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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Creative ADD

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Just how many projects does one person need to be working on at any given time? I curse the boredom that plagues me. This is the root of it all, I’m positive. I have a serious case of itchy feet, artistically speaking.

What brought on this case of introspection, you ask? I started not one, but two new projects today. And another one last night. So right now, I have three knitted garments in various stages of completion, three spinning projects, and three paintings in progress. Hmm. I work on one until I get bored with it and then move on to something else. But nine things on the go? Isn’t that a bit extreme?

What do you think?

Barcelona, Revisited

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I adore Barcelona. So much so that I convinced the husband a return trip was warranted so soon after our October visit. Well, how could we not? American friends would be there during the third week of March and we had the week off….so the trip to Barcelona and Lisbon became reality.

What I didn’t tell you about our Lisbon adventures is that, somewhere along the line, George picked up a nasty bug that put him to bed with a fever the evening before we left. Poor fellow slept until we departed for the airport, during our flight, and went back to bed as soon as we checked into our hotel. And for much of the following two days. When you only have four days, that really cuts into your tourist time. Fortunately, our friends arrived on Tuesday afternoon and I hung out with them. We walked, ate tapas until we felt like bursting and got caught up with each other’s lives. On Wednesday, we walked all over the place, but most of our time seemed to have been spent in La Boqueria, the most amazing market I’ve ever seen. They sell everything, from unbelievably fresh fish and seafood, meats, eggs, and produce….I think the only thing I didn’t see for sale was milk. Just look at this bounty:

Produce

Mushrooms

Seafood

And this place is enormous! You could easily wander around in there for hours….and we did! There are many food counters where you could order something wonderful to eat and/or drink. We found it a little odd when the vendors began packing up around 1:30 in the afternoon though. Apparently, they close for siesta. They reopened a couple of hours later and were open well into the evening. This seems to be the typical custom here.

On Thursday, we took a little train ride to the town of Figures, about 1.5 hours from Barcelona towards France. The attraction, you ask? The Dalí Museum, of course! This is one of the most amazing museums/galleries I have ever had the pleasure to visit. Designed by Salvadore Dalí himself, the entire building is a surrealist piece of art. It was mind-blowing. Visitors are permitted to take photographs without flash and I did, liberally. Unfortunately, I did so on my phone and hadn’t downloaded them when it was stolen the following day. So I cannot share them with you. The works that I found the most fascinating were Dalí’s ink drawings, though the large sculptures were also stunning. This link http://www.salvador-dali.org/dali/coleccio/en_50obres.html will take you to part of the museum’s site where you can see some of his work, if you are interested. As part of the museum, there is a separate exhibition of Dalí’s jewellery designs, something I had been unaware of. Unbelievable! So creative! My favourite piece had to be the heart of rubies and gold – yes, it actually was beating!

Friday turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day, after several very wet ones, perfect for our visit to La Sagrada Família. This was the one attraction we had missed on our first trip to Barcelona and I was determined to see it this time. Though I had seen television programmes about this architectural masterpiece, they did not prepare me for the real thing. Not in the least. Under construction since 1882, the church is still a work in progress. Not only did we visit the church itself, but we also took the elevator up into one of the spires and the stairs back down. The views of both the church and the city were simply incredible.

Gaudí’s work in other parts of Barcelona is awe-inspiring, but this truly was the work of his lifetime. If you ever have a chance to see it, do so. You won’t regret it.

The remainder of our last day in Barcelona was spent having a lovely tapas meal, doing a little shopping and packing up our cluttered hotel room. The evening turned out to be a bit of a downer after I was pick-pocketed, so we just went for a walk and had a meal in the hotel dining room. An unfortunate way to end what had been a lovely holiday.

First stop: Lisbon

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We’ve been home from our March vacation for three weeks. Almost long enough to have forgotten we had a vacation. So it is high time I sit down and write about it, and in so doing, relive it a bit. Unfortunately, some of my photos didn’t come home with me, so I can’t share them. I used my phone instead of my camera on a number of occasions and got some outstanding shots. But it was stolen the night before we flew back to Budapest. I’d rather not relive that particular experience.

First stop, Lisbon. We were met at the airport by our friends Shelley and Gord, who are also posted overseas with the Canadian military. It was wonderful to be able to visit them in their new home in Cascais, about 30 km west of the city of Lisbon. I have to admit that I am quite jealous of the lovely house they found – it backs onto a golf course, has a swimming pool, and you can see and hear the ocean from the window. My idea of heaven! Cascais is a gorgeous seaside resort community, dating back to the 12th century. The historic centre of the town is absolutely charming, with many old buildings and the ruins of a castle and cobbled streets. The main square at the waterfront is cobbled in two colours in an undulating pattern that resembles waves. From one angle, there is an optical illusion of ridges, which can be quite disconcerting when you are walking on it. This photo comes from Wikipedia, since my pic was on the phone.

Cascais Town Centre

On day two, we headed into Lisbon proper. Fortified with yummy custard tarts called pastéis de Belém from the original bakery (1837), we made our way into the city and explored away the day. And ate. Oh, how we ate. I hadn’t realized just how much I’ve been missing fish until a plate of mackerel was set down before me. Yum. Lisbon is a beautiful city with a long history and I’ve been searching my photos to try to find a representative image. There just isn’t one. So I’ll post a couple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also visited Sintra, noted for its 8th-9th century Moorish Castle. Wow, what a place! Hilly doesn’t even begin to describe it. There are many buildings from the 15th to 19th centuries and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The husband and I climbed up the hill and did the tour of the fortress. Amazing! The location was brilliant, as you can see any possible approaching vessel on both the river and the Atlantic ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, my interest in history far outweighs my squeamishness about heights, though I have to admit that there were a few tense moments as we walked along the ramparts of the fortress. There are no safety railings. Enough said.

Monday was a travel day, so we only had time to head to the beach for a walk. Guincho Beach is a short distance from our friends’ home and was made famous in a scene from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” a James Bond film. It was breezy but sunny and I had my friend take a shot for posterity.

Too bad it wasn’t a tad warmer.

Shortly after, we were on our way to the airport and headed to Barcelona.

Guilty, As Charged

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I’m a bad blogger. Really bad. I have mentally written more posts than I care to admit, yet never actually managed to sit down at the keyboard and do it for real. What have I blogged about, you ask? Let’s see….my current knitting and spinning projects, the latest art work, and our trip to Lisbon and Barcelona. As well as some stuff about everyday life. Guess I have some catching up to do, huh?

So, tell me what you want to hear about first. I promise I’ll satisfy your curiosity.