We are finally coming out of our hibernation here in Barcelona. The weather here for the winter was a mixed bag. It would get down into the low 40’s at night and usually a high of 60 during the day. We had several weather systems come through that would bring significant wind, 30-40 knots and rain, that would last for 4-5 days, then we would get sunshine for a similar amount of time. Not nearly as bad as my fellow new englanders but it gave us something to bitch about nonetheless. Our marina, Reial Club Maratim de Barcelona is right in town, literally. Even with a huge breakwater and twists and turns through large commercial shipping area, we still get a swell into the marina. Its usually not too bad, only one time did I really need to get off the boat as I was getting seasick, but there is an ever present swell that comes in jockeying the boat around enough for a slight annoyance.
Life here in Barcelona has been fantastic. We both think we could easily return here to live full time someday. The city is very international with young people from all over the world calling the city their home. Barca is considered the tech and entrepreneur capital of Europe bringing a lot of educated talented youth working for or starting up their own enterprises. There is also a lot of decent size companies here hiring people so the unemployment rate is lower than Spain's overall rate which is very high. Most everyone speaks English, which has for me has been great because I didn’t put much effort into learning Spanish. Jessica however has really put in the time to learn the language and tries to practice talking regularly. We both have our own agendas during the day so, besides the weekends, we are kind of like most other couples. Generally, we are going our own way after having breakfast together. Jess goes off to Metafora where she continues taking art classes and using her studio to paint. She takes some spanish lessons during the day as well. She usually is gone from 10-5 or 6 and sometimes goes to live drawing sessions in the evening. There will be photos of all her new work on her website, link is above.
We are still straddling the Spanish vs American dinner time as we don’t like to eat at 9pm, so we generally sit down for dinner around 8. Our weekday evenings are always different. Sometimes we go out to a meetup (Meetups are hugely popular here, they are listed on line and there are meetups for everything from wine tasting to tennis to hiking. Several are very well attended and it is like going to a party where you see a lot of the same people and meet a lot of new people) and sometimes we stay in and work on a project, like sewing our curtains, or some other boat project that needs two hands. Our weekends we spend together and enjoy the city and live like the locals, often staying out way too late but its always fun.
My days have been spent mainly taking care of boat maintenance. I was told early on by a seasoned ol salt that ideally you don’t want more projects needing to be done than the length of your boat, in feet. So for us I can never let the list grow larger than 43 items. The list of projects we have finished or are in the process of finishing are:Replace Lewmar Windlass and deck switches, replace evaporater in fridge, replace stereo system and speakers, repair nav lights not working, change oil in Volvo, change oil in Panda generator, replace impellers in both genset and Volvo, completely disassemble fuel filters and housings and clean, change transmission fluid, change hoses in back head as its starting to smell, service life raft, service Mom8a module, replace rugs through out boat, sew new curtains, repair and sew bimini, make dinghy cover, replace seams in teak deck where needed, the everpresent teak deck bungs that come out and need replacement, all brightwork re varnished with 5 coats of varnish, wax topsides, wax hull, polish all stainless on deck, change shaft seal on prop shaft, change engine mounts, new battery banks for entire boat, carpentry work included making our salon table a drop leaf for more room, reversing the forward head bathroom door for easier entry, and replacing all cushions in salon and aft stateroom. Kind of like having a new boat. Im sure I am missing something here as the list is coming to an end in my head.
We have only another month or so here in Barcelona before we pull out and head for Morocco, Port Smir where we will base ourselves to tour Morocco for a fortnight, then on to Galicia. More soon.