Friday, October 21, 2016

That's it folks for this trip

Wednesday morning we left Girona - really enjoyed our stay - but time to head back to Barcelona
Very pleasant medieval city   
Back in Barcelona for half a day we checked out Gaudi's work along with thousands of others - the inside of the cathedral is rather awesome and loved the stain glass - the colours and the play of light were wonderful We also went to the Maritime Museum where there was a life size replica of a 16th century - I think - boat - was rather hoping to see the Spanish Armada but no go  
ANd yest another fabulous door to give plenty of inspiration - look at the writing in the top left. Mmm.....
We caught the TGV back to London via Paris - we had paid a wee bit more for 1st class and the service etc on the Eurail was very good indeed. - My holiday stitching is making progress.   Waiting at Heathrow to catch our flight for the usual long boring flight but that's the rules if you want to travel. Our three suitcases came to 59.9 kilos - that's including 20 k of khaki books and paper - 2 giant rolls of lutradur rolled off the core and lots of threads and stuff. That's a bis shipping saving we don't have to pass on to our customers.   See you on the sunny side for a bbq on Sunday night after a hopeful All Black win on Saturday - and then it's back to work

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Out in the countryside

We hired a car for a opulent of days and made some trips out of Girona. it is very easy driving around - the roads are very good. First day we went to the Costa Bravo - not our sort of place really - I think we are spoilt on the west coast of OZ - this was at Tossa de Mer and it was full of tourists so I expect really bad in July/August - in fact the book said you would never be able to find a spec of untouched sand. Against my better judgement I had a Kiwi COla - nice fresh kiwifruit but sadly ice cream which has melted and reiced. That will teach me. 
There were wall to wall restaurants which ever way you looked
Then we drove north along the coast - magnificent views. This was looking back to Tossa de Mer
And some more - the road was amazingly pretty and windy and scarey - and all the way there were these enormous holiday places like large towns - you couldn't just drive in but only look from the car rather gobsmacked.
I guess it is pretty packed in the summer. Second day we went into the hills - we thought we would be driving up little windy roads - ha - 4 lane highways and magnificent tunnels. We got right up near the border to France and stopped at a lovely little town for lunch. I didn't take any photos at all - one things we loved seeing were the autumn trees.
Back in Girona I came across this statue - I though it had ideas for doors actually.
Last view of Girona walking across one of the bridges. We had a great last night meal at a delightful restaurant where the guys were very friendly - possibly the best red wine we have had.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Salvador Dali

One day we caught the train to Figueres to visit the Salvador Dali museum - wow! This was outside but the museum was amazing as only Dali can be. Full of people with smiles on their faces as we climbed up stairs and down stairs and wound our way through this enormous collection of work.
From outside.  
I personally really liked his drawings near the entrance - they reminded me a little of Lewis Carrol but of course - more bizarre. There was so much to see and it was well worth the visit. 
Along  the streets there was a hotel with interesting cows on the balconies. This town really only exists for the Dali methinks
We have been eating at some interesting restaurants - not the touristy ones but the host of this air bnb left cards for quite a few and we have worked our way through. Most of them you wouldn't know were even there - this one was up a little cobbled street and in the daytime when the doors are shut and the gate closed you would not even know there was a restaurant behind the door. We are drinking Catalin wines of course and mostly reds - interesting bottle this one was. The food we were told was outstanding in this region but I wouldn't really say that - have not been knocked off our feet - and mostly all the same. But nothing bad.
Ian- who hates anchovies - has had to eat at least three of these offerings - they bring out extras which is really very nice and he has to eat them. Actually the anchovies have been okay but in general the food is very salty - obviously we have abandoned a lot fo salt in our cooking or we wouldn't have noticed.
My little holiday stitching of woven and stitched is now ready for toppings.
This is our apartment from the courtyard below - we have the top two floors - that terrace at the top is where we sit outside for coffee - breakfast and drinks at night - wonderful view - just have to make it up the windy internal staircase.... The pole you can see on the ground holds streetlights
All outings on foot require up many cobbled steps and down many cobbled steps - this is at the top of the steps looking down at a restaurant we went to the other night only no rain and people sitting outside.
Ian encouraging me to get climbing - this set of steps went up and up and up and eventually came down t a little shop where I bought a couple of bowls having been reminded how much stock is waiting heavily in the third suitcase back in London.
And another wonderful gate at the front of the theatre (the back of the theatre is in front of our house) - maybe we could incorporate this idea in our Secret Doors and Opening workshop in Adelaide in January - i shall work on the idea.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Girona some more

