In Case You Care About My Blog

We went on holiday – the first one on our own (longer than a weekend) since the girls were born.  We pleased ourselves what we did and when we did it.  The Mademoiselles (plus the boyfriend of one of them) were the guardians of home, dogs and cats and, astonishingly, the house was still standing and the animals still present and correct when we got back.

Remember the t-shirts, years ago,  that said ‘My Parents Went On Holiday and All They Bought Me Was This T-Shirt’ ?  Well, due to her father’s sense of humour, this is what Mlle T. the elder got for her trouble

She wasn’t amused when I texted her this photo from the apartment we were renting in Girona.  It didn’t help that the weather in France hadn’t been very good while we’d been away and she’d been looking forward to sunning herself by the pool.  She’s a sensitive soul  – but we gave it to her anyway.

We started off by going across the border into Andorra where, every year the Cirque du Soleil give free performances throughout the month of July.  No photos but I’m sure you’ve seen events on T.V. or been to one yourself so you know they are amazing spectacles peopled by incredibly bendy, muscular and (usually) tiny athletic types.

We then crossed over on to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and proceeded on some very windy roads to a village called Bonansa and, yes, I kept humming the theme tune because I’m that old.

Around the village were several of these ermitages which are centuries old (those parts that haven’t been restored) and were used both defensively against invaders

and as places of sanctuary.

We then went further West into Aragon and to a magical medieval Moorish town called Alquezar which has labyrinthine old streets and is cut into a hillside surrounded by deep gorges.

Lots of people go canyoning but we contented ourselves with walking

of the slightly precarious kind

These walkways have been attached to the rock face so that, when the river below is in full ‘gush’, you can still walk through the gorge.  I had no trouble but Mr. T is very tall and had to almost bend double to get under some of the overhanging rocks.

When we reached the end, we saw one of the paths that had been closed and, if you zoom in (click twice), you can see why.

I was glad we’d already done a circuit otherwise it might have put me off.

Oh, and we also did lots of sitting around tlaking and eating.  I love it in Spain because they don’t even start dinner until around 8.30 whereas the French restaurants where I live are thinking about closing around about then.

From this vantage point we looked down into an olive grove where an old man tended his little herd of goats until late at night and the local feral cat population begged for food from the diners above.

This one nearly came home with us.

A face only a mother could love?

Then we continued on to Girona – very much back in Catalan country, with the flag of Catalonia hanging from many balconies – and spent the rest of the week there in an apartment in the old town and right on the riverside.

You know how I love to say ‘you can see our house from here’ – well, for three days I could say it every time we crossed the bridge.

We walked the old city walls for the views and to work off some of the excess eating (and drinking)

Quite a few scenes of ‘Game of Thrones’ were filmed here and (spoiler alert) one of the ice cream parlours make an ice cream in the shape of Jamie Lannister’s severed hand.

Here he is on the steps of the cathedral – I had a very nice Mojito at a café just at the foot of these steps although the people milling about on the steps looked a bit different when I was there.

I hope the cast didn’t need to use the loo too often though as this one is very high up on the old city wall  and just empties directly on to the street below

So, that’s the holiday snaps over with – sorry about that but it’s nice for me to have a record of our visit and my blog’s the best place for me to put it.  Back to normal i.e. sewing, crochet, knitting, patchwork, dogs and cats, next time.

On a side note, as it was my holiday reading so therefore a little bit pertinent, I read Daughters of the Dragon‘ by William Andrews.  Not your usual escapist holiday read but a very good fictional account (though based on historical facts) of the so called ‘comfort women’ taken from Korea as young as thirteen and used as sex slaves by the Japanese army in World War II.  Tortured and abused some of the survivors – women now in their seventies and eighties – are still asking for acknowledgement and some sort of repentance from the Japanese government who were aware of the provision of these ‘comfort stations’.  Shocking but also an interesting look into Korean history, the author was inspired to write the story by his Korean daughter and asks that readers spread the word by leaving reviews and mentioning it on social media in order to increase the awareness of the fate of these, often forgotten, women.  I’m happy to oblige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. #1 by craftycreeky on July 23, 2017 - 13:29

    The countryside and the villages look gorgeous!

    • #2 by tialys on July 23, 2017 - 13:35

      Very different from Southern Spain isn’t it?

  2. #3 by katechiconi on July 23, 2017 - 13:52

    You were in my ‘home country’ part of Spain. My father has lived in Catalunya for the last 30+ years, and it was where I spent summer and Christmas holidays for many, many years before I emigrated. As they say round there: Benvingut de nou
    (welcome back). The scenery is quite spectacular, but I’m very grateful you didn’t encounter that broken walkway!

    • #4 by tialys on July 23, 2017 - 15:28

      A very nice place to spend your holidays and not nearly so ‘touristy’ as the South. Does your Dad live in a town or in the mountains? I have to say my Spanish isn’t up to much but my Catalan is up to even less. I find it bizarre when I’m somewhere the native language is neither French nor English, I speak French as a default and only switch to English if they can’t speak French. My husband does it too. Surely it would be more natural to speak English in those circumstances.

