October 20, 2010

Retenir el talent

Once again on TV -- this time it was Gina being interviewed during the Barcelona Supercomputing Center's annual meeting at the Camp Nou. The program was about what European cities like Barcelona are doing to attract scientists and other researchers. The BSC segment starts at 2:52.

September 24, 2010

Cavalcada de la Mercè - en TV3

Go to minute 18:29 to see the story. Marina (with Blueberry) and her friend Julia were totally enthralled with the gegants!

June 19, 2010

Despedida Tyler, Micha and Paolo

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Roderic hosted a very nice going away party for Paolo, Micha and me on the deck of their apartment. Marina had no idea what the party was for, but she had a good time with playing with Paolo's daughter, Cleria, and observing Roderic and Montse's turtle, Llampec.

June 15, 2010

Play time with Malena and Rafi

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Marina packs in the fun with Malena and Rafaela. Choo choos and tandem horsie rides ar some of Marina's favorite games.

May 28, 2010

Gramps and Abuela come to BCN

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An extended bi-partite visit from my mom and dad (interrupted by a stay in southwest France). The normal routine of walking in the Barceloneta and going to Buenas Migas and Habaluc was punctuated with a visit to the zoo, a trip to the Parc de l'Oreneta (mini-train rides and ponies), and lots of bike riding. We also were able to get out and go to the Txakolin and hang out with Cris and Oscar at Las Golfas.

May 17, 2010

Festa de la bici i dels patins 2010

The caption from the May 17th edition of El Periodico (p.27) just about says it all! Marina was thrilled by the ride and held on tight to her red balloon the whole way. Gràcies a Oscar per informar-me sobre les noticies!

Happy (2nd) Birthday, Malena!

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for Malena's party, Marina learned to sing "Happy Birthday", well at least "Happy to you..." AND she fell in love with Hello Kitty.

May 15, 2010


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It was good to see Olga again this year, even if we had to squeeze her in between lunch with Ogo and Greta and my parents' visit. There's always time for Olga:)

Comida Turca (Karakia)

Greta is clearly very proud of Ogo. After all, it's not every day you get to appear on TV.

May 09, 2010

Girona Temps de Flors

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We made the 1.5 hr train trip to Girona to see the annual flower exhibit (each patio puts on a a floral display). It was hard to keep Marina focused on the flowers, but finally there was a combined flower/bubbles exhibit which provided some relief.

May 02, 2010

Naomi and Malena

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Playing with Naomi and Malena.

April 27, 2010

Arts and Crafts

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One of Marina's art projects...

April 24, 2010

Beach weather

The first beach excursions of 2010. Marina adapted quickly...

April 23, 2010

Sant Jordi

April 05, 2010

Summer of Sand and Sitges 2010 begins

I don’t know who enjoyed playing with Marina’s new kitchen sand set more, Marina, Gina or Tyler.

March 29, 2010


THANKS current Mixed Co members for sending their latest CD to us ALL THE WAY in Barcelona. As you can see, Marina enjoyed it and let’s just say she’s getting in some practice time before her class of 2029(?) audition. I’m guessing she’s a top soprano.

March 08, 2010

Snow in Barcelona

Just when we were all ready for winter to be over, a freak snowstorm hits Barcelona. Gina made the first snowflake sighting from her office window (she works near Tibidabo at a slightly higher elevation). Flavia later confirmed the flakes in Eixample and the deal was sealed with a skype from Tyler “It’s snowing on the beach”. Thank goodness the storm hit the day AFTER the BCN Marathon.

Editor’s note: We attribute the storm to Edgar’s joining the FB Group “Mes neu a Barcelona”

March 07, 2010

Three yupi! Barcelona Marathon #3

Our time: 4:09:04
First half: 02:00:55
Second half: 02:08:10
Rhythm: 00:05:55
Speed: 9.79 Km/H
Tyler placed 3086 in his category (7527 over all)
Gina placed 266 in her category (7526 over all)

January 23, 2010

The Thinker

Marina and mommy tried out their own Rodin poses on Rambla Catalunya.

January 06, 2010

Another good year for Balthazar, Melchor and Gaspar

It never fails to impress me that the entire city of Barcelona gets into the holiday spirit for one magical night when the Kings arrive at the port at exactly 17:30. The mayor was on hand to provide them with the key to the city so that they could make their rounds to distribute toys. The Cabalgata or parade was the biggest and most colorful of the year, but the purpose was the same – to afford the kids a chance to personally hand in their King’s Day letters. Can you imagine the children of San Francisco, Boston or New York heading to the port or their neighborhood square on Christmas Eve so that they could personally hand their letter to Santa Claus?

December 06, 2009

Decorating cookies

This year’s party included more kiddies and some expert decorators. Christina and Oscar showed the most artistic flair while Nika was the most prolific powdered sugar-painter. When she wasn’t stuffing cookies into her mouth, Marina was in charge of sprinkles.

November 23, 2009

Woefully behind...

