Monthly Archives: May 2014

An unexpected find on Day – 17!!

Monastery
Monastery

We made an unplanned trip to see the monastery that we’d been seeing up high on the mountain when making our daily walks to La Alberca. What a surprise to spot the blue & yellow Camino logo on the wall of the monastery!

Pena de Francia high up!
Pena de Francia high up!
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Camino shell
Camino shell

We spent some time looking around for more trail signs & then did further searching for information when back down the mountain. Turns out this was a juncture off the ‘silver’ Camino, known as Camino Maillo.
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Camino Maillo Trail sign
Camino Maillo Trail sign

In Spain, it seems you are never far from a Camino!! More or less.

Madrid to La Alberca – days 8-13

Poor internet connections and very busy with our ESL gig is my excuse for not writing!!
After beautiful weather on Costa Brava, we are now experiencing below normal temps. Luckily I threw in a denim jacket before leaving AZ so by layering managing to stay warm.

La Alberca is a very interesting town and an easy walk from where we are staying. Good group of Spaniards & Anglos so enjoying the Pueblo Ingles work. So far not that different from our 2008 Vaughan Town work. Here are some pix taken on way from Madrid to La Alberca.

Walled city of Avila
Walled city of Avila
La Alberca Villas
La Alberca
Villas

Village street - La Alberca
Village street – La Alberca
Village square - La Alberca
Village square –
La Alberca

Snow in the distance but not here! Blue skies & sun.

Snow-covered mountains seen from La Alberca
Snow-covered mountains seen from La Alberca

Day 7 Finding the Camino!

Monday markets!
Monday markets!
Monday means market day in Blanes! We explored the ‘flea’ market and farmers market.

Then, having learned nothing on how to pick up Camino de Ronda in Blanes, we decided to walk to the castle instead!

Blanes Castle
Blanes Castle
View from the Castle over the saint Joan church
View from the Castle over the saint Joan church
Oldest winery making cava!
1st winery in Spain to produce cava! 1865 Mont Ferrant.

But what really caught our eye was a sign indicating a Camino! We weren’t sure if it was Ronda or Catalan but decided to take it anyway! Lloret de Mar here we come.

Camino Ronda or Catalan?!
Camino Ronda or Catalan?!

Trail & view
Trail & view

Made it back to Blanes by 5 having walked around 12km!

Day 4-6 Girona Province, Costa Brava

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Costa Brava (rugged coast) gets its name from the wild rock and rough landscape and
Blanes is the first town on this coastline. We arrived here on the Mediterranean after taking the train from Barcelona. Now, it is quiet with only the local Spaniards & tourists like ourselves but in just a few weeks it will be packed with folks on their holidays!

We came here for two reasons – 1)some training walks on Camino de Ronda, a trail running all along the coastline for around 220km and 2) to check out this area as a potential spot to come for an extended stay in Europe; traveling out from here!

Today, we were able to get our feet on Camino de Ronda while visiting the old medieval town of Tossa de Mar. Here is how the morning started:image

A short boat ride up the coast and we were in Tossa!

Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar

Here are some shots of the Camino de Ronda (the 1st of 3 that we plan to walk a portion)!

Legend of trail from Tossa
Legend of trail from Tossa

On the trail!
On the trail!

Trail we'll marked!
Trail we’ll marked!

We’ll be in this area until Wednesday so stay tuned!

Shells found on Blanes beach!
Shells found on Blanes beach!

Day 2 & Day 3 The A, B, C’s of Barcelona

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From Artists’ art to balconies in Barrios to Catalan carrers, we saw it all! Some for the first time and others a repeat. So what had changed since the first time I was here in 1990 and Barcelona was madly preparing for ’92 Summer Olympics? For sure the number of tourists, tour buses

Open-air bus like London
Open-air bus like London
and lines to enter popular sights! Currency at that time was pesetas as it was not until 2002 that Spain began using the euro. In ’90 we simply walked in to the shell of Sagrada Familia and the 2026 completion date had not been forecast!
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

While the Picasso Museum was open, the museum’s collection at that time was comprised of Sabart├ęs’s personal collection along with Picasso’s works which he’d donated to the Barcelona Museums of Art. (Indeed when it first opened, the museum was called the Sabartes Collection). Today, the collection has grown to include over 3,800 pieces.

Picasso Museum
Picasso Museum

Gaudi landmark buildings I don’t remember being open to the public, as I don’t remember long lines to enter.

Gaudi's Casa Batllo
Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

Here are a couple shots taken on this trip to Olimpic Park on Montjuic.

'92 Olimpic Flame
’92 Olimpic Flame
Torre Telefonica
Torre Telefonica

Medieval town below the old Born market
Medieval town below the old Born market

And, the Born Barrio had not become the new trendy district that it is now. It wasn’t until 1994 that the archeological dig was started.

Day 1 in Catalonia

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We’ll be in this region of Spain until May 21st. Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, designated a “nationality” by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. We will be in 2 of the provinces: Barcelona province when in Barcelona and Girona province when in Blanes.

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Back in Barcelona! Last time I was here was 1996 (I think)…Jim’s first time. We’ll do the usual tourist sites but I’ve also downloaded a ‘Civil War Tour’ for Jim and, of course, we have to visit Camp Nou!!image

Today, some grey skies and mid-60’s. As we were still getting over jet lag, we walked the entire length of La Rambla, had a siesta and then out for evening stroll as clouds had lifted and there were patches of blue sky.

Well, I’m not sad to say, we’re on our way, we won’t be back for many a day!

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I love traveling but hate packing!! Here’s the challenge…need clothes for a month, four different venues (Barcelona, Costa Brava for some Camino Ronda, La Alberca for ESL work and finally Camino Frances). Activities on a continuum from walking the Camino to evenings on the town and it all needs to fit in a carry-on plus backpack! Couldn’t forget to pack some Euros, Camino passport for the all important stamps showing we walked the required 100+km in order to receive our Compostela (credential) and, of course, our US passport!
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Here is an example of a stamped passport: image

Concluido! Here is what should get me thru the next month (well it will take a few more Euros than those)!
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Stay tuned!

One week to go!

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This time next week we’ll be in Barcelona and exploring the sights like…Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum and our obligatory visit to Montiditos! Weather looks good too.
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Made our last lengthy walk before leaving by walking down to the River Loop for coffee & pastry at the Brick & Bell. Beautiful cool morning and around 8 miles round trip. Now back to finalize the packing!