      • #5 by katechiconi on July 23, 2017 - 17:26

        Pa lives in Salou, south of Tarragona, which is a very pretty seaside down, and particularly nice in winter when there are no visitors 🙂 The Catalans have always been very patient with me speaking only Spanish (and even that badly). Our family has a language ‘gene’, most of us speak more than one, so I’ve never been in the position of only speaking one default ‘foreign’….

      • #6 by tialys on July 23, 2017 - 19:17

        Salou was the first place I ever visited in Spain – with my family back in the early 70s – and it was fairly quiet then. I have been very near to it several times since as we have taken the girls to the nearby PortAventura theme park on various occasions – it’s only a 3.5 hour drive away from where we are in France. If you ever come to visit your Pa, that might be our best chance of ever meeting up!!

      • #7 by katechiconi on July 24, 2017 - 10:17

        He can see Port Aventura from his balcony… I wish going to see him was possible, but I can’t tolerate long distance flights any longer due to my back 😦 Perhaps if I win the lottery I can book myself a first class ticket and spend most of the trip reclined…

      • #8 by tialys on July 24, 2017 - 11:01

        That would be good but, if you do get there, you won’t be going on any of the rides then 😉

      • #9 by katechiconi on July 24, 2017 - 12:36

        Been there, done that!

      • #10 by tialys on July 24, 2017 - 13:01

        …bought the t-shirt?

      • #11 by katechiconi on July 24, 2017 - 17:30

        🙂

  3. #12 by claire93 on July 23, 2017 - 15:34

    thanks for sharing your “second honeymoon” with us in photos ^^
    Oooh that cat! I’d have picked him/her up and snuck him/her in my bag lol.

    • #13 by tialys on July 23, 2017 - 19:18

      Bless that little face – before I noticed that his eyes were crossed, I saw what a beautiful blue they were.

  4. #14 by magpiesue on July 23, 2017 - 18:03

    What a wonderful vacation you’ve had! The color in those canyon walls! Is that embedded, a change in the stone itself, or is it the result of something happening on the surface? My husband, were he inclined to travel overseas, would love that area. I’d heard about the Korean comfort women somewhere else recently. War is ugly in every aspect. Apparently the word is getting out though, for whatever good it may do.

    • #15 by tialys on July 23, 2017 - 19:30

      It was strange actually because where the stone had worn down with rain and, latterly, feet it almost looked like polished red marble and, in other places, like white marble. I loved the colours in the striped rock face and the way it was reflected in the clear, pale blue water.
      War rarely shows anybody in a good light and the American troops don’t get off lightly in the book – although their wrongdoings are portrayed as more opportunistic and not condoned by the ‘top brass’.

  5. #16 by CurlsnSkirls on July 23, 2017 - 18:13

    So glad you had time to yourselves and so thoroughly enjoyed it! Your evocative photos reminded me of my long ago and all-to-brief stay up the opposite coast and a brief visit to La Coruña. Beautiful, beautiful countryside and ancient buildings!

  6. #18 by nanacathy2 on July 23, 2017 - 21:15

    Love these pictures a lot, we had many a happy holiday in Catalonia, and I have always been cheering them on from the sidelines for independence.

    • #19 by tialys on July 24, 2017 - 10:06

      We’re very lucky to be such a short car journey away – although we did get stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam at the border on the way back but that’ll teach us to travel on a Saturday in the Summer when we didn’t really need to.

  7. #20 by Hila on July 23, 2017 - 22:23

    Thank you for sharing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post as I soaked in my Sunday bath. Will look up that book. X

  8. #22 by dezertsuz on July 24, 2017 - 03:39

    Well, I certainly DO care about your blog. I loved your photos of places I’m highly unlikely ever to see and experience. Thanks for the information about the Korean girls. That is so sad, and that there is no apology even from the Japanese government, or acknowledgement of what happened.

    • #23 by tialys on July 24, 2017 - 10:01

      Thank you Susan.
      It certainly wasn’t your usual ‘escapist’ holiday read. I think the Japanese keep trying to resolve the issue but not to everybody’s satisfaction so I think it’s still ongoing.

  9. #24 by KerryCan on July 24, 2017 - 12:36

    I nearly died when I looked closely at that photo of the broken wooden path! I’m not sure I could’ve taken that walk, under any circumstances. It looks like a terrific trip (and I, too, will have the Bonanza theme music in my head now for days . . . .)

    • #25 by tialys on July 24, 2017 - 13:03

      The river was almost non-existent in parts when we were there – I imagine it would be even scarier with gushing water underneath you :0

  10. #26 by jendavismiller on July 24, 2017 - 21:06

    Oh that broken path…yikes! What a gorgeous spot for you and hubby to escape (well, except for that loo — I’m not too fond of that) and enjoy some alone time. My grandparents had a massive Siamese cat with those bright, blue, crossed eyes just like this one. His name was Binky, but we called him Panther Puss because of his girth. 🙂

    • #27 by tialys on July 25, 2017 - 08:12

      That’s interesting about the cat – I’d never seen one with eyes like this and I’ve seen a lot of cats!

