|World Trip Home||Post Eleven|
Barcelona was a bit crowded for us so we left and headed north, deeper into Catalonia. Gerona was a pleasant surprise. Like Barcelona, there were beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, an atmospheric old town, lively bars, and good food and restaurants. Unlike Barcelona, however, there were not masses of tourists.
It seems the more we travel the more we try to avoid other tourists. It's not that we're anti social, we just feel that if you travel half way around the world to see another culture, you should see that culture, not just a transplanted version of where you came from.
Catalonia is a state in Spain that prefers to be thought of as a distinct country. They have their own language, parliament, culture and limited autonomy from the Spanish government. Fortunately most people also speak Castilian so we had little trouble conversing with the natives. However many signs, books in bookstores, and even menus were written in Catalan so reading was a bit of a challenge. This is a photo from Gerona's old Jewish Quarter.
Far away from the mega-resorts of the Costa del Sol, we found the perfect little beach town near the French border along the Costa Brava. We spent our days here wandering the town and hiking in the surrounding hills. In the evenings we would sit on our porch, sipping beer, watching the sun go down and plan where to have dinner.
"It is only when we are very happy that we can bear to gaze merrily upon the vast and limitless expanse of water, rolling on and on with such persistent, irritating monotony, to the accompaniment of our thoughts, whether grave or gay. When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness, and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys."
Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Near our town on the coast lies an old monastery. Above the monastery on top of a hill we found the ruins of a fort that must have dated from Roman times. It had a commanding view of much of the coast and must have been a scenic place to have been garrisoned. This photo of Karen echoes a similar photo I took of her on the coast of the Peleponnese in Greece on our first trip to Europe.
This is a photo of the four of us at the summit above the monastery.
|Autumn in the Pyrenees|
From the Spanish coast we headed inland to the mountains of the Pyrenees. I had heard the Pyrenees were beautiful but I was unprepared for what we found. The first day brought rain but on the next the skies cleared and we did a fabulous hike through one of the national parks. It being September, the leaves were in their full autumn colors.
|Visions of Home|
The Pyrenees seemed to be a paradise for climbing and trekking with high cliffs, solid rock, and best of all, large huts set up high in the hills that provide beds, food, and a warm place to relax at night. In the morning you can literally roll out of bed and start climbing from the front door. It reminded me of the Enchantment Lakes in the Washington Cascades (minus the huts of course).
Scott & Karen Semyan