Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yay! The Famous Castle!

We popped over the border to see the ridiculously famous picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. It's only 120 or so years old, is picture perfect, surrounded by beer halls, sausage stalls, souvenir kiosks and people from all over the world. Amazing as a tourist destination. The waterfall near the castle is pretty, the hills are pretty, the castle is pretty, they even have some pretty horses to take you up to the castle. Now we're heading to Innsbruck for the evening. It's cloudy but not raining. (Sarah, I got your sms but can't reply!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Finishing Our Coffee in Heidi's Toilet

We were having our last supper in Switzerland with a glass of wine from Piemonte in a strange place called Heididorf when the clouds blew over in typical Alps style and the rain began. We rushed our fat little tummies over to the very clean and well equip toilet. Alas, the rain lasted but a moment, but now Albert is doing the dishes as I write. :) Now, onto Austria. We'll be there for about 5 days.

Pastries in Bellinzona, Switzerland

Yum! The cream was delicious. This town is famous for three castles positioned one after the other down the mountain side. We've visited one and posing for photos was tiring enough to require a sugar top up. It was market day today too so we saw local cheese and bread for sale. Last night we were caught in a drug bust. We'd just pulled up to sleep beside the campervan area when a van backed up behind us, another car on the side and then two police cars. The police proceeded to search both the van, car and people. We waited til it was over and parked between two protective caravans. We're just about to head out of Switzerland and into Austria for the night. We'll stop by, of course, in Liechtenstein. Beautiful weather here too!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Valle Maggia, Switzerland

Slate cottages along side glacial crystal waters, waterfalls, high peeks and sun shine. Speechless, almost. Tonight we sleep in Locarno and tomorrow onto Liechtenstein!

Breakfast in Italy

We breakfast here in Baveno, on Lake Maggiore. Finally it's beautiful weather and I we can get our summer clothes on. Albert is actually stripping down right now! We ate pizza last night and drove until quite late. This morning we took a look at the famous sacred mount of Orta with all it's statues depicting the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Now we'll have a tour around the lake and head north to Locarno in Switzerland. We'll sleep there tonight. It's friday, so perhaps it's even time to put my party shoes on.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Albert and the French Alps

'Waa laa' is what he keeps saying. We're driving very slowly along part of the Tour de France. There are actually cyclists going up the mountain! It's amazing to see how steep it is. We ate galettes (savoury crepes) for lunch with fresh white wine. Delicious! There are patches of snow along the way and it's lightly spitting. The tourists are usually older and sensibly dressed. We haven't seen any Spanish along the way. We're happy.

Me Cup of Tea

What a life saver, hey? It takes the edge off the damp morning and even though the tent is wet and we have to pack it up this morning, it's all ok with a cup of tea. Today we're driving to Italy and planning to end up in Lake Maggiore. But first we drive around the the national park of Vanoise. Honestly, this place is spectacular and we've put it on our list of 'must come back to' spots. We were unlucky with the weather this time. They say the last 2 weeks have been wet and cold. Well, time to pack up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Days Like These

It started off ok but it got colder and started raining the higher we went up the mountain. We climbed Montjovet and ate in the refuge. Beautiful, really, and worth it. But, well, on the way down it started hailing! We were beaten with ice, whipped with wind and lashed with rain. Now onto the camp site for a warm shower, a little walk in Bozel for a huge got chocolate and the biggest cake I can find.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


At the foot of the Alps.

On Our Way to Albertville

Today we've been driving most of the day. We're soon in Albertville. We visited some cobble stone villages around the gorge and Balazuc was especially worth mentioning. Gorgeous in all ways. Had our first crepe with cheese and some local white. Happy day. We're in a huge valley. Tomorrow we'll hike in Vanoise national park in the Alps. By the way, every where you look, there are charming little sights like the photo above. The French have been friendly and laughed good naturedly at Albert's French attempts. They are also polite and considerate drivers so far!

Canoeing on the Ardeche

25th July: First thing, it's amazingly popular. 38 canoe companies! It's perfect for first time paddlers. We drifted down the gorges of the Ardeche river for 24 k's. We saw a water snake and a goat. The water was clear, the cave formations beautiful, the going was smooth. Oh, and they also have a much spoken about naturalist camp we passed. Our arms ache now! But we're pleasantly tired. No Spanish dinner time for us. We've already had our supper.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Almost There

We've been driving most of the afternoon and we're soon there. It's been easy going. We'll be camping the first two nights. We went past sun flower fields. I took one lovely photo for my yoga room. The sun lighting up the petals. We're going through gently undulating hills towards the river. We'll canoe tomorrow morning at 9 for 5 hours! It's very pretty here. Remember to check the itinerary if you want to see where we are. Hugs!