In the next day or two I will be updating our blog with posts covering the last five months or so and postdating them to correspond to the approximate date of the events that transpired. I will also be posting more photos of Jan and Santo's visit, Marisa's visit and random Marina photos from before, in between, and after these visits. The reason for the lag is that my work has been a bit all-consuming since the spring and into November due to a project I'm participating called RGASP.

September 26, 2009

Great balls of fire

Tyler offered to babysit so that Tía Marisa and I could enjoy the quintessential Catalan festival – the Correfoc del Mercè. We kept our distance from the showers of sparks but neither of us could resist moving in for a closer look when former teen idol Rick Schroeder and family crossed our path. Later we learned that this was an historic Correfoc as someone had finally realized that running a bunch of “fire-breathing” dragon floats through a crowd of people in the center of town just might be a tad bit dangerous.

September 22, 2009

Tía Marisa

We enjoyed a spur-of-the-moment visit from Tía Marisa thanks to the excellent timing of her change in employment.

September 16, 2009

Nonni and Nonno come to visit

Marina had the best time with her Nonni and Nonno when they came to visit in August/September. They took her to the zoo, where she saw hippos and monkeys and tortugas... and also to the aquarium, where she saw fishies and sharks! They got to see her go swimming at the community beach/swimming pool, the "Platja d'Eixample." Gus also got special treatment, getting his own stroller so he could be taken out for strolls by Marina. For all of us the time went by so fast -- if only they could have stayed for longer...

August 11, 2009

Despedida Eri

After an extended stay with Flavia and Pablo over the summer, Flavia's oldest sister Eri (the tannest of them) said goodbye.

August 05, 2009

La Platge d’Eixample

It’s called Eixample Beach and it is our newfound friend for those calorós caps de setmana that just won’t tolerate 30-minute train ride and the packed in beach crowds. We discovered it a little late, but we’ll be the first to arrive next June when it opens as Marina should be unstoppable in the water by then.

June 21, 2009

Summer of Sitges

We currently have a backpack loaded up with all of the necessities for going to the beach sitting in our storage room at the ready. On these hot Barcelona days, we find it all too appealing to pop over to Sitges for a morning of sand sifting and running after the waves. Marina loves the sea and is intrigued by the fish that come within touching distance on a calm clear day. We love the post-sea ritual as much as the sea itself which usually includes enjoying a beer on a terrace with a sea view with our sacked-out kid napping in the stroller.

May 28, 2009


Barça decisively wins La Liga (the Spanish leauge), the Copa del Rey (the Spanish Cup) and the Champions League (the select European club competition) all in one season, making them "tri-campions." With the best players on the planet (Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and co) and some refereeing luck in the semi-final they coudn't go wrong.

Dan Goldman

We enjoyed a brief visit from Dan, whom we haven't seen in several years at least. He was here for a conference and on his last day he came by for a beer and dinner. It happened to be the night of the Champions League final (Barça v. Man U.) so I quietly had the game on in the background while we ate dinner (a definite "no-no" in our house, but these were exceptional circumstances).

May 24, 2009

The El Corte Inglés Race

Climbing Montjuïc with a jogging stroller and 11kg toddler was no easy task. Gina and I traded off the driving duty. They always have these races when Marina is napping -- it'll be nice when the day comes that she stays awake and enjoys the ride.

May 23, 2009

Feliz Cumple, Uli!

Flavia and Daniel held a party for Uli's second birthday in Parc Güell. After spending some time at the playground in the lower section of the park, while Flavia and Dani went searching for a picnic table, we made our way up to the picnic area. In true Spanish style, we ignored the chain-link fence closing off the path to the picnic grounds, and entered. The party was complete with balloon sculptures and cake and snacks. Unfortunately, we had to leave early since it was already past Marina's bed-time.

May 21, 2009

Rowan and Nuria

Rowan and Nuria now live in New York City, so getting to see them when they visit Barcelona is a special treat. We went to the Cerveseria Catalana for a beer and tapas. We got to meet their friend Maria (whom they met long ago when Nuria was living in NY the first time) and her daughter Lily who joined us at the Catalana. R and N seem to be really enjoying NY and we're happy for them, but we miss them and wish they were closer...

May 17, 2009


In a blast from the past, Leila Durr, an old friend of mine from college (we met at Pro Fro week at Stanford in 1992), stopped by Barcelona on her way to Firenze, where she taught a six-week course to some American exchange students studying there. (pls. correct me if I'm wrong, Leila.) We enjoyed getting to catch up with her over a drink at Habaluc.

May 15, 2009

The Annual Computational Genomics Retreat -- Cardona

Ping pong, foosball, billiards, dancing and enlightening discourse on all things computational and genomic.

"Mister Guau" - the pet store

When I got back from the ACGT retreat, Marina and Flavia greeted me on the street outside the apartment. Marina was wearing her sunglasses and looking cool. Gina then came home and we met up with Emilia, Eduard and Martina at the nearby pet store so the kids could look at all the dogs. I never new pet stores could be so much fun!

