Saturday, August 1, 2015

barcelona, spain - montserrat.


sorry it's been a few days, again, since my last post! ben took the camera with him to france for 10 days while norah & i stayed with my parents in seattle...& while i consider myself relatively computer literate, i wasn't quite literate enough to be able to download photos ben sent me through google drive. so i waited until we were happily reunited to pull the photos off the actual camera memory card myself, like they did in the good old days.


but, montserrat! 

after a week in coma-ruga, we headed back to barcelona, where we'd be spending our final week of this vast europe trip. first item on our barcelona to-do list was montserrat--about a 45 minute train ride away. worth it!


we had to take a cable car up to the top of the mountain (montserrat is able accessible by train). it was an exhilarating ride, & i loved the bright yellow color of the cable car, but it was also a little nerve-wracking to be up that high. my face the entire time:


little norah's first cable car ride (she looks scared in that photo on the right, but i promise she didn't know we were up so high, ha)


view from the top:






beautiful buildings, a museum, an abbey--there's a whole village tucked up there:



there's all this hiking you can do on montserrat, & apparently it's really popular to watch the sunrise from one of the peaks. we weren't able to do that this trip/didn't plan well enough in advance for that to be possible, but it would be awesome to do one day.



this pose, oof?





scenes from inside & outside santa maria de montserrat, the benedictine abbey that calls the top of montserrat home:


 


the gorgeous, dark, moody inside:


one thing i loved about the interior of this abbey was the plethora of light & lamps. they were hanging up everywhere, they were all beautiful, & they were all different. i'm 90% sure no two lamps were the same! ;)





other scenes from the inside:





ben & i took turns going up the stairs to see the virgin of montserrat--one of the patron saints of catalonia. with her dark skin, wikipedia tells me, her familiar name is la Moreneta, or "little dark-skinned one."



the virgin of montserrat is up at the top of the altar (what is that--the apse, right? i learned all those technical cathedral design terms as a freshman in college, but i couldn't remember them without doing some googling, #humanitiesfail). you have to take stairs up & behind the apse, & then you file in one-by-one to get a close-up of the statue. while i was up there i spotted ben & norah perfectly centered in the aisles below. see them there in the very middle?


after seeing the virgin of montserrat, you're led out through this back pathway that takes you through ALL THIS:







these pictures don't quite do it justice, but it was a blisteringly hot day. we had hardly any energy left after spending only a few hours in the sun:





Monday, July 20, 2015

coma-ruga, spain - beach beach beach beach beach.


 after four days in italy, the three of us caught a flight from milan to barcelona. although it was kind of a loud, party plane (we flew with ryan air, which is extremely inexpensive & therefore used by a lot of european teenagers & students), norah slept most of the flight. yessssssss:


she only woke up at the very end of the flight as we were descending, the sweetie:



once we landed, we took a taxi to coma-ruga, which is about 45 minutes outside of barcelona. ben would be giving a presentation at a conference that was being held at a hotel right on the beach (it's the same conference he attended last year, accompanied by yours truly). i love looking at photos from last year's coma-ruga trip because i was newly pregnant! it was fun to travel around europe with ben as we relished in those last few weeks of holding that little secret just between the two of us, before we returned to the states & started spreading the exciting news far & wide.


& this year we returned to that same hotel on that same beach, with a little babe in tow. circle of liiiiiiiiife:





i only included these next two photos because norah's faces make me crack up every time:



i grew more & more obsessed with norah's fruity little rashguard as the week progressed. the cute pink zipper. the sweet colors of the fruit. the long sleeves. the way it ended just above her ankle. IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH:


the feature norah receives the most compliments & comments on, by far, is her big blue eyes:


see HERE for my thoughts on this photo:


like i've mentioned before, the hotel we stayed in was mere feet from the beach, & absolutely everyone who stayed there walked around in only their bathing suits 90% of the time: 



norah felt okay/ambivalent about the ocean, but she hated the sand. she. haaaaaated. it. observe:


we snapped only a few photos, trying to get her to smile, until quickly realizing the tide of tears was NOT going to turn anytime soon:


we tried again the next day, putting on these huge, excited smiles as we walked out to the sand & catching norah at her happiest--with no luck. norah started crying before her feet even touched the ground:



oh well? maybe we'll try again next summer? maybe she just doesn't like the consistency of the sand?? the sand definitely wasn't too hot; we took her out as the sun was going down & we were able to walk comfortably on it in bare foot. we popped her instead onto an overturned boat & she was much happier:

 
she's totally looking down her nose at ben in this one:


but, HER BIKINI. how have i not mentioned her amazing baby bikini & accompanying sweet belly yet???!



bikini bikini bikini!!



if you are wearing a hat, that will 100% be the first thing norah notices about you, at the expense of everything else in the world:




heyyyyy mediterranean:


the funny thing is, norah is totally great in pools. they're never too cold for her, she loves splashing around, & she can hang out in them without getting restless, well, ever. just no sand. NO. SAND.



i think norah looks like a completely different person when her hair is all swept up like this:



hanging out in the hotel lobby, where the best & quickest wifi was to be had:


& this cool shot in the elevator:


after a crazy few weeks of travel, it was pretty excellent to be able to slow down, in one place, for an entire week. here is a list of other great things that happened during our stay in coma-ruga:

1. all our meals were provided for us. three meals a day, every day, for a week! 
2. ben never had to worry about arriving late to the conference because it was just an elevator ride away.
3. i read a couple enjoyable, very beach read-type books. this, & i tore through this, & although i'm a little embarrassed about it, i read this as well.
4. we took daily walks to a gelateria that was just down the block. i've really started to round out an excellent bouquet of my go-to gelato flavors.
5. norah slept amazingly well--maybe it was all that beachy air!
6. we were in swimsuits. all day long!
7. long runs along the ocean <3
8. IT WAS SO RELAXING.

on to barcelona!

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