21 Aug
03
 

Hola eveyone
Just thought that it was about time that I tried to make an entry and get everyone caught up on what I was up to. After Bron and Craig left Barcelona Zoe(my sister and editor) and I stayed on for a few more days before heading on down the coast to Tarragona. Tarragona was really nice with white beaches that were packed until late in the night and other great stuff to as it once was the Roman capital of Spain. From there we moved on to Madrid where we went to see the Spanish Royal Palace it was very impressive. Lisbon was our next stop and man was it worth it, there are not many places where you can say you got serenaded to sleep by am accordian player playing a rendition of easy like a sunday morning. We did a day trip out to Sintra which I could rave about forever but I really need to wait for the photos. We went back to Madrid and then headed straight to Seville which had some amazing moorish castles, `the alcazar' and a very cool bull ring. We are now in Cordoba and have just been to see the Mezquita and are going to fit in flamenco tomorrow night. Before we meet Julie in Valencia we are going to Granada then the coast for a few days so Zoe can top up her tan.
Thats the quick guide to what been going on Ill try to do another one sooner.
(and if there are any spelling mistakes mum its Zoes fault)


best wishes from
   Nina
Wish you were here?     (2 replies so far)



  4 Aug
03
 

   We left Madrid on another night train, and had to share with some rather rude Spaniards who liked to have the door open and smoke in the hallway. I put a stop to that pretty quickly I assure you. Though we had paid for a cabin with beds, none of them on the carriage were ready and were all folded down into seats. Being clever little Kiwis Bron and I fixed it up without a worry and though I tried to tell the other cabins what they were missing out on I think it fell on deaf ears.

   In Bilbao we dropped our stuff off at the hostel (a very nice hostel run by the YHA infact) and headed for the Guggenheim Museum. I enjoyed this a lot more than Madrid, there were huge sculptures on the first floor, lots of mobiles on the second and the coolest peice of art ever on the third. The art to which I refer is an 11ft high shiny blue steel balloon dog by Jeff Koons. The plaque said it was version 1 of 4, so I have a new mission in life. To see the other three, and preferably own at least one of them :-)

   The next day we took a bus to San Sebastian on the advice of the train guy, it was fast and direct, just what we wanted. According to the train guy there we had to wait four hours and pay six Euros to cross the border to France. Luckily eagle-eyed Bronwyn had spotted a tourist info place, and they pointed us to a private metro system that got us there in less than half an hour for just over one Euro. Can you see why I hate the Spanish train system?

   Returning to France was great, the reservations were cheap, the system was reliable and best of all I was able to speak to the train guy in his language and understand his response. Ever since I have been decoding as many of the station announcements as I can and I think my French is improving a bit. But only marginally.

photo added August 20th

The giant flower dog at the Guggenheim, Bilbao

best wishes from
   Craig
Wish you were here?     (2 replies so far)



  3 Aug
03
 

   Well I have started my Eurail pass and now I have 2 months of trains to look forward to. Last night we took a night train and it had airconditioning and lights, the people in the cabin next door didnt. Luckily we had a pretty good nights sleep.

   Craig and I are spending a day in Madrid on the way to Bilbao. We went to Museo del Prado which is an art museum and it holds a very famous painting called Las Meninas by Velazquez. What makes this painting cool is it is painted from the point of view of the King and Queen who are having their portrait done by Velazquez. So, you can see Velazquez painting the portrait, you can see the royal subjects watching the king and queen, an odd midget, and the king and queens reflection in the mirror at the back of the room. Even better still the Museum was free because it was Sunday.

   There is also a couple of paintings by Goya, the famous ones are kinda disturbing (civil war type death scenes) but there is a portrait of a nice young lady that Goya was commissioned to paint but he had an affair with her and made a second nude painting for himself! This is thought to be Spains richest woman in Goyas time. A bit of a player, and you can even visit his tomb but Craig and I held ourselves back.

