Back in BCN

Las Chicas returned to Barcelona on January 7, after a lovely holiday in Tucson. We caught up with family, friends, and colleagues; biked a bit; hiked a bit; and procured American supplies for the coming year. Supplies included essential items like supplements and computer RAM, and non-essential but highly desirable items like carob chips, Clif bars, energy drink mix, and REAL tortillas.

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What we miss: Family and friends, dancing before midnight, finding most of what you need in one place,  and most certainly – Tucson sunsets.

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We also really miss: Patrick, seen here playing extreme Rumicube.

Las Chicas arrived at BCN airport and deftly handled their first Spanish obstacle of the new year–three minivan taxi drivers couldn’t fit all their bags, guitar and bike! The male taxi drivers failed, but a female driver came to the rescue and had the spatial ability to fit everything in her cab.

Barcelona felt like home, and Mary successfully reactivated her “Spanish chip” to converse for almost two minutes with the vegetable stand ladies at the Mercat. Lisa reactivated her “school chip” and survived sleepless nights and the first week back at school.

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Artisanal chanterelle mushrooms from the Mercat veggie ladies, complete with pine needles and twigs from the local forest. Sometimes there are fern bits.

Jet lag notwithstanding, Las Chicas attended two parties the first weekend they returned. A birthday party at a surprisingly decent Mexican restaurant had the soundtrack of the Barca futbol game on TV. Lisa’s Peruvian colleague agreed that it was difficult to find truly spicy food in Barcelona, but the waitress helpfully provided hot sauce which we all ignored. We talk hot and eat mild.  As the normal Spanish dinner time approached, 10 pm, another large party entered the restaurant. Identified by their skull and cross bone emblazoned leather vests, the “Barcelona Gunfighters” filled a table of 20, accompanied by wives and infants. Not nearly as scary as their vests.

Las Chicas also celebrated at a wine tasting birthday party. Lisa’s colleagues voted on best wine in a blind taste test, while eating cheese and stuffed olives and mashed olives. Alas, Las Chicas’ organic wine (Mary chose because “sin sulfitos”–without sulfites) was the least favorite. Fortunately, Las Chicas actually enjoyed its organic earthy subtle tones and without regret, brought the dissed bottle home. One partygoer commented to Mary: “Autism has been linked to organic produce,” and Mary thought WTF?! but simply replied, “gotta go, bye.”

Mountain bike rides filled the first week—Mary and Lisa took the crowded Ronda Verde path in Barcelona to the less crowded beach paths of Badalona and Mataró.

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Las Chicas enjoyed riding by the sea on the first weekend back.

With road bike now in Barcelona, Mary also went on her first road ride up and over hills in Collserola Parc. A taste of steep Spanish climbing and hairpin descending, with views of Mediterranean and Montserrat—super fun!

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Great to be back in Spain!

© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.

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2 responses to “Back in BCN

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