Tag Archives: Barcelona


Two Euro coins, and a five Mexican Pesos coin.


On a bright September morning, I sat in a small cafe in the Barcelona Airport, staring at the change my husband had been handed back from a barista. We were about to leave Spain for New York.

“What is this?” I said, holding up one of his coins.

“It’s two Euros,” Rand replied, disinterested.

“No, it’s not,” I said. I peered at the coin, squinting to make out the text.

“Rand,” I said, waving the worthless piece of metal in the air, “this is a five peso coin.”

I was livid. And ready to go home.


Folks, I have many, many, many, many flaws.

If it’s okay with you, I’d rather skip the details and just leave it at that. I’m a decent human being. I’m not a great human being.

But Spain made me a slightly worse one. And I’m kind of okay with that.

Despite my many flaws (see above), I can say one thing definitively: I’m not a thief. Except for that one time when I was 13 and shopping at the mall with my brother, and I accidentally knocked a ring into the sleeve of my giant hoodie, (and maybe I sort of noticed but didn’t say anything because I could totally get away with this and then claim IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, since it kind of was. All the thrill of shoplifting, none of the guilt!) and then I swung my arm and  the ring went projectile flying across the store and my brother was not at all happy, I’ve never even thought about stealing. Nope. Not at all.

Not until that day in Barcelona. On that day, I stole something. But I had to. In the name of JUSTICE.

And because they started it.

Let me explain.



I hate making split decisions. They send me into a panic.

“Chocolate or vanilla?”



“Paper or plastic?”



Folks, I have some sad news. This will be my third and final post about Gaudi’s architectural feats in Barcelona. (In case you missed it, here’s Part One on La Pedrera and Part Two on Casa Batllo.)

I know, I know. You’re devastated, aren’t you? I can tell by the way you’re joyfully skipping around the room, screaming, “THANK GOD IT’S OVER!” (Yes, through the magic of the internet I can see you, and no, I do not appreciate your candor.)

Okay, fine. Perhaps the last three days of architecture-centric posts haven’t been the most interesting, but I promise, today will be. Because today I’m going to tell you about the Sagrada Familia: the enormous church at the heart of Barcelona that is Gaudi’s opus.


Casa Batllo. AKA, Spanish Fraggle Rock.


Remember Fraggle Rock? I positively loved that show (I’d really like to see a “Where Are They Now?” feature on the Fraggles. I hope Wembly finally got into rehab).

The beginning always scared me, though. Something about the baseline, and the dingy house, and the tiny mouse hole into which the Fraggles ran gave me the heebie jeebies.


Eat your heart out, Mike Brady.


I never really “got” architecture.

I blame Mike Brady. Supposedly an expert in the field of home design, he squeezed six children into two bedrooms. He was no architect. He was a sadist. And – hello – is it really a good idea to cram that many biologically-unrelated children into two rooms far at the other end of the house, just as they are approaching puberty?


The gateway to temptation.


I am occasionally faced with a temptation that I, fortunately, have yet to act upon. My husband delicately describes it as “socially unfeasible.” I simply think it’s madness. Delicious, delicious madness.

The temptation is this: I want to eat food that doesn’t belong to me.

Now, before you start telling me that everyone feels this way, let me make myself clear. I don’t mean picking off the plate of some dear friend who is having lunch with me. Not at all. That’s completely fair game, and if we ever go out for a meal, you should expect that this will probably happen, and that your entree is mine for the taking (and vice versa … unless we’re talking about dessert, at which point you might lose a finger. Consider yourself warned).


Follow the nose ... it always knows.


People are constantly marveling at my sense of sense of smell, which I find rather amusing.

I tap my large and glorious nose, smile, and say, “What, you think this thing is just for show?”

And while my memory is fading a bit on precisely how we ended up at Bubo, a high end dessert shop in Barcelona, I would like to think it was my nose that led us there.