Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Raven Walks in Catalonia

Wednesday March 18 2009

The Raven is back at El Moli in Catalonia, Spain - a mill built in the 13th century. The house above was built in the 16th century. It's been converted to a house/office, and though the mill stopped operating in the 1980's, it's now a museum, and runs for show on Sundays.

It's part of the Ruta del Moulins - the Route of Mills that runs along this creek, a string of old mills from the 11th - 16th centuries that have been restored, or that are crumbling beneath vines.

This mill was the Raven's favorite - it had ancient farm equipment and, more importantly, ducks in the pond! The Raven made their acquaintance as they came up to check him out.

Here's an old mill disintegrating into the forest.

Here's an old millstone.

Spain - and most of Europe - has these awesome trails, called the GR Footpaths, or (in Spain) the Gran Recorrido, that lead you through woods, villages and farmland,, past old castles and mills and old stone walls and farms and churches.

They are clearly marked by red and white stripes along the way, either on tree trunks or walls or rocks or on the ground. If you see an X, you are going the wrong way.

You can walk (if you don't want to fly) from the middle of Norway to the middle of Italy, tip of Greece to the bottom of Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, top of Finland to tip of Turkey, Portugal to Estonia or Poland.

The Raven and I took hiked a couple of miles up the GR2 footpath.

We could have gone on and on... all the way to Norway. Maybe one day...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Raven in the UAE

February 2009

It was time for the Raven to visit the UAE.

In the Frankfurt airport, waiting for the Etihad Airlines flight to Abu Dhabi.

In the Mafraq Hotel in Abu Dhabi. A bit overpriced, but they did have lovely Bedouin furniture.

On to Dubai, where the Raven was the guest of Shaikha Madiya. He stayed at the guesthouse at her stables in the desert.

This is the horse path to her barn.

The Raven got to ride in the UAE!

He waited on the saddle while the boys fetched the horses.

He met Laila, his ride for the day.

Off we went into the great desert.

It was a lovely ride!