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Posts Tagged ‘barcelona’

Cambrils

Cambrils is set on the coast between Hospitalet d’la Infant and Salou. The coastal road passes through Cambrils flanked on one side by a marina and bar/restaurants on the other. It may only be for a short distance but at this time of the year it is heaving. After the terrorist attack in Barcelona and then the 5 terrorists all wearing bomb vests being shot dead in Cambrils, plus having friends living there we decided to visit and see everyone was ok, Boy what a miskaea to makea.

Explanation

We are often driving through here during the winter stopping off at a little bar in one of the plazas behind the sea front. But last winter we discovered that the bar is closed on Sundays, why? well our theory is that when we went for coffee Valencia was often playing football and they would lose, and when they found out that we were at the bar on those days they asked the bar to close and Valencia began to win. Thing is Valencia are not Barca or Spurs you see…. but I digress.

Cambrils Spirit

                                          

Because this is holiday time and parking is always difficult I decided to approach Cambrils from the Tarragona side. I was right about doing this all the car parks were full, cars were parked on cars in some places, even parked well back from the lovely sandy beaches, all this helped to give out a feeling of safety. As always the police were in full view even some on bikes, this was not a town cowering this was humanity at its best. However, more importantly our friends were safe, luckily none of their families had been injured. People were very shaken but the spirit of Cambrils was not broken.

So we left them to enjoy the sun and headed back to town for a meal in Bar Turo which we haven’t done for a long time. Sitting there reminded me that we needed to sit outside with a pizza and good wine whilst watching the world pass by. Yep normality has returned.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Road Trip Part 3 – The Final Day

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On the last day of our trip I suggested that instead of visiting Marseille  we spent it wandering around the small historic island which sits in the middle of the river in Martigues.  So my Navigator thinking  a day of gentle strolling around,  cafes, Romanesque churches, archeological digs etc., decided to go ‘girly’ put on a dress and dressy sandals then we set off.  On the way into town Driver to Navigator: “you look nice think we’ll go to Marseille for lunch”.  Now you would think this wouldn’t be a problem but she had changed into sandals that were not meant for walking round a city, they were only meant for short walks like from car to bar then back to car,little did we know she had hit an ooops moment…..   So we  arrived in Marseille to find a built up city very touristy and nothing like I had imagined it would be, why I was both surprised and disappointed I don’t know but I was.

 

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On arriving in Marseille we parked in the underground parking which is quite something to behold.  There are several levels, all underground,  but despite this they are well lit, clean and surprisingly airy.  Returning to the surface via a lift we found ourselves in a vast open area and facing us was one of the grand ornate churches.  On the side bordering a small basin is the museum and art gallery.  Clean and modern with various exhibitions happening both here and in the old renovated defence turret.  Even this was an experience as they have linked the two with a walkway out over the wáter.

The theatre is a modern cantilever construction which hung over a small pond lit at night by coloured spot lights.  The church is quite a focal point no matter where you are in the square, by looking under the cantilever  part of the theater in the evening you view the church through the coloured lights.

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I first viewed Marseille when Rick Stein was cooking here. The inner harbour had small fishing boats with a few yachts here and there, now it totally yachts with a small free ferry to take people from one side to the other, to me it felt like something was missing.  Each side of the yacht marina is lined with bars and restaurants, all vying for customers.  What I had wanted to do was to sample the bouillabaisse for which Marseille is famous.  But although we looked at several restaurants I didn’t fancy any of them, perhaps it was the smell, it really was a hot day.

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Anyway we took the ‘road train’ or ‘chug-a-lug’ as we call them round the old part of the town. Unfortunately there isn’t much of that left and what there is was spoilt by cars parked in streets that were basically just wide enough for passing.  The ‘Artisan’ quarter didn’t hold much either so we were rather disappointed, still the Chug-a-lug ride was interesting and saved my Navigators feet.

