As I mentioned a couple of days ago, one night last week both girls grew three inches in their sleep, and suddenly none of their pants fit. Well, thanks to the spiffy new job I have, this wasn't a crisis, and in we went to Barcelona to go shoppin'. I have to say that I hate shopping, but we had quite a nice day overall. Started in Placa Catalunya, went to my "extreme Asian" store...really that is the name, and picked up some oatmeal...I know isn't that Asian? and peanut butter...that makes more sense...well, lots of goodies.
Then over to the bookstore for a Catalan text/work book...and we walked up to the Zara flagship store on Passeig de Gracia, but low and behold, it was closed. Ah well, we wandered over to the Barcelona market which is amazing...it is an enormous outdoor market, some of it is more permanent than others...but the kids found a playground on the way there, again one of these plain dirt jobs, but it had a cool toy in it. They do seem to be creative with the playground structures here, cool buildings and cool playgrounds. It had the usual climber, but then it also had...how to describe this. OK, picture this. Four posts in the ground, probably 15+ feet tall, in a square pattern, quite close together. Then put cross bars between opposites, so that you get this shape...X, and hinge them in the center with some spring to it, so that their range of movement is limited. Now suspend chains from the ends of the arms, and a disk. When level, the disks should float about four feet off the ground. Now, put kids on the disks. This was serious fun, fairly damn dangerous too, but boy....did the girls ever have a good time. It was essentially a giant teeter totter, but you hang off the bottom of it. If the bigger girl didn't push off the ground really hard, the littler one never even touched the ground, she just swung around wildly....
On the way over we had a series of typical and lovely interactions. Unlike usual, we hadn't managed to bring a picnic with us, so we stopped in a variety of places on the way. First a Forn...bread bakers. I went in and bought a baguette, but it was very light...a good sign that the lunchers would get hungry soon after eating. So I went in again to get a second one, and had to call the girls to bring me the bag with the first loaf...when they came in, the lovely man behind the counter very kindly gave them each little teddy bear shaped breads with icing sugar overalls. Mmmm. We went along a little further and found a green grocers, where I went in and waited while the woman in front of me got her stuff. The place was incredibly tiny, but had an amazing cross section of stuff, 'Ramon', this was obviously a local place they all knew his name, kept pulling stuff out from different spots. If you wanted something it was clearly good to ask. Every item was the basis for a good conversation and debate and a joke. Finally it was my turn. In my halting Catalan I asked if he had any salami or a little cheese for sandwiches...no. Upon seeing my disappointment though he told me where the little neighbourhood store was that would sell it. Off we went, and it was lovely too. The lady behind the counter there was also having long involved conversations with the woman buying stuff. Lots of laughter and chat. When our turn came I did the usual prefix to any conversation...pointing out the obvious that I don't speak much Catalan or Castilian, and then got the food I wanted, again with big smiles and halting jokes and laughter, and a language lesson as well!
The Barcelona market when we got there, having forced the children to leave the giants teeter totter, was amazing. I so love markets...the crowds and the amazing display of things on sale....we got a pepper grinder, now we need pepper, and the little one got me a colander, much needed. We got the eldest a new knapsack for school, and debated doggie beds. Going to go back there again sometime, with nothing else on the agenda but to wander around. What a great place.
Then it was off to the mall. Nothing new or different about this, except that this one didn't even post one of those maps and the info lady was permanently busy, possibly because there was NO MAP. I hate malls, and I hate shopping in them, but the little one has three new pairs of pants, and the big one has one. We're not done with the shopping, but the worst of it is over....glad to get home, and the dog was glad to see us too.
Long walk in the hills today, and I am making Thai sticky rice in the new colander for dinner. Yum.