priced things, and we saw a lot of expensive things, most with no price tag shown.

Up to Rockefeller Center, to see the Christmas tree and ice-skating.

Into St Patrick's Cathedral, and they were playing the organ a bit, which was nice. A photo of the old Pope, who died recently.

Up to Trump Tower at 56th or so, and it's not like I remembered it from years ago. Maybe there are two ? Sat in a nice enclosed arcade for a while. 5th Avenue etc pics.

Down to subway station at 53rd, rode to 14th St stop, and somehow came out at 6th Ave instead of 8th as I expected. A longish walk back to the hotel, passing many subway entrances that all said 14th St. Not sure what I did wrong, maybe should have take the C instead of the E or some other thing ?

At home in NJ, things are happening, hospice care has been arranged, our sick family member is being moved home tonight. I feel bad about not being there to help, but I'd probably just be in the way anyway. My sisters are very efficient, and they've hired professional help.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-07 (Saturday)

A high-school friend of Dora's came to meet us. We thought he worked in the City, but apparently he came in from Clifton NJ, so a bit of a journey for him. Into Chelsea Market and had a big breakfast at Friedman's ($75 plus tip). Nice time with him, nice guy. They're taking down the Christmas lights on the outside of the Market, I guess the holidays are over.

Back to hotel, checked out, left suitcase with them. Then walked down into Greenwich Village, down Bleeker to some nice parks, touched W Houston briefly, up Hudson. Into a Dunkin Donuts for refreshment, it's a bit colder today. Pics.

Back to hotel (pics), got suitcase, into Chelsea Market again because Dora is hungry, apparently she didn't each much of her expensive breakfast. Middle Eastern fast food again, she liked it.

To subway, to Penn Station, onto train, back to Trenton area after 4. Picked up by my sister. Glad we did the trip to NYC, and about the only thing on my list that we didn't see was Macy's Herald Square. Misc pics.

Home, and our sick family member is home now, in hospice care. We have shifts of help, with someone arriving on Monday to live with us full-time.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-08 (Sunday)

Our family member passed away quietly at 2:15 or so in the afternoon. Surprising that he didn't last longer, but a merciful end, no pain, no lingering.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-09 (Monday)

Trying to stay out of way of my two super-motivated sisters as they clear out some of the things in the house. Dora and I went to breakfast, and later to Princeton to walk around, shop, have dinner.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-10 (Tuesday)

To DMV to renew driver's license, to Walmart to buy clothes/shoes, to cousin's house for a small family gathering.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-11 (Wednesday)

Various relatives flying today, so of course the nationwide flight system is down in the morning, some computer problem at the FAA.

My brother's obituary

We've bought Mega-Millions lottery tickets for the third time now; prize is up to $1.3 billion. I know it's stupid, but we can't resist dreaming a little.

Dog pics from Barcelona.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-12 (Thursday)

Raining, and I have a bad headache.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-13 (Friday)

Out in the car at 1:30, and up the scenic route (31-202-78) to my youngest brother's house. Chatted with he and nephew for a while, met his big dogs, then he took us to the airport.

Outrageous food prices in the airport: even the simplest sandwich is $17.

Uneventful flight home to Barcelona, but I didn't sleep at all.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-14 (Saturday)

Got home about 10 AM local time. Dog ecstatic to see us again.

In the evening, a rap concert going on in the park across the street. Walked dog and got groceries; good to be walking instead of driving.

Online, submitted my ETE tax form to Spain. A simple form, but the PDF can't be handled by any application I've tried, and the XML option is a bit mysterious.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-15 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-01-16 (Monday)

Note to Dora: can't win the lottery if you lose the tickets you bought.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-17 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-01-18 (Wednesday)

Weather has turned cold and very windy. Walking the dog first thing in the morning is an ordeal.

Grocery store has no eggs at all, for second day in a row.

Paid with my new credit card in a "contactless" way, a first for me.

Sister arrived from south.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-19 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-20 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-21 (Saturday)

Headache all day; couldn't get rid of it.

Out to lunch at a Bolivian place with Dora and her father. Drunk Colombian guy at next table tried to pick a fight with me, for some reason. But he was leaving, so soon the problem was over.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-22 (Sunday)

Headachey all day again.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-23 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-24 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-25 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-26 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-27 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-28 (Saturday)

In the evening, signing up for a family trip to Port Aventura in early Sept.

Sun for a new day  2023-01-29 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-01-30 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-01-31 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-01 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-02 (Thursday)

Dora out to medical class.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-03 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-04 (Saturday)

Installed Ubuntu Unity 22.10 on my laptop.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-05 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-06 (Monday)

Online, submitted my 720 tax form to Spain.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-07 (Tuesday)

At 3 AM, Dora having severe kidney stone pain. Off to the local urgent-care place. Home at 5:15.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-08 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-09 (Thursday)

Last night's update to Ubuntu Unity munched my laptop. Spent all day trying to fix it, with advice from people online. Just made it worse.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-10 (Friday)

Installed Zorin OS 16 on my laptop.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-11 (Saturday)

In USA, there was a remembrance gathering for my brother, and later his ashes were spread in a park lake.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-12 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-13 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-14 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-15 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-16 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-17 (Friday)

In the evening, out for an expensive stroll with Dora: to ATM, then bought €52 of computer ink, then bought €195 of course-books for her. Plus assorted snacks and groceries.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-18 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-19 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-20 (Monday)

In the evening, out with Dora and son to ECI to buy a new laptop for Dora. Of course the one I looked at 4-5 days ago is no longer €600; the sale is over, it's €730. But it didn't matter anyway, because Dora fell in love with a €1200 gaming laptop, especially the glossy OLED display. It's 10x the computer she needs, for 2x the price I was hoping to pay. But I decided a happy wife was worth the extra money. We bought it.

Setting up the computer: As usual, Microsoft and Windows require lots of privacy compromises. Trying to rip the McAfee AV stuff out. Copying lots of serial numbers etc. Configuring Edge, Chrome, and Firefox browsers. Display is 2800x1620, 120 Hz (but with some 165 Hz mode ?). Not a single dead pixel on it, as far as I can tell using a test site. CPU (Intel I9-11900H) about 15% faster than the one in my laptop. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics. 512 GB SSD (Micron 2450). Thunderbolt port, gigabit Ethernet, more.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-21 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-22 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-23 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-24 (Friday)

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-02-25 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-26 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-27 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-02-28 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-01 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-02 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-03 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-04 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-05 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-06 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-07 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

To former bank, and with some printed info and my limping Spanish, managed to pay €2 and get the tax-related info I need.

Train tickets I bought for Dora last night have to be cancelled; someone told her the wrong dates (by 3 months). Paid €242, get back €85. Wonderful.

Workman came and I paid €285 for a new videophone for the building-door-unlock in our apartment.

