A Travellerspoint blog

On Running a Household

the dishes don't wash themselves!

sunny 18 °C

In owning and managing our own place we have come to realize that our parents were probably right about a few of the things they tried to teach us when we lived at home. Here are the Top Five things we've learned about managing a home!
Number Five
Cooking is easy, sitting at the table banging your fork whining for mom or dad to cook (especially when they aren't home) isn't an efficient way of getting good food in your belly
Number Four
Laundry also never seems to do itself...ever...It's so wierd, I wonder what is going on at my house?
Number Three
Keeping your bedroom clean is both esthetic pleasing and all together more enjoyable
Number Two
Once a week cleaning, is necessary. We call it Cleaning Sunday's. And it's incredibly annoying to have messy houseguests! (and roomates on there lazy days)
Number One
Toilet paper, you think you have plenty, you don't. Five people is a lot of people for only a dozen rolls.
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Posted by eurogirls 04:10 Archived in Canada Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Lazy days in Barcelona

What is he building in there?

semi-overcast 10 °C

So we have returned home to Barca after our New Years adventure in Valencia and so far 2010 has been grand!

Shortly after we returned to our apartment we welcomed Kirsten's mom; Leslie and her friend Karla to Barcelona. They themselves were just meeting us after they spent a week in Italy (A place we decided might be out of our price range!) But we got to see their pictures and here stories and were certainly inspired to make our way there when our wallets are a little fuller.
Being the wonderful people that they are, Karla and Leslie brought us presents galore! Toiletries and words from home! Our favourite gift however was the Canadian delicacy: Kraft Dinner. After that they further out did themselves as angels in our eyes and bought us some groceries! We were thrilled by the new addition of a snack cupboard to our kitchen. A snack cupboard! Before we didn't even own one snack, let alone many snacks, enough to necessitate an entire cupboard! Real cheddar cheese was also a highlight, we promptly put it on our Ritz crackers and into our bellies.
But, food wasn't the only fun we had while Leslie and Karla were here, we had all kinds of adventures including days at the zoo (Dolphins...And Gorrilaz...and Zaboomafoo...Baby Monkeys....Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!) and the aquarium (SHARKS!). We were also treated to another delicious meal at the all you can eat sushi buffet on the beach. They'd heard us talk about enough they thought it was about time we get it out of our system.
We learned how to make Sangria, a Catalunyan original beverage. We also learned how to drink Sangria and Cava (Catalunyan champagne!) and we learned how to mix them together and drink them out of silly bottomless glasses at the Port Vell restaurant located on the boulevard. We also enjoyed paella and tapas (two of the most tradtional Spanish dishes) and much much more.
January 11th was a special day in our little apartment for it was both Jordyn AND Karla's birthday- Happy Birthday Girls! We celebrated by climbing up Montjuic, a mountain in Barcelona which gave us a beautiful view of the city. There we saw the old Olympic Stadium, The National Palace of Montjuic, and a very interesting plant. It resembled slightly, Cousin Its distant relation. After our mountain climbing adventure we dressed up and headed out for a girl's night at a wonderful Mexican restaurant (And returned home on the Metro ;) Let's just say it was one of Karla and Leslies first time on the Metro.) We then came home and enjoyed cake and presents with our other friends from Saskatoon, Jesse, Kayle and Andy, who joined us halfway through the Ladies stay.
The night before we said good-bye to Leslie and Karla we enjoyed one more romantic girls night at out a new favourite resturaunt; Port Vell. There were tears and hugs and promises to have parties in Karla's hot tub (We'll be there, don't you worry). Bracelet buddies on the way home! And Karla sweet talking us into free Cava and snacks.
We were sad to see them go, but will be happy that all the wieght we gained under there spoils will go with them to!
A few days later we also said goodbye to the boys from Saskatoon (As soon as they all had there passports in order!) We had so much fun with the moms and the boys, and just in time for them to leave, we have another guest! Cody Pauls, one of our very good friends is making an appearance in the girls' Euro Adventure. (ps thanks to Cody for making this blog!)
We have about three weeks left in Barcelona, and we're all starting to realize how comfortable we are here, we're going to miss it! So the next few weeks will be spent enjoying the company of Cody and getting the most we can out of the city. At the end of the month, Jordyn and Rachael are going to Holland for a few days to visit some friends there, and Irena's Boekel cousins are coming to stay with us for a few days which we're very excited about! Time is flying by, and we leave for Prague on February 7th. That's all for now, tootles!
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Posted by eurogirls 06:19 Archived in Spain Tagged gay_travel Comments (0)

Valencia 2010!