May 03, 2009


We just couldn't pass up the opportunity to treat Marina to a dose of Spanish culture this weekend. After spending mid-day at the beach near my work, we decided to take her to the Feria de Abril de Barcelona (the counterpart of the famous feria in Sevilla). Upon arriving, Gina and Marina transformed themselves from beach-goers into fair-goers, changing into more appropriate fair attire. Marina tried on a Sevillana dress in a shop next to one of the casetas and seeing her in it I knew that it would not be fair to take her out of it, so I insisted on buying it for her to dance around in the rest of the afternoon. Totally worth it!

May 02, 2009

La Playa

We made our first trip to Sitges this year. Marina wore her new watermelon-themed coverup and bathing suit. The water is still a bit cold so we kept to the sand, which Marina has learned does not taste so good.

April 23, 2009

Sant Jordi

Gina and I got off work a little early to go join the throngs of celebrants on Rambla de Catalunya shopping for books and roses. It was all a bit overwhelming, especially for Marina. We put her in the BabyBjorn for what is most likely the very last time - she's just too heavy and her feet hang down and bump my legs as I walk.

April 05, 2009

Marina's first helium balloon

A family with a girl carrying a balloon was passing us on the sidewalk and Marina stopped and turned wide-eyed. The little girl turned around, walked back toward us and asked us if Marina might like to have the balloon. She gave Marina the balloon and on they went. Marina was amazed at the gravity-defying object she was now holding onto.

The Cursa Bombers

No, it's not a 10k for terrorists -- it's the fireman's run (bombers means firemen in Catalan). This was Marina's first race with Mom and Dad. I don't know how she did it, but she slept through half of it!

April 04, 2009

The battle of the hat

How in the world does anyone manage to keep a sun hat on a one-year-old?! This one has straps so it's harder to take off, which means it lasts 10 seconds instead of 2 milliseconds. I think maybe if we wore hats as well, she might be more willing... We'll see.

March 27, 2009

Olga en Barcelona

Olga met us at the Cerveseria Catalana for tapas where we picked up where we left off last year. Afterwards we went back home and Olga read Marina the bedtime story "La Luna está Triste."

March 17, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

There is no strong tradition of celebrating Saint Patrick's Day here in Spain, with the exception of the many bars that wish capitalize off it -- I saw at least one claiming it was Saint Patrick's week! Anyway, it was a beautiful day and Marina had lunch on the balcony. In the afternoon, Marina got to play with her playmates, Oriol and Maria.

March 15, 2009

Beach season has arrived!

Well, it's still a little cool out, but Marina doesn't mind. She's already discovered dirt (at the playground) and now she's totally into sand! Gina was just remarking how going to the beach is so much more fun and relaxing once you have kids. I agree with her. Even the Barceloneta beaches (if not the most pristine beaches in Catalunya) can be fun -- they seem to be turning into our new weekend hang-out.

March 05, 2009


The tulips from Holland that we planted in January bloomed and we were able to enjoy them a little bit longer this year. We put them on the back terrace out of direct sunlight, which seemed to help. That said they had to withstand several new challenges this year: they weren't exactly toddler proof, as Marina enjoyed crushing them in her hands, and in the end they succumbed to some strong winds and all the petals blew off.

March 01, 2009

Back in marathon shape!

Spending time with Marina in the morning while Gina goes out to train has cut into my marathon-training program quite drastically, so I was quite pleased with our performance in this year's Barcelona Marathon (i.e. we finished!). I was worried since I barely finished the half marathon three weeks prior. But as the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race (well finishes in this case :-)

February 22, 2009

France and Arnaud

France and Arnaud, former colleagues of mine living in Paris and Cambridge, respectively, were in town for a going away party for Christoforos, a guy who knows more than you ever wanted to know about nucleosome-positioning and symmetry of DNA curvature, who is being called back to Greece to complete his military service requirement. The day after the party, we met again on Rambla de Catalunya for drinks (this time, the caffeinated variety) where they could get acquainted with Marina and we could catch up a little bit on each others' lives.

February 19, 2009


In Spain Carnaval, rather than Halloween, is the day that little kids get dressed up in costumes and take part in parades. We dressed Marina up in Japanese attire and accessorized her with Anpan-man. We went out to catch an early "rua" (carnaval parade) and a glass of wine in Gràcia before her bedtime.

February 15, 2009

Ogo's parents pay a visit

Gina, Marina and I headed over to Ogo and Greta's piso to visit with Ogo's parents, who were in town to visit. We hadn't seen them since the summer before Marina was born. Marina showed off her Valentine's day outfit.

February 14, 2009

La Laia

Laia is a gegantona (little giant) created in 1998 to depict Santa Eulàlia, a child martyr who stood up to the Roman Empire at the end of the fourth century. The winter "festa major" that Barcelona celebrates in her name is dedicated to the children of Barcelona and many activities are organized for them. Although not at all sure what all the fuss was about, Marina certainly enjoyed watching these super giant gegantons and gegants parade and dance throughout the old town.