Online, booked a trip for 5 of us to go to Universal Studios in Florida in May. 3 days, 4 nights in the park(s) for $2900. $3600 for plane tickets plus later $375 more for baggage.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-08 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Online, filed my US 1040 tax return (including FATCA). Took three tries to get it accepted.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-09 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-10 (Friday)

Late-evening Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-11 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-12 (Sunday)

Installed PC Linux OS on my laptop, but it was unusable. Installed Linux Fedora 37 Kinoite.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-13 (Monday)

Went to US consulate and had a US document notarized (€48).

Sun for a new day  2023-03-14 (Tuesday)

To post-office to send document to USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-15 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-16 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-17 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-18 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-19 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-20 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-21 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-22 (Wednesday)

Online, filed my US FBAR tax declaration.

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-23 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-24 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-25 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-26 (Sunday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-27 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-28 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-03-29 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-30 (Thursday)

Sister arrived from the South.

Sun for a new day  2023-03-31 (Friday)

Dog went to groomer: pic.

Dora out to work.

Sister from North arrived with twins.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-01 (Saturday)

Both sisters and three kids went off to visit family in Romania.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-02 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-03 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-04 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-05 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

At midnight, family arrived back from Romania.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-06 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-07 (Friday)

Online, bought a new phone, a Google Pixel 6a.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-08 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, had a little birthday party for two family members who have birthdays coming up soon.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-09 (Sunday)

Both sisters and children departed.

Installed Nobara 37 Linux on my laptop.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-10 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-11 (Tuesday)

Dora out to class all day.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-12 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-13 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Received my new phone. Started installing GrapheneOS on it.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-14 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-15 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-16 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-17 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-18 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work and then class.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-19 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-20 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-21 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-22 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-23 (Sunday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-24 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-04-25 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work and class all day.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-26 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-27 (Thursday)

Dora out to class.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-28 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-29 (Saturday)

Coming in with the dog from our morning walk, got in the elevator, doors closed, and then building power went out. Fortunately it was out for only a minute or so. Didn't seem to bother the dog.

Out with Dora to get new eyeglasses ordered for me; my current ones are in atrocious shape.

Sun for a new day  2023-04-30 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-01 (Monday)

In the evening, online, suddenly made a lot of progress on applying for renewal of my residency here. Not sure what I did differently, or if something changed in the system, but was able to submit almost all of my application. A big relief.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-02 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-03 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-04 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-05 (Friday)

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-06 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

Escorted niece to the Macquinista mall, on one of the busier shopping days of the year.

Sister arrived from the South.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-07 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-08 (Monday)

Niece to England on a school trip.

Out with Dora to National Police so I could do paperwork there.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-09 (Tuesday)

Dora out to class all day.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-10 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-11 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, picked up my new eyeglasses. I think they're pretty good, but my eyes are bad.

After a week of worrying and two rejections, on the third try Dora's sister got travel permission to go with us on our trip to Florida. Turns out she has a new passport that the rest of us didn't know about.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-12 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-13 (Saturday)

In the evening, niece back from trip to England.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-14 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-15 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-16 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-17 (Wednesday)

Sister arrived from the South.

Getting ready for our trip to Universal Studios in Florida. Dog delivered to a friend's place. Dora's 91-year-old father will be staying here by himself. Last-minute purchase of another suitcase.

Trip to Universal Studios in Florida:
Sun for a new day  2023-05-18 (Thursday)

Up at 5:30, doing my things, and found out at 5:55 that they changed the taxi pickup time from 6:30 to 6:00 without telling me. So out in a rush, with no coffee and no face-wash.

Plenty of extra time in Barcelona airport. Smooth flight to Philadelphia, lots of empty seats which was nice. Confusion in Immigration in Philly, all 5 of us had to go through same line, all 4 Spanish citizens had to give fingerprints, etc.

But then our flight from Philly to Orlando was delayed 2.5 hours.

And when we arrived over Orlando, a big thunderstorm was hovering over the city and we couldn't land. If we hadn't had the delay, we would have been okay, missed the storm, probably.

We circled Orlando until we were low on fuel, then diverted to Tampa. There the plan was to get fuel and go back to Orlando, but then it changed to pull up to a gate, a bad sign. And we are the last of seven flights that diverted to here.

Finally we got to the gate, and they told us to get off, another bad sign. Into the terminal at 9:45, and lots of grumpy people shouting at the agents. Everything is short-staffed, because it's the end of the day, most of the airport is shutting down.

Driving to Orlando is not an option, with 5 people and luggage and rental-car counters at the other end of a shuttle ride, probably closing and/or sold out. No night buses. Airport hotel is an option, but seems a waste. We'll be flown out tomorrow at 9 if we choose that. We do. Then we wait almost 2 hours to get our luggage; finally get it around 11:50.

To the main terminal area, and they actually have some sleepable couches and chairs. Slightly chilly, music playing, wary of someone trying to steal our stuff while we sleep. I get a couple of hours of dozing, off and on.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-19 (Friday)

Ticket agents open at 3:30, so we're there at 3:40. Agent is confused by our story of being stranded here last night, has no record of a flight going to Orlando this morning. But finally a supervisor gets it straightened out, we check our luggage again, get new tickets for flight at 0840.

Pic in terminal.

Around 6, we get on the short train-shuttle to other terminal, get there and to ID check, and our tickets are rejected. Back through the train to the ticket agent, get new tickets again.

Back through ID check and Security. Into gate area at 6:45, and flight is delayed until 0900.

Soon the flight is delayed until 10:30. At this rate, we're going to miss most of the day we planned to spend in the water-park at Universal. Later time changed to 9:50.

Before 9, things started happening. Pilots arrived, supervisor-types arrived. But it turns out we don't have a flight-attendant crew; they were told 1030. But someone hustles and a crew shows up.

Aboard around 0915, only about 12 passengers. Slowly got going, eventually got into the air. Landed at Orlando around 10:15.

Out, through airport, moderate wait for luggage. Then got lost a couple of times finding our shuttle bus location, then a 15-minute wait for the bus.

Pic on bus. Eventually to the hotel, checked in, got our resort tickets. Up into the room before noon. Room is functional, okay, a bit skimpy on toiletries for 5 people. A shower made me feel more human. Two bottles of sunscreen made a small mess in my suitcase. Slathered sunscreen on myself and felt less human.

Going out after 1:30. Down to shuttle bus and to Volcano Bay.

Which turned out to be pleasant but crowded, with a fierce sunshine (glad we're not here in July). Almost all the beach chairs taken, and we didn't try to rent an umbrella. Dora found what shade she could while the rest of us took quick dips in the wave-pool, which turned out to be a briefly-fun activity. But the sun was beating down.