Feliz Años!

Our happy New Year was spent in Valencia, the third largest city in Spain. Its got all the 500 year old beauty of Barcelona without all the people, and is generally a nice little city. We got here by a four hour coastal bus ride, which was a nice way to see the Spanish country side. When we arrived, we got some Spanglish, some what kooky directions from very friendly cab drivers and police men, and when we finally arrived at the address we had for our hostel, it was a residence. Hmmm... After a brief moment of stress, we realized it was just one of those silly tricks the Spanish like to play with addresses and the hostel was around the corner. The hostel is really nice. Smells a little bit like towel and Italian cologne.
Our first full day in Valencia was New Years Eve, which we just spent walking around getting a feel for the place. We saw the Holy Grail (the real one!) during an audio tour of the Valencia Cathedral, which was a beautiful building. That evening we headed down to town square to do the big New Years count down. Theres a somewhat strange, arguably dangerous Catalunyan tradition of eating a grape on every tole of the clock. So thats 10 grapes in 10 seconds. The tradition goes that if you don't take part, you have bad luck for the whole year. So we were in a beautiful old square, all lit up with lights and decorations, facing a huge clock atop a majestic city hall, surrounded by about 1000 people stuffing they're faces with grapes. It was a great time. After that, the party pretty much continued on the streets. We tried to start a round of Auld Lang Syne and it didn't catch on... We did have a great first meal of the year however; some very tasty, very cheap pizza shared with some very friendly Morroccans.
The next day, we discovered everything is closed on New Years Day in Valencia, except for McDonalds (of course). Some Big Macs were consumed. I'm not pointing any fingers. The rest of the day was pretty much spent lazing around the hostel, watching Titanic. Good start to the year, I think.
We decided we wanted to explore Valencia by bike, so the next day we rented bicycles and hit the street. We only went the wrong way down one way streets a few times, and were yelled/sworn/honked at minimally! Success! We had better luck biking through the long, narrow park that spans the length of Valencia. We later learned this park is a dried up river bed. Its constantly full of joggers, soccer players, and cat villages. I'm serious, up to 10 cats all grouped together at a time. Weird stuff.
Valencia is famous for its natural beaches, so the next day we decided to visit the beach. We spent the day lying in the sun, playing cards, eating our picnic. It's a tough life over here.
Our final activity in Valencia was a free walking tour! We like those (especially the free part). We had a very knowledgable tour guide, Joe from Liverpool, who told us what exactly all those beautiful buildings we kept running into were. We also learned a lot about the Spanish Civil War (nasty, bloody business), and all of the social movements still going on in Valencia today. Its a neat town!
So after a gloomy, rainy four hour bus ride, were back home in Barcelona. We had a great time exploring some more of Spain! Feliz Anos everyone!
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Plaza del Ayuntamiento

Plaza del Ayuntamiento

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Posted by eurogirls 05:03 Comments (1)