February 07, 2009

Uncle Ryan's surprise visit

I arrived home early from work on Thursday expecting that Flavia had to leave early (thanks to a conspiracy against me) only to find my brother Ryan in our guest room. Thanks to the cancellation of a show in Paris, Ryan was able to take a detour south to Barcelona in the middle of his tour with Nous Non Plus. His visit was short and sweet, but we were able to pack in the Pinotxo, M. Viader, Cacao Sampaka, the Txakolin, the Sagrada Familia, and a home-cooked meal at our place. Oh and of course some quality time with Marina :)

January 20, 2009

Finally something to clap about

Obama's words were so inspiring, Marina began clapping for the first time. She babbled over all the doom and gloom rhetoric, though, preferring to focus on the positive. I'll post part of our inauguration-watching experience to YouTube and blog it in a separate post.

January 06, 2009

Els Reis d'Orient

The Three Kings (Gaspar, Baltasar and Melcior) arrived at the Port Vell of Barcelona on the Santa Eulàlia (a la Nina, Pinta and the Santa María) and Marina, Tyler and I were there to greet them. After receiving the key to the city from Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu, the Kings made their way through a crowd of fans (kids and adults alike) to collect letters and to spread joy and PEACE. Marina handed in her letter to Gaspar which asked for a visit from her "yayos" or grandparents this year. She got a little help from mom on the text. Mom and dad enjoyed chocolate con churros at Valor while Marina dined on bananas with yogurt and cardamom before heading off to the most magical celebration in Barcelona of the year - LA CAVALCADA. Half a million citizens of Barcelona showed up to see the parade welcoming the Kings to town. Marina's eyes nearly popped out of her tiny head.

It's difficult not to gush over the event. The entire city gets into the act with a parade of beautiful floats, kids on stilts and camels - yes, REAL camels. And these Kings have the key to the city. They can get into ANY house, ANY apartment to bring toys (usually just one) to every girl and boy. To see more, take a look of this official blog of the city of Barcelona: Kings arrive at Port Vell, Barcelona

January 04, 2009

Por una cabeza

Marina enjoyed listening to this classic tango, played and sung to her personally at our table outside at Buenas Migas. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Por una cabeza

Marina enjoyed listening to this classic tango, played and sung to her personally at our table outside at Buenas Migas. I hope you enjoy it, too.

January 01, 2009

Bon any nou!

Happy new year 2009! We celebrated with börek and baba ghanoush, some Rioja and of course the 12 grapes, one for each ring of the campanas at midnight.

December 18, 2008

The BSC Christmas dinner at the 4 Gats

Gina's department had a small group dinner at the Quatre Gats.

December 17, 2008

The Guigó group with the Caga Tió

The Caga Tió pooped us shirts decorated with the human genome. Photo taken right outside our office on the 4th floor balcony of the PRBB.

December 11, 2008

Papa Noel and early Christmas presents

Christmas started early this year, with presents from Marina's grandparents delivered especially by Papa Noel two weeks before Christmas. Papa Noel, otherwise known as Santa Claus, visited the children at the Sagrada Familia. Marina was sure not to miss out, with her letter in hand. We also gave her an early present this year, a "correpasillo" which she immediately fell in love with, whizzing up and down the hall!

December 08, 2008

Going to the Christmas Fair

Marina wore her new outfit from Marisa to the Christmas fair. A fleecy one-peice outfit with a hood. She's doesn't like to wear the hood inside but outside it was perfect.

Going to the Christmas Fair

Marina wore her new outfit from Marisa to the Christmas fair. A fleecy one-peice outfit with a hood. She's doesn't like to wear the hood inside but outside it was perfect.

December 07, 2008

Decorating Christmas cookies

Our annual Christmas cookie decorating party was a success! Eduard, Emilia and Martina were the first to show. Then our upstairs neighbors, Laurent and his daughters, Emma and Solen, came down. In the end Ogo and Greta were also able to stop by. We had American hot chocolate (with cinnamon, orange peel and allspice) while decorating the sugar cookies.

December 06, 2008

Börek at Ogo and Greta's

We dressed Marina up in a Christmas-y outfit my mom sent and took the bus over to Ogo and Greta's, where we were treated to homemade Börek, a Turkish specialty made with yufka (phyllo), spinach and cheese.

November 30, 2008

Picking out a Christmas tree

It's that time of year again. Time to get a Christmas tree. We thought long and hard about how to have a tree which would be mutually compatible with Marina. Do we get a really small one? Do we put it on a table? Do we fence it off? Anyway, we ended up going where we usually go, the Fira de Santa Llúcia in front of the cathedral, and we bought the second tree we saw. I think it was from the same guy as last year. This time we had the jogging stroller with us since we were stopping by on the way home from running at the sea. The tree fit in the basket of the stroller so we were able to wheel it (and Marina) home. I put it up on the end table, put lights on it and wrapped the table and base of the tree with a red comforter cover. So far, so good: Marina hasn't even touched it, yet. Knock on wood!

November 22, 2008


Greta and Ogo came over to help us make and eat carrot/daikon/tofu gyoza. Yum!

Go Stanford!

So Stanford lost the Big Game despite Marina's whole-hearted attempt to cheer them to victory:( Maybe we should've given her a toy axe instead of the plastic masher...

Go Stanford!