Got away from the "beaches" and found a grotto that was shaded. Several of us signed up for the Huno water-ride, 50+ minute wait (but wristwatches do the waiting for us). I went looking for a particular stand that sold a particular food I'd heard great things about (jerk shrimp macaroni and cheese), but my wristwatch isn't set up to pay. Back to the grotto, managed to scan our tickets into the phone-app, couldn't figure out how to link the wristwatch to it. Then suddenly it was time for the ride. The niece and her mother had gotten on ahead of me, so I went solo (joined a group). A fun ride, mostly scary because much of the time I was on the downhil side and sliding backwards, but it was brief.

Found a food place and got variations on "jerk" "pulled pork" "mahi" or "hamburger". Not particularly cheap, but surprisingly good food, and it really hit the spot.

Dora thought of swimming in the wave-pool, but at 4:45 they're closing it ! I guess because some dark clouds are approaching the area ? By 5 or 5:15, lots of people are leaving. I take some pictures, we do some gift-shopping, then out to the shuttle bus. Pics.

Home, and soon niece and sister are in the pool. I do a brief Zoom call with family in the USA. Dora gets ready to go to pool with me, but before we can get going, niece and sister are done and back in the room. We have a nice lounge and swim at the pool, which is shaded and large but shallow and full of noisy kids.

I doze for a while, then around 9, Dora and I are out in search of a food store. There are prepared-food shops in the hotel, but we'd like a supermarket within walking distance. There's no such thing, but we're able to walk out to a 7/11 that satisfies a lot of needs (but no bread, and prices are high).

Sun for a new day  2023-05-20 (Saturday)

Out a bit after 7:30, later than I wanted. Fortunately no line at the shuttle bus. To CityWalk. Through Security and into the parks.

Headed to Universal Studios, got there, found that early admission was only at the other park today. So did the short walk to Islands of Adventure, and entered. Walked fairly directly to one of the top rides, Hagrid's Motorcycle Ride, and already the wait is 150 minutes. The wait ticked over to 160 as we decided what to do instead.

Up through Diagon Alley, and to Hogwarts. Four of us went in to do the ride, with a 25-minute wait I think. Not a bad line, things to look at to entertain us. But at the end, one of us got rejected because he weighs too much. The other three of us continued, and the ride was a swoopy aerial thing with lots of video re-creating scenes from the books and movies. Dragons, Quidditch game, Basilisk, dementors, etc. I enjoyed it a lot, although my stomach got a little queasy at one point.

Out, and Dora's not feeling well. But we found a nice place to sit in the shade. The rest of us went to shop in Honeydukes. I'm out, and bought a butterbeer, and shared it with Dora. It was pretty good, and she liked it. I got a glass of water for her, and gave her a Neobrufen, and another glass of water.

The rest of us left Dora, and looked for a ride to ride. Nice rollercoaster has an 80-minute wait. We ended up in King Kong ride, a 35-minute wait that wasn't too bad. Onto a truck, and the ride was mostly lurching and tilting while lots of video played and we watched through 3D glasses. Not bad.

Back to Dora, and she's feeling better. Wandered to look for lunch, and tried a kebab shop. Bad choice, the food was not good. But we ate at a table in the shade, with fans giving a breeze, and we all felt better.

Wandered through some shops toward the exit. Niece and sister went off to ride the biggest rollercoaster, but came back after the sister backed out, and I wasn't willing to go on it with the niece.

Headed for the exit, with a couple of stops. Pics. Sun is started to get really hot. Finally out, shuttle bus came quickly, to hotel. Stop to buy fried chicken etc, and up to room by 1:45 or so.

After some food, we dozed, which turned into everyone sleeping away the afternoon and evening. Dora sleeping hard. Son down to the pool, I think. Later I went down to lounge around the pool. Son went out again later still.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-21 (Sunday)

Out at 8:30, with the usual bruised feelings, we always seem to have arguments over who gets to use the sink etc. Bus to Universal Studios, and got in quickly in a crowd.

Seized the chance to go on Revenge of the Mummy with no line, and it was fun. Up to Diagon Alley with a couple of delays, and it was very nice up there. To Escape from Gringotts, and it was fun, scenes roughly similar to the books and movies.

Into Ollivanders to buy wands. Into Fortean Florescue's to buy ice creams, and sat in Knockturn Alley eating them, very nice. I'd never tried Chocolate Chili before.

Shops: Borgin and Burges, Weaseley's, Gringott's, several more. Enjoyable. Dragon on Gringott's breathes fire every 15 minutes.

Used phone-app to order food at Leaky Cauldron, and had lunch there. Pretty good British-style food, but the drinks were expensive.

Out, and to Simpson's ride. Which turned out to be surreal, mixing plots from the TV series with your actual presence in the park here, then you're onto a rollercoaster that is mostly video, but very good video. I really enjoyed it. First ride we got Dora to go on.

The others went on a tame Kang and Kodos ride while I held the stuff.

Around the corner, and to the ET ride. Which all day the phone app has been saying the wait is 15 minutes, but when we arrived the board said 35 minutes, and when we were done the board said 60 minutes, the app still said 15.

Now it's 3:30, and we're done. Sun is hot. To park exit, eventually to shuttle bus, decent air-conditioning. To the room by 4:30, and a minute later Housekeeping knocks to do the rooms. We just get basics, don't bother with the beds.

Shower, and feel better. And today was our best day at the parks, I really enjoyed it. Pics.

Had to do some things online, and quickly it became a fiasco. Airline check-in failed because of some passport detail discrepancy; we'll have to check in at the airport tomorrow. Then realized that we'd scheduled our shuttle-bus tomorrow for the wrong time; went down to lobby and they easily fixed that, but it could have been bad, some of the buses are full. But the bus time-change means no time to go to the notary tomorrow morning, so that errand is dead.

Hotel pool closed because of threatening rain-clouds; maybe it will open again later. But it rained for a while, and we dozed all evening.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-22 (Monday)

Managed to flight-check-in everyone except the sister. But Wi-Fi glitched in the middle of trying to do a seat-assignment.

Out at 8:45 or so, down to lobby, and found that check-out is automatic. Waited for shuttle bus. Bus stopped at 5 other hotels before going to airport. No problems at check-in.

Easy flight to Miami, lots of empty seats. Waited a couple of hours, then onto flight to Barcelona. Time passed easily, watching movies aboard the flight.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-23 (Tuesday)

Arrived into morning rush-hour in Barcelona; taxi-ride home was slow and painful. Arrived home around 9:15, in light rain. Soon most of us crashed for several-hour naps.

Dog returned to us around 1:30, and he was very happy to see us.

So, it was a bit of a grueling trip to Florida. The heat and crowds took a toll on us. I really enjoyed the third day in the amusement parks, when we went on some good rides and did Diagon Alley.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-24 (Wednesday)

Sister back to the South.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-25 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-26 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-27 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-05-28 (Sunday)

Online, did my Spanish income tax (modelo 100) and wealth tax (modelo 714) returns.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-29 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-30 (Tuesday)

Dora out to all-day class. but she only went to the morning session.