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By this time the Navigators feet were beginning to hurt rather badly, so we found a café along the shaded side of the basin and stopped to enjoy a refreshing beer. By now it was getting on so we decided to return to the car and the hotel, so I slowly wandered back with my Navigator hobbling along beside me.  This ended in a dash to the chemist for foot plasters and her nearly being run down by ‘cops on skegways’  well at least they were having fun.  The return was simple and after a shower, rest, drink and change of shoes I decided that on our last night there  we should have a meal in town. We went to one of the water front restaurants and enjoyed a typical French fish menu.

Next morning after a good breakfast we set off for home. No detours this time, it was as if the car knew the route so by 4pm we were sitting in a bar in town enjoying a beer and tapas.  Then off to the shops for food and finally we arrived home.  There is nothing like your own bed!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have a few more in mind, but not sure if I like one or two of the Navigators ideas  the Alps are ok, but by car in mid Winter????  brrrrrrr……..

(c)   Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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The Road Trip – Part 1

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First Glimpse

Now ever since I saw Belle and Sebastian on television I have wanted to visit the Camargue and see the horses for myself.  Living where we do it is only a short drive – 6 hours – but considering I have driven to Bilbao in 8 hrs it should be a piece of cake….. oh yeh??

After doing a few bits and pieces we set off on Monday around 11.30. It was a sunny morning as we headed for the A9/E15, little did we know what was coming.  Driver to Navigator “have you got the road map?” Navigator “What map???” Driver “I put it on the coffee table” Navigator “Oh its going to be one of those trips, just wing it.” so we did.  Nearing Barcelona I noticed dark clouds with lots of flashing lightning not a good omen, we had seen these deluges on TV and they were not to be taken lightly.  But we were, so it seemed, going away from this one – who was I kidding… a bit further on and we couldn’t see the road let alone the vehicles in front.  Lights came on all over the place everybody slowed down but in a few minutes we were out into light rain phew…. This happened not once but three times before we were past Barcelona.

Now although we got through that ok which was a good thing, what we didn’t know was as we went through that squall we had missed the sign telling us to move over. So when I saw a sign that said France – Franca I naturally thought that was the route to take – wrong…. it turns out that these are suburbs of Barcelona. This meant we ended up going through and round the city eventually to be re-directed back the way we had come to join the C32 to Badalona before re-joining the A9/E15 and another squall….  this was to be our lot until we were well past Badalona where in warm sunshine we stopped for a coffee and snack while I tried to find a road map of France (no luck) before going on.  Well that’s the first ‘detour’.

We enjoyed the scenery, crossed the border and after this the journey proved to be straightforward until, that is, we came to Arles.  It was here that we really proved our ability to get lost not once but twice!  My advice is don’t come off the motorway until you hit MARSEILLE!!

Navigator “we want junction 5”  Driver “you sure?” Navigator ” yes that’s what it says here. Its where you pick up the D35.”  Driver “ah, well junction 6 is coming up we’ll come off here!!!” don’t ask…. Now we wanted the D35 because it ran down alongside the Camargue to Port St Louis where I decided to make our base….wrong Michael, (best plans of mice and men and all that).  Arles although a pretty little town is one hell of a place to get lost in take it from one who did – twice.  The road signs are not clear – where there are any – and even when you can see one it does not match the map (oh yes we finally got one in France….).  ‘Detour’ number two.

 

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I drove along roads heading south for some while looking for this bloody D35, stopped, asked directions and finally after driving down avenues of Silver Birches – I do so love these trees – came to the D35.  We now needed to head for FOS.  Suddenly there was this Fire Brigade Landrover heading to Fos (it had Fos written on the side) my Navigator uttered those immortal words “follow that Landrover” so I did.  We had our first glimpse of the white horses, Camargue sheep, lush green fields and the sea.

 

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We went right past the Fos turning and ended up in Martigues a small town on the edge of the Camargue near the mouth of the Rhone.  ‘Detour’ number three, but our adventures were not over, oh no.

