La Tomatina!

August 27, 2007 - Barcelona, Spain

It has now been about two weeks since we were in Italy. As you have probably noticed, we´re running behind in our blog posts but we are continuing to work on accounts of our time in Italy and elsewhere and will post them as soon as time allows.

(If at any time you want to find out where we are, just click the ´Map´ link underneath our blog´s header. Here you´ll find a list of the cities we have visited as well as the ones we´re heading to; the town or city we´re currently visiting will be displayed in bold. Just a tip in case you´re wondering exactly what we are up to!)

Since leaving Italy we´ve passed through Nice, Avignon and Barcelona. We didn´t know what to expect from Nice as we had read several negative accounts of the city so we were pleased to find that it didn´t meet our expectations: it surpassed them! The relaxed atmosphere of the city, the beautiful old town and the hot weather all ensured that our time in Nice was very restful.

Positioned on the Cote d´Azur, Nice was a perfect base from which to explore some of the coast´s other famous cities and we took day trips to both Monaco and Saint Tropez. The casinos, buildings and cars in both cities dripped with money to the point of obscenity. It costs ten Euros to enter Monte Carlo casino and a considerably larger amount to participate so Lauren and I only went as far as the casino´s foyer. Outside was a stream of covertibles and sports cars - Lamborghinis, Ferraris, BMWs, Corvettes and Mercedes all made an appearance.

After five days in Nice, the Mediaeval charms of Avignon were very welcome and we both enjoyed the four days we spent there. Avignon´s most famous landmark is undoubtedly its bridge (the Pont d'Avignon) and though most of it has now washed away to the extent that you would fall into the middle of the Rhone if you were to walk off the end, its history and beauty made it worth a visit. I am ashamed to say that I did briefly dance on the bridge as my own tribute to the song (I´ll post the photo at some point - watch this space!)

Four days after arriving we jumped on the bus and headed to Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonian region of Spain. We´ve now been here for four days and have fallen in love with the city. I´m not sure if it has been the quirky modernist architecture, the food or the people that has contributed most to the formation of my positive impression of this vibrant city. We´ve eaten tapas and paella while we´ve been here and have sampled Spanish beer as well as Sangria, probably Spain´s best known alcoholic beverage. One evening we even took a Spanish cooking class though it was more of a demonstration really; all the same, I´m looking forward to making sangria when I get back home!

Gaudi´s influence is everywhere and one of the buildings he designed is within five minutes´ walk of our hostel. The facades of his buildings look as if they have been constructed of plastic and them melted slightly to create a rippled, slightly warped effect - they are just amazing. We took part in a cheap Gaudi tour today and so were able to see most of his architectural works including the Sagrada Familia, a stunningly different cathedral that is still incomplete after one hundred years of building; the aim is to have it finished by 2020 but most locals seem to think that this is rather unlikely!

Tomorrow we are heading to Valencia, Spain´s third largest city after Madrid and Barcelona. The highlight of our time there will undoubtedly be La Tomatina, the infamous tomato-throwing festival that takes place on August 29th in Buñol, a small town not far from Valencia. We have taken great pains to ensure that we are properly prepared for the unavoidable barrage of tomatoes and have equipped ourselves with a set of clothes that will be peeled off our sticky bodies at the end of the day, never to be worn again. Today we even ventured into a cheap shop and each purchased a pair of imitation Crocs; mine are bright yellow and seem to go nicely with my orange goggles (why are you laughing?). I do hope I´m not too much of a target.


Bridge of Sighs
Doge's Palace
Statue of Mars
The Giant's Staircase


lou jones:
August 29, 2007
Your detailed ,colourful descriptions & positive impressions of Nice, Avignon & Barcelona are giving me itchy feet! You seem to have a knack of allowing yourselves the right amount of time to "experience "the city/town & enjoy it & ,at the same time, relax. What a gift! Or aren't you telling all?!
Hope the mashed tomato tastes nice! XX
Anne Parsons & Paul Andrejic:
August 29, 2007
I'll make this short as the last one i wrote wasn't accepted due to cookies being enabled .. or some such nonsense.
We continue to enjoy the tales of your wonderful travels.
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