Toilet repairman put new seat on. The part was expensive (€95), the labor was cheap (€15, gave him €20). The bolts/nuts were frozen, so I couldn't do it myself.

Sun for a new day  2023-05-31 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-01 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-02 (Friday)

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-03 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-06-04 (Sunday)

Dora out to work.

Online, made reservations for a vacation in Copenhagen in July.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-05 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-06-06 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-07 (Wednesday)

Dora and I went to see an apartment for sale. Cheap (€265k), and near our current apartment (which I want), and a decent size (95 sqmeters). But lots of small rooms, overlooking a busy street, few windows, tiny balcony, 2nd bathroom has no sink, more. Not interested.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-08 (Thursday)

Dora out to work and class.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-09 (Friday)

Dora out to class and work.

At 10 PM, took suitcase to bus station, met Dora there, she got on a bus to Madrid.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-10 (Saturday)

Dora in class in Madrid.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-11 (Sunday)

Dora home from Madrid.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-12 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-13 (Tuesday)

Dora out to class all day.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-14 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-15 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-16 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-17 (Saturday)

Niece and father off to the North for the summer.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-18 (Sunday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-19 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-06-20 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-21 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, brother-in-law arrived in truck from Bilbao to deliver a huge echography machine that Dora has bought from her sister. He didn't stay long, soon back on the road right back to Bilbao.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-22 (Thursday)

Dora out to work. But turned out she read her schedule wrong, no work today, so she went to medical administrative office instead.

Son had big medical school test this morning. He thinks he did okay. If he passes, he'll get his certification. But he won't know until October.

Dora came home, and soon fired up the echography machine. Then I was her test-subject for a while.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-23 (Friday)

After walking the dog, I laid down for another echography practice session with Dora.

Dora out to work.

I went out to medical appointment at 3, got a shingles vaccination. But later online I saw they gave me the old vaccine, not the new one that I asked for. [A week later, after asking online, they insist I got the right one, the new one.]

Lots of firecrackers outside tonight, the whole week has been building up to this.

I've been feeling sick much of the day, allergies and a headache and a fever.

Had a terrible night, coughing and headache and unable to sleep.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-24 (Saturday)

Very quiet morning, after all the noise last night. Almost no car-traffic.

Still feeling lousy today. Took the dog for a couple of shortish walks because there's no one else to do it.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-25 (Sunday)

Feeling a bit better today (thanks to medicines), less headache and coughing, still feel weak.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-26 (Monday)

Feeling pretty good this morning; still a cough, still taking antibiotics. Out to bank to pay tasa for regreso. Defrosted refrigerator.

Dora out to work.

Dora pulled an all-nighter, studying for a test.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-27 (Tuesday)

Dora out to class/test.

At 11, to metro and well across town to Llobregat, to a national police station. A wasted trip, they told me I didn't need regreso since I'll be traveling only inside the EU. I probably knew that already, my mistake.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-28 (Wednesday)

Out after 9 with Dora, to see an apartment for sale fairly nearby. Turned out to be interesting, a cheap price but needing a lot of upgrades: do new electrical, change bottle gas to pipe, install heating/AC, new kitchen, renovate bathroom. So to sale price of maybe €210K add work of maybe €50K. Biggest downside is that there is only one bathroom.

About to get onto metro train to go see another apartment, when Dora got a message cancelling the appointment, someone is sick. Fine with me, it was in a location I don't want.

Dora out to work.

In afternoon and evening, tried installing new Linux on my laptop. Tried Qubes, too many inconveniences. Three other distros failed to install. Finally ended up on ParrotOS.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-29 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-06-30 (Friday)

Dora out to class.

Street art from last week or so: pics.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-01 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-02 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-07-03 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-04 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, at 7:30 we're out and into a taxi and to a concert on Montjuic. Juan Luis Guerra, extremely popular with South Americans. The music was okay, but it was loud and hot and crowded. I tolerated it, Dora loved it, and she danced every song. Out as the last encore was proceeding, and were very lucky to grab a taxi home. Home before 11:45. The luxury of taking taxis instead of walk-longmetroride-walk was well worth the cost.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-05 (Wednesday)

Out at 4:30 to see a couple of apartments for sale. Ended up seeing only one, and it was not impressive, needs work and some problems are unfixable.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-06 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-07 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Trip to Denmark:
Sun for a new day  2023-07-08 (Saturday)

Out at 7:30 into taxi, and to airport. Easy automated check-in, time to loaf, then to gate. Full flight and our seats are in the last row. We did our best to sleep.

Landed around 1:20, soon they opened the rear door of the plane and we got off. Long walk to baggage claim, stopping at bathrooms and an ATM. Long wait for baggage.

To Metro, bought 5-day passes for 300K (€45) each. Crowded train. Got off, out of the station, and our hotel is right around the corner. To room by 3:30 or so.

Before 5, out and to a nice cafe next door for dinner. Not cheap, but the food was good. Ate too many calories.

Then we took the metro down toward the center, getting out near Tivoli (Radhus Pladsen). Pics. Walked back toward our hotel, doing a little shopping, never quite finding the picturesque neighborhoods I expected. Warm, and we're tired, so we gave up at Fredericksberg Alle metro station and took the metro one hop home.

Dora crashed for a nap; she stayed up all night last night. She ended up sleeping 12 hours straight.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-09 (Sunday)

Up earlyish. Down to breakfast in the hotel, which is pretty crowded.

Back to room, then out to metro. To central train station, where we got a bit lost for a while, the connection between metro and train is confusing. Wanted to buy a combination roundtrip-train-and-museum ticket, but didn't know how to do it. Quickly bought one-way train tickets and rushed to catch our 10:11 train.

Took the train up to Humlbaek, and walked with a crowd to the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, getting there just as it opened at 11.

At first the museum was not impressive, but then we found more and more of it, and some of the art was nice. The setting was very nice, the museum is tunneled into and around a hillside looking down onto the sea between here and Sweden. Nice lake-garden on the back side of the museum. Pics.

Done by 1:30 or more, walked back to train station, got ticket-machine to work in the nick of time and jumped onto a 2:00 train back to Copenhagen.

Wandered around the central train station to figure out a few things, then had some buffet Thai food that was nice.

Talked Dora into doing another museum. Took metro a few stops, then longish walk into a park, to the Cisternerne Museum. I thought it was a glass art museum in underground cisterns, and the last part was true, but the art was just some reflective and refractive glass screens, not much happening and not very interesting. I guess the reflections off water on the floor were supposed to be tricky.

Out, rested, and walked home to the hotel by 5:30 or so. Footsore.