Girona is a medieval walled city of around 90,000 and we are lucky to be staying inside the walled area. this is a view from up on the wall looking to the Pyrenees 
Another view from the wall - they tell us that they had hardly any rain over summer and the rain we have had has been that sort where the black clouds roll over and down she comes - but it is sunny again and quite lovely.  I think it would be horrendous in August somehow. Plus it is a cycling city - apparently Lance Armstrong used to be based here. You can't escape cyclists these days.
Yes - I did climb up these steps and many more and of course if you go up you have to come down again...
My favourite citing on the walk
And along the way we looked down at the gardens - so tranquil -   
We visited the cathedral which has the widest nave in Europe - I think it said- and the oldest known tapestry- well worth a visit
Coming down the steps I spotted another inserting door and frame - reminded me a little of Orvieto
We have been eating at some interesting places - our host left us a few cards and most you wouldn't find on your own. In fact some closed up during the day you wouldn't even know were there. This one is a heathy place - La Vedette or similar - and this was pea soup with bacon on top - we got there at 3pm and it was empty but filling up when we left - and that was for lunch. We also had the most interesting crepes.
A cover near our 'house'


Now are in Girona - we have a great air bnb with a fabulous view from the terrace - we are staying in the old walled part of town - very central - it's a very well preserved place - cobbled stones - no rubbish anywhere etc etc
Here is Ian on the first morning walking down to get milk for his coffee. We have had a heap of rain mostly whenever we decide to step out. 
the houses - quite famous - from one of the bridges - the water is a bit muddy I expect from the rain  
We have enjoyed great meals since we have been here - this was one we visited in the heavy rain so we didn't wear outside   
A very interesting restaurant - with a distinct 40s of 50s look to it but they were friendly - the food was fine but not many people the night we went - our little umbrellas bought in Portugal some years back for 1 euro struggled to keep us dry.  
The menu was in Catalan - even harder for us than Spanish - these are the pizzas - pernil is ham - we didn't have a pizza though
We had started our walk along the medieval wall that night but it rained somewhat so we abandoned and started again next day - lots of climbing steps to get up to it - not liked by someone who has never liked steps but she got there and back
Another view from our terrace
And another
chasing Ian to get back up om that wall - most of the streets are like this - it's very well preserved. Fortunately the rain stopped for us this time.    

Thursday, October 13, 2016


We came to Barcelona on the train from London via Paris - got there in time this year after last year's trauma! Bought 1st class tickets which were only slightly dearer than normal so sat upstairs in a little more spacious comfort. Got to Barcelona quite late and stayed 2 nights at a hotel just by the station. Very easy to get around on the underground. This is my first photo of Les Ramblas as everyone else would take!  
And here is another - we walked from the top to about half way and then went to the markets. Gathering more people as we went  
Here is the Barcelona TNT man - his house was packed with parcels and a spare on the top - he locked it very carefully as he took one out - we have been warned by absolutely everyone about watching for pickpockets so I guess the same goes for him. 
Since I am doing the 100 days project and my topic is circles, I am always on the lookout - this was part of a display as we walked along - a network in a circle
Obviously the flower of the time is the flower cacti - they were everywhere and in little pots for you to buy - I just photograph them. The colours were divine
We visited the market and loved wandering around looking at the food and the eating places - very busy of course - there were markets devoted to oval - as a lover of tripe who rarely eats it I enjoyed all the varieties - Ian was not so pleased After I photographed it I read a sign saying no photos - too late - but I am not sure why
After loads of wandering we finally found a place to stand in a queue for about 15 minutes for a spot to eat.
And we sat and enjoyed it all - squid - meatballs - zucchini frittata- grilled vegetables (must try these like this at home on our weber) and no room for scallops - and a wine or two to wash it down. Great experience 
There were big dishes of fish on the ledge above us and they selected to cook - these were razor clams - I think - the fish that came were already gutted - food was coming thick and fast from the fish stalls nearby. It was very busy and fresh as.
Many sweets stands of course and the colours look so great
We selected a frog each 
It was the colours that got you
Oh the Gaudi - too much and so fabulous
Everything was so wonderful and of course the book I bought has far better photos then i can take but I loved the shapes of the doors - my workshop in Adeliade in January is titled Old Doors and Openings and the shapes on the door got my brain into action. more than just the doors, I love the opportunity of what is on the other side - or what you can see through to. I think the numbers for that workshop are creeping up - I am really looking forward to it and my other one - Seeing the Leaves Through the Trees - creating a network and adding many different leaves using different techniques.
The doors to the apartments are absolutely beautiful but look at this - and how to create in textile art.
Here is the whole door
And of course - up on the roof - and now I shall devour my book of photos - it was so wonderful to go see it all in the flesh Now we have gone to Girona on the train for more adventures


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