Thursday 30 January 2014

a walk of mountains and Spanish skies

Shall we take a walk? Blow away the cobwebs and the stale airport air, get away from the hustle and bustle and head for the hills? Find space to breathe and time to relax. 

Where shall we start? How about Montjuic, described as a breathing space away from the city it is home to magical fountains and the Olympic Park. 

in Bilbo's travels in the Hobbit (#ayearinbooks), he crosses the lonely mountains, I have to say Mount Montjuic was fairly deserted, a few cyclists having fun on the hills and some children making use of the sports grounds, but hardly a soul to be seen. 

Plenty of sky though, a little grey at this point, but it is January after all... and it's not -2 C as it was when I left for the airport....

looking down from the Castle Montjuic we can see the sea, stretching into the distance there are beaches and yachts and a death defying cable car. no ride for me, no thank you.

 Where next? Let's see. Look there's a cathedral. Let's go there. "Is it far?" we wonder.

No, look, I can zoom in, it's not as far now. Let's go.

What's that you say? There are hundred's of people and it's noisy and crowded. You want to go back up the quiet mountain. Yes me too.  How about we have some truly delicious food and some sleep and then we can head north.

"Far to the north are the Grey Mountains" and in Barcelona's north you will find Mount Tibidabo, the tallest peak in the Serra de Collserola. The name is derived  from the latin phrase, meaning "I will give to you", which was said to be said by Jesus to the devil as they looked down from an exceedingly high mountain upon all the kingdoms of the world, and refers to the popular tradition that it is in fact the exceedingly high mountain itself. 
Upon the top is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a fairground of all things....

 Here it is, peeping through the tree tops as we set off once once more.
Please note the blue skies. 

As we walk we pass beautiful museums, incredible architecture and impossible cathedrals. but we can't go inside.
These are the first blue skies we have seen for months.
We need to be Outside.
And so we walk.
Pausing to buy a drink we ask the shop keeper to check we are going in the right direction for we have walked off the edge of the map.
he spoke as much English as we speak Catalan, but we managed.
"Parc Guell" he points,
and scowls. "muchos touristas"

he was right. many tourists indeed. so we keep walking, upwards and onwards,
and look, can you see where we were yesterday, there is the tower in the Olympic park.
And on top the the hill there is the castle from where we saw the sea.

We are almost there. Apparently most people take the metro or a bus to Avenida del Tibidabo, and then the tram to Plaza del funicular, but lets carry on walking shall we. 
After all look at those skies.
And now for the last few miles. Sorry, the funicular doesn't run in January, but we can stroll through the woods, along the Carretera de les Aigues, 
up and up and up until we have reached the sky.

and we can turn around and see mountains of snow stretching far into the distance. 

 now we turn around again and head slowly downwards the way we came. 
in search of tea. 
and maybe some cava.
2 days. 28 miles. Apparently the best way to see Barcelona is on foot. I can agree with that. 

looking out of the plane window as we leave, we see the church we have walked to high upon the hilltop, and feel like we have a left a bit of ourselves behind.

The city is a sorceress, you know, Daniel? 
It gets under your skin and steals your soul 
without you knowing it . . .’  Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Thursday 23 January 2014

the year in books

I'm joining in the Laura at the Circle of  Pine Trees and her year of books. 
I'm going to rediscover old loves, read things I've been meaning to read forever, and even perhaps try out a few of the books the eldest teen is reading to see it helps give me an insight into her world....

For January I've chosen The Hobbit, which I read as a child, reread 20 years ago on an incredible wilderness camping adventure, and am now discovering in a different way through the films.
Bilbo has just escaped the from the goblins and Gollum, I am saving the rest for tomorrow, as it's coming with me on an adventure of my own.

where I will also be taking this.

thank you Alice.

Wednesday 15 January 2014


I'm in the midst of a week of exam invigilating.

Which always leads to lots of list writing.

and random ponderings.

  • we had this for dinner recently.
  •  it was quite delicious.
  • there is a display of potential new school uniform in the main entrance. one girl flounced past, saying "if I have to wear that I'm going to be homeschooled" - I wonder what her parents will think about it....
  • there was a discrepancy in the geography mock paper. When 17 hands go up at once it is time to admit defeat and go in search of advice.
  • children who make silly noises because they think exam invigilators are foolish and have no authority learn quickly that we may not know their names, but we do know the way to the head teacher's office.
  • I looked at my outfit when I got home yesterday and saw grey jumper, grey trousers, grey socks, and grey scarf.
  • I matched the sky.
  • Today I wore a white shirt with different coloured buttons. Colourful and not warm enough. I nearly froze to death.

Saturday 4 January 2014

looking backwards and forwards


looking back at 2013 it is filled with memories of walking, of making and of friendship. 

as I look to the year ahead I can only hope to fill it with more of the same.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

happy today


Happy New Year

Happy lunch with friends

Happy New Sherlock day.

Happy New Year to you all.