Category Archives: Europe

It’s a good thing we’re walking a lot

So far we have yet to mention any of our dining out experiences. So far it has been positive in both Spain and France. Yes, for those of you who know, we haven’t been blessed with any hot dog pizzas. 🙂

Our first dinner in Arle was especially good. On the recommendation of our hotel manager we went to a place called “Le 16”. This is one of those “must eat there” places. We arrived there in the “geezer” hour at 8pm. This turned out to be a good thing because by 8:30 all the tables were filled.

Like most restaurants here, it is fairly small and could possibly seat 30. You definitely are cozy and close to your neighbor so be kind. Another delightful thing we discovered was that when a cell phone rings people excuse themselves and go outside to talk. Yes, the French in Southern France are very polite.

But back to dinner. Raeski started with salad and I had mushroom soup. I thought I got the better dish but I’m not a huge salad guy. For the main course Raeski had white fish in white sauce and I had rabbit. Both were delicious and beautifully presented. For dessert Raeski had profiteroles drowning in dark chocolate sauce and I had a thick chocolate ganache with cream sauce and a raspberry and orange sauce on the side. All dishes were something to write home about and even better than grandma’s cooking.

And yes, it’s a good thing we’re getting our 10,000 steps in. (More likely 20,000) But in all that walking we thoroughly explore the places we want to see. And if we miss something we have a reason to come back. And yes, we have reasons to return to both Barcelona and Arle. Time to board the ship now for the next part of our trip.  – au revoir

120 of them

L’Amphitheatre

It’s not the largest in the world, but it is among the best preserved. It was built in 90AD in response to the growing popularity of the gladiator fights across the Roman empire. The ampitheatre towered over the town of Arles.

It remains one of the best preserved amphitheatres of Roman origin. Today blood still spills on its grounds with modern day bullfighting. Sadly bleachers have been erected inside which spoil the antiquity of the place. Scaffolding is everywhere as the French are restoring the monument.

And the 120? There are 120 arches in the amphitheatre. Most are in remarkable condition considering their age. It is definitely a site one must see when visiting Arles.

Stairmasters

To see the best ya gotta climb a few

To get the best shot you often have to climb a few stairs, rocks, mountains or whatever. Many of you already know that the herd thins out when you have to climb one or two hundred stairs.

Today we had the top of the Tibidabo all to ourselves. To get there we rode the Azul bus to the transfer to the 196 line. Next up (literally) was the funicular. When you get off there is a platform that overlooks Barcelona. Most people go there. We climbed another 40 stairs that took us to Temple de Sagrat and got better views. Next was the elevator taking us to the next level.

There we stepped out into a strong chilly wind and fewer people. A small staircase took us up even higher. By now we are at least one hundred feet above the herd and there were only a few of us left braving the cold and the wind. Finally another very narrow staircase of over one hundred stairs led us to the top level. There we only met two couples the entire time we were up there freezing our tushies off.

The payoff? Unobstructed views of the entire city of Barcelona and surrounding areas. At lower levels the ever abundant cranes obstruct your view. Up here none exist.

The point of all this is if you truly want to see the best an area has to offer you must be in reasonable shape and be willing to break away from the herd. Some of the greatest photos ever taken were often only a hundred meters away from the typical tourist spots. The famous Picchu Machu photo that adorns so many travel brochures was only meters away from a typical tourist photo ‘overlook’.

If you are in a rut, next time you’re out think outside the box and do something different. Who knows, you may even stumble onto a great shot.

Casa Batllo

A simple home designed by Gaudi.

With no lines we were drawn into Casa Batllo this morning. Gaudi’s masterpiece is truly a magical modernist architectural treat. The colors, forms and flow make you feel like you’re in a Jules Verne underwater adventure.

The individual elements and the central light atrium were exquisitely executed from top to bottom. We were entranced for over 1 1/2 hours shooting angles and details unlike any seen elsewhere. I even bought 2 circular postcards jost for their uniqueness.

Then it was off to see other sites. Wooly will fill in more details when we get back and he downloads his pictures off his camera. – Raeski