Tag Archives: Spain

While walking around Madrid, Rand and I saw this sculptural relief on the facade of the building, done in the classical style (is it ancient Roman in its influences? Let’s say yes, because I know squat about sculpture):


And then we saw the same relief, this time rendered with a Cubist slant:


And I might have geeked out, because seriously, how cool is that?

There are times when I feel like maybe I’m asking a little too much of the universe (“Give me an awesome husband, the opportunity to travel around the world, and lots of cupcakes, please. Also, I’d like to meet Jeff Goldblum.”) I try to keep it in check, I really do (notice I didn’t ask for a pony).

Like, for example, when we were in Madrid last month – for a grand total of only 24 hours – I did not have a lot of expectations.

I certainly didn’t think that I would have any time to spend with Rand. Or that he would have a whole afternoon free.


I'm doing this weird thing with my mouth here, but Rand looks really cute so I'm posting it.

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My darling husband has a slightly inflated impression of my foreign language abilities. A haggling session in Cuzco left him believing that my Spanish was far better than it actually is (It’s not that great. I am, however, an awesome haggler). I allow it, of course. We all believe slight exaggerations about our loved ones. He wants to think I speak perfect Spanish? Fine by me. If he believes I’m trilingual, then I get to believe he’s suave enough to give Cary Grant a run for his money.

What? It could happen.

Besides, it’s not all untrue: I do have enough basic knowledge left over from high school Spanish that I can be of some help when we’re in Spain or South America. Not much, mind you, but enough to (hopefully) not get him arrested. For example, when were in Madrid he saw a sign that said señoras …

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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.