Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Hola! Hello!

"Who wants to get out?" asks Mihai.
"No, thank you! You said we were going to rest and that’s what we intend to do!"

We’re in Estartit, a wonderful village by the Mediterranean Sea, with a wonderful beach and wonderful eateries, and all we want to do is to be inside the walls of our apartment, even if we don’t have internet. I need to put a little bit of space around memories. Europe is intensive, with so many things to see, I need time to filter my emotions and impressions, to write them down and I don’t want to go and make new ones.

We could have chosen any location close to Barcelona, but we came here because we were invited by Isma (Ease-ma). We’ve met in Thailand, us, leaving Bottle Beach, he, going to the doctor for an infected leg (diving with unprotected wounds would do that to you). Our car started speeding up when we realized we didn’t give him our card, he couldn’t run, so we threw it on the sand and that was our last image of him. He liked our page on Facebook and we exchanged a few messages.

He visits our apartment one afternoon and we talk about wind surfing, tourists, business, independence. Driving through Catalunya we read graffitti inscriptions asking for independence. The signs are first in Catalana, then Spanish, then English, people speak Catalana, they teach it in school. I ask why do they want independence from Spain? Not everybody wants it, but it seems it is about money and who is using them (Spain or Catalunya). Until they reach a majority, they are part of Spain.

Next day we are invited at his parents restaurant Xavi (pronounced Chavi) for lunch. First: two pitchers, sangria (red wine with orange Fanta) and cava (orange juice with champaign).The festin begins: the table is ladden with chapparones, little octopuses floured and deep fried, then “french fries” with eyes (thin fish), several types of jamon (ha-mon), shrimp salad, clams in shell with butter, and potatoes with spicy sauce. Everything is so good, we’re hungry and we’re thirsty, we eat and drink and watch Spanish music on TV. 

Then la piece de resistance: paella! It looks and it smells heavenly, and though we are full, we eat our first paella. Prawns, chicken, sausage, clams, shrimp with yellow fragrant rice (there is always room for more rice, as they say in Madagascar).

Sometimes words are not enough to express the gratitude. Muchas gracias, Isma and thank you to your parents!

We visit Figueres before returning to Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya. We’ve seen Dali’s paintings in an extraordinary exhibition in Philadelphia, went to St. Petersburg, Florida for some others, saw some of his sculptures and drawings in Montmartre, Paris so it was a no brainer that we we’re going to Figueres, his hometown. Around the house it was art in every form drawings, paintings, 3D including furniture

On the sides are two drawings and in the middle, two mirrors at an angle, reflecting the drawings and making a third one, for your eyes.

 making use of the stairs  

or one’s short-sight. 

Gala at the window.

Same painting from afar, and it looks like Lincoln.
Actually there is a small square  with his portrait next to Gala's left foot.

Tourists poured in, one of them snapping picture after picture, without looking at what he was photographing or at the result. It is one thing to see his paintings, it is another to be surrounded by his output.

This was on the ceiling!

And I liked some of his jewelry.

The eye of time, 1949

The living flower, 1959. The petals of this flower, made of hands, were moving.

The space elephant, 1961

In the evening we arrived in Barcelona and met with my side of the family. It is emotionally taxing for me, I missed them very much. For one reason or another we couldn’t communicate as often as I wanted, and that was hard.  

The next days we spent in the company of each other, the girls asking grandma stories from her life, talking about cinema and movie making (both my parents worked in the documentary film industry), walking around Plaza Catalunya and through La Rambla, talking, perusing stores or window-watching. (They, too, liked the girls' movie.)

The shaving paraphernalia

One evening we went to Sagrada Familia, a cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudi. 

This is how it's going to look when finished, only bigger and more colorful.

When he made the designs he realized that he was not going to be the one to finish it, so he made them flexible enough to include the new technologies and the imaginations of the future architects. Close up it is not impressive, it looks more like a giant child work art. The secret is in the details, the Nativity above one entrance, the Passion presented in a spiral above another entrance, the bronze doors with excerpts from the New Testament on which just some words are polished and highlighted. 

Subirach's "Christ scourged" and the doors with the highlighted words: "What is the Truth?" "Jesus Christ, the King of Jews"

We enter and notice the pavement. 

 A classical Roman Catholic nave full of light, with stained glass windows no obvious message, just the colors. 

The columns, made of porphyry, basalt, granite and sandstone, start as polygons and as they rise, the number of sides multiplies, the diameter decreases, then they divide in stems, like a tree trunk in branches. 

We climbed the Nativity tower with the elevator for the view and for the close up. Between those fruit decorated spires there are light wells for the ceiling.

 Then we climbed down between the walls of the bell tower, designed to enhance the sound. 

Gaudi was inspired by nature. Beside some buildings, 

he designed Parc Guell, a neighborhood with houses, park and market, terrace. We visited one morning and there were many people, especially tourists, and musicians, playing the harp or the cymbal, people selling earrings or bracelets, inspired by Gaudi’s art.

The stairs are leading to the market and above it is the terrace.

The market

The terrace with ergonomic seats.
The last thing: Picasso museum. A beautiful building hosts part of his works, before, through and after going in phases, blue or otherwise and ceramics. I fail every time when I try to see his genius. I swallowed my frustration, sat in a room surrounded by different paintings on the same subject and asked Mihai to explain, where is the beauty? He really tried, but all I could see was the change of the colors, the schematization of the subjects, details blown up. In a way it was like in the story with the paintings of the dragons the last ones being the most powerful, but only if you knew the others that preceded them. One painting seemed drawn by a child. Many parents throw in the recycling bin drawings more beautiful than this! picasso museum

We didn’t do justice to Barcelona, but we tried. If it wasn’t a convenient place to meet with the family, we wouldn’t have visited, just because every stop in a new country adds to the stress and tiredness. We will have to come back another time.

Adeu! Good bye!

At the Sagrada Familia


  1. It was kind of surreal to see all these places that I visited only seven months ago, I love the photo of everyone together! I miss you and love you guys very much. Did you go into casa bayou? The house on the street of discord that Gaudi made to look like the ocean?

  2. We didn't have time or energy, but maybe next time. We miss you too!


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