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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Whites And Blues Tile Making Competition


It's the first time I've come to see this. This is what the wink story of the Festa Major here in Granollers is about. Who can make tiles the fastest?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Human Castles in Granollers for Festa Major


It's hot again today. The human towers are going up in front of the Catalan flag for independence. People are out in full force. Soon time for lunch.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Footballi in the Corona Plaza


At the time of writing Whites were winning by two points.

Blues or Whites?


In the Festa Major of Granollers there are two teams. They were created artificially to bring a fun sense of rivalry to the week's party. At the beginning, some 30 years ago, the two teams started with the seed of a coalition of several groups in the city. The Whites have a church and money background. The Blues have a people of the street feel. The problem with Whites too, is it's the same colour as Real Madrid. Sounds strange, but people here have a blood hatred of white in this way. Granollers colours are blue and white, that's why they were chosen in the first place. Two years ago we were watching the tug of war between the two teams. There was an abundance of blues, so Albert was asked to pull for the Whites. We became Whites for this reason alone. And we also wanted to balance out the teams. As you can see from the picture above, there is a predominance of blues lined up for the footballi. We think the Whites need to reinvent their image and gather the new generations into their fold.

Catastrophy for the White's Dance Off


We're all ready to dance, blues and whites with a white glove in hand, and there is a sudden power cut! 20 minutes later it's still not resolved. People are leaving, children are starting to cry. But wait! A microphone is working! Good luck Whites!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday Festa Major Granollers


So today Jett participated in some card games, some giant board games and entered a tournament. He said he didn't have time to win it.
Afterwards we danced in the Bollywood Master Class and went home for dinner. Later on we watched the Whites with an hour long drum show.
The Blues held a Swing event with a big screen playing old dance routines. Just before we came home there was an African Dance exhibition. The streets are still quite full. No concerts nearby tonight. Jett and I are home preparing ourselves for tomorrow's activities. Visca Whites!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Piou piou in the Library Square


It's about 30 degrees and we're sitting under a big tent playing card and board games. The boy beside Jett is his friend who lives up stairs.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Night Festa Major


A fire production from the Blues. The main square had salsa all day. There was a metal concert. Quite a lot of people for a Monday. And 1 € beers, a big favourite. There was a huge area blocked off for Catalan sausage and bread making and Toy Story 3 was playing in the Corona plaza.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gardemoen, Norwegian Airlines, Sunrise


We're soon off to Barcelona. It was a beautiful sunrise today.  To see the photo better, click it.  I tried it out with the panoramic option on my phone. 

On the Way to the Airport


Goodbye Hamar! We're driving to the airport. There's a fine layer of fog. We'll be back in Spain by 10 am, and Albert will arrive later in the day. Unfortunately we've had one bit of bad luck. Last night someone scratched their keys along the side of our car. Of course, with the car on the road for a month throughout Europe, I guess it's not the worst news for us. We've had a great holiday and it's been lovely to see everyone here in Hamar.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farmor's Hus


I'm staying mostly with Jett's grandmother. They have built this enclosed terrace and it's beautiful. We can use it even when the summer has been so wet, and it's warm and light with excellent views of the garden. Lots of half naked ladies carrying baskets or buckets too.

Hamar


Across the lake.

Vikingship Motel


I'm walking over the bridge towards farmor's. Look at that. Just beautiful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Best Coffee Shop in Hamar


Te & Kaffeboden. I asked my besties for coffee but everyone is working. Ja vel. I've walked through town. Many of my old shops have closed. I looks a bit empty. They say it's not the crisis but that the shops are opening in the malls instead of in the centre. There are some girls sitting outside with their smart phones on facebook. It seems the same as any where we've been. The teenagers doing the same things. It's a bit cool in the air. The temperature has already dropped to 3 degrees one morning. The hills are yellow with signs of autumn. Tonight I have the workshop with Espern and then dinner with my old work mates. Everything is similar, but with a few changes. The newspapers are full of personal stories related to the shooting. Prices are still steep. Time for a late lunch.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Skiblander Stuck


Yesterday the oldest steam ship in use, the Skiblaner, drove too fast into the port and crashed into some rocks. It's a famous boat here on Mjosa and a familiar sight. It was certainly news here with half the town turning up to see the boat stuck. The newspaper reports that it will be up and running again by tomorrow.