So Stanford lost the Big Game despite Marina's whole-hearted attempt to cheer them to victory:( Maybe we should've given her a toy axe instead of the plastic masher...

November 18, 2008

Super Mommies

Gina has been meeting regularly with a group of new moms in Barcelona. Lately they have been getting together for coffee or dinner. This photo was taken at Habaluc, a restaurant a block away from us at Enric Granados and Valencia. I didn't know you could fit so many strollers in a restaurant!

November 16, 2008

Buenas Migas

Ogo and Greta met us down at Buenas Migas in the Barceloneta. Perhaps the last time with such nice weather this year! We'll see...

November 13, 2008

Marina, the exploradora

Now when Marina wakes up, she sits up and occasionally stands up! She begins the day ready to conquer our piso and everything in it. In this gallery, you'll also see Marina in her brown Benetton outfit from Maaike. So stylish!

November 09, 2008

Cinnamon snaps

Cinnamon snaps are pretty easy to make -- and to eat! Paula is a big fan, for sure. Marina, while still a bit young to eat sugary cookies, enjoyed the company. She and Paula had a blast.

November 03, 2008

Sweet potato latkes

It's fall and time to be having sweet potatoes and squash. We had Ogo and Greta over to share some potato cakes and green beans with us. They brought a particulary yummy Rioja to share. What was the name of it, again???

October 31, 2008

Halloween, Tots Sants and a visit from Micchan and Tomoko

What a jam-packed weekend! Micchan and Tomoko arrived in Barcelona Thursday night on an EasyJet flight from London. They spent the whole weekend, including Halloween and All Saints' Day with us. For Halloween, Marina wore an "I love mummy" outfit which her Nonni bought for her. On All Saints' Day we went to Raquel and Quique's party ("symposium"). ¡¡¡¡¡Viva el vino!!!! ¡¡¡Viva Baco!!!! ¡¡¡Viva Dionisos!!!! ¡¡¡¡Viva Velázquez!!!!

October 24, 2008

Who's bigger now?

Marina has continued to plump up -- must be the super baby food we're feeding her. We had Emilia, Eduard and Martina over for dinner for the first time. Marina went to bed and Martina (who has a later bed-time) stayed up to have dinner with us.

October 17, 2008

El Txacolin

We tried to squeeze in a pintxos outing using the time change as an excuse. It was fun to see the gang, but we had to cut it short -- Marina refused to acknowledge the fact that we would have an extra hour of sleep. Perhaps going out the night after "springing forward" would work better than going out the night before "falling back." We'll try to remember in the spring...

October 11, 2008

Colmado Quilez

Our favorite local spanish deli, Colmado Quilez, has a fantastic glass-front display. This week it was featuring Moritz (a local beer that we particularly like) but the effect was something like a Spanish version of Warhol's Campbell Soup cans.

September 28, 2008

Buenas Migas

Just taking advantage of the good weather for another breakfast down on the Barceloneta.

September 27, 2008

Despedida Maaike y Ale

Farewell Ale and Maaike! We had one last dinner (gnocchi with pesto) with Maaike and Ale at our place before their big move. Laura also came to see them off. Joining them in their move will be Sophie the giraffe, sure to be a favorite of the future member of their family :-)

September 23, 2008

Cavalcada de la Mercè

We took Marina downtown to see her first parade of Gegants.

September 19, 2008

Ciao Bella

You normally don't need much excuse to go out to pizza, especially at Ciao Bella, but ever since Marina's been going to sleep before dinner-time, we've found it a bit difficult to go out to dinner. This time, we thought we'd take advantage of jet lag to go out with Marina and all (well... most) of our friends. Ale, Maaike, Greta and Ogo accompanied us. It was perhaps the last time we'd all be together since Maaike and Ale are moving to the Netherlends in about a week :(

August 22, 2008

Martyn and Ros

Martyn and Ros

The last in a series of August vacation visits, but not the least! Substituting the Mediterranean for the Dish, Gina and Martyn picked up where they left off, with a morning run finishing at Buenas Migas (or was it supposed to be the Forum???) We also did some of the usual Barcelona tour pit stops including Gispert, Sampaka, Cerveseria Catalana, Jamon Iberico, Ciao Bella and some home-cooking...

August 21, 2008

Maaike and Ale's news

Maaike and Ale

The pictures say it all!

P.S. Happy birthday, Gina!

August 19, 2008

Ken, Gina, Liana and Elias

Ken and Marina

At long last, Ken and Gina made their way across the Atlantic to see us in Barcelona. We really had a great time catching up with them. Liana and Elias seemed to really have a good time, too! Liana loved the waves at Sant Pol de Mar as you can see from the photos.

August 10, 2008

Stevie and family


We met Stevie by way of his childhood friend Matt Schlegel (former co-worker and cycling buddy of Gina's). He and his wife and three kids live in a small village just up the hill from Beaune, France, in the Burgundy wine country. It's funny, but we tend to go there on vacation, to cycle and wine tour, and they tend to come to Catalunya, specifically the Costa Brava, when they go on vacation. Last year we happened to pick the same week, so we stayed in their house and cat sit. This year we made it up to them by having them stay with us for a couple days. Their kids were full of energy, to say the least.