   We also went to the markets and admired the old Royal Palace (Bree I looked for a tall dark prince type but they were lacking), sat in a park and then went hunting for airconditioning and spent an hour buying shampoo and burning photos to CD. Tomorrow we are going to Bilbao and from there we keep changing our minds. Who knows what after that.


best wishes from
   Bronwyn
Wish you were here?     (3 replies so far)



  31 Jul
03
 

   Craig is writing a saga next to us but Nina and I got this to work, finally!!!! We met Craig & he has a goatee thingee and no, he did not score any of the birds on the road. We looked at the giant unfinished church (La Sagrada Familia) the art museum in an old palace, the olympic stadium, Guell Park and Gaudi's house. Barcelona is beautiful and we are having a great time.

   We were the last people to check in on the plane here, we did have to run for the it and we did get lost trying to find our hotel which had plumbing problems which meant that we had to be relocated. The poor Spanish man had to try and communiate this to us with his poor english and our non-existent Spanish. The current plan is to head to Madrid on Saturday.

   Its a bit cooler today but the temperature has been about 35 degrees. Thank god for airconditioning! The tourist buses are great and you can sit on the top (getting sun burnt) and see the best bits of the city all explained in english!! They are really cheap too! So all we can say is isnt this better than Craig's post!!!!!

photo added August 20th





The Sagrada Familia


best wishes from
   Nina
Wish you were here?     (4 replies so far)



  10 Jul
03
 

   Today I ran with the bulls as part of the San Fermin festival. I have some pictures from on the course, a few with the huge beasts falling over and getting a little disoriented only a few meters from me. I chased them along the straight patch and then waited for the slow ones to come past. I tried to get into the crazy bull fight/teasing session but it took me so long to get past the crowd it was over. I am alive and well and very pleased to add that to my list of adventues


Now see the course(GoogleEarthLink) in GoogleEarth

   In other news I have spent the last 24 hours in the company of Stacey and Brie, two lovely girls from New Jersey. Last night we all slept in the park. Well, they slept, I shivered in the cold and then watched over as a very dodgy character hung around and made a move towards a sleeping couple. I think me suddenly standing up scared him away.

   I will write more when I find a proper computer.

   Added in France: So after staying up all night in the freezing cold I bought a t-shirt on the way to the run. I was tempted by the blood stained ones with the machine made hole, but I want to be able to wear it at other times, it would have made some fantastic photos though :-) I should have bought it earlier because I was much warmer with two layers on. Stacey, Brie and I walked the course one more time and I picked the corner of Calle Estafeta and Mercaderes. Soon enough the rockets were fired and the only thing stopping the big things reaching me, was the hundreds of rather soft and squishy human bodies in the way. The crowd surged and started running then the thunder began as dozens of hooves charged across the square and slid across the cobbles. The first bull slipped big time and got two feet under the railings, probably destroying the camera that had been there a moment ago. They are big, very big, and can move so fast, I had no idea how fast until that one got back up and then another shot in from the side almost taking out the first. heart really pounding at this point, mind thinking 'Should I really be doing this?' In this picture(from another year) I would be the guy backed up against the white door on the right, kinda stuck to the ground in fear. In a moment the fallen bulls where back on their feet and running up the hill, I gave chase but they were very fast and I just ran from the crowd, leaping over fallen bodies as I went. At the top of the hill I waited on the big corner leading down to the ring and eventually the slower, but bigger, bulls ran past. I wasn't particularly close, but there was nothing between them and me and it was still kinda scary. I've heard report since that some people got badly hurt, but I didn't see anything like that. After the race, and watching the amateur bull fighting (and trying to join in) we posed for a webcam for Dad and Mum in NZ and then went back to the station where I waited for 7 hours until the next train going my way left the station.

I sent that instant camera back to England and my sister and her boyfriend kindly developed scanned and email them to Dad, who has put some online here. Unfortunately the camera I bought was pretty bad, but it was better than risking my digital one.






Stacey and Brie


best wishes from
   Craig
Wish you were here?     (5 replies so far)




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