Rainy Mondays


Here I am with Geirmund and Ingeberg eatin lunch in their beautiful glassed terrace. It was pouring with rain but lovely to be out. Albert left at about midday. Today we're just going to relax for the afternoon. We put all our boxes in the car and finally have Farmor her attic back.

Friday, August 12, 2011

GPS Love


We've used the GPS for this trip. It's the first time for us. It's brilliant and I love it. Joan, Albert's Dad, gave it to us because he had a spare one. Thanks! By the way, everything is very expensive!

There is Our Ferry - in Oslo


And great weather. Sun is shining and no clouds in the sky. We ate a vegie burger for dinner last night and crashed early. We had a great sleep and we're ready for our Norwegian visit. Yay Norge!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Danske Baten


Of course it's not really the Danish boat, but it feels like it. I used to live in Norway, and one of the typical things Norwegians did was take a Danish Ferry for a few hours or 24 and buy lots of duty free goods. Alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates. Plus drink a lot and basically have a party. Then go home. Our cabin has a view into the centre of the boat. People are walking aimlessly up and down. There is a band playing in a bar. Some people have eaten cheese ridden pizza in Bella Ristorante. The ferry has started. We put our Czech beers into our mini bar and hope to spend as little as possible. For Spanish money, everything seems a bit expensive. Oh, and there really are some tall handsome blond men walking about.

On Our Way to Oslo


Finally, after driving 4 175 kilometers we've arrived in Kiel and we're ready to dance the night away on the Colorline Ferry. After a shower and traditional drinks in the cabin, of course. The drive through the north east of Germany on the autobahn was uneventful, if raining non stop. It rained all night too. In the bathrooms there were pictures on the mirrors saying 'Barcelona, 27 degrees, sunny, sunny, sunny', which actually wasn't that funny in the moment. In the girls room you were offered hygeine products, tooth brushes and condoms. In the men's room they were offered condoms, penis rings, artificial vaginas and other useful props for an adventurous evening on the autobahn. Interesting, huh? We arrive tomorrow morning and I hope to lovely weather.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fun Fun Fun on the Auto Bahn


We're driving towards Hamburg. We're on the left lane. There are some cars going Very fast!! We're averaging about 125 k's per hour. We pass trucks and caravans and the others pass us. We took our new car to the speed of 155 only. But it's night, and I think it's fast enough for us grandpas.

Gorlitz: the Prettiest Town in Germany?


Well, that's what the Lonely Planet suggested. It's pretty, certainly. Well kept squares, lots of charming detail and history. It is also the most easterly town in Germany. After one of the worst pastries Albert has ever tasted, and lots of laughing, we drove to Bad Muskau, home to the beautiful Muskauer Park and Prince Hermann von Puckler's plant painting. Now we're on our last night on the road before reaching Kiel and the ferry to Oslo.

Hmm


We've seen 'Pussy' as a place name in France, 'Wank' in Germany, 'Wanker' in Austria, a sign pointing straight to 'Camping Hell' in Tyrol, the Austrian guide we have says there is a town called 'Fucking' in an area between Bavaria and Austria and there is a brewery from there there who registered a beer called 'hell' (light ale). Hmm.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Old News in the Pub


This morning, at 7.30, we drank coffee in a local pub in Kutna Hora. There were about 6 men in the bar and they were all drinking beer. The pub had historical news displayed on the walls. I must admit we had a moment of surprise when we saw Hitler's photo up on the wall. After we'd visited the Cathedral and the Church with the bones we drove here, to Jicin. This area is well known for it's sand stone formations and tourist walks. We went for a 2 hour walk around and through the most famous of them. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Germany and, just to be cheeky, we'll pop across the border to Poland.

The Cathedral of Kutna Hora


Impressive. Worth knowing a lot more about. Including the forsesv behind it. This place has the most churches and police that we have seen any where on our trips. It also has quite a shocking history related to witches, greed from the silver trade and bones.

Rainbow over the Main Square in Pardubice


We just came out of a great pizza place with delicious cheese and were greeted with the largest most clear rainbow we'd ever seen. This photo shows half of it. My lens couldn't capture it all. This place gives all signs of properity and luck.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pardubice Castle, Czech Republic


The tail feathers you can see on the right of this photo are those of the first white peacock I've ever seen. We're here to sample their famous beer and eat our evening calzone. We're in a pretty Renaissance Square. Earlier we sat through a suprise mass at Saint Bartholomew church. As we were walking by the Church door flew open and we felt obliged to pop in.


