antiques and long walks: the makings of a perfect Sunday

Last Sunday, I took the train to Sant Cugat de Vallés, about 40 minutes north of Barcelona, to visit Mercantic, an antiques market of some 80+ vendors. The first Sunday of every month is delivery day, when merchants get new shipments of items, so there was tons to see, including a warehouse-sized room of international books (mostly Catalan, Castilian and French).

A collage of pics from the day:


When I got back to Barcelona, I wandered around el Born district for a couple hours – and got considerably lost, as always, in its snaky streets. I was on a mission to watch the Packers vs. Cardinals game, but none of the three sports bars I’d read up on online were showing the game. (I’ll try again for the next game, but, hell, why’s it so hard to find the NFL here?)

In fitness-related news, I found a cheap yoga studio, and it’s next door to my new building! For 30 euros/month, I can go to up to three classes per week.

I went to my first class yesterday, and it was … different. A lot slower than yoga I’ve taken in the U.S. No sun salutations or warrior poses, instead a lot of back and neck stretches. It seemed more like meditation than yoga, but I left feeling refreshed and relaxed, and that’s never a bad thing.

I’m off to squeeze a quick run in before heading to my friend, Shelby’s, for dinner. We’re craving spicy, ethnic food like no other and are cooking up a homemade feast of enchiladas and guacamole tonight.

What about you? What are you up to this weekend? Running any races?


this is a running blog, right?

After a couple days of catharsis, I’m back to blogging about running. Crazy, right?

It’s a wonder I actually got off my butt and laced up my running shoes yesterday. (For the first time since Monday.)

To be fair, I came down with a bad case of food poisoning on Monday night and spent the better part of the early morning hours hovering over the toilet. And then, all shaky and dehydrated on Tuesday, I forced myself to go to work. (It was a stark reminder of how easy I had it in Portland, when calling in sick was no biggie and meant I’d still get paid.) I really need the money (ya think? just how many times have I mentioned that here?), and I didn’t want to risk getting fired.

I still felt less than stellar on Wednesday, and though I was back to normal on Thursday, I didn’t make it out for a run.

So, yes, Friday. I ran. Slowly. As is the current state of affairs in Barcelona.

And not that far. (Again, typical.)

But at least I was out there. And I got to explore a new neighborhood! (After spending 5 weeks in L’Eixample, I’ve just moved to Gracía – pictures to come soon). It felt good and needed and just as cathartic as those over-dramatic blog posts.

I’m contemplating signing up for a race here because I need the motivation. Seems like my running sweet spot right now is 40 minutes, and I’d like to increase that to an hour or so, but I don’t see that happening unless I put some pressure on myself.

Also: strength training. Damn. That’s a foreign concept in my life right now. I miss it. I can tell I have less stamina, and my metabolism is slower. (And it’s not just because I’m eating chocolate croissants!) I need to find my way to an affordable weights class, or just start doing wall squats. Anything. (If you have a good, at-home strength training routine, please send it my way.)

Hopefully I’ll have some more exciting running-related posts to write soon. In the meantime, enjoy this picture from Costa Brava, where I’ve just spent the day in Tossa de Mar:

Costa Brava

some pics of Spain

My weeks are filled with teaching, applying for teaching jobs, eating, stressing, stress-eating, and the like.

My weekends are a bit more chill, thankfully.

So I’m putting together a Flickr album of my adventures in Spain. Take a peek here, and tell me where I should travel on a budget!

Weekend getaway to Cadaqués, Spain

I can sum up my weekend like this:

boats in Cadaques


Shelby and I headed to Cadaqués, Spain by way of a train to Figueres, then a bus ride over the mountains into the dreamy bayside town of Cadaqués. It’s one of those places that takes your breath away – all white-washed buildings with blue shutters, charming older couples winding their way through the streets and children playing ball on the beach.

We had our fair share of red wine, pizza, chocolate desserts and deep, contented sighs. (Totally worth the carsickness on the bus ride there and the inflated price of tapas in the town.)

I also read a book while I was in Cadaqués! Yes, it’s true! (This is likely not shocking to you, but it shocks me since I’ve had precious time for anything but my TESOL course since I arrived in Barcelona.)

Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped with my phone (I’ll post again when I’ve uploaded my camera’s pics to Flickr), and put Cadaqués on your must-visit list when you come to Spain …

A fancy little shop:

shop in Cadaques

Shelby, leading the way to our hostel:

Shelby in Cadaques

We only got lost *every* time we tried to walk back to our hostel. The narrow streets all looked the same.

A view of the town from where I went jogging:

View of Cadaques

I think I fell in love on this run. Who wants to buy a house in Cadaqués with me?

The town at dusk:


Cadaqués doesn’t have much in the way of things to do (if you’re on a budget), but that’s part of the appeal. We wandered the streets and simply relaxed. We walked to the nearby town of Port Lligat, where Salvador Dalí lived, and we lingered over glasses of wine at several seaside cafés.

More than once, I thought to myself, How is this my life right now? How am I so lucky?

While it’s easy to get caught up in some of the uncertainties here and begin to stress about money and visas and plans and to-do lists, I let most of that go this weekend.

I’m happy to be here. I live in Spain right now. Wow.

I’m grateful for the chance to have this experience, no matter how long it lasts.