August 03, 2008

Canet de Mar

Frisbee on the beach

This was perhaps one of the nicest days at the beach. Canet de Mar is about an hour from Barcelona. In truth, we were trying to get to Sant Pol de Mar, but we had to get off the train at Canet de Mar due to an "incident." Very few people, a nice wide swath of sand to play frisbee on (that's Ogo, mid-stride on his way to catch the frisbee), and deep crystal clear water for nice swimming. We'll definitely be coming back here!

July 30, 2008

Vilasar de Mar

Marina and Martina

Gina and Tyler met Emilia and Eduard in their prenatal class and their daughter Martina was born the month after Marina. They live up the coast about a half hour by train from Barcelona in a little town called Vilasar de Mar, which, conveniently, is right across from a beautiful beach. Gina has made a number of trips up there to visit, usually while I've been at work. One day I was able to get away and spend the afternoon on the beach with them. There was practically no one else there (compared to Sitges) and the sea was gorgeous and refreshing!

July 20, 2008

Dutch pancakes at Maaike and Ale's

Marina and Luna

Sorry, no photos of the pancakes. When they're this good you don't waste time taking pictures! We're going to really miss Maaike and her pancakes, Ale's risotto, and of course Luna, their cat. Incidentally this was Marina's first encounter with a cat -- I'm just glad it was with Luna 'cus she's just so soft and cuddly.

July 17, 2008

Rowan and Nuria


We were able to squeeze ourselves into Rowan and Nuria's busy summer schedule before Rowan's return to New York for the beginning of the academic season. Rowan and Nuria amused themselves with trying to teach Marina the Barça hymn. Bijou was highly entertained by Marina. Who knows what Marina was thinking :). Then a week later we all went and ate yummy Korean food at San Kil, where the owner paraded Marina around to the other tables in the restaurant.

July 13, 2008

Breakfast at Buenas Migas

We've started going to Buenas Migas (a cafe/focacceria) in the Barceloneta for breakfast on the weekends. Being right at the sea, it is perhaps one of the most pleasant places to have a café con leche (with real leche del día) and enjoy scones with jam or a flapjack with yogurt. Marina likes it a lot, too!

Yukari's visit


Yukari (former Mont Bell co-worker and friend) and Tomoko (a current Mont Bell employee) spent part of their European vacation to come see us and do some sightseeing around Barcelona. The weather was beautiful for strolling so we also did a bit of sightseeing ourselves.

July 06, 2008

Turkish breakfast

One advantage of having friends from all over the world is getting to eat a wide variety of home-cooked meals. Ogo and Greta had us all (Maiike, Ale, Gina, Marina and I) over to their new place in Sants for a fabulous Turkish breakfast.

June 14, 2008


Robert and Pau

Getting a chocolate fix at "La Nena" with Robert, Sophie and Pau (just a month younger than Marina).

June 12, 2008

Olga's stay with us

Gina, Olga and Marina

At the end of June, dear friend Olga from Bogotá came to visit and everybody discovered the magic of the musical caterpillar.

June 08, 2008

Festa del bici i els patins

Tyler and Marina inline skating

Once a year the city of Barcelona opens up a route to bicycles and skates, closed to traffic, that snakes through the streets of Barcelona. It's not at all a race -- it's really a leisurely family-oriented event. Gina, Tyler, Marina, Maaike, Fati and Rafa seized this opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautiful day.

March 08, 2008

Un regall dels companys de feina

SNAPS de CANYELLA (American-style Cookies)
(2c) 200g farina
(1.5t) 1 1/2 culleredeta hidrogencarbonat de sodi (bicarbonat sòdic)
(0.5t) 1/2 culleredeta sal
(4T) 4 cullerades (grans) canyella
(3/4c) 175g mantega (mantequilla) --> margarina NO!
(1/2c) 95g sucre
(1/2c + 3T) 140g sucre moreno --> no de canya!
1 ou

Barreja la farina, el bicarbonat, el sal i la canyella en un bol. En un altre bol, barreja la mantega, el sucre, el sucre moreno i l’ou fins que tot el sucre estigui incorporat amb la mantega. Afegeix a poc a poc la barreja de la farina al bol amb el sucre i la mantega fins que sigui una pasta blanda de color castanya. Deixa la massa reposar al menys 30 minutes dins de la nevera.

Fes boles de pasta de la mida d’un panellet i posa-les en un bol de sucre. Posa les boles amb prou espai en una safata d’alumini per al forn (cookie sheet).

Posa les boles al forn de 175 graus (ja ben calent) durant 6-8 minuts. Són boníssimes amb xocolata desfeta...


February 22, 2008

American Shower

american shower

Maaike and Fátima threw me an "American-style" shower complete with silly games and delicious pancakes. Maaike slaved over the stove to offer hot-off-the-griddle Dutch pancakes while Fáti served as hostess and game-master. In this photo, party-goers were asked to determine the girth of Gina's waist using toilet paper squares as a means for measuring... Raquel shows her cut-throat competitive side.