Feliz Navidad

A very spanish Christmas

sunny 18 °C

Hola again! We managed to survive our first Christmas away from home and actually had just a lovely time. And we only cried a little. The Christmas season began for us on Christmas eve. After receiving the very North American delicacy known as Kraft Dinner in the mail from home, we had a feast, believe us. We never thought we would miss Kraft Dinner and hot dogs as much as we did. We also never thought Kraft Dinner ON hot dogs ON bread WITH ketchup would taste so delicious. Once we got over being explosively full, we dressed ourselves up and went for mass at the gothic cathedral. Its one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Barcelona so we thought it would be appropriately Christmassy. The mass was, naturally, in Spanish and super full so we didn´t necessarily get the full religious aspect of the evening but it was still a very nice way to bring in the day. After mass we got to listen to some fabulous jazz buskers playing carols outside the cathedral (and may have had a little cry while we listened to the church bells strike midnight. But don´t worry, it was a sort of festive, happy cry). The rest of the evening was spent at home, eating snacks that were ACTUALLY good after 2 months of sandwiches, opening the Barbies our new Dutch friends Niels and Yasser gave us (thanks boys!), playing with the Barbies very loudly for a very long time (well mostly just Rachael and Jordyn), stealing Georgia´s camera to make videos of ourselves playing with the barbies (again mostly Jordyn and Rachael), reading a Christmas Carol out loud, and basking in the Christmassy glow.
Christmas for all of us has always meant eating well in the past so we decided money wasn´t an issue just for Christmas and we went all out. We started the morning with presents, a few from each other and a few from some parents, then brunched on wifesaver (Georgia´s family´s traditional breakfast delicacy. You should try it.). For the rest of the day we had a sort of lay-eat-go to the beach-lay-eat-cook-eat-lay-cook-eat pattern. Being 6 kids from Saskatchewan on the beach in 20 degree weather on Christmas was strange for all of us. Which reminds us, the lovely Willy Forsythe made an appearance for the Christmas season at the girls´. Dinner was an adventure, which began a couple days earlier at the market where Irena and Jordyn procured an entire chicken for us to cook. After the butcher kindly removed the head upon request, Burt the chicken came home, innards intact, for some good old cookin. Irena and Kirsten did an exemplary job of gutting dear Burt and the rest of us quickly vacated the kitchen after they started playing with his esophagus. Dinner ended up turning out better than any of us thought and in the true spirit of Christmas involved TONS of leftovers. After dinner some fairly emotional calls home took place and we ended our Christmas feeling very full, very Merry, and a little proud of ourselves for pulling it off. One thing we learned this year: your mom/dad/grandma isn´t lying when she (he..) says she´s sick of cooking. All in all, it was VERRY MERRY!
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Posted by eurogirls 13:59 Archived in Spain Tagged armchair_travel Comments (1)

Viva Barcelona!

Getting to know the REAL Spain.

overcast 6 °C

So we've been living in the lovely Barcelona for about three weeks. As Christmas is fast approaching we've been exploring and shopping. And exploring and a little more shopping. And present wrapping, some more nicely done then others. Although the weather still isn't as horrible as lets say...Saskatoon, it's certainly taken a turn for the worse. It's a lot to deal with you know, it rains. And we can almost see our breath when you aren't in the sun. It's just terrible :) Though it does make it feel a lot like Christmas!
With our washing machine fixed and about ten thousand glasses broken (They seem to spontaneously combust!) it's been easy to fall into a routine. With Willy about to leave us and his brother Yasser and his friend Niels we've been checking out what Barcelona nightlife has to offer. Bars with free popcorn and parties in old parking lots. It feels like a place we can call home. Although it's become a bit to chilly to repeat our swimming adventure we still make it down to the beach to watch the waves and jam in the sand. The beach is still full of giant soccer games and naked guys. Appearantly nudism is legal here in Barcelona, none of us have yet to indulge, but I am sure it's coming soon.
So as you know we arrived in Spain on the 1st of December and even though our first view of it was twenty degrees of pure sunshine through the Spanish country side, Christmas was still on our minds. So on our first night hear after our lovely celebratory dinner we began to explore the more narrow dirty streets. We discovered quickly that on these streets, there appearantly isn't room for dumpsters. This means that trash is diposited in nice little piles all over. In one of these piles we found a Christmas miracle. It was a Christmas Tree. Just a humble two piece tree in search of home. So despite the fact that we did not yet have a home, we scooped up the tree and carried it the eight blocks back to our hostel. We recieved a few confused looks but we made it home safe. Who wants to mess with some kids with a Christmas tree.
However, now that we do have a home or tree sits cozily in our living room/guest room/ Jordyn and Kirsten's room. With a sock for an angel and a few home made decorations for pizzazz the tree looks as though it's come a long way from it's night spent in a garbage pile! To find out what's under the tree though you will have to wait until after Christmas!
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La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Picking oranges

Picking oranges

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Posted by eurogirls 08:02 Archived in Spain Tagged food Comments (0)

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