Thursday, June 21, 2018


June 11 - 21

It is with a heavy heart I begin this entry.  The afternoon of June 16, we got news that Cooper, our beloved dog had a seizure and had to be put down.  He had been a part of our family for nearly 15 years and seen all of the kids grow from teenagers to adults.  Whether it was wrestling in the family room, pulling sticks out of the river or digging sand at the beach, he was a joy to have around.  The last years he was a constant companion to Cheryl and I whether taking trips in the motor home or simply relaxing at the house.  He was definitely one of the family and he will be sorely missed.  Thank you Cooper for being such a good friend.

As has been typical, there has been A LOT going on since the last entry.  First of all, with Cheryl here, we can finally get serious about making the apartment feel like home.  To me as long as there are Doritos in the cupboard and beer in the fridge it feels like home, but with Cheryl here it's a little different.   So whats the first step?  IKEA!!  I got home from work at about 6 pm one evening and I actually got the bright idea to go to IKEA on a weeknight to miss the weekend crowd.  Seemed like a great idea.  GEEZ these stores are HUGE!!!.  I'd not really experienced IKEA at home (except of course putting everything together once it got home). So we walked back and forth for what seemed like eternity through the "showrooms" writing down all the numbers of what we might want.  Then we got downstairs, and to my unpleasant surprise I was among-st thousands of square feet of small wares.  Back and forth and back and forth.  Cups, rugs, dishes, artwork, plants, it never ended!  We finally got to the warehouse where I thought we would tell an IKEA employee the number and he would retrieve the box for us.  NOPE, we had to search it out and place it on our cart ourselves.  Then the 15 minute store closing announcement came on and everyone rushed to the checkout, but of course I was still wondering through the warehouse looking for my unassembled white  Tarva night stand box.  When we finally got back home it was 10:20 pm.  Remember, we left at 6:00 pm. You do the math.

With the IKEA debacle behind us, Cheryl and I decided to take advantage of a business trip I had planned to Barcelona by leaving a few days early and enjoying this great city for some personal vacation time.  As we planned the first of what we hope to be many trips throughout Europe, we initially had to figure out how to get there.  Hmmm, first we have to get to the airport and then the hotel in Barcelona.  Typically, our goal is to minimize use of the car (and parking).  So here we go......  We took the #5 tram to Station Zuid were we got the train to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.  We boarded Vueling Flight 8303 for a 2 hour and 15 minute trip to Barcelona.  Once in Barcelona we hopped on the A1 bus to the subway station where we caught the L1 to Catalunya.  We had to walk through a maze of tunnels (including 2 wrong turns and multiple
dumb looks from locals) to the L7 where we got off at El Putxet and a short walk to our hotel.  953 miles, 4 1/2 hours, 1 tram, 3 trains,  1 plane and bus but no car!  We did it!

We had a special treat for our first day in Barcelona.  We got VIP tickets to attend the Moto Grand Prix.  It was a very special opportunity to see these daredevil racers in action.  It is insane to watch these incredible riders lean into the corners on one knee then, crank it up to 160 mph on the straight.  Not only are they fast but they are LOUD!  We'd watch for awhile then head inside for a beer (hey, I did it to protect what hearing I have left.)  My liver is fine, my hearing is bad. 

On Sunday we decided to check out the amazing city of Barcelona.  They have  "hop on, hop off" tour buses where you can ride all day and get off when and wherever you want.  It is a terrific way to explore the sites of the city you care most about.  There are so many interesting and historic places to see.  We decided to spend some time walking around the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.  Not only is it a beautiful building in a wonderful location at the top of a hill that overlooks the city, they also sell beer there.  BOOM!  Cheryl was intrigued by the "lemon beer" option on the menu.  How do they brew it you ask?  Well they pour in 1/3 of a glass of lemon slushy and top it off with a Heineken.  Not sure you will see that any time soon at the Portland brew fest, but hey, it tasted great overlooking Barcelona. 

Sunday was also Fathers Day.  As I've said before, there was never any doubt that Cheryl and I were going to accept this wonderful opportunity to join the EMEA Nike team and explore Europe the next two years, however, that certainly didn't mean that we were excited to be leaving the family back in Oregon.  That has been the hardest part (even including getting my parking permit).  So for Fathers Day, the family all logged in to the Google app "Hang Out" and had a group chat.  It was wonderful.  Not as good as being there in person, but pretty darn good.  It was a wonderful way to spend Fathers Day.  Thank you family!  I can't wait until we are all together for Christmas. 

For those geographically challenged people (like me), you may not realize that Barcelona is on the Mediterranean Sea.  Cheryl and I have never seen or touched this famous body of water so of course that was a goal of ours during this visit.  Getting there was as simple as hopping on the V15 and transferring to the N28 (see what I did there?).  Next thing you know the waves of the Mediterranean were crashing over our feet.  OK, "waves" and "crashing" is a little over stated but it was awesome nevertheless. 

I could go on and on about our wonderful visit to Barcelona and how we almost got arrested for buying a blanket from an unlicensed vendor on the beach or our visit to Camp Nou (FCB Stadium) or walking through a midnight street party with our 5 euro bottle of wine, but I need save some of these stories for when we share a glass of lemon beer when we see you back in Oregon. 

Until next time.......

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