Sunday, October 27, 2013

OH my feet!

I went walking today, with a friend.  We had a perfect day, the weather was spectacular, the route was gorgeous, we did 50K...

my legs are a little tired....

the problem was my shoes.  OH my feet!!!!

I wore these shoes which I have worn running and they are great for going running for an hour or so.  GREAT!
I went walking for 12 hours or so.

They weren't great.

The initial problem lies in that mesh.  See the mesh?  Covers most of the shoe and lets in VAST quantities of sand.  VAST

This in itself is an irritant, but when you couple it with insoles that are perforated, with little tiny perforations over the entire shoe....what happens is this.  The sand comes into the shoe, it gets embedded into these tiny holes by my feet as I walk, particularly under the spots with the most pressure.  Then what happens is that as I walk, the insole, as it should collapses a bit under my foot to provide cushioning.  Sadly the rocks and sand do not.

The effect is walking for 50K on 50grit sand paper.

My feet are DESTROYED!

I have never had so many blisters.

After one really big one (that covered about half the ball of my foot) exploded - and that was an interesting sensation, I removed the insole, but then the shoe was too big and blisters appeared in places that had been fine up until then...

OH my feet!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


One thing to understand here is that scooters, those skateboard-y things with a handle to steer with and a brake, are the domain only of children and teenage boys up to about 14.  Exclusive domain.

So the thought of a middle aged woman riding one is very weird, but you know what?  The suckers are super efficient for travelling in cities.  Fast, small, easy to get on and off of, you just take them into the stores and public transit...light and easy to carry...a dream.

So, Monday morning, when I was going to go into BCN....I had a logistical problem.  Normally I ride my bike to work a village or two away, but if I want to go into BCN I have to leave the bike at work, go in, go back to work, get the bike and ride home, rather than just go issue as I have to work in the evening as well.  So, the bike is out.

Then there is the bus.  None leave early enough.

I was thinking of running to work, showering on the beach and going in, but it was all a little involved. Showering in the dark on the beach, having to bring working clothes when I run and then wet smelly running clothes into BCN...meh

Then I thought of the scooter!  YIPEE!!!!

I did have one minor accident....

OUCH!  And some bruising on the other leg...

Despite that, it was a complete success and I will probably be scootering my way around BCN again....especially on a Monday!



Friday, October 25, 2013

El marcat dels encants

I have always loved this market...well, always being relative, I didn't even know it existed for most of my life, but since we've been here I adore it.  That doesn't mean I go all that often, but there it is....

I adore it.

They've been building it a new location for a while and it has been entrancing to watch go up, you see it is a most unusual building, which I have to say I love too.  It is receiving some criticism cause the rain comes in a lot, but as the last one had no roof at all, it seems something of an improvement.

After going to the Hospital de Sant Pau, the architectural end to another....

The photos aren't the clearest, but there are three levels of stalls, all with this beautiful flying wings of a ceiling overhead.

Love it.....

Reminded me of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Chicago

Really like it....though I wouldn't eat there...pretentious, expensive, poor service, stupid seating and generally meh....go over to the Farineria on the other side of the circle for a good cheap menu in a surprisingly nice spot...especially if it's a sunny day!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hospital de Sant Pau

I'd read about this place a bit in the books....and I'd thought about going, but I'd never been...until this week.


The hospital de Sant Pau is amazing, it was all designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site...richly deserved.

Sadly (well for me that day, not in general) it is undergoing a GIGANTIC renovation.....GIGANTIC, so very few buildings were open.  Despite that, it was spectacular.

Well, first I had to go by this may recognize it...or not.

And I got up to the Hospital.  As you can see, if you look carefully, it is currently closed, the main entrance that is....

so I walked up one side of the building, peeping over the wall....

Peering through gates....

and came in through the parking lot at the back and found myself in this construction zone.

took some photos while I was there

and got down to an area with a few more tourists.

and a few more buildings.  The hospital was designed to be a series of buildings, for different purposes, all of them connected underground by tunnels.

The place is frankly astonishing, and will be even more incredible when we can get into see some more of it!

I stuck my nose into one of the tunnels, this one is pretty darned practical.

back above ground....

this building is actually open and part of the Universitat Autonoma, and if I'm going to go back and take some pictures, cause it was pretty mind blowing.

Weirdly there were a bunch of American students hanging around...not sure why.

Not sure who was thinking what when they designed that balustrade (is that the right word?)

Water tower or bell tower?????

A little modern day work outside the hospital...

there are a LOT of is amazing.

after that we went to visit the marcat dels encants, in their brand new building.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I have a whack of photos

from the yesterday in BCN, but that seems too much effort at the moment, and I want to comment on something.

I bike to work, as some of you know....and this year I have some very early classes so I am actually biking in the dark.  It quickly became apparent that the usual run of the mill headlight that I was using was woefully inadequate.  Partially cause it just doesn't cast much light, good for being seen, but not so great for seeing...also it uses batteries, and if I was going to be using that three times a week, the bill for batteries, to say nothing of the rather more important environmental impact, was going to be hefty.

So I got me a new headlamp.  BLINDINGLY bright.  Something like 500 lumens, whatever that means....a LOT of light.

It's awesome, in a whole lot of ways...I can plug it in to recharge it and the light stays bright for many more hours...I am super visible to cars, and I can SEE!!!!

As an added side bonus, the light is so bright that it helps with pedestrians.

See, here's the problem, part of the route is along the beach (life just sucks sometimes doesn't it) and there are masses of pedestrians.  With this beam of light ahead of me, they see me coming, not just the ones coming towards me, but the ones going the same direction.  Makes it soooo much easier.

