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The Pups

This is one of the hard parts. Leaving behind our sweet pups. They’ve trampled and nuzzled and flopped into our hearts to become our four-legged children even though we always rolled our eyes at “those types of people.”

Frieda and Ivan

Frieda and Ivan. LOOK AT THEM.

Frieda, a Boston Terrier, is 4. She and her brother Herbie were born in a puppy mill one February, then they spent a hopeless spring in Missouri chained outdoors, turning into knobby starvation victims. They were both rescued by Baxter’s Buddies and we adopted Frieda shortly after she reached a healthy weight (Herbie was adopted by a BB family member). To this day, she is obsessed with food and warm blankets. She’s also a shameless belly rub hustler, and with her silky coat, we’re quick to comply with her demands.

Ivan is two-and-a-half. Alicia’s sister’s coworker brought him home and before long, the landlord found out and threatened eviction. When we heard a Boston Terrier puppy needed a home, we were pretty happy to drive an hour away to pick him up, sight unseen. He’s a little maniac. Not as bright as Frieda, but just as endearing.

We’re incredibly fortunate that Ivan and Frieda have an official Fairy Dogmother. Alicia’s friend and former coworker, Rebecca, has loved them both from day one, as if they were her own. She and her husband Ed have a fenced backyard and a doggie door and her mother drops in to take them on walks during the day.  We’ll miss them dearly, but they’re getting just as much love and care from Rebecca, her husband Ed, and her mother Mary.  Couldn’t think of a better foster home for them!

I and F on the couch

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May 2012
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Parc y Jardin

We visited two different gardens in Barcelona. The first, Parc del Laberint d’Horta, was near our hostel. While we were in the labyrinth, there was a group of developmentally disabled adults who were thoroughly enjoying their outing. There was also a large group of school children. From their vantage point above, the kids shouted to us (in English!) which directions we should turn. We pretended not to be able to hear them well and took many wrong turns, which resulted in shrieks of dismay.

The second garden was on the coast, overlooking the cruise ship docks and was called Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera. It was full of cacti and palm trees and exotic (to us) flowers. We stumbled across it by accident while looking for the way to a funicular.

The last picture in this series was an accident, but we liked it a lot.

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May 2012
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Views from Above: Barcelona

Views of Barcelona from Park Güell and Sagrada Familia.

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May 2012
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Feet Up Hostel, Barcelona

We arrived in Barcelona on the overnight train. The bunks were sold out, so we were sentenced to sit upright for the eight hour journey. We watched a golden sunrise over fields, palm trees and the Mediterranean as the train crawled the last leg along the coast towards the city. A few photos were attempted, but it was quickly abandoned in favor of soaking up the beauty of this new place. We had only traveled 300 miles, but Madrid felt just as far away as Iowa.

Our hostel was on the northwestern edge of Barcelona. It had good reviews on hostelworld.com and was priced a few Euros less than the massive party hostels closer to the center. Plus, it was called Feet Up Hostel and they had a hammock. So, clearly, this was where we were going to stay.

We spent six days there and it was truly a home away from home. We met some wonderful people, had great late night conversations in the courtyard, cooked dinner most evenings in the kitchen and ate it on the rooftop, and had coffee and pastries at “our” neighborhood bakery every morning on our way to the metro.

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May 2012
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May 2012
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Food in Madrid – part 1

Tortilla Española, bocadillos, calimares, olives, boquerones, olives and very cheap wine. And ham. Oh, the ham.

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May 2012
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Places to Eat

Our time in Spain would not have been nearly as enjoyable if our friend Crissa had not given us a list of must-eat foods. Also, Alicia’s friend Alicia (not a typo) recommended a great pastry shop, La Mallorquina, which ended up being only two blocks from our hostel and one we would return to almost daily. Here are some photos of places where we ate (and some places we just poked our heads into).

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May 2012
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Street Performers

Madrid is the home of many street performers and musicians, ranging from an old lady singing karaoke at the bottom of a subway escalator to scary baby clowns that frighten children.

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May 2012
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A Weekend in Tbilisi

We’re going to skip ahead a bit (we still have a few more Madrid posts to add, not to mention Barcelona, Toulouse, and Paris!) and update you on what’s going on at this very moment. I’m sitting in a cafe in Tbilisi enjoying the first wifi we’ve had in five days. We have a three hour marshrutka ride ahead of us and I’m going to finish learning the other half of the Georgian alphabet before it’s over.

Here’s what we did last weekend with our friends Sean and McKinze. Click around their site if you’re curious about Georgia! They are great ambassadors.

-A

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May 2012
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Almudena Cathedral

Santa María la Real de La Almudena is right next to Palacio Real, so it was an easy decision to take the time to visit. For a European cathedral, it’s brand-new (glasses on one of the figures in the relief sculpture on the main exterior doors is an easy giveaway). Construction began in 1879, and after a big gap in construction during and after the Spanish Civil War, it wasn’t finished until 1993. The facade was designed to match the palace.

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May 2012
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