November Trip Week One

11 Nov

During the course of each week I make short notes using Evernote on the iPhone.  It is brief but when I get to the Sunday evening blog writing session at least I can reconstruct what happened reliably.  I am telling you this because this week and next I am going to change the process.  Instead of using the notes as a basis for writing things properly I am going to publish my raw notes.  It is the only way I can see of getting the posts done before Xmas.  I hope it still makes sense and that you can skip over the small and perhaps, with hindsight, irrelevant details.  There will also be some repetition between the text and the photo captions because I have obviously used the notes to create the captions.

Monday, 5th

– my cold and cough is ugly. Leanne cleaned and tidied and packed. Went to Le Luc to get the diesel filter replaced. Got a haircut at Leclerc and lots of meds.

Tuesday, 6th

– finally left Les Fadons about 10.30am. Went to Jeremy and Jo’s to leave our ‘last minute’ bag and the laptop. Left at 11.00am.

– took the pèage towards Barcelona. Fine weather but very windy. Cold feeling awful, headache. Got to Hotel Ronda in Figueres at 16.20. 446km in total, 5h20m elapsed including a half hour or so stop for a sandwich. The car is running like a Swiss watch.

– I went straight to bed on arrival. Woke for a sandwich at 8pm.

Wednesday, 7th

– throat is not so sore this morning. Weather is fine, clear and a bit cold in the shade.  Walked to the old town and found the Dali Museum. Did not go in but wandered the area.

Just off the main square in Figueres we came across this very neat looking building. It was part of a public entertainment centre.

Approaching the Dali Museum from the front. We are not at all knowledgable on Dali so we’ll leave it to you to Google him if you desire more information.

The back end of the Dali Museum in Figueres. We did not go inside, just enjoyed the view from here.

– drove to Cadaqués at 12.30pm. All the roundabouts leaving Figueres have big sculptures installed on them. Looks cool.  Got back about 4pm.  Being out in the cold air did not do me any good. Went to bed.

From Figueres we headed over the hill to the coast to a village called Cadaqués. Before cresting the hill we stopped to look back in the direction of Figueres (just out of shot to the left). The snow was from last night.

Cadaqués is probably a hive of activity in the summer but now it is pretty quiet.

Most of the roundabouts in Figueres were embellished with impressive sculptures like this one…

… and this one, combined with a water feature.

– I slept till 1930 then we finished our sandwiches for dinner.

Thursday, 8th

– thought I felt better this morning. Had breakfast then drove to Begur. Checked in then headed to the beach at Llafranca. It was totally deserted. Had a walk and by then I needed to get indoors and lie down. Coughing like mad, headache and slight feverishness. Hotel is really nice.

Llafranca was another seaside village that would have been heaving a couple of months ago.

– Leanne went for a walk while I rested.

– had a nice tapas dinner across the street but ordered too much.

Friday, 9th

– had breakfast at the hotel then started to leave town. Got sidetracked at the local youth sports centre – at least that’s what it seemed to be. The building, retaining and even the footpath was in naked steel sheet much like Iron Bank in Auckland.  It looked great.

We think this was the local youth sports centre. All in rusted iron. Looked pretty cool. Even the footpaths, garden edges and steps were made with rusted iron strips, bars and sheet.

– went back to the coast to see the village we missed yesterday, Calella Pallafrugel. It was lovely. We stayed for refreshments at one of the four open cafés/restaurants. No idea why so many open because apart from us there were about ten visitors in the whole village.

Calella was a diversion after leaving Begur on out way to Barcelona. Again, it is off-season and very quiet. We did manage to find a place to have tea/coffee, in fact there was even a choice. About four cafés open and four couples, like ourselves, walking around.

Calella again, this time hotel and apartments all shuttered for the winter.

Everybody is gone!

– got to the hotel in Barcelona about 2.30pm. Checked in then went for a wander to the shorefront before buying some bread, cheese and meat. Also had a small and early tapas dinner at the shopping centre.

– back at the room by 7pm for a relaxing evening.

Saturday, 10th

– had breakfast at the hotel, just bread, meat and cheese we bought yesterday. Caught the Metro just after 9am into a stop near Sagrada Familia. The queue was already back to the first corner but it did move quickly. We booked to go up the Passion Tower but the lift broke down. It was a bit of a farce. Ended up with a refund on the tower part. Because of the now double queues for the other tower lift the cloisters were closed off.

The Sagrada Familia in a compulsory stop in Barcelona. The queue to get in looked a bit daunting but moved really quickly and we were inside within 15 minutes.