They can see the light on the road ahead of them - this baby is seriously bright - from about 50 meters away and move over to one side without me startling them by coming up behind them and asking them to move, or if their wearing headphones and meandering around, me secretly cursing them before bellowing loud enough they hear me!

LOVE this light.....

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Love this is geologically strange, a big fat tall mountain with nothing like it around.  Should be in the Pyrenees, but went walkabout.  

It has tons of beech trees, and at this time of year, the leaves are turning, and it is spectacular.  I hate to say it, the colours in Canada are much more spectacular, but there are amazing too.  

Someone planted Sequioas, they are big...not West Coast big, but big.

The mountain today was absolutely PACKED with people and cars, gathering chestnuts and mushrooms, walking and enjoying a perfect day.

PACKED though.

This is partially the economy here too, instead of going off somewhere fancy for the weekend, people are staying closer to home.  Kids are probably happier, less time in the car, more time playing in the woods with more of their family.  We saw lots of big groups having picnics.

There are streams and springs all over the place.  This one was so pretty I was tempted to swim, but there were so many people and the water was COLD...

A bit of a view.  The camera totally didn't do the colours justice.  Quite disappointing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Neil Gaiman continues to be a wonder

It's a long read, but a good one.

Wonder if I still have time to retrain as a librarian????

Monday, October 14, 2013

BCN after the walk!

The man and I went into BCN Sunday afternoon....we went in to see a very small temporary exhibit at the Picasso museum....with fairly awful translations into English, though the book was OK.

It was actually pretty neat though as they were looking at the relationship between a painting found underneath a painting they have here in BCN and a blue period painting from the Cleveland Museum of art.  Neat.

Then we wandered over to the Born Market which I've talked about before and came home for a nap!

We saw a couple of small things in BCN....

A building they are going to renovate, the red beams are to support the facade while they remove EVERYTHING else!

Over the door of a shop...

In la Parc de la Ciutadella

At the bottom of the rambla below the arc de triumph!  A map of the city!!!

 Such a cool city.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Worked Saturday morning, like always, and then the weekend started!  Though I did go out with friends on Fri evening....a lovely crepe place that had TINY portions!! TINY!!!  I came home hungry and woke up hungry...breakfast next morning....2 eggs, 1 banana, 1 pear, tea, oatmeal and cheese.  HUNGRY!

That said, after work Sat I had a lovely lazy day....a nap, a good lunch, 3 more eggs for snack....watched videos with Youngest....

Then all powered up (relatively speaking) off walking this morning with another friend.  A small little pressure, no speed, all good.

We saw some stuff:

This was an old pipe that ran water down the water from the mountains to a village....I had gone by it in a walk a few weeks ago, but was so focussed on speed I didn't take a picture.  Nice to go back and get one.

Very narrow to walk along, fun.

And one tile was different!

And these two enormous magnificent pines growing out of this huge rock....

Look at that tree!!!!!

A view...

And we saw a big old preying mantis on the way, the camera didn't want to take a picture though, so the road is nice and clear and the mantis is rather blurred.

She was a big 'un.

After this, the man and I went into BCN...more later.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I am a lucky girl....

The other day I got home from work and look what Youngest made for me!


and look what the man made.

Lucky lucky lucky girl!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The refugi

The refugi where we stayed was incredibly saw it up above.  Bizarrely it slept a TON of people...

Look, a little fireplace and some shelves:

On the other side a big old table and benches, we sat 10 around it with room to spare, and room for 5 to sleep above it.  The self-described 'oldsters' went here.

Go up the ladder there...quite a tall one, and perfectly vertical....

And you get here, with room for another 11 or so to sleep.  It had a passageway to make it easier to get out and pee, but goodness, that ladder is pretty discouraging.  We also closed the metal trap door so no disasters happened.  No one went to pee... though do you see that tape?

The tape is there for the mice who try to chew their way in.  We were all woken up when one of the group was awoken by the quite loud gnawing of a mouse (?).  He was flashing lights all over the place to see what was going on.  The Canadian in me was all about, who cares.  I mean really, it's not a bear or a wolf.  If it gets in, so what, what are we going to do?  Try and catch it?  Go back to sleep!!!!

Anyway.... it was pretty darned funny....and astonishingly noisy.  We eventually left a headlight on which settled him down a bit, and we could go back to sleep as it wasn't flashing around anymore.

Refugis can be delightful.  This one was.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Up a mountain

Yup, went up another one, this one in Aragó!  Long way to go to find a hill, but it seemed to be the one that was inspiring people!

Here's some pics:

Here we're at about 1800 meters.... working our way over to the refugee...

Met some goats

The refugee...I kept waiting for Hansel and Gretel to appear.

The next morning we got underway in the got to see the sun coming up over the mountains.  Not a bad way to start a day!

The stratification on the mountains was stunning...morning sun helps, no?

Onto the ridge, we went the other way.  It wasn't as narrow and dangerous as that makes it look.  I was a bit surprised when I saw the photos.

View from the top.  Love the sharp.

We walked along this section back to where we climbed up onto the ridge.

The only weird thing about the walk for me was that I kept getting emotional.  I have had a couple of deaths in the last couple of weeks, and somehow, out here, with space around me - though I was with a group - it kept hitting me.  Probably healthy.  A wee bit odd though.  Or not.

A view of the slope down from the ridge.  Beautiful, no?  And that Loch Ness back or mountain ridge in the background?

a wonderful day, great group, 2960m mountain. All good.