When we entered the town I followed the signs for the Ibis hotel, came to a roundabout where all the buildings had the word Hotel on them. So I pulled into the first car park I came to and sent the Navigator to book in….  Not quite the safest thing to do. You see the police station, town hall as well as the Ibis (which was tucked away at the end of a curve) had the word HOTEL before their name so you just KNOW I had parked in the wrong place.  When I went to look for my Navigator I found her laughing like a drain and telling me to go move the car now as the police were about to call the bomb squad because I had walked away from the car after parking it in amongst theirs.  Ok not quite true, as she explained, they were concerned until she uttered the words “your not the Ibis hotel are you”….

Anyway  when they had stopped laughing they kindly pointed us in the right direction. Unfortunately this Ibis was full but they sent us to another one where we booked in, had a meal then hit the hay and slept until 6am when we were woken by the noise of the traffic, to begin our exploration of the Camargue.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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I hope you will excuse me if I repeat myself here but I am rather proud of our roses. This one was given to my wife by her friend, also a keen gardener, who found it difficult to grow roses where they live. Every time we visit my wife comes away with cuttings or small plants, some of which take whilst others die, so it really does depend on our little ECO system here as to what we can grow.

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So this morning we were weeding the edge of the terrace where I have planted Flags and Lilly bulbs in the hope that they will hold the terrace top together, building a small retaining wall was not an option here as the original terrace wall has crumbled in places – ant works.   This was their first year and to my surprise and joy they put on a good show, especially the white Flags that the our friends in the local Petanc club gave us.  I was a little worried about whether or not these would survive as down by the Petanc courts they got plenty of water up here they get some, but basically like the wild Flags they are on their own.  We were well pleased not only when they flowered but as we weeded we noticed they had begun to spread, always nice when that happens. The other nice thing about the garden are the Cacti they are in flower now and looking well.

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I often mention the fact that although there is rain all around we never seem to get much if any.  Living in a valley in the mountains you would expect to have a fair bit of the wet stuff, but no! the clouds gather grumble then ‘bog off’ somewhere else to drop their water.  Realising that it might be difficult for some of you to grasp I took these photos on such a day in question, and no – no rain!  Think I might get one of those rockets the French wine producers use to make the clouds drop their water now where’s Google…………………………….

Right now for a little titter.   Those of you who have followed our stories when we go out and about, know that nothing is simple where we are concerned.  If there is a way to get lost going from A to B in a straight line we find it or if we try to get something done again it turns into a saga or adventure depending on how you look at it.  So being in town and doing something simple like sitting in the café working on the laptops should be plain sailing shouldn’t it? well grab a coffee and try not to laugh too much.

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Let Us Out!!

Monday morning found us heading into town around 10am as my wife had a dentist appointment. So with laptops in the carry bag off we went.  She was supposed to have a small filling plus a small adjustment to her new dentures which would not take long so she had already decided to be a ‘big girl’ and go on her own. Therefore when we found ourselves outside the dentists an hour early (see where this is going?) I headed for the car park which is near the top of town not far from the dentists then we descended on the café opposite. We often use this little café its friendly, clean and upstairs there are plenty of plugs for people to use laptops/tablets.

The ladies in there are used to us so while I headed upstairs to our normal table my wife ordered the coffees then joined me.  Everything sorted out she began to type up my Social Freedom blog so I could carry on translating another of my books into Spanish.  I noticed the time was getting near her appointment so off she bravely trotted – must be horrid to have a fear of dentists.  Anyway she was soon back and a happy bunny, ordered more coffee then settled down to finish typing.  We were so engrossed in what we were doing that it was a while before I realised that it was quiet – too quiet!  No music, voices, door opening or closing. I looked at her and said ‘they wouldn’t have forgotten we’re up here and locked us in – would they?’  she thought for a moment then stated the obvious ‘yes!’  So I decided the alarm needed to be set off, the fact that we could be clearly seen by passers-by was no good as most people had gone to lunch.  Whilst my wife packed everything away I wandered down stairs towards the door off went the alarm we waited no one turned up.  Ummm so with my wife sitting at a table in front of the door I took a few steps  into the café then off went the alarm again, bloody noisy.   This time it worked there they were two slightly concerned ladies but chuckling away as they let two OAP’s out who acted like two puppies let out to play.  The result was we were so traumatized we had to go to the coast for lunch – well that’s our excuse and we are sticking to it.