Out before 10, hoping maybe for a snack and a Guinness at the Irish Pub around the corner. But everything was closed except McDonald's, so that's where we ate.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-10 (Monday)

Out at 9:45 or so. Weather very cloudy and much cooler.

Into Metro, to Nordhavn. Onto a 10:20 departure of a canal-oat tour. A few sprinkles of rain at start and end, but generally perfect weather: we're not getting roasted by the sun. Under lots of low bridges and past lots of docked boats. Interesting. One bridge was so narrow that the boat gently glanced off rubber sheathing on each side as it went through at idle speed. Pics.

Out, and down several blocks to Amalienborg palaces, to see the changing of the guard at noon. It was nice, only about 10 guards on each shift, and they took their time marching around. Pics.

Tried but couldn't find the palace museum. Maybe it's closed today. Over to Marble Church, which is nice. Pics.

Exactly as forecast, it started raining at 12:45. We had umbrellas and were heading up to a park, and kept going, but narrow sidewalks made it not too much fun. Into the park, it was nice, and we even found bathrooms. Pics.

But we decided to go home, and soon out and into a Metro station and home by 1:30.

I thought Dora was going to use the rainy-time to do some online test she has to finish, but instead she crashed and slept for almost 3 hours.

Out around 5, and Metro to Norreport and started walking down a pedestrian street. Nice but crowded. Looked at some clothes, then looking for somewhere to eat. Took a while, but found a Japanese place and had big bowls of healthy stuff. Everything in my meal was raw: salmon, veggies (including seaweed). Had a beer with it.

Out and did a little more walking. Pics. Then into Metro and back to the hotel. Our timing was perfect: sitting in the hotel bar having coffee and sweets at 7 when it started raining hard. But it lasted only 10 minutes or so.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-11 (Tuesday)

Out around 10. Metro to Christanhavn and walked around. Not as colorful as I hoped, but we didn't venture into the drug-dealing area. Pics. Christians Church was very nice. The main part was free, but you have to buy a ticket to climb the scary-looking outside staircase on the tower. All tickets gone already for today. Pics.

Walked some more, and through "bastions" parks, quite nice.

Across bridge and into main city, and to Glyphotek museum. Thought it might be free admission on Tuesdays, but no, very much not free. Turned out to be all Roman and Etruscan etc sculpture and artifacts, I guess nice enough, but I found it a bit boring. Pics.

Found a decent little underground restuarant for lunch. Food and beer were good, but I wish there had been more of each.

Walked on the pedestrian streets, and Dora bought a bunch of clothes.

Into a nice church, Holy Ghost Church. Pics.

Had ice-creams. Metro and home by 4:15, tired.

Out around 8 for a small dinner.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-12 (Wednesday)

Out after 10; light rain. Metro to Gammel Strand. Into a chapel briefly (oic), then into Thorvaldsens's Museum. Free admission. Nice sculptures, many of them enormous. Pics.

Metro-connect and out at Norreport. Raining a little harder. Into botanical gardens, and it started raining harder. Spent 15 minutes there, then out and down the street to Rosenborg Slot (castle). Found that the wait to enter is over an hour, but at least we can get a timed ticket. It's 12:30, our ticket is for 1:50.

Out, and the rain is pouring down, I'm getting pretty soaked despite my umbrella. Down the street to the national gallery (SMK), and in. Into the cafeteria, get coffees and snacks, and as we start to eat, the rain mostly stops.

Waste time in the crowded cafeteria, then head out at 1:30. To the castle, which turns out to be nice. A bit dimly lit, but lots of stuff to look at. And soldiers with rifles guarding the place, because the national treasury / jewels are displayed in the basement. Pics (last pic is of imitation for sale in gift shop).

Out, into light rain. Head toward the center, looking for a place to eat. Find a decent Indian place, food is okay, maybe a little overpriced.

Wander down pedestrian street, shopping a little. Find Our Lady's Church and go in for a bit; nice. Pics.

Eventually out to Radhuspladsen metro, and home by 5:30. I take a nap. Later out to 7-11 for a few snacks.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-13 (Thursday)

Out at 10. Metro to central station, and caught a train to Malmo Sweden.

Arrived in Malmo, and as we sat in the station figuring out the map, it poured rain outside for 5-10 minutes. Then nice weather. Out andcd wandered for a while, some light rain, then to St Peter's church. Pics.

As we came out, it poured rain again for 5 minutes, then nice weather. Wandered, had lunch in an Indian restaurant where the food was mediocre but the owner was friendly. Wandered pedestrian streets, and Dora bought clothes and shoes. Eventually to Triangln, another church, then into train station and back to Copenhagen. Metro to home by 4:30. Tired.

Miscellaneous pics of Malmo.

Dora crashed and slept for 12+ hours straight.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-14 (Friday)

Out at 10. Metro to Marble Church, then down to Amalienborg Palace Museum. A little disappointing, although they did have some Faberge stuff and some nice rooms etc. Pics.

Into Marble Church, to sit for a while. Then to Davids Samling, a museum of Islamic art and some other stuff. Nice. Pics.

Down to Nyhavn to rest and people-watch. Crowded. Long line for the canal boat. Found a decent pizza-kebab place and had lunch. Walked some more, then to metro and home by 3:45.

Out in the evening for a little stroll, especially in a big shopping mall nearby that we hadn't noticed before, and coffees in the hotel bar.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-15 (Saturday)

Up with time to spare this morning, and suddenly realized I'd managed the cash badly, I have 600 Kr (about €90) in cash I need to spend before we leave. No problem, Dora always wants to buy more dresses. So after breakfast, we went to the shopping mall a couple of blocks away. Of course, given a budget of 600 Kr, Dora spent 1400 Kr (about €190).

Out of hotel around 11 and to Metro to airport. Arrived almost 2.5 hours before our flight departure, but the board never announced what counter to go to. We wasted 20-25 minutes that turned out to kill us. Enormous slow line at check-in, they're checking-in two flights simultaneously with only two agents. We stood in line for a solid 90 minutes, and came up about 3 people short of being able to get onto the flight. They stopped taking baggage and giving boarding passes a solid 30 minutes before departure time. We were among about 20 people left stranded.

Arguments, then to re-ticketing office, then 20 minutes later they said everyone follow them to check-in. Checked in our luggage, got boarding passes, told us to hustle to the gate. At one point, I got separated from Dora, and neither of us knew what gate to go to, scary. But I headed for the other flight of our airline, which was listed. We reconnected, and someone had told Dora the gate number. We hustled to the gate, only to find the plane had left. A fiasco.

To baggage claim to get our bags back, then back to the re-ticketing office. Lots of phone calls and messaging in the back office, the airline is arguing with the airport about who's to blame, who should pay. We use phones and laptop to try to find other flights, but most are full, and we're not sure if it's worth paying €750 for flights tomorrow at 6 AM, when the airline might rebook us for free. Eventually we find out that both the 9:30 tonight and the 2 PM tomorrow are full. Check flights to other cities in Spain, try to think of any trick, no luck.