February 07, 2008

Shadow of the Wind


If you can't see the baby clearly bulging from Gina, take a look at her shadow at month eight!

November 01, 2007

Tots Sants 2007

american shower

For All Saints' Day, we decided to invite the gang over for risotto. The menu included: Wild mushroom and potato risotto, butternut squash risotto with chestnuts, salad with shocking beet dressing… and of course, plenty of panellets and moscatell!

August 03, 2007

ZP at the PRBB


It's not every day you get to meet the president... OK, so it was just the president of the Spanish government, and OK, I didn't actually shake his hand (but almost) or speak to him, and OK, he didn't actually speak to us, but still...

Accompanied by the Catalan president, Montilla, the Catalan ministers of industry, Clos, and health, Geli, and the mayor of Barcelona, Hereu, José Luís Rodriguez Zapatero toured our facility and spoke with the heads of the five institutes housed by the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). He then gave a press conference where he affirmed the commitment of the Spanish government to fund biomedical research (currently about 6 billion euros), and then spent about five minutes with the rest of us, shaking hands and (hopefully) listening to some of the doctoral students' protests about their sub-par working conditions.

In addition to the PRBB visit, he met and dined with the Catalan leadership to discuss the massive power outage last week and the Spanish government's commitment (or lack thereof) to investing in the infrastructure of Catalunya (for example, the El Prat airport.)

April 05, 2007

La Marató de Barcelona

are we there yet?

On March 4, 2007, Tyler and I completed the 42.2 grueling kilometers of the BCN marathon in 4:08:23 – a very respectable first-time marathon time. Although we can't speak from experience, we think the Barcelona marathon must be one of the most beautiful in terms of sites. We began the day with a jog past Camp Nou, then up Passeig de Gràcia past Casa Batlló and la Pedrera. We then headed on to Hospital Sant Pau and ran down Avinguda Gaudí toward la Sagrada Familia. We circled around the Torre Agbar over to the Forum following a route along the sea until we reached Plaça Catalunya. We squeaked passed the hoards of tourists at la Catedral over to Sant Jaume via Carrer Ferran to be cheered as we headed up Les Rambles toward our final destination - Les Fonts Màgics at Plaça Espanya.

February 06, 2007

Happy New Year

060924 Mom and Dad's visit to BCN
To all of our family and friends, we wish you a happy new year! If you haven't read it yet, please read our new year's letter, "Still in Barcelona" (pdf format -- opens in Adobe Reader or Preview).

January 16, 2007

La vacanza a Barcellona

look right

Oggi io (Robin) e Gretel siamo andati in centro e ci siamo divertiti un mondo perché qui a Barcellona é molto bello.

December 09, 2006

It's all Chinese to me… Me suena a chino.

For the Spanish (as well as the Greeks!), it isn't "all Greek," but rather Chinese.

November 01, 2006

Todos Santos (Invitación)

Os propongo una cena en nuestra casa. Aquí, os envío toda la información. Me gustaría si pudierais confirmar cuantas personas porque necesitaremos sillas!
Cena de otoño: Menú de setas, Postre de panallets

Martes, 31 octubre a las 21:00
Casa Alioto (Gina y Tyler), muy cerca de cualquier sitio

Ogo, Greta
Raquel (Peque), Quique
Manel, (Pili, María en espíritu)
Rocío, Fran
Puri y la cabra*
Farahnaz, Bahman, Nika (no para cenar, pero posiblemente pasarán después)

Para llevar: Nos gustaría si cada grupo llevara (pero no os preocupéis si no podáis!): 1 vino (de gusto)
1 botella de agua
4 - 6 panallets (o otra cosa si quieres), Raquel llevará castañas / platos y cubiertos

Alguien quiere llevar Moscatell (o algo parecido)?
Nos vemos el martes!

Gina y Tyler

October 25, 2006

Revisión médica

Last week Tyler took advantage of socialized medicine by taking part in the annual check-up on-site at the University. He nearly passed until it came time for the eye test. The doctor unveiled a typical eye chart at which point Tyler realized that he'd have to say the letters in Spanish. It could be worse, it could've been Japanese…

October 23, 2006

Tortilla de Patatas


~3-4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1-2 yellow onions, diced
1 small (or 1/2 large) zucchini, sliced
1/2 Italian red pepper, cut in half and then sliced.
olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
10 eggs
1 Tbsp white flour (optional)
2-3 Tbsp milk (optional)

1. Peel and cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then lengthwise again into 2 or three more pieces per half. Then cut crosswise into 1/4 to 1/8 inch thin pieces. Dice the onions. Slice the zucchini and red pepper.