So today is hopefully peaceful but we are going into town I have school this afternoon……………

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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It is that time of year again when I have to go for my medical, blood pressure is a real bind.  It normally falls around olive picking time, but this year we have had so little rain that the trees have not produced much of a crop and what olives there are are so small I decided not to bother.  My wife said lets go early so we can be back for the local show at the end of October.  Sounded a good idea, so flights booked, car parking sorted, hire car booked and Dr’s appointment sorted we were ready.  It was an early start around 6.30am Barcelona is around 2hrs away, but I do not like to rush, so with change for the toll’s we set off.  On arrival at the airport I settled down for a spot of work, some coffee and lost myself in writing.

Once in England I drove to my mother-in-laws where we were to stay for a few days before visiting my sister in London.  Next morning I had my blood test so now I was free to enjoy the next few days.  On the Tuesday I visited Wickham Vineyard about which I wrote an article http://bit.ly/rFj3Z9 for my wine book.  Over the next few days I pottered around the house, did a couple of odd jobs then travelled to London to see the family.  We always enjoy our visits here, seeing the nieces and catching up on news and events.

Whilst there ‘Crafty Squirrel’ performed but as you will see he was not happy.  My sister and BJ usually chase him and he treats it as a good game, but because we were there he was not the centre of attention and I think his stance says it all. Any way by way of an update I wrote a poem about him.  There were a pair of jays, the male had a really good mohawk hair do  but the female was calmer and more pigeon like, still very colourful, but I could not get a clear picture of the male only his backside!!

The flowers in the garden are just coming to an end but they are beautiful, telling their own story in stunning colours and delicate blooms. It is very strange how visiting English gardens and seeing some of the flowers growing there seems endearing.  I suppose it’s because we have the wild versions of some in our ‘Garden’.

Whilst in London we visited the largest shopping mall in Europe just down the road in Stratford.  There are stunning views of the Olympic village and stadiums from John Lewis, and the shops are, according to my wife, ‘wonderful!’ I am so glad I did not drive over as I am sure the car would not have made it back….

Then it was back to the Doctors for my appointment which, I am glad to say, was really better than I expected, although there was a small funny here.  I am officially an OAP so I get the flu jab. I also asked about having a tetanus jab, which the Dr. thought a good idea.  He made the appointment with the nurse, who said ‘you want a tetanus jab’ ‘yes I said’ then she realised she had given me another flu jab said it was ok then gave me my tetanus.  So my arm was rather sore for a couple of days, but here is the strange part, I get the jab and my wife gets the cold?  ummmm.

Whilst we were away I heard from friends on Facebook that it had finally rained after 6 months of drought.  Great I thought the cisterna should be full, hey ho I really should have know better, but that is to come.

At last came the day to go home.  I must admit it had been raining for two days in the UK and at night as well, still,  it had rained at home, hadn’t it???

The flight took off late afternoon with the pilot saying it might be a bit bumpy.  Looking out of the window I could see we were between two layers of clouds, which stretched away into the west where there was a golden glow and the clouds made strange shapes.  The lower level of clouds looked like another world, with soft downy ridges and valley’s almost like a dream where you feel you could walk, roll, or sink into soft cotton wool comfort…..then we hit the edge of a jet stream…. the plane shook, my wife saw the wing bounce……ohhhhh.

The pilot was very good he explained about the jet streams which helped understand the situation.  Mind you, if you have ever flown into Beruit this was nothing, there the whole plane shakes, ugh nasty.

When we landed at Barcelona it was 17c and raining!  full on, lightening included.  I drove through three heavy rain storms arriving home to find that although it had rained the cisterna was not even a quarter full, we should have known, hey ho  such is life.   But it is so good to be home I don’t really care. However, there was compensation of sorts, it has rained since yesterday and the cisterna is quarter full with the garden cube holding 200ltrs.  Not a lot you might think but we have waited 6 months.

WATER!!!  It rained last night quite a lot and it is raining with hail as I write, wonderful,  wonderful, and for once my wife is not hiding away from the thunder and lightening.  The Gods are kind….

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