August 22, 2012
January 20, 2012
July 25, 2011
Gibraltar still belongs to the British so you have to bring your passport when you cross the border at the airport. We parked on the Spanish side and walked over and to get to the main town, you actually get to walk or drive across the airport's lone runway. When a plane is ready to land or take off they shut off the runway similar to a raised bridge deck or train crossing and wait for the plane to do its thing before opening everything up again. We were up in the siege tunnels when a plane took off and could clearly hear the loudspeakers as the security personnel was basically yelling into it, telling pedestrians to clear the runway.
We spent the early afternoon touring the rock, including the caves, a brief stop to hang with the Barbery apes, and then a walk through the siege tunnels on the northern end. Gibraltar is far bigger than I imagined and it creeps me out a little to think it's still a small bit of land belonging to the British with a very small toehold on the continent. Obviously they've hung on to it tenaciously but still, what if Spain decided to close access to the ports or shut down the overland route?
While we were having lunch in a British pub, Mom saw a wedding party enter the neighbouring church. Later on as Dad and Andrew were exploring the rock by cable car, Mom and I sat in the church to keep cool while we waited. We ended up talking to a fellow who turned out to be the florist who handles all the weddings in that church. That day there were 3 weddings and when there are multiple weddings on the same day, the couples end up sharing the floral arrangements. This is fine when they agree on the same thing, like all white bouquets for example, but when they have different ideas it obviously creates more work for him. Like the first bride of the day who wanted red and white arrangements - he got to work earlier than usual to stick the red flowers in. As soon as that wedding was over and all the guests had left, he went back into the church to take the red flowers out so the next party's requirements of all white were met. Once he lined the church pews with calla lilies, and as he was talking to the bishop or whoever, someone came in and walked off with all the lilies. Klassy.
Fortunately leaving Gibraltar was far easier than leaving Granada so we were able to get back to Fuengirola with enough time to head to the beach for supper. The beaches there are beautiful, more than 4km long with soft sand. The whole strip reminded me a bit of Miami without the art deco, and once again demonstrated how humans love to be out in the sun with its rays on bare skin. Some more bare than others, and unfortunately it's never as great as you think it's going to be.
The next morning I flew with the parents back to Barcelona for one more day before heading home, while Andrew left for two days in Seville. We spent a lovely day cruising the Old City again and finished the day and vacation with a trip to Montjuic, site of the Olympic stadium. At the bottom of the mountain, close to Placa Espanya, are the fountains and even if the music selection is a bit cheesy, the displays with lights are quite fantastic. Much more elaborate and bigger than the Bellagio in Vegas (did I really just write that???)
And after almost 24 hours of travel time, I'm writing this last post from the comfort of my own computer. About to crash after spending two great weeks of touristing, vacationing, catching up with old friends, and taking in a whole new country, I'm glad we went and the whole trip was worth every second.
That's all for this trip, hopefully the next adventure is not too far off.
July 21, 2011
July 18, 2011
July 14, 2011
July 13, 2011
Next we made our way over to the Palau de la Musica Catalan which is consistently described as ´jewel box´and ´garden´. It´s a music hall built on the grounds of what used to be a cloister so the buildings around it filter out much of the natural light. To compensate for this the hall was constructed using as much glass as possible and the overhead light is let in through what is called ´a drop of light´, a giant, intricate, stained glass skylight which drops into the auditorium. The acoustics were lovely as demonstrated by the organist playing ´Jesu, Joy of Man´s Desiring,´ in a short, impromptu concert. The rest of the building is magnificent, a little more ornate than my personal taste goes for, but you can certainly appreciate what they accomplished in creating it.
Dad went back to the apartment to wait for my brother to show up while I accompanied Mom on an emergency trip to the dentist. My dentist office does not look like this one. We entered a cavernous, modern and very sleek reception area, and were then directed to the waiting room. We sat on leather sofas which rested on marble floors in front of high-def TVs and a huge, marble fireplace. Two hours later we were on our way and reunited with Andrew who had just arrived from the airport.
We were going to go up Montjuic this evening to see the fountains on display after sunset, but baby was ti-erd, so we opted to show Andrew La Sagrada Familia and then settle in for an early evening. The problem with doing these whirlwind trips is that you knock yourself out trying to get everything ready before you get to the airport, and then you force your body to adjust to a whole different time zone while walking miles in the heat to see everything you can see. It´s a pretty great place, but I now know why I hate being a tourist and why living in a city and seeing things at a slower pace is so much more desirable.
Tomorrow will be an early morning as I have to get to the airport and make my little detour up to Copenhagen for a few days. The group I traveled with in 2002 is having a reunion and it timed just right so that I could make it. I haven´t seen most of these people in almost 9 years so it will be the first time we get to reminisce as a group and I am so looking forward to hearing how people interpreted the experience. It´ll also be a nice break from the heat as well so perhaps I won´t look like an oil slick for a few days.
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