May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Barcelona: a Catalan City in Spain?

(Three photos from Namua's farm that Les took that I just found:)
Our little caravan on the farm

Les and the garden cat, Turnup
Dog walk! Freya, Ash/Ace, Obie, Benjamin/Luke/Teddy


 September 17-21

We arrived in El Figaró and met Carol who is a bright, open soul.  She drove us to her home IN the Montseny National Park in a thick-walled building that used to be the schoolteacher’s home early in the 20th C.  It takes about a ½ hour to walk from the town to her home.
Carol's Driveway

Carols garden table

She has a caravan (mobile home trailer) where we stay, surrounded by scotch broom, briers and an old olive tree.  She got an extension cord so we could have lights and power for our technology.  She drives a Nissan 4WD from the 80s and loves it because she needs it to get up and down from her driveway!  During one of the nights, a wild boar came along and ripped up some vegetation.  It was quite a mess and the power it must have had was impressive!  We can hear echoes going up and down the valley of the two enormous great danes down the hill, and motorcycles going up to the castle on top of the mountain. 

Carol’s 9-year-old son Iker, is joyous and has wonderful big eyes that look right at mine.  Her dog Goose (short for Gustavo), is a lot like Tarka; he loves to be free, engage with people, has a nice sense of humor, curiosity and tenderness, and he is athletic.  Cute too!  She seems to have a million cats, some hens up the hill, and the neighbors have bees that are very attracted to the figs that drop in the sidewalk area.  People take walks or bike rides for recreation, so the road is surprisingly busy.  All in all, it’s a beautiful sight/site!

Carol took us to the local market in La Garriga, where we had coffee, perused the stalls and bought some olives and cheese for later.   

Les and Christopher Columbus


Skipper Baird
We went into Barcelona on our own twice; the first time was to see if Les could have his Bloggie fixed or replaced, as it stopped working (magically it started up again!), and to check out the beach.  On our way, we walked the “Ramblas,” that was a touristy promenade to the port, with street entertainers and lots of people selling bags and watches on the black market.  We stopped at the port where there was a regatta and downed the delicious olives.  The “camamila” yellow ones were my favorites.  




We finally made it to the Barceloneta beach.  It was crowded with all kinds of people.  I went in for a dip, and then we had to rush home if we were to make it back by nightfall. 
Jack and Gaudi

The other trip was to check out the architecture.  I’ve never seen modernist work before; I sure got a good viewing here.  I wonder why we don’t see a lot of this in the US? 


The icing on the cake was the Gaudi cathedral.  Parts reminded me of a spine, bones and tendons; or of holes in trees for bees. I loved looking at the centerpiece—surrounding the crucifix were many orange drippy glass lanterns hanging on a parasol—and then letting my gaze drift upwards past the glowing tunnel above and backwards along the spine of the church.  I always thought of cathedrals as being something from the far past—not from the present, so it blew my mind that this 30 year old man conceived of every piece of this structure that is overwhelmingly complex, innovative and whimsical.  I liked the animals (including an apostle sneaking some food to a dog), the musicians (including a bassoon player), the little tiny built in lights that made the fruit sparkle and the amazing steel door with a million details cast into it.  I could have spent much more time in the school building (that he built for the workers’ kids’ education) where you could see some of his plans, inventions that made the wild columns and models of how he used string and geometry to make curving but strong structures.  There was a display about how he built after studying the structures of nature: vines with three leaves growing from same part of the stem, bee hives, a twisted cylinder, mineral cleavages inside rocks, etc.  And the beauty…. It’s hard to imagine.  Strange though, some of the words on the side look like Los Vegas fonts, “Sanctus!” and it was a little strange to see modern Spanish instead of Latin for words.  We had paella at a little spot across from it.  Yum.

The next day, Carol invited me to an evening open class in “Psicodanza Integrativa.”  The director Ercilia Orellana from Argentina was there.  It was really nice in that I want to think more about the emotional part of my dance classes, and the kind of joy I can bring to the beginning.  We danced in a circle looking at everyone across from us as we passed; we opened our chests and skipped around, we unfolded and folded as we breathed, we closed our eyes and caressed each others’ hands in small groups. 
Cathedral in Vic
mural making for the festival in Vic (making castles of people)

They know how to recycle in Spain!
Art School in Vic (What do you think Lars?)

That morning, Les and I went to visit Vic, to the north of El Figaró.  It’s a typical Catalan city with old (even Roman times) buildings, up to the present.  We walked the tourist trail in this charming city and learned of various parts.  
Catalan Flag in Reflection

 Carol told us about the friction between the Catalonians and Spanish that is gaining tension lately.  The Catalan people want independence from Spain, and are starting to show pressure by displaying the Catalonian flag; also Carol said during a basketball tournament, people in a bar booed when the Spanish national anthem was sung.  It made her wonder about the future of the area in which she lives, being Spanish and all.  The school where Ikar goes only teaches Catalan as a language—not Spanish.

The Ladies of the Root Chakra, looking at one more
 The next day, Carol and I went to a dance class that emphasized the root chakra.  We kept moving the entire time, and was a follow-the-leader type class.  The quality of the movement reminded me of how strong mothers are, how much strength it takes to plant seeds, to make something grow and to bring forth important ideas.  The rest of the day involved chores and running around town paying debts, getting supplies, coffee/tea and taking Iker to and from school.   
Door held on by Bungees

We were in a hurry to get Ikar to school and the empty propane in the back of the car when Carol backed up not seeing a post and sprung her car door.  We went to the junkyard and she will get another one (different color!) for 45Euros.  

 I loved following the life of a local rather than being a tourist.  This couch surfing thing is VERY COOL!  We LOVE Carol and all her family we met.  We are so grateful for this opportunity. Last night we cooked up a dinner to share and enjoyed our last night together.  
(Sept 21) This morning, chipper Carol brought us to the train station before the sun rose.  An owl was stuttering a hoot, Orion was high in the sky, “Goos” gave a nice good bye, and though it was hard to see the drop-off of the driveway, we made it to the station with some nice coffee Carol prepared.  Off to Nice, France next.
I knew Joan Hackbarth was a saint, but never saw her church before!


  1. Haha! St. Joan! I'll send that to her!
    Shoe is in Barcelona now...missed you.
    Been following your fun! Enjoy Nice!


  2. Hola Estoy Ibrahim Asquarray de Marruecos con 10 años de experiencia, normalmente navega por el Atlas y el desierto de Marruecos, se organizan excursiones a pie, en camello a través de Marruecos. Circuitos variados: montañas, desierto, expediciones en 4×4, paseos en camello, el lujo para acampar en el desierto … * Queremos colaborar con los que podemos trabajar juntos y tratar de ofrecer un mejor servicio a los clientes y también trabajamos en todo el reino para reunirse con sus clientes y proporcionar una experiencia diversa. Dimos una vuelta por las montañas del Atlas y el desierto de Marruecos, y we’v estado organizando todos los viajes alrededor de las montañas y el desierto, se organizan como servicios complementarios de A y asociaciones deportivas.