Part of Gaudi’s concept was to create the impression of a forest. So the columns branch out as they get higher and the ceiling looks like palms fronds. For those interested in numbers and ratios there is a huge amount of material to cover here.

The Nativity Door. There is so much detail and so many stories depicted it could give you a headache.

– went by Metro from Sagrada Familia to the tapas bar recommended by Metcalfes. Lunch was great and with 2 beers, 2 wines and enough food it came to €25. I’ll bet there were easily 40 people jammed in when we were there! There was a menu but we were right at the bar where stuff was being made so when we saw a dish being made that we liked the look of we just asked the waitress to make the same for us. Easy!

Lew and Jean told us about tho little tapas bar, Quimet & Quimet, in Barcelona. Standing room only for about 20 people comfortably and there were 40 in there when we managed to get it. It was worth it.

– Another funny thing – she had a bit of a cough so every time she needed to cough she turned aside and then pulled the neck of her sweater up over her mouth and nose. Practical.

– walked from lunch to the Barcelona Cathedral. Didn’t go in. I sat on the steps for a while while Leanne went for a wander around the general area.

Barcelona Catheral, Gothic – now that’s what I expect a cathedral to look like.

– walked from there to catch the #7 bus back to the hotel. Leanne went to the shopping centre while I had a rest.

– left the room again about 7.15pm and took the Metro to the district where they have fountains playing to music. Got back to the hotel again about 10pm after stopping at the shopping centre to buy a set of Apple EarPods. Had red wine for dinner in the room with some remaining chippies.

The so-called ‘Magic Fountains’ which play to music. In the background is the Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery under lights.

Sunday, 11th

– had breakfast at a local café near the hotel before catching the bus into the city. We’re waiting at a bus stop at 11.00am on 11/11/2012.  We remembered them.

– got another bus up to the Park Güell which was designed and built by Gaudi between 1900 & 1914, it opened in 1929 I think. We walked most of huge main pathways and then found the most interesting part at the end.

The view from Park Güell (Gaudi Park) towards the east where our hotel was located at the Diagonal Mar. The Sagrada Familia is right of centre.

From the same location but towards the SE.

Spain appears to have a personal responsibility code similar to France. Notice the hand rails and safety barriers. Excellent! The view was good too.

A closer look. I think the Passion Door is the RHS and the Nativity Door is the LHS.

The Park Grüell, where there are walkways behind the vegetation supported by the sloping columns. The gardens are supported by the palm tree looking outer columns. Very interesting.

This is the detail of the stonework at the top of the columns.

The gift shop at the main entrance to the Park Grüell. Looks a bit like Disneyland.

This area was built in 1929 and the seating was representing a serpent.

This view shows the popularity of the park – it was Sunday about 1pm.

Under another section of elevated walkway.

– caught the bus back down to the main part of town and walked down part of the Pasieg di Gracia. Had a break at Fraggi Café before heading to Los Ramblas. Saw a group setting up the three cups con. It was so obvious that he was being helped, he was ‘accidentally’ exposing the cup covering the dice but his helpers were still getting it wrong.

Another Gaudi inspired building. They wanted €20 each to go inside. Whoa!

Looking down the Ramblas on a Sunday afternoon.

Fresh juice for anyone?

– walked to the Picasso Museum. Entry is free on Sunday afternoons but you still had to queue at least 35 minutes to get an entry ticket. We flagged it and caught the Metro back to the hotel getting there about 4.45pm. Checked the view from the roof bar.

– left the hotel again and caught the 7.05pm Metro back to ‘Jaume I’ which is near the Barcelona Cathedral. Entry was free till 2000. Wandered back towards the same Metro station and found a neighbourhood tapas bar to have dinner.  €30 for a fixed menu including a bottle of house red. Enough to fill us up. An Irish couple (in their 60’s) sat next to us sharing an enormous T-bone steak. Caught the Metro towards home at 2120 using the last credits on our two 10-ride concession tickets.  Back in the room by 2145.

In the small park near where we had dinner…

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2 Responses to “November Trip Week One”

  1. bikernz November 23, 2012 at 15:13 #

    Yes we saw the eruption news online – we keep an eye on The Herald.

  2. Sarah November 22, 2012 at 04:18 #

    Lovely photos, what a shame you weren’t feeling the best Brian. Brought back happy memories of our trip to Barcelona 10 years ago, they’re rather lucky to have had a chap like Gaudi base himself there – the moden apartments aren’t so attractive to look at.

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