Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catalonia Tourists

Wednesday April 9 2008

Kiwis Paul and Madonna have a place in a village outside of Vic (an hour from Barcelona) in Catalonia - a 1590 mill (that still runs on Sundays for show). The Raven and I caught a train from Madrid to Barcelona with them.

The mill is on a Route, the "Ruta dels molins," and the "Ruta del romanic," a maintained walk along a creek where many old mills and churches and ruins from the 16th and earlier centuries lie. These also connect with well-marked GR 2 trails that connect with other trails all across Europe, for bikers and hikers... and of course people use some of them for riding also.

The Raven and I stayed with Paul and Madonna and caught up on our sleep and our work. We took some walks along these trails when we needed a break from our work.

Paco was here this week to do some work also; and then Saturday, we became tourists.

The Raven came along, and Paco was happy to show him the sights of Catalonia. Paco and the Raven are good buds.

Our first stop, Girona, is an old Roman town with much of the old part of the town still well-preserved and functional. We wandered along the winding cobblestone streets, (the Raven did have to help navigate with the map a few times), along and around the fortress walls, and a Gothic cathedral with the real old bells that knock feathers off when they ring, and Arab Baths, and the Rambla - the main walking street of shops. The Raven was fascinated with some of the cobblestone streets, especially one where he could sit in the center of a star. There were a curious number of shops with designer handbags and purses for sale. You could also buy an authentic coat of armor, if you so desired to look like or fight with a sword and shield and lance like a Roman; and, to weaken your enemy's knees, there were an abundance of chocolate shops! We couldn't resist going in one and came out with bags of chocolate, filled with liqueur, nuts, and coffee beans - enough to knock Paco and the Raven out in the car for a while. I rationed out the chocolate coffee beans and kept a buzz till Monday.

From there we drove to Besalu, an even smaller and more charming medieval town with an old stone bridge over a river providing a picturesque - and, in the old days, protected - entrance to the fortified village. We wandered the streets, and the Raven visited with various Birds of Art in some of the shops - including two of his fans who would like to be birds like the Raven . We had lunch outdoors in the mild sunny weather, overlooking the river and old town.

Nice place for a spring visit. I wonder how many of the Raven's ancestors sat on this bridge the last thousand years?

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