We're Off! Granollers, Catalonia to Vallon, France

Ok, we're a little bit late, but we've left the apartment in great condition and we're sensibly prepared. We even have a little fridge! It's overcast but warm. All well. No hangover from yesterday, so goal achieved. Wishing us a safe and fun journey.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Off to the Wedding

So we have a wedding today. It is my first wedding since my sister's when I was a teenager. I even went to the hairdressers! Happy wedding!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Summer Itinerary 2011, Barcelona to Oslo by Car

Hello everyone!

Today I'm posting our summer trip plans. We are driving slowly to Norway for about 20 days.  We leave on Sunday.  I hope to post if the phone works in different countries.

Basic View
24th of July - 28th of July, France
28th of July - 29th of July, Italy
29th of July - 31st of July, Switzerland
31st of July - 5th of August, Austria (first time for us!)
5th of August - 7th of August, Slovakia (another first!)
7th of August - 10th of August, Czech Republic (first for me!)
10th of August - 11th of August, Germany.
Then we take the ferry from  Kiel to Oslo and arrive in Hamar on the 12th of August.

Details for those interested

24-7    FRA             Vallon - Pont d'Arc, drive Granollers-Vallon, Vallon
25-7    FRA             Vallon - Pont d'Arc, canoeing Ardeche, Labeaume
26-7    FRA             Pralognan-la-Vanoise, Balazuc, --->, Albertville, Pralognan
27-7    FRA             Pralognan-la-Vanoise, hike col de la Vanoise, Pralognan
28-7    ITA               Maggiore, drive Vanoise, Susa, Avigliana, Lago d'Orta, Lago Maggiore
29-7    SWI             Bellinzona, Lago Maggiore, Locarno, Valle Maggia, Bellinzona
30-7    SWI             Vaduz, Bellinzona, Via Mala, Chur, Liechtenstein
31-7    AUT             +Innsbruck, Fledkirch, Neuschwanstein, Innsbruck
01-8    AUT             Salzburg, Grossglockner Road, Zell Am See?, Salzburg
02-8    AUT             Salzburg, Salzburg
03-8    AUT             Hellstatt, Salzkammergut
04-8    AUT             Melk, Salzkammergut, Melk
05-8    SLO             Bratislava, Wachau Valley: Melk, Dürstein, Krems
06-8    SLO             Bratislava, Bratislava
07-8    CZE             Olomouc, Trencin, Olomouc
08-8    CZE             Kutna Hora, Litomysl, Zelena Hora, Kutna Hora
09-8    CZE             Cesky Raj, Cesky Raj
10-8    GER             Brandemburg, Zittau, Görlitz, Zgorzelec, Bad Muskau
11-8    ---                 Boat Kiel-Oslo, drive to Kiel, Kiel, boat

Albert stays in Hamar for three days and drives home by him self, and I leave on the 21st of August (after a party with my bestie Sevi for her birthday)  with Jett.  Albert, if all goes well, also arrives on the 21st, in the evening. 

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer in Plaza Corona

It's almost lunch time here. But people are feeling lazy. Summer is truly here. Flies are dancing in the air. It's also market day in Granollers, so there are many more people on the street. There's a breeze, but it's warm.
 I came out to drink Tiger's Nut milk (orxata) but felt so lazy I decided to take a boost of caffeine instead. I'm cleaning the apartment and preparing for our month long road trip to Norway. We leave on Sunday. I can't afford to be lazy this afternoon.
 I'm also strongly aware that when we return it will be to the Festa Major. A week long (loud) party centred 50 metres from our building block.
And my brother arrives. It will be his first visit to Granollers.
Ah, the cafe amb llet is kicking in. It was my emergency coffee for work purposes! Is it me, or is everyone suddenly walking faster?
 Oh, and remember, the sales start here twice a year. The 7th of January and the 1st of July. So if you plan to come for shopping, those are the best days.
My friend Kate said she was feeling in love with this place lately. I guess it's contagious. Arrogant women, lazy appreciative men, hot sun, lots of bars with terraces, people milling about. It's not the Spain of the south, as I have read about, but it's plenty for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lloret de Mar July 2011

Well, it's my second visit this week. Today I bought a pair of pink pants! I love them. Compared to other years, there seems to be a prevailence of Eastern Europeans. Also many Russians and even a Russian mini market just off the main street. Albert remembers an avalanche of Italians for his torrid teenage years tearing up the town, but not any more. Germans, French, Norwegians, some British and lots of Arab men too, masquerading as beer drinkers and go go dancers. All well worth staring at for 30 minutes while licking an ice cream. We ate at Pop's, walked to the next cove and peeked into a few souvenir shops. All in all a very pleasant afternoon topped off by a cup of strawberries here at Canyelles. Oh! And I bumped into two Australian families on holiday!