We take a break for dinner, which turns out to be a good idea. When we get back, the dispute has been resolved, and we get hotel vouchers and boarding passes for flights tomorrow afternoon. We'll get to Barcelona about 30 hours later than planned, but no harm except some stress.

To airport hotel and into a room by 8. Showers.

Went downstairs at 9:30 or so, and had dinner with a woman we'd met in the re-ticketing office earlier. Ended up chatting with a large contingent of Spaniards, many heading to Las Palmas (but they're having wildfires there). The waiters said they had 100 or so layover-customers like us, when the airlines had told them it would be 50 max, and so their kitchen was overloaded. So dinner was cheap chicken-meatballs over pasta, and a salad and soda. And they put us in a special area away from the paying customers. But we had a pleasant time anyway.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-16 (Sunday)

Nice breakfast downstairs.

Checked out at noon, into airport terminal, stood in line for 30 minutes to check in, all well. Now 2.5 hours to kill.

Flight to Paris was delayed about 45 minutes, but otherwise fine. Got to gate for next flight in Paris and it's delayed too, probably 45 minutes.

Uneventful flight to Barcelona. But it turned out our luggage stayed behind in Paris. Had to stand through a slow line to find that out and file a claim. [The young guy ahead of us had a long story: He was flying from Barcelona to his grandfather's funeral in Sevilla (hottest part of Spain) this morning. Right after takeoff a bird hit the plane's engine, the plane turned back, everyone had to get off without taking their luggage from the overheads. His luggage has disappeared and has no check-number, since it was carry-on. He's missed the funeral, he's flying tomorrow.]

Taxi, and home a little after midnight. Dog ecstatic to see us.

So, Denmark was nice. No real "amazing" moments. People were nice, lots of tourists, English spoken everywhere. A bit expensive. Trip home took 28 hours longer than planned.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-17 (Monday)

Out in late afternoon to look at two apartments for sale nearby. First was nice in many ways, but only one bathroom and needs new electrical and really a new kitchen. Second was too small in every way. Dora is hot to decide soon and buy something; I want to take our time.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-18 (Tuesday)

Pretty hot today, 35C.

Out in late afternoon to look at an apartments for sale nearby. Apartment was bad, small and two stories, etc. Afterward into real estate office where Dora was eager to buy an apartment we saw yesterday, I want to wait and see what comes onto the market.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-19 (Wednesday)

At 9:30 in the evening, the airline delivered one of our missing suitcases, mine. 3 days late. Still no news on Dora's suitcase.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-20 (Thursday)

Out in mid-morning to see an apartment for sale. A bit too far from our existing apartment (I want to be near because we'll be coming back daily to deal with dog, father, niece, son). And only one bathroom; I want two. No air-conditioning, needs new electric, etc.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-21 (Friday)

Sun for a new day  2023-07-22 (Saturday)

In late afternoon, out to nearby Peruvian restaurant, which turned out to be good. Then to HCC mall to buy a lot of clothes.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-23 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-07-24 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-25 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

In late afternoon, out to see another apartment for sale. This one is newly-renovated, everything pretty nice, but the "2nd bathroom" literally is a toilet in the corner of the laundry/water-heater closet.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-26 (Wednesday)

In mid-morning, out to see another apartment for sale. In same building and floor as another we looked at a week ago, but this one has two bathrooms, and really doesn't need any renovation. It's at the edge of acceptable distance from the current apartment. We decided to make an offer on it, so off to the real-estate office to sign papers.

The owner is asking €265k, and we are offering €253k to start. Other charges of the purchase: €3k to the agency, €25k to the govt for sales tax, about €1.5k to notary.

Home, and sent a €2k deposit to secure our offer.

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-27 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, good news: the seller has accepted our offer, no bargaining !

But less-good news: the agency wants their €3000 fee immediately and in cash (they would charge 20% extra for a bank transfer; I guess they're cheating on their taxes). The papers we signed just say the amount, not the date or form of payment. Probably a factor that next week is August and everyone will be on vacation. So we have to hustle to get as much cash as possible out of ATMs.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-28 (Friday)

Out in late morning with Dora to go to 3 of her 4 banks, to see about fees for writing a bank check (cashier's check). As I expected, fees are extortionate: 0.6% at one bank, 0.4% at two others. On a €228,000 check, that's over €900 fee. Stopped at a notary, too. Called 4th bank: 0.4%.

In late afternoon, out to real-estate agency to sign contract and pay their fee. To my surprise, they said we don't need a bank check for the final payment, we can do a transfer (free). And they wrote that in the contract, in contradiction to the paper signed the other day. Another surprise: the guy living there now has several months to find another place and move out. Originally he was going to have 5 months, we cut it down to 3, probably should have cut it to 2. He doesn't get any money until he moves out, so he has an incentive to get out.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-29 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-07-30 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-07-31 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-01 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

On the apartment: Owner and real-estate agency are on vacation for several weeks (things here shut down in August). We're looking to pick a notary and an inspector. We've consulted with Dora's sister in the North, who works for a notary. I'm transferring money from USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-02 (Wednesday)

We found an apartment-inspector, price is reasonable.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-03 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-04 (Friday)

We found an apartment-notary, price is lower than I expected.

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-05 (Saturday)

Dinner at Peruvian restaurant a block or two from home.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-06 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-08-07 (Monday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-08 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-09 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-10 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-11 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Late-evening Zoom call with family in USA.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-12 (Saturday)

In late evening, installed Garuda Dr460nized KDE Linux on my laptop.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-13 (Sunday)

Dora out to work.

In late evening, to bus station taking a suitcase to Dora. She's off to Bilbao for a brief trip.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-14 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-08-15 (Tuesday)

Late evening, Dora returned from Bilbao.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-16 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-17 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-08-18 (Friday)

Out with Dora to national police, to do next step of renewing my residency card. Took about an hour; even though we arrived right at our scheduled time, they just gave us a ticket and we had to wait about 45 minutes before we got in. Everything went okay, I should be able to pick up the card in about a month, which will make it 5 months to do this whole process. New card will be "permanente", which probably means I have to renew every 5 years.

Dora out to work.

Out in late evening. Metro hot and crowded and humid. Met Dora as she came out of work. Into metro and up to street-festival in Gracia. Train packed, and street outside the station not much better. But got away from that, and to a square where we could sit for a while. Shops and restaurants and lots of people. We wandered a bit, bought a necklace, there was a band playing in one square.

Started heading out, and lucked into a nice community garden where they'd set up a cafe. Had sodas and nibbles and enjoyed it. To metro and home after midnight.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-19 (Saturday)

Sun for a new day  2023-08-20 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-08-21 (Monday)

Son and dog left for a vacation, with friends.