2. Using a 12 inch non-stick fry pan (or if you are scaling down the recipe, an 8- or 10-inch pan), sautee the onions in some olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, add more olive oil and add the sliced potatoes. Cook the onions and potatoes for a long time (~ 1/2 hour). Regulate the heat to make it just hot enough to cook well but not burn the potatoes. Add more olive oil if necessary. When the potatoes are getting softer and almost ready to fall apart, add the vegetables and cook them until soft. Add salt and pepper. The potatoes should readily break apart with a wooden spoon.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until fluffy. (Optionally, make a slurry of white flour and milk and beat it into the eggs. This can make the tortilla a little lighter, but it may be more difficult to flip.) Add the 3/4 tsp of salt. Add pepper to taste. Add the potato-vegetable mixture (you do not need to let it cool – it should be hot or at least warm) and let it sit for 10 minutes. There should be enough egg to easily cover the potatoes. Too much potato and the tortilla will fall apart.

4. In the same pan, heat several more tablespoons of olive oil over low heat. Add the egg potato mixture to the pan and slowly cook (as slow as possible so as not to burn the eggs). When it’s cooked about halfway through, start to occasionally run a spatula underneath it to unstick it and give it a few shakes now and then. When it has cooked about 3/4 of the way through (all the way through on the edges) and is an uneven brown color on the bottom, unstick it with a spatula and shake it back and forth to make sure it moves freely. Slide it onto a large plate, or even better, a flat metal baking sheet. Turn the pan upside down on top of it and holding the plate (or sheet) to the pan, flip it back over. You are very likely to make a mess and spill some egg here or there so move stuff out of the way first. Cook it on the other side, shaking occasionally, until browned on the bottom and cooked through (you can test with a butter knife). Turn off the heat and slide onto a serving plate.

Serves 4-6 people

NOTE: It is sometimes difficult to flip a 12-inch fry pan. It also takes more patience to cook this much tortilla. If you use a couple less eggs and less potato, you can use an 8 or 10 inch non-stick fry pan and the process will be much smoother. Once you get the hang of it, go ahead and try the 12-inch.

October 01, 2006

Tyler's Mom and Dad visit Barcelona

060924 Mom and Dad's visit to BCN
Gina and I were delighted to have my parents come stay with us in September. Their timimg couldn't have been better -- they were here for the Mercè Festival and got to experience many of Catalunya's cultural activities: gegants, the correfoc, and the Castellers. Despite a few showers and the occasional downpour, the weather was pretty nice and they were able to see quite a few of Gaudi's architectural masterpieces. Throw in some tapas at the Txakolin, some wine tasting down on the Moll de la Fusta (Port Vell), some cheese tasting at La Seu and my homemade tortilla de patatas and I'd say they had quite a gourmet experience as well.

September 10, 2006

Looking for someone at the airport

In a recent chat with Tyler, we discussed the Castilian Spanish usage of "ir a buscar a + place (i.e. al aeropuerto)" which literally translates to going to look for someone at a location (i.e. the airport). It means "to pick someone up at the airport" which can lead to some pretty hilarious misunderstandings. I mean, how could you go all the way to the airport without being certain that that someone will actually be there… and once you know where they will be, how could you not know where exactly they will be? Do the Spanish just have more time on their hands to spend localizing friends and family?

July 10, 2006

The World Belongs to Italy

Viva Italia! After the Italians' narrow World Cup victory over France, I suspect the mood at work today will be slightly depressed. My condolences to Julien, Sylvain, Arnaud, France and Fabio -they were so jubilant after the quarterfinal victory (see this video. )

Anyway, it was a blast to watch the game at the Cafe Bar Acoma with Alessandro, Maaike, Mattia, Juan Antonio, etc. from Gina's lab at UPF. Alessandro was very tense - very emotionally invested. I thought he just might explode... He said if someone had told him at the beginning of the tournament that Italy would win the World Cup, he wouldn't have believed it. But now it's clear - they were the best team - no doubt about it!

April 23, 2006

La Diada de Sant Jordi

És una rosa bella i sola,
Desolada, en aquest jardí
on l’abella no brunz ni vola
l’ocell, on la gespa es marcí.
No la consola ser corol•la
ni sentir-se tan de setí.
Només la força la consola
i saber-se somni de mi.


February 12, 2006

Festa de Santa Eulàlia - La Laia

We spent this weekend chasing after the cavalcadas of gegantonas and gegants with Enrique, Raquel and Hiroshi. This major winter festival is dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, Santa Eulalia, affectionately known as "La Laia." She was martyred in 304 in Barcelona and interred at Santa Maria del Mar (she's the patron saint of mariners as well as the city of Barcelona) but was moved to the cathedral in 1339 and is "the undisputed heroine and patron of the Barcelona cathedral." The festa of La Laia -- all girls named Eulàlia are affectionately nicknamed Laia -- is celebrated from February 9 to 15. This is now the third year in a row that we've seen the events. In addition to the gegantonas, there was the usual mix of events including a carrefoc, the breathtaking spectacle of the castellers doing there thing (castle-building), and of course, the sardana. Definitely a great week to come visit Barcelona if you want to absorb some of the local folklore.

September 25, 2005

La Festa de la Mercè

"The ancient processions through the city were full of magical figures with a strong symbolic significance: the dragon, the image of the devil; the giants, a representation of the heroes and historical figures; the eagle, the symbol of political power. All these figures have lasted in one form or another, and are still paraded in the Festival as the true myths of Barcelona." - from

September 01, 2005

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