Around the world. ( Part 3)

I love going to Europe.  It feels so different than North America.  It is rich in history. Everywhere I  stop to  take photos. They help to  keep the memories alive.

The first countries I visited in Europe are France, UK and Wales. Then Denmark, Switzerland , Italy and Spain. There is not a country I like best . They are all interesting to me. I wish I could see them all.

What is your favorite country  in Europe ? Is  the language a problem when you visit a country where you cannot speak the language ? Do you try to learn a few words before you go ?

I will share a few pictures taken during my trips in Europe.

Every time I have been to Switzerland , I enjoyed the green landscapes. So many nice places to see .  Spending time in Gruyeres was fantastic. Another time we went in the Canton of Valais and we did some hiking. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces very scenic .

In Italy, the first city I visited was Rome ( I showed some pics from my 2003 trip in the previous post). In 2012, we went to Venice. It was a dream for me. I remember being so excited. We spent 4 days in the city walking everywhere and going to the islands of  Burano and Murano.  If you knew how  many pictures I took during that trip, you would not believe me.

In Italy, on other trips, we have been visiting the  Gran Paradiso National Park and  Turin. We discovered Piedmonte area and Cinque  Terre  ( on a walking trip). We really enjoyed Cinque Terre and went on hikes between the villages. We stayed in Vernazza one of the 5 villages of CT.  We also went to Genova,  Pisa, Lucca and Florence.

In 2015, at last, I went back to Paris after 23 years and this time my husband was with me. As French is my first language, there was no worry for me to get by.  On my bucket list was to go up to the very top of the Eiffel tower. The view was great.

On that trip we also visited the Bay of Arcachon, the Dune du Pilat, the lighthouse of Cordouan.  We even flew over the whole bay in a small airplane for 4.  So many great memories.

Bordeaux and  St-Emilion  were also part of that 2015 trip.

We were also lucky to visit Toulouse and  wonderful villages of the Haute-Garonne. Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Carcassonne, Foix .  Here another collage for you.

Many  green vistas to see while we traveled in France.

Spain is another great country. We know quite well Barcelona as we have been more than once. We  walked on the  Camino for 11 days with a group and guides ( On Foot in Spain). You can find some posts on our walks here on my blog.

So many good memories . I can’t wait to discover more of Europe .

Thank you for reading my post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girona

For quite a long time I wanted to visit Girona, the capital of the province and one of the most interesting medieval cities in Spain. Finally , I was able to spend two days in that beautiful city in Catalonia.

We had booked a B & B in the old town, not far from the Cathedral, in the heart of the old Jewish  ghetto. The Pension Bellmirall was a good choice for us as it is well located . The building dates originally from the 14th century. It has been  restored and altered over the year. It felt like a museum as many paintings of the artist Isidre Vicens were on the walls. The artist lived in this house for many years and it still belongs to his daughter.

With a map it is easy to explore Girona.   And the only way to discover the particular charm of this city is on foot. You can wander for hours through the Call- the labyrinthine old quarter with its narrow, steep alleyways and lanes and its ancient stone houses which form a rampart chain along the Onyar river.  Every morning, we walked by the beautiful Cathedral. We could even hear the bells during the night. We were a little surprised they ring the bells all night long.  Every fifteen minutes !  The 14th-century Cathedral represents many architectural styles including Gothic and Romanesque but its most notably Catalàn baroque. The facade dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Cathedral contains many works of art displayed for the most in its museum.

We visited the inside and the cloister. It has an unusual trapezoidal layout.

In the museum, I enjoyed the tapestery of the Creation,  an unique piece  of Romanesque  embroidery,  dating from 11th-12th centuries and depicting humans and animals in the Garden of Eden.

Sometimes it is little details that catches your eyes. Like this door handle on the huge door.

Or what you see on the pavement…

We were lucky to have wonderful weather although it was October.

The extension of the Roman walls during the medieval ages enables visitors like us to stroll along a walkway following some sections of the longest Carolingian walls in Europe. You can get really nice views on the city.

We  adopted a bar by the Placa de la Independencia to get our apero. It was also a good time to taste some tapas.

The city of Girona is divided by the Onyar river. That means that we got to cross bridges and enjoy the view of the colorful houses along that river.

I will keep very good memories of this time spent in Girona. If you have a chance to visit, I know you will like it also.

Thank you for your visit on my blog, Fun and Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cadaqués, Figueres and Callela (Spain)

Today, I will write about  cities on the coast of Spain.  The Costa Brava, also called Wild Coast” or “Rough Coast”, is  a coastal region of Catalonia  in northeastern Spain.

Cadaqués , is the first resort on the Costa Brava  once you have left France  behind you. It used to be a simple fisherman village.  Salvador Dali came often here as did many other artists. It was pleasant to wander  around to satisfy  our curiosity.  Dozen of small coves with a narrow street running along the water’s edge, crystal-blue  water, fishing boats on the sandy beaches, old whitewashed houses, narrow twisting streets and a 16th century parish up on a hill.