Dora out to work.

Dog on vacation: lounging in a creek.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-22 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-23 (Wednesday)

Dora out to work.

Hot, still weather today. And a couple of degrees C hotter where son and dog are vacationing. But they have a creek and a pool.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-24 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-25 (Friday)

Dog on vacation: in pool.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-26 (Saturday)

Dora out to work.

Rain after 6:30 PM, finally breaking the heat we've had for several days.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-27 (Sunday)

Raining steadily this morning; nice. Rained off and on all day. Dora and I out to lunch. Dog and son came home from vacation.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-28 (Monday)

Lovely cool weather. Dora out to work.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-29 (Tuesday)

Dora out to work.

Out after 2:30, metro to Sants Estacio, met Dora there after work. Quick snack, then onto train to airtport. Got there, shuttle bus to other terminal, into baggage claim, then 30 minutes in line at lost-luggage counter. Dora still doesn't have her suitcase from the Denmark trip, and she's been calling and calling but it seems only this counter can do anything.

She's told the suitcase is here but was moved into storage, because no one ever put any of her instructions into the computer. So with luck, they'll get it out and delivered to us in a week (interrupted by our next vacation).

Bus, train, metro and home by 6:45, tired. But there's a dog to be walked.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-30 (Wednesday)

To Dora's bank a couple of times, trying to get her credit card unblocked. They say maybe it will be unblocked in a couple of days. Making two big charges was enough to get it blocked, apparently, even though credit limit was not exceeded and associated account has plenty of cash in it.

In the evening, struggling with my Spanish bank on web and phone. Their web site fails to show me a code I need to buy things online, says call them on the phone. Then found out that documents I uploaded to them a week ago never arrived, although their site says the upload succeeded. Finally figured out that the code problem was due to a blocker in my browser, I think. Was able to make the final payment for our coming trip to the amusement park, a relief.

Sun for a new day  2023-08-31 (Thursday)

Dora out to work.

Niece and father arrived back from their summer in the North. In the afternoon, sister arrived from the South.

In the evening, Dora's lost suitcase was delivered ! Just in time for our trip to the amusement park. About 6 weeks after it was lost during our return from Denmark.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-01 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

In the evening, out with sister to a concert at 9:30, meeting Dora there. An outdoor string-quartet in the old hospital grounds, lit with thousands of candles, quite nice.

I'm glad it's a short concert, since we have to go home and pack for our trip early tomorrow morning. But of course after the concert, Dora and sister want to go to a cafe for drinks and food. Which is nice, but it means we get home at midnight-fifteen.

Trip to Port Aventura:
Sun for a new day  2023-09-02 (Saturday)

I'm up at 5:30 after not sleeping well. Dora has been up much of the night. But still lots of last-minute hassles. She always leaves ironing and then a shower until the last minute, often making us late.

Then they pulled the same trick on me that they did a while ago: we get to taxi-time, 6:30, and they tell me that last night they rescheduled it for 7, and didn't tell me. I could have had an extra half-hour of "sleep".

Taxi comes, and we cram it full of our luggage and ourselves, and to the train station. Buy tickets and then have snacks and wait; we're about 45 minutes early.

Good seats on the train, and uneventful trip down to Salou. Cloudy and slightly cool today, with chance of rain. Rest of the vacation should be a little warmer and clear.

As we're getting off the train, phone calls from some of our Romanian relatives, they're in Barcelona and would like to see us ! Eventually they decide to drive down and join us for one day at the amusement park.

We wait for a taxi, get to hotel, start check-in. Which is complicated not by the actual check-in (which I did online), but by storing luggage, getting a mobility cart for the father, scheduling meals, making a reservation for the Romanian relatives.

The cart delays us the most, but finally after noon we head into the park.

We do a couple of rides, then disaster: 90-year-old father tries to move the cart without sitting on it, it takes off and he hangs onto the throttle lever so it keeps going and drags him a few feet. It hits a garbage can, he lets go, he escapes with just a lot of people concerned and first-aid treating him for a scraped knee. Partly my fault: I was the only one with him, I was getting food for him, I didn't know how to tell him what to do, I had my hands full so I couldn't try to stop the cart.

Soon we're into a huge Mexican place for lunch. Lots of singing and dancing on a stage.

We finish, and meet our Romanian relatives outside the restaurant. We stroll through part of the park together, going on a couple of rides. At one point I'm left babysitting the twin 9-year-olds, which is a bit terrifying since they're always roughhousing with each other and jumping off stuff etc.

The more adventurous among us (not me) do two top-end roller-coasters that look very scary. I'll probably do at least one of them tomorrow. I'm not feeling totally good today, and I'm carrying valuables for other people too.

Cool and a little rain around 5, and after a while we start heading for the hotel.

The Romanians are hungry, but we've scheduled our dinner for 8:45. After we get rooms sorted out, they head for the restaurant for a sandwich. Dora has the experience of driving the mobility cart right into our hotel room so we can plug in the charger. She didn't hit anything. Our rooms are just off the lobby; I suspect this weekend is the start of off-season, since school starts next week.

Today was so confused that I didn't take any pictures.

I slept like a rock.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-03 (Sunday)

A few of our party got up and went to ride the new roller-coaster at 8 AM under early admission, to beat the lines. I used the excuse that it was raining (or maybe just wet outside from rain) to stay in bed.

To a late breakfast, then said goodbye to our Romanian relatives, who headed back to Barcelona. We headed into the park. Raining a little, so we bought a couple more raincoats, so it stopped raining. Used them anyway on several log-flume rides.

Eventually wandered back to the hotel for rest, and to pick up the father. Lunch not far from the hotel. Then the kids went to swim, and 5 of us adults went back into the park. The rest had fun on several rides, but after being rotated on one ride and then rocked on another, I almost got sick, I'm done.

Back to hotel. We're staying in the Western-themed area, as usual: pic. Showers, rest, to dinner.

Out at 10, we 6 adults into park, and it's still busy, rides closed but many shops open. To central "lake", where everyone gathered to watch a cheesey but fun "parade", then a "concert" of light-show and floats/boats and fireworks and music etc. Afterward we wandered, and since we had no idea when the park actually closed, we had to hustle to get to our exit, only 2 minutes after official closing time at 11:45.

Planning to get up early to do the new roller-coaster, so of course the others want to stop in a cafe for drink and talk. Nice, but I wanted to get to bed. Finally into hotel ad into bed after midnight-thirty.

Slept badly.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-04 (Monday)

Up after 7:30, to lobby by 8. Six of us our after 8, and hustle to the park entrance, to stand in line for the early-opening at 8:30 and get right into the newest roller-coaster. But we stand and wait, and then some official tells us opening will be delayed.

