And thus, we left the land of light and descended into the land of darkness, into the airport that smelt of pølser, and into the strange city where people are still setting off fireworks 4 days after New Years.
What is with people and setting off fireworks here, anyways? I'm just using my intuition here, but for a city that claims to be the greenest in Europe, doesn't it seem a little.... I dunno.... NOT GREEN? to shoot fireworks endlessly from 4pm to 2am just because you can?
We saw a sign on the metro as we came out of the airport that said 'WARNING--Do not use Fireworks inside the Metro.'
But enough about that.
Barcelona, sigh! How wonderful! A full hour or more of actual sunlight every day, a sun-bathed city in the bowl of the Mediterranean. It wasn't very warm, but the liveliness and warmth of the people was invigorating. And the cheap food! The cheap metro! The cheap everything! Oh to live in an affordable city....
Since we both hadn't been to Barcelona in 6-8 years, we went to see all the things we sort of remembered but wanted to go back to. Parc Guell (which is lovely, as always), Sagrada Familia (big time rip-off since you can't climb the stairs yourself anymore, they force you to take the elevator for an extra fee), the new architecture near Diagonal, Montjuic and the Barcelona Pavilion, MNaC, the new Forum, Torre Agbar, Casa Mila.... We ended up renting bikes to get around for a day, which was surprisingly easy considering how much traffic there is in BCN.
I also was justified in waiting to buy a winter coat, since I found the exact same coat I wanted at Zara, which in Copenhagen was 799 kr (about $175), and it was 59 EUR in Barcelona!!! That's literally less than half the cost! Bah! Anyways, we've decided to ditch Danish lessons and start taking Spanish again so we can move to Barcelona once we're finished here.
London was great too, Jed's parents rented a house in Chelsea for 10 days and it served as a great spot in the city for getting around. Unfortunately I was deathly ill the last 3 days, so I missed a lot of the 'typical' London stuff (Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Big Ben, etc.) But it was raining and cold during that time, and I'm sure we'll be back soon.
For Christmas we spent 3 days in Bristol with friends of Jed's parents. They live in a really beautiful house on Clifton Hills (I think) overlooking the river Avon.. They have a huge family, 8 kids in total and 1 grandkid, so it was a really enormous Christmas dinner. On Christmas Eve, we had a delicious supper of ham and then went to a pub with some of the kids (who are all our age or older). After that we decided to attend midnight mass at the Bristol Cathedral, just to see what it's like. Oh man. No matter what occasion it is, church is boring. Especially when it goes on for 2 hours. *die*
On Christmas day we went to Bath! It was so beautiful. The weather was gorgeous and there were no people at all because of everything being closed. But it was really nice just to walk around and see the place. You can kind of look into the 'ancient' spas which are hidden behind large stone enclosures, they are probably really expensive but I would totally do it.
We came back to London on Boxing day, and spent the next few days doing sightseeing-touristy stuff: A walking tour of the east end (which was awesome), going to the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, St. Paul's Cathedral, walking to Harrods to observe the craziness of people shopping, Oxford and Bond St.... And we even saw a play at the London Theatre.
Then I got sick. So the last day (New Year's Eve) was spent drinking tea and hoping to recover enough to travel at 9am the next day.... We did stay up for the fireworks but did not attempt to go see them outside. There was something like 250 000 people around the London Eye and I wasn't well enough to attempt standing around for so long.... So BBC1 it was. That's okay though, we could certainly hear the fireworks from our house!
So, now that we're back, it's time to start looking for a new apartment. We decided to end our lease here at the end of February since visiting an agency here who tell us that we're paying about 900kr more per month than we should. Working it out, we're paying about 160kr/square meter, and we should be paying something like 95.
I feel like a large part of this is because we were forced to take something last minute at the beginning of the school year, when it's the hardest to find a place. We didn't have a lot of time to consider alternate options. Our apartment isn't bad, it's just very small and hard to use when two architects want to work from home.
So anyways, we started looking on Saturday night, and we went to see a place in Islands Brygge yesterday which was so beautiful! It was only a little bit more than here, but far, far larger. 60m2 instead of 42m2. Unfortunately, one couple saw it before us and decided to take it. It would have been so perfect--it was literally a 10 minute bike ride from school, in a beautiful area.... large lovely windows and wood floors which were NOT painted white! Sigh, sigh, sigh. Well, it's still early, there aren't that many postings for March 1 yet, but we are going to get something better.
And with that, I'm going to continue the floor scrubbing and general apartment cleaning today.
Remembering those days of sunshine.....
Serpentine Bench, Parc Guell, Barcelona