Thursday, February 23, 2006


We took a bus across to Barcelona so that we could overnight before heading to Reus for the flight to Dublin.

Barcelona - note that many of these links have an English or Castellano alternative.

Gaudi has a great many of his works here and while we didn´t have time for galleries, we visited the residence of the artist; a garden on a hill top that I had only even seen shots of in artist books. This is Parc Güell; previously designed for 60 housing allotments but only two residences were ever built. The Council brought the property which is now a park and popular tourist attraction.

Where we are sitting is the top of a large plaza, ringed with a mosaic balustrade that covers an area that was eventually to be an art nouveau inspired shopping centre. I am relieved that that didn´t go ahead. The view of the city was great however and very popular with international tourists.

We walked la Ramblé that runs from the port to the hill and seems to be the tourist heart. Branching off at angles are cobblestone winding streets that meander their way between the close set buildings. I say meander but it is actually neatly set out - but with such narrow streets where I don't understand how the trucks manage to get through successfully most of the time, where squares pop up out of no where and the streets aren't straight.... it has a very cosy feel.

I really liked Barcelona. Where we stayed was not far from a vegan juice bar and restaurant. Lovely food and professional service at an exceptionally reasonable price too. The restaurant was painted in an adhoc colourful fashion that added to the friendly feel of the place.


Juan´s parent´s generously offered to drive us to Segovia for the day where we wandered the ancient town that has the most remarkable Roman aqueduct that is standing still unaided by mortar - just stone on stone. It has been there for over 2000 years and is now threatened by the traffic that passes on the lower side, which compacts the ground.

Passing under the aqueduct, there is a winding road through the bustling tourist and eateries district, leading up to Plaza Mayor and the cathedral. The cathedral was completed in the 1300´s and is so amazing on the inside and out that it really did bring tears to my eyes.

The idea of such a building of staggering proportions being built so long ago is remarkable. 20 odd chapels ring the interior, voluptuously decorated with paintings, sculpture and gold leaf. It was absolutely freezing within the building however.

Segovia is home to a castle that inspired the one that Walt Disney uses and reconstructed in Disneyland. I am not well aquainted enough (thankfully) with Disney to know whether every Disney has one but it was an impressive and beautiful castle. Here´s Juan with the castle behind.

There is another church built by the infamous Knights Templar that supposedly housed a piece of the "Vera Cruz" (true cross). Closer shot.

Amazing township.

A few loose ends...

Firstly, thank you to all that sent or thought birthday greetings. I apologise for such a generic thank you but I will have time to get in touch more effectively when I get home.

I have loads more pictures to share and will post them now; it has been a very busy week and a bit since I last posted, made even more exciting trying to organise fund transfers with the bank.

For anyone thinking of travelling; I have only the highest praise for American Express Travellers cheques. Having lost and replaced one with a few forms and very little hassle when we were stuck in Barcelona, I seriously only have good things to say.

Now to post details...