Photography, travel

Travelling slowly

 

Balcony in Barcelona

The reason why I want to live and work in another country is that it isn’t enough for me to visit a place for a few weeks and race against time to see it all. Where does it say that you have to cram all the sights into the little time that you have? Rushing around and constantly being on the move is as exciting to me as route canal is to the average human being that is to say I hate it.

How is it possible to really submerge yourself into a culture if you only there for 10 days and doing everything at a whirlwind pace? As fun as taking in all the sights was at some stage I grabbed an early night (in bed by 8) and I’m glad I did as I felt refreshed the next morning. I also decided against going to the beach and chose to relax and watch a movie at the hostel.

Another mistake that I made was not taking into account actual travelling time. Which is why I ended being only able to spend 2 days in Istanbul which was not nearly enough especially considering the fact I fell in love with this city the minute I saw it. Once I arrived in Barcelona I realised that it would have preferred more time in Turkey as opposed to the bulk of my holiday being in Spain.

Yesterday I decided to take the hop-on hop-off bus and learnt another valuable lesson: ‘travel’ in your own city/country first before deciding to jet set over the oceans. I always knew Cape Town was beautiful but after visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens I actually felt ashamed that I never make the time to appreciate what my country has to offer. It’s not as if I’ve never been there but it’s the first time that I really took the time to walk around and marvel at mother nature. There is a reason after all why so many foreigners flock to South Africa every year.

Protea - SA National flower

 

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Money, travel

It’s like riding a bicycle…

…you never really forget. I sincerely hope this saying is true as end of this month will see me buying one and riding it to work. I haven’t ridden a bicycle since I was 10 years old but how hard can it be right? One of the things that I loved about Barcelona other than the awesome public transportation system was the fact that most people rode bicycles or scooters. I will be emulating this in my life by cycling to work everyday and have also made an appointment to get my learners license for a motorcycle. This way I can lose weight, save money and reduce my carbon footprint all in one go.

And what’s a circa1982 post without any pretty pictures?

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adventures, travel

Spotlight on the Highlights

Some of what I loved most about my holiday.

  • If your hand fits into this gold imprint it means you are meant to follow a creative path in life – my hand fit perfectly!
  • Driving from the Turkish airport to our hostel.
  • Walking down Istikaal street.
  • Buying a jetoon and taking the tram to Sultanhamet.
  • Going to the Turkish baths (guess it’s a bath when you’re in Turkey or more accurately Hammam).
  • Getting thrown with a shoe by a homeless man in Barcelona.
  • Seeing some of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
  • Boyscouts and Harry Potters.
  • Watching FC Barcelona play soccer in Barcelona.
  • Meeting some really cool Australians, Canadians and Americans.
  • Getting lost at 1am and still feeling 100% safe and getting home unharmed.
  • The Metro, the subway, taking cabs.
  • Walking for hours on end.
  • The fact that we were the only Saffers at our hostels.
  • The guy at reception knew I was South African because I used the phrase “Is it?” often. Guess my Italian teacher was onto something when she taught us that “is it?/really?” in italian is davvero.
  • Seeing Table Mountain for the “first” time.
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FC Barcelona VS AC Milan

I was elated when I discovered that we would be able to watch the Barcelona football team play a game at their home Stadium Camp Nou. As soon as we could we bought our tickets and were told to collect it at the stadium on the day of the match. I might not religiously watch soccer but I played it for a while and it just so happens that FC Barcelona is my favourite team. I thought this would more than make up for the fact that I didn’t see any World Cup games when it was hosted in my country.

The minute we entered the stadium the excitement that was building up inside me trebled. With a capacity of almost 100 000 fans one can only imagine how electrifying the atmosphere was. And we had really good seats. Just a pity we couldn’t get clearer photos and the fact that they drew the game 2-2.

Let me remind you what these Spanish guys look like……sigh.

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adventures, travel

Genius or Madman?

I think a little bit of both as you will see from the pictures below Gaudi was light years ahead of his time. Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926) was a Catalan architect and produced what was considered back then very modern buildings during his lifetime. We took the free Gaudi walking which met up at Placa Reial and the day before we visited Park Guell.

Park Guell

Casa Mila

Casa Batllo

Palau Guell

And his unfinished work Sagrada Familia – he knew he would not be able to complete this church in his lifetime so he left behind his designs and plaster moulds for future generations of architects. This building is surrounded by cranes today as they are still busy completing it and many joke that the church will never be finished and will remain a work in progress. The soldiers on the Passion facade of the church is where George Lucas whilst visiting Barcelona got costume inspiration for Darth Vader and his troopers.

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Space-invaders

On our Gothic Town walking tour our guide Anees showed us 2 space invader tiles that has been put onto buildings by Parisian artist the Space Invader. For those too young or too old to know this – Space Invader was a video game that was released in 1978 and was very popular in the eighties  – remember this?

Over the past decade he has travelled the world and has placed these invaders on 5 continents across 35 countries.

I took pictures of the 2 I saw in Barcelona, however I missed the one in Istanbul as I only found out about this in Spain.

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A bad case of the withdrawal symptoms

Leaving Istanbul was hard as it was love at first sight and I had already started imagining myself living there. Alas onward we must go. To say that I was unimpressed with Barcelona upon arrival would be an understatement. Driving in the cab from the airport felt like I was on the N2 back home, where was the magic? The same magic I felt when I took the cab from Istanbul airport to our hostel. Fortunately my opinion of this city changed in the days that followed.

Once we arrived and checked in, they informed us that the  hostel was taking its guest to a night club that evening and would we like to join them. We said yes of course and were told we needed to be ready by 12, clubbing only really starts after 1 in Barcelona. That’s why they have siestas in Spain because people party into the morning so of course they going to need a little nap the next day. The club had good music, beautiful people but there was zero hospitality and I was starting to fear Barcelona had been a mistake.

The next day we decided to explore. We took a free walking tour of the Gothic Town and I was so glad that we did as it completely changed how I felt about the city. It was sensory overload for anyone with a love of history and architecture or just all things old and pretty. Aside from the little altercation with a homeless man I really enjoyed this tour and what amazed me was the fact that the tour was free (well almost, you can tip your guide at your discretion at the end of the tour). Still it was value for money.

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