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Published: October 13th 2018
There are some rather nice photos of the Sierra Nevada, they may have made it onto a second page. Please look for them
Salou on the Mediterranean Sea. The town thronged with happy holiday makers, mostly Brits. They walked around town in their swimsuits, smiling, contended and happy. It is easy for us to take our sun and sand for granted. It was good to see people so relaxed and happy.
Catalan activists on Monday marked the first anniversary of their disputed independence referendum by blocking train tracks and roads across Spain’s restive northeastern region and trying to break into the Catalan Parliament, underlining how charged the conflict over separatism remains. We saw demonstrations and heavily armed police and military. There are yellow ribbons everywhere. I hope they work it out. Interestingly Catalan language is very close to Spanish with some French influences. So close and yet so far.
We had a huge two-bedroom apartment. The deck was four times larger than our room in Madrid and it was not expensive. We are travelling in off season so most of our accommodation is between $50-$80 a night.
Smoking is much more a feminine pursuit. The women hold
their cigarettes like 1940's actresses and defiantly blow their smoke into the air. There are even vending machines.
While we were on the route we stopped in a small village for coffee. My Spanish is OK enough for some easy conversation. I had a chat with a farmer who was passionate about the power of the pilgrimage and said "People go on the pilgrimage to find God but they find themselves."
The town is somewhat racially mixed, with plenty of sub Saharans, working and living in town. We were on a local bus and a young African got on, but it seemed he forgot his wallet. An old white guy, sitting at the front handed over his bus pass and let the guy ride. It was not the only act of inter-racial harmony I saw.
Went to Reus, the town where Gaudi, the eccentric architect was born. It was fascinating to see his thought processes. Such creative genius. The only other place I have seen such magic buildings is in anime. His greatest work is Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Not yet finished but with the help of computers it is being fast tracked and should be finished June
2026, one hundred years after his death. It is a building out of a Doctor Who set. Check it out on the web.
Through a lucky connection we managed to go to a very remote winery call Clos Galena. Their wine ‘Formiga’ was chosen for the Nobel Prize dinner. It is now very rare but we bought a bottle. The terrain is black slate which gives a rich mineral taste to the wine.
We spent one night in Murcia, a lively university town. It is also famous for cheese. We bought a lot, but not enough.
Then the majestic Pyrenees. We stayed in the tiny village of Bubion. The goal was to climb to the top of the highest peak in Spain, 3350. A bus took us to the base and we had six hours to get there and back before the bus returned. It was freezing cold, literally and the wind howled through the valleys. I could not make it in the time so had to turn back, but Carl climbed to the top. I don't usually take selfies but there is one of me with my fur hood blowing in the wind. I will let
the pictures speak for themselves because words fail me.
Next blog will be Seville and the Portuguese coast.
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