Friday, August 29, 2008


This past week I finally took a few days of vacation. No one has been in the office all month (and, frankly, I prefer it that way) and I was told I must take a week off during August, so I did. I was tempted to spend the majority of the week packing my things, but considering I don't have a contract for my transfer to Paris, or anything else, Frenchy convinced me that spending my short time off packing would probably just make me mad in the end. And he would have been right.

Instead, we headed out of Barcelona on Friday night, due north toward Toulouse. A few hours later, we found ourselves in the French epicenter of rugby, aerospace, and cassoulet and foie gras.

Taking a walk along the river.

At the Space Museum on Saturday morning.

Sporting our rad 3D glasses

Saturday afternoon, our 6th wedding since the end of May. 4 in France (all in different cities), 1 in Canada, and 1 in Belgium. Next up, one in Spain next week and another in Oregon at the end of September...

After an afternoon of wedding recover on Sunday in Biarritz, we moved further south and west to San Sebastian, which quickly became one of our favorite cities in Spain. Beautiful beaches, amazing food, and plenty to see and do.

Frenchy and I have decided that since Spanish, English, and French are spoken all over the place, we need to learn Basque so that when we want to talk about the people around us they won't get it. The language apparently has no relation to any existing language... bonus!

So I guess we'll have to go back soon to learn and practice. And also to continue our food explosion...

After two fantastic days in San Sebastian, we drove further west to Bilbao, were we took in the Guggenheim, a conference call (ok, so vacation isn't ALL fun, you know), and another pintxo dinner with Jess and Sergio, who graduated with Frenchy in May and who have a similar background mix and thus regular miscommunication. (She's from the southern US and he's from Espain.)

Anyway, the Guggenheim was pretty breathtaking, and the food was great, but we were glad we didn't spend more than one night in Bilbao. In fact, we could've just driven over from San Sebastian during the day and happily stayed there another night instead.

The following day (Wednesday) after one last pintxo stop at a small bar in the old quarter of Bilbao, we headed back south and west toward Barcelona. We stopped in Zaragoza for lunch and some sightseeing and were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves in a really cool town. Definitely worth the stop.

The Catedral del Pilar, Zaragoza

By Wednesday night we were back in Barcelona and ready to spend the next two days on the beach, first in Costa Brava and then in Sitges. Not a bad week at all!


Anonymous said...

OK we give up, what are pintxos?
Stop showing off, using arcane Basque words!
One of the best blogs! But our complaint -- a bugeyed mouse managed to take over one of your pictures and was very close to eating your food.
We thought white runnings shoes were only worn by American tourists! What gives?

NoellieBellie said...

Pintxos = Tapas in Basque Country. If I had called them "tapas," I'm sure ETA would've tossed a bomb through my window.

White running shoes? Are you referring to my Converse??? If you run in those, you must have grown up in the 50s. In which case, I'm impressed you're using the internet! :)

Seriously, I only wear running shoes for running. But the Converse go with me everywhere. Very easy to pack, and you can wash all the pintxos off in the washing machine when you get home... good as new! (All the kids are wearing them these days. Heh heh.)

Tanya said...

Don't knock the converse, they're huge in Europe!

I've actually been to the space museum in Toulouse as well, which just might make us the only two people in the entire world who have ever been to the Toulouse space museum. Great French city, that Toulouse.

NoellieBellie said...

Thanks for the backup, Tanya! :)

And yeah, I liked Toulouse too. The space museum was great, but kind of depressing because it reminded me that when I was a kid I really really really wanted to be an astronaut ... till I found out you had to be a rocket scientist. Whoops.