Another village is called Calella de Palafrugell. In fact I am not sure you should call this place a village or a town. It is a more quiet  place than Cadaqués but it might be busier during summer time as there is a nice beach. I went there to visit a friend who goes there every year. We did not spent much time  but what I saw was lovely.

We met the artist Rodolfo Candelaria. He has a few of his art in the village. As he was eating at the same restaurant as us and my friend knew him I had the chance to say hello and take a photo of him.

We spent time in Empuriabrava where you can see nearly 24 kilometers of canals. This is the largest residential marina in the world. We walked on the beach and had lunch.

Finally,  we stopped in Figueres.  Figueres is not on the coast. It is the birthplace of the surrealist Salvador  Dali  (1904-1989). We wanted to see the original architecture of the museum and theater. We only had time to see the outside.

I like visiting Spain and exploring new places. Do you like Costa Brava?  Have you been there ?  On my next post I will share  photographs from another Spanish city. Thank you for visiting my blog. Hasta luego.

 

 

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Barcelona

It was my second visit in Barcelona.  A city I like very much. From the airport, we took a bus to get  to the city. Our hotel was not very far from the Rambla.  What to do in Barcelona:  browsing in La Boqueria , revisiting the Gothic Quarter, walking on Passeig de Graciato to see the great architecture , eating churros, admiring the Cathedrals,  spending time inside the Sagrada, going to Barceloneta to enjoy the view of the water.  We did not have time to go back to Parc Guell  ( we had done it in 2009)  or visiting  museums. Often, we  prefer to be walking , exploring as much as we can while we also take time to enjoy good food.  It was 3 full days well spent.   I will  share a few photos taken during our time in Barcelona.

La Boqueria.

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Gaudi’s work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you will see stunning examples of his work all around the city centre.

Casa Batllo. Gaudí renovated this block of flats to make it look like a sinewy, psychedelic deep-sea beast. Whatever you do, don’t let the queues put you off venturing inside this fantastic building.

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House of Spikes (1905)DSC03195

Casa Amatller. Located on the famous  Manzana de la Discordia, Puig i Cadafalch’s Modernista–Gothic romp has a Dutch air about it.DSC03202

La Pedera. This one-time residence is a masterpiece of Gaudí’s swirling imagination.DSC03229

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Hospital de la Santa Creu  i de Sant Pau. With its dainty pavilions, Modernista quirks, ceramic décor and gardens, this hospital works artistic as well as medical wonders.

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La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s unfinished symphony, an extraordinary work of soaring religious devotion and unlimited imagination.

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The Cathedral of Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter.

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and here Santa Maria Del Mar. Barcelona’s finest church is a noble work of grand Gothic construction.DSC03160

Churros.DSC03698

 

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This was a quick tour of a  very interesting city. I hope you enjoyed. Thanks always for reading. Hasta luego !

 

 

Camino in photography.

Today, I will not post about Barcelona yet but  I will share some photos taken  on the Camino. (June 2015)

We were lucky to have Nancy and Jose as guides for this great adventure.

On Foot in Spain is the link if you ever  are up  to do a walking/hiking  educational journey in Spain or Portugal. You would be having a good time .

Now , the photos with  little description! But if you want to read and see more on our adventure with On Foot in Spain, I have written 11 more  texts ( you can find them on this blog). It was a real pleasure to write  our story and to share it here.

The shell, is  the symbol on  the Camino. We all received a shell to wear  around our neck  or put on our bag or just to bring home as a memory.DSC00017

St-James. The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back at the beginning of the 9th century (year 814) moment of the discovery of the tomb of the evangelical apostle of the Iberian Peninsula.  Since this discovery, Santiago de Compostela becomes a peregrination point of the entire European continent.DSC00216

Pamplona is the first city where we  met with our group. I really liked that  city . We had  time to  walk and get a feel of the place.  It has a nice  square where people come and sit on benches and visit. Pamplona is very famous for the run of the bulls.DSC00227.My texture (1318)

Alto del pardon. monument to the Pilgrim. A  14 iron figures of natural size.DSC00249

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This man  had set up a table with little crafts and food. He is only asking for donation.2015-06-06 01.06.04

Our friend, David, took a photo of me at the Sta Maria  La Real Monastery in Najera. David and I got along because he was taking as many photos as me.IMG-20150713-WA0018

Sometimes, my husband also took photos of me! Thanks, Stephen.

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Food never tastes so  delicious when you have walked a few km.DSC00912

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Walking “la meseta” on a beautiful day. DSC01427

A snack … Little Bee is  never too far .DSC01489

Part of our group listening to Nancy while she explains history of the San Zoilo Monastery in Carrion de Los Condes . They were all happy to be  sitting after 20 km walk.

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Sam with the rock I brought with me.  As I didn’t want to leave it at the “Cruz de Ferro”, I gave it to him as a souvenir. It was a rock I painted a few years ago.