Here are some photos of white peacocks from Tree Hugger

Trinity Column in Olomouc


Here's Albert in front of the most famous point of interest in Olomouc. It's just started raining. There's a vegetarian restaurant nearby where we'll stop for lunch. It's a university town with lots of cheap student options. Coffee and cake was 10 € in Austria, but here in the Czech Republic, it's been 4 €. They also have their own crowns and decided in a referendum not to take the Euro as their currency. Honestly it's a little drab here and the rain doesn't help. The older people look impoverished. Meaning their skin is unhealthy, there is a lot of crutches and stiff hips, the faces look impoverished.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Car's Birthplace - Trnava, Slovakia


This is where our lovely little car was born. We're between Bratislava and Piestany. Slovakia opened it's doors to factories and cheap labour to boost it's economy and this town has many factories. There are blocks of bare apartment buildings in the city centre, flat farming land around and factories. There isn't much traffic, but it is a Sunday afternoon. We're on our way to Trencin and tonight we'll cross the border to the Czech Republic and the university town of Olomouc. The weather is good and no trouble with the maps and signs. Everything is much cheaper outside of the capital.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

People Watching in Bratislava's Cafe's


It seems this is The thing to do here. So, we're doing it. The beer is cheap, the food reasonable and the city quite cute. Who is here? A lot of British people. There are tours from all over Europe walking the streets. They say they mostly come from Germany. There are cafes, literally, everywhere in the old town. Everyone speaks enough English. We're staying in a hostel where we are the first guests in the newest rooms. Everything is clean and new and we have a great view of the city, even a terrace. The city has over 100 statues of cute or/and personalities of the area. Everyone is meandering slowly past staring at everyone else staring at everyone. It's lovely to have a shower and a bed at the ready. We're 3 minutes from the centre. Now off for potato dumplings and sheep's cheese sauce, the national dish at the Slovak Pub.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Goodbye GPS, Hello Map Hell. (Otherwise known as our sojourn to the Slovak Republic)


Today we left Austria and have begun our 5 days here in the Czech and Slovak Republics. We don't have maps for the GPS. Ahhh! It's not so bad, but it does take double the time to find places. And triple the patience. We're staying in the Slovak capital Bratislava for two nights. It's the first hostel stop on our trip. I'm looking forward to a bed.

Melk in the Morning


In the back ground you can see the Melk Abbey. I liked the small turrets on this shop in the foreground in the walking street. We slept in Melk last night. We're about to start our drive along the Danube in the Wachau area. Our first stop is Willendorf where a 25 000 year old Venus statue was discovered.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rainy Days on the Road


What to do but try the local cake shops? Here we are on the last of our Austrian lakes in Gmunden.

Salzburg, the Land of Mozart and 'The Sound of Music'


Yesterday we spent the entire day in Salzburg. Look at that blue sky! It was gorgeous until about 6 pm and then it started raining. And hasn't properly stopped since. The Mirabell gardens above featured along side Julie Andrews and her charges singing Doe a Deer. There were people everywhere. The city was decked out for visitors. The Austrian prices are very reasonable. We eat happily here for the same price back in Granollers. There were many churches and I was tired by the end with all of the dramatic art work. Today we are driving, in the rain, towards Melk. We did our washing this morning, took our time over breakfast and waited for a 5 minute dry spell to take down the tent. The lakes here were beautiful but it's time to move on.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wolfgangsee, Austria


We're based here for the next 3 days. See just means lake. So basically we're on Wolfgang lake. It's calm, gorgeous weather, beautiful walks, only German and local tourists. Tomorrow we'll pop in to Salzburg for the day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

At the Top- Edelweißspitze



Alpine Roads


Today we're driving. Winding roads, pine trees, waterfalls, granite protrutions, craggy mountain tops, cows with bells, wood huts, sudden charmingly clustered villages. That pretty much sums it up. I forgot to mention the steep mountainsides. We're in the Hohe Tauern National Park for most of the day. We'll drive the Glossglockner Road, 48 k's of gorgeous, so they say. Last night we dined on dumplings, baked potatoes with the best sour cream I've tasted and home made noodles in Innsbruck. A seriously pretty city. Charming buildings and we were even lucky enough to catch some of the classical music festival coming from a stately court yard. I felt, at that moment, that I was in the heart of old Europe. We camp tonight in the Salzkammergut.