barcelona flaneuse

I've been to Barcelona three times and I'm ready to return!

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Finding a Lens


Devoted follower of our “sketch crawl.”


Waiting for its mistress outside a green-grocer.


Waiting for its master outside a cafe.



When G. and I traveled with our college students, we helped them prepare by suggesting they choose a lens, a way of looking at their travel experience, that was related to something they loved, something familiar.  Their choices included, among many, shoes, wild flowers, fly fishing, and graffiti.  (Graffiti, which seemed to me least promising, turned out to be a rich focus.)  I cannot help myself. No matter where I go, I pay attention to the dogs.

And the dogs of Barcelona were many and charming.


What moved me most was their patience.  These dogs are adept at waiting — for masters and mistresses who are shopping, eating, drinking, or drawing.


Outside the grocery.

I see a high degree of devotion here.  And the devotion is reciprocated.  In the following picture, you see a yellow lab wearing a sweater made for him.  See how neatly the sleeves fit?  (And yes, alas, that is my finger, but my editing package does not allow me to erase it!)


The dog and owner I would most like to include here, I do not have a picture of.  I saw them several times near my apartment in early April, when it was still pretty chilly out.  Woman and dog, they wore their quilted coats, both were short in the neck, and both looked just a little unkempt.   Still, they were completely charming.


A dog-friendly taxi.

I am, as a man in a bar in Ireland once told me, “between dogs,”  but I look forward to the day when I’ll have my own again.  In the meanwhile, I wish that Barcelona provided — in addition to excellent apartments — a rent-a-dog service.  What could be better than Barcelona with a dog?

(It is obvious I’m a neophyte blogger.  Please be patient with me as I learn!)








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The First Step…

A Verbal Stroll…

This will be an exercise in sorting things out, determining what’s important and what’s not, then attempting to deliver on the important part.  As this blog progresses, different concerns will rise to the top, a bit like dumplings cooking in a pot of broth.  Essential elements in the stew include travel, what it means to be a woman on her own, teaching and learning, home and family.  And how, at times, all the elements seem to pull at each other.

The Beautiful Commonplace…


Pears at the market.

Yes, they’re just pears, but the vendors at Mercat de La Boqueria appreciate how beautiful they can be.  Finding the beautiful in the everyday seems easy in Barcelona, but I try to take this perspective with me everywhere.

Popsicles at Mercat de La Boqueria in Barcelona

Popsicles at Mercat de La Boqueria in Barcelona

The Flaneur…

The flaneur is a wanderer, a stroller, a saunterer, a passionate observer of life and flaneuse is his female counterpart.  That’s the role I aspire to.

I taught at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina, for fourteen years.  During that time I traveled with a fabulous colleague and a clutch of students on travel-study expeditions to Ireland and Italy.  When asked to reflect on her day’s experience, a student prefaced her story, “Travel teaches me…”  I hope to bring to these pages some of the lessons travel (and my many students) have taught me.

The Happy Traveler…

At Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat Barcelona, Medusa has a bad day.

At Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat Barcelona, Medusa has a bad day.

Each day I stepped onto the street from my little Barcelona apartment during the month of April, I was instantly happy.  Why? It might have been the beauty and novelty of my surroundings, the promise of another meal of fried artichokes, the burgeoning display of flowers from balconies, or my freedom from responsibility.  In fact, I’d have had to be a real dope not to be happy.

My street in the morning.

I hope you’ll join me for future posts.