Dora and I give up at 9:15. There's a huge line of people waiting. On the walk back to the hotel, we see newly-erected signs, one says opening is delayed until 9:30, next saying delayed until 10:30. Back to room and try to snooze a little.

To breakfast after 10. My appetite is okay but I have a bit of headache and GI distress. I take some pills. In the room afterward, I decide to stay in the hotel room today. But then I change my mind and go out with the others.

Into the park. The women jump onto a roller-coaster that cracked my rib last time we were here. Then some shopping, and onward. Next they do a log-flume ride. I'm not doing any rides today. I think maybe my riding days are over, mostly. Today is starting to be clear and sunny and a bit warm.

On to Sesame Street area, and the kids go on a bunch of rides. It's a nice area, cute rides and statues etc, and a Barbie-princess floating around on a Segway under her gown. I haven't seen most of the movies and TV shows that many things are derived from. I liked this huge tree with moving eyes: pic.

Start heading toward hotel, looking for somewhere to eat. A stop for a log-flume ride. Find out that (apparently ALL) of the restaurants close from 4:30 to 7:30, and it's almost 4:30. We duck into a hamburger place just before food service stops, and get our meals.

Back to hotel by 5:30 or so. Air-conditioning and a shower feel wonderful. Later went to the pool, but the others were leaving as we arrived, and it was a bit windy and cool too.

Dinner at 8:45. Afterward the others went back into the park, but I'm tired and Dora is staying home too.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-05 (Tuesday)

The others get up for the early-opening and ride the newest roller-coaster. I sleep in.

After breakfast, we head into the park. And hit some snags: the kids are tired of walking, the niece is feeling bad and wants to ride on the mobility-cart too, we argue about who gets to drive and who rides. We make it onto one ride, and then the niece and her mother head back to the hotel. We split up a bit, I watch the stuff while half of our group does another ride. Eventually we're back together, minus the niece and the father (who stayed in hotel today from the start).

We head for the Ferrari-land end of the park. One sister rents a second mobility-cart, using me as a "limited-mobility" person. And then we run into trouble at the entrance into Ferrari-land: somehow the sister managed to leave three ticket-cards with the two people staying back at the hotel, so we're one short. We go in, she's stuck outside, and she's unable to argue her way in.

We head to an Italian restaurant for a nice but long lunch. We come out, and sister has retrieved the card from the hotel and gotten into this section. She and other sister head off to ride a truly fast and evil roller-coaster. The rest of us head into a video attraction, where the line turns out to be longer than advertised, and the actual "ride" disapointing.

Out and back together, and the others head for the hotel and maybe a swim and then dinner. Dora and I stay here. We go to an acrobatics show which turns out to be pretty good, then a car-driving ride which is pretty tame, then across the park to a Tahitian fire-dance show.

Then we kill an hour waiting for the others to show up and the nightly parade-and-fiesta to start. It's nice, but I've seen it before. Pics.

Through the park and back to hotel after 11:30. Shower, and to bed.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-06 (Wednesday)

Up before 8 and to the park for the early-opening and 8:30, and we ride the newest roller-coaster. It's ... okay. Probably I rather would have stayed in bed.

To usual late breakfast, everyone eating too much. Then into the park. Hot today. First into the games section. Where the son amazes me by winning a big prize he wanted, at a dart-throwing stand. Wins a couple of small prizes too. Pics.

Further into the park, and we ride a couple of small rides. Then to a major scary roller-coaster, where three of the women stand through the long line while the rest of us wait in a shady corner. I think it takes them about 1.5 hours in line.

Now we're running out of time and energy. We head back toward the hotel, and have lunch in a nice outdoor restaurant with shade and cool breezes.

Back to hotel. Return the mobility-cart. We had planned on using the bathrooms here to freshen up, but suddenly they're calling a taxi, a bit too early, and of course it comes right away. Five of us are off to the train station, where at least there is an air-conditioned waiting room, although it's 1/4 the size it needs to be. (Other five are driving back to Barcelona.)

Train at 6:10, we're lucky to get seats, and some people are left standing. The crowding gets worse at the next couple of stations. I'm feeling hot and stinky and sweaty, and I've had a low-grade headache all day. And Dora has bought tickets for a concert tonight. I decide I'm not going.

Finally to Barcelona main station. Delay before our taxi arrives. Home by 8:30. Dora and sisters dash to change clothes and freshen up, then back into the taxi and off to the concert. The warm-up act starts at 8:45, but they should be well in time for the main act at 9:30.

A shower and fresh clothes, and I feel better.

The ladies came back from the concert around 1:15 AM.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-07 (Thursday)

Sister flew back to the South. Niece is sick, missed first day of school yesterday because we were on vacation, now missing second day of school too.

In the afternoon, to the apartment we're buying, to have an inspector look at it. About all he inspected was walls/ceiling/floors for moisture and mold. Which he did find, in a couple parts of the master bedroom. Now we are going to try to get the current owner to pay for fixing it. Dora's sister and husband from the North looked at the apartment with us.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-08 (Friday)

In the evening, four of us went to another outdoor candlelight concert at the old hospital. A string quartet again, but this time with two ballet dancers, and doing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Quite nice. Strolled down to Sagrada Familia afterward.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-09 (Saturday)

In midday, contingent from the North headed back home. Their car has a videoscreen for each passenger, and getting the videos started for the kids took a while.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-10 (Sunday)

Sun for a new day  2023-09-11 (Monday)

Sun for a new day  2023-09-12 (Tuesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-09-13 (Wednesday)

Sun for a new day  2023-09-14 (Thursday)

A worker here renovating the bathrooms.

Progress on the new apartment: the owner has moved out, and today we picked a notary to use.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-15 (Friday)

Dora out to work.

Lots of rain in later afternoon; we need it.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-16 (Saturday)

Dora out to a congress.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-17 (Sunday)

Woke up to find the electricity off. Eventually found that the main breaker had tripped, easy to fix, then later found that the air-conditioner seems to be dead.

Dora out to a congress during the day, home briefly, and then out to work a 12-hour night shift.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-18 (Monday)

Dora out to a congress.

Technician came and fixed the air-conditioner. Bathroom renovations still proceeding.

Dora tells me she wants to buy an office. No ! We're already buying a new apartment. She's been visiting properties without telling me, is going to a bank to see about a mortgage. But she needs my money to pay half the cost.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-19 (Tuesday)

Dora out to a congress.

Message from Dora, buy a bus ticket to Madrid for her for tomorrow night, she's going to another congress.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-20 (Wednesday)

Dora out to a congress.

Worker finished with bathrooms here.

In late evening, Dora off to bus station and onto a bus to Madrid, to go to ANOTHER congress, there.

Sun for a new day  2023-09-21 (Thursday)

Sun for a new day  2023-09-22 (Friday)

In the evening, went to an outdoor symphony concert, about 6 blocks from our apartment. Nice.

Late-night Zoom call with family in USA.