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Rainy day on the Camino…2015-06-10 03.41.21

Always a place to stop for coffee if we want to.DSC01958

Cyclists on the Camino . DSC02014

David is taking photos … and I take a photo of him!DSC02143

Nancy , our guide . With Jose , they have been leading those adventure for 17  years. The best guides for this experience. Great people  with so much knowledge  to share. DSC02095

A  monk  at the Monastery in Samos.                                                              DSC02188

Jose is mixing the salad for our picnic.DSC02314

Some animals we saw while we were on the Camino…DSC02285

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On our last picnic, we enjoyed some cider !DSC02602

Thanks to Saint-James, we had this wonderful walking experience.

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and thanks to Nancy and Jose, this trip was a success.

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Thanks for reading ! my next post will be about Barcelona.   A unique experience. Maybe it will inspire you to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camino de Santiago ( Spain)- part 11

And now it is the final day on the Camino. We were going soon to arrive in Santiago de Compostella. We did not have much to walk on that day . Only 5 km  through eucalyptus forest . The plan was to arrive in Santiago  to be on time for the 12:00 mass.

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When we arrived in Santiago, we walked along  Rua San Pedroto to  reach the Plaza de Obradoiro.  It is where we could say:  “We are arrived. This is it .”  We got a bit emotional   and hugged  each other. We saw many pilgrims arriving and trying to get a sense of their experience.

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I  was a bit disappointed to see main facade of  the Cathedral  as it was in the middle of some restoration work.

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Still , we took photos and quickly we got inside the Cathedral for the mass. We were hoping to see the swinging of the butafumeiro. It is not happening every day.  Butafumeiro means “smoke expeller”in Galacian. This incensory is one of the largest censers in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring  1.6o m in height. Eight red-robed “tiraboleiros” pull the ropes, producing increasingly large oscillations of the censer. During the mass, it is forbidden to take photos but at the moment the butafumeiro is in action, everyone take pics.

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After the mass, we had our last picnic on Monte Pedroso. From the  mountain, we had a view on the city.

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We had time to walk  in the historic quarter.  In 1985 the city’s Old Town was designated a   UNESCO  World  Heritage Site. With a local guide, we toured the Romanesque and Baroque Cathedral and its museum. The city was busy with pilgrims and tourists. But it is mainly a walking city. We got some rain but we were wearing our raincoat. We had time to walk inside  the Parador that has sumptuous architecture and great decoration. We met our group for the last supper  at 20:30.  It was another  amazing dinner  with  great food and wine . We enjoyed it to the max. We said good bye to each other. We were not quite sure if we would see each other the next morning at breakfast.

On this last photo , to the right is the Cathedral. In  front is the Parador (the hotel where we slept- it was founded as a pilgrim hospital  at the end of the 15th C) and to the left  is a government  building.

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After breakfast, we had time to walk some more in  the city. We saw many shops and restaurants.  We sat down for a while in front of the Cathedral to watch the action with the pilgrims arriving.  We  took a cab to the airport for a flight to Barcelona where we were going to spend 4 days.

What a great experience. I would recommend it to anyone. The company  we chose for this adventure is  called ON FOOT IN SPAIN.  It was great  for us because  we didn’t want to do the whole route  and everything was organized for us.

Thanks again for reading.  Shall we visit Barcelona together ? I hope so. I will soon publish  posts  about our visit  in this city.

Hasta luego!

 

 

Camino de Santiago (Spain)-part 10

Day 10. After a night in Samos, we left in the bus to reach  Sarria.  We have only two more days of walking with our group. The morning walk started in Sarria. We could see many hostels  (albuerges)  as this town is more or less exactly 100 km from Santiago. Many pilgrims  only walk this distance in order to get the Compostella ( the certificate- proof of walk on the Camino).

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This part of Galicia is quite bucolic and dotted with numerous small hamlets and quaint parish churches.  We pass the 100 km marker.  Our 14 km morning  walk finishes in Ferreiros. It was  time for another picnic. Notice the cheese   in shape of a breast. We  eat  empanadas, olives, salad , bread , fruits. Every day our lunch was an enjoyable feast.

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We saw  horreos, typical granary built in wood or stone , raised from the ground by pillars ending in flat saddle stones , to avoid the access of rodents. They are used to store grains.

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We shuttled to Santa Maria de Melide. Only 5.5 km of walking in afternoon. When we saw the sign Santiago, we knew we were getting very close. We were excited to arrive at our destination. Our good friends, David and Gayle ( from Australia) were happy also.

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We were going to spend the end of the day and night in a rural mansion. “Pazo de Andeade“, 29 km from Santiago It was constructed at the beginning of the 18th century and lovingly restored in 1995.  We had some time  to explore a beautiful garden.

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Our group  was perfect to use all the rooms they have . We had dinner  together and it was a pleasant evening at the table with good food and local wine. One more night and then we were going to be on our last day on the Camino.

Thanks -as always-for taking the time to read.  Gracias !

I have a few more posts on Spain .  And soon it will be  stories of other adventures on my blog FUN and LIFE. Ciao for now !