Mist on the Water

Perhaps in the distance there you cany see a sail boat. It's been softly raining all morning. It's also lovely though my body is tired from asana practice. Montse and Leo come for lunch today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

96% Full Moon

The photo is nothing compared to this evening's beauty.

Full of Bloody Spanish

One day, last year, we were visiting a famous cove on the Costa Brava. It was a day trip. As we were walking towards the cove we passed an older man on his way back. 'Morning!' I greeted, out of Australian habit. He replied 'good apart from all the Spanish'. He was British. We continued walking along. Of course it was Sunday and the Spanish were also filling up the coves along with all the foreigners. Funny that, in Spain, there were Spanish people.

Heaven on Earth?

Calm emerald waters, clear blue skies and jutting sculptures of rock. Hot sun and the gentle lapping of waves. My heaven.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

By the Sea

This week I'm staying in Canyelles. It's my week alone. Because I did it last year too, it seems to have become the nucleus of a tradition. Jett is in Norway and Albert is still working. He has 8 working days and then his month's holidays begin. So what am I doing? People seem amazed that I want to spend so much time on my own. Well, I read. I practice asana, meditation, mindfulness. I sit watching the water for hours. I walk. I practice my belly dance. I cook for one. I've also been sorting some photos. I have my laptop, but no internet. I've met with a friend I made last year when I taught yoga on the beach. The time is flying. Montse, Albert's mum will come on Thursday, with a friend, and we'll have lunch together. Maybe even paint the town a little. Happy sigh for small blessings.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Storm is Brewing

Just so our Norwegian friends don't think they are the only ones with rain, it's about to hit here any moment.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Billabong by the Ebro!

Imagine my surprise when we came across a grove of gum trees and a quiet pool of water! But no crocs!

Green and More Green

I love the rice fields. Today is overcast but hot. We've been to La Platja del Trobucador where there were many people camped, even though it was so windy. Kite flyers and parasurfers were taking advantage of the high wind also. We've had a very nice trip so far, and seen flamingos, and Albert's only complaint is the lack of clear signs on the secondary roads. Oh, we also got our first little dint in our car. On Albert's side. We were hit by a small stone from another car.

Franco's Tomb on TV

We turned on the TV and saw a mass being performed in the resting place of Franco, the ex Dictator of Spain.

Albert Leaves a Tip!

After excellent service, a green salad the size and variety of a small continent, and then looking at the bill, Albert swooned and left the largest tip I have ever seen him leave. Casa Ramon, Sant Carles de la Rapita. If you want to hear Albert talk about the best green salad he's ever had, ask him about Casa Ramon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Champagne is the French Cava?

Awaiting for us in our room was a bottle of cold cava. Castell D'Ordal. When wondering how to explain what cava was, Albert told me to f#%k the French and it was cava. Didn't everyone know what cava was?

Beaches by the Delta

I had no idea there would be so many swimming beaches here. I have always thought of the mouths of rivers to be quite dirty, murky and unsuitable for swimming. But here its lovely! We're going to walk to the lighthouse then to the hotel for our 8 o'clock cava.

No Bible in Hotel Rooms in Catalonia

One of the things that you can't find here are bibles in the top drawer. The Gideons (?) usually find all hotel rooms in Australia and put a bible in it.

Ebro Delta = Rice Fields

So green and lovely. Flat and perfect for bike riding. We're soon at our hotel.

Summer Roads - Going Home

One of the typical sights on the road in summer are cars filled to the brink with house hold goods and Moroccans or Algerians going home for the summer. They come from mainland Europe fully packed to the top. Reminds me a bit of Easter holiday time in Australia.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Summer Evenings!

Everything was very good today. Perfect weather, great company, cold drinks and yummy vegetable chips. Yay Granollers! Oh, and the sales started today so what could be better?

What You Looking At?

People stare at you. Men and women stare at you on the street, on the train, in restaurants. Some times I feel like saying 'what the hell are you looking at?', but more often than not, I just ignore it, or smile if I feel uncomfortable, and on fun days, I say Bon Dia.

Norwegians in the Porxada!

The Granollers Cup has attracted lots of blonde Norwegians to Granollers! The local boys are going crazy. Heia Norge!