  11. #28 by Dartmoor Yarns on July 24, 2017 - 22:13

    Great to see all your lovely pics. Looks gorgeous! That sweatshirt would make a lovely gift for you to send to your blogging secret Santa this year 😉

    • #29 by tialys on July 25, 2017 - 08:14

      It would have to be one with a sense of humour. Daughter has it now – she’ll probably use it as a floor cloth or something.

      • #30 by Dartmoor Yarns on July 25, 2017 - 11:43

        Can you imagine. Mind, if you get me, at least you’ll know what to get 🙂
        What mean parents you are!

  12. #31 by Born To Organize on July 25, 2017 - 03:55

    What a lovely time away! I’ve only had two four-day weekends away from our boys and they’re now 17 and 20. Those escapes are wonderful! I’m glad you could leave the care and feeding of all your animals in capable hands, as that makes all the difference. So, I can’t imagine a loo that simply directs one’s emptied bladder into the street below. Or worse. Oh, how I love my indoor plumbing. 😉 Both the village and the green countryside are stunning. I’m so happy for you.

    I’ve read about the comfort women during the war. Like so many other atrocities, these things get swept under the rug until someone screams loudly and repeatedly. Thank you for reminding us once again.

    • #32 by tialys on July 25, 2017 - 08:23

      I don’t think that loo has been in use for a while Alys – although I’d probably avoid walking beneath it just in case somebody decided to try it out. 😉

  13. #33 by Frivolous on July 26, 2017 - 15:57

    Just keep your cigarette away from the map. Glad the holiday was good. For years I’ve encouraged my parents to go away more because I won’t be here forever to look after their cats. Take advantage of your kids. Does your daughter have a blog…in which case what is hers about?

    I know very little of the content of Cirque du Soleil but there was a company on Dragons Den who aimed to emulate them by hawking their physical theatre show called Lactic Acid about the inner workings of the bodies digestive system, or something. It sounded awful and like the worst sort of thing you’d get subjected to from a travelling company in Primary School.

    • #34 by tialys on July 27, 2017 - 08:54

      We’ve only just entrusted the guardianship to the older one because it’s a bit of a big ask with three big dogs, six cats and some chickens. I have a friend who house-sits semi professionally but to walk the dogs around where we live is only for the very able-bodied (or very young).
      The Cirque du Soleil is amazing – no nasty talk about anybody’s insides – just incredible acrobatic feats. It’s usually quite expensive to go and see them but, for the past four or five years, they have put on an hour long show five nights a week in Andorra for free. I assume the Tourist Board of Andorra covers their costs as it’s a good pull for tourists out of skiing season. You can sometimes catch one of their shows on T.V. – but I expect YouTube would yield a few examples.
      My daughter does have a blog – fairly recently started – but it’s very ‘niche’. She is a ‘gamer’ (I believe that’s the word) and her blog deals almost exclusively with that world which is a mystery to me. Here if you want to have a look.

      • #35 by Frivolous on July 27, 2017 - 13:51

        Yes, no dogs here, but my parents are still reluctant thinking it’s a burden on me. I can’t explain enough that I like have the house to myself…and that they’re only getting older.

        I think you must have mentioned your daughter’s blog before because I remember you did her the dragon and tea (embroidery ?). Beyond my sphere of experience too.

      • #36 by tialys on July 28, 2017 - 08:28

        I hope you don’t remind your parents that they’re getting older too often 😦
        Yes, it’s the same daughter. The gaming world is huge, of course, but I’ve never been tempted by it. Both my daugters are quite heavily ‘into’ gaming – they must get it from their father.

  14. #37 by sewchet on July 26, 2017 - 16:22

    Brilliant T-shirt! I did zoom in on the path and then wished I hadn’t – scary! We’re in Southern Spain at the moment and it is vastly different to the greener, more lush North. We fully intend to drive the length of the country next year and experience Spain in all its glory. Thanks for the glimpse!

    • #38 by tialys on July 27, 2017 - 08:55

      That would be a great road trip.

  15. #39 by Kim on July 26, 2017 - 19:33

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your holiday vicariously – oh, that path! And seriously, who wouldn’t love that cat? Beautiful blue eyes and who cares if they cross a bit 😉

    • #40 by tialys on July 27, 2017 - 08:58

      He’s gorgeous isn’t he (although could have been a she) – I’m sure he got more tidbits thrown to him than the others. They probably weren’t even feral – just domestics that knew they would get a bit of extra food if they sat beneath the restaurant looking cute 😉

      • #41 by Kim on July 27, 2017 - 12:01

        When service is slow and I’m really hungry I wonder if that would work for me……

      • #42 by tialys on July 27, 2017 - 12:18

        Tee hee! Try it and let me know how it goes.

  16. #43 by karlitak on August 3, 2017 - 17:04

    Looks like amazing vacation!! Glad you made it to Aragón and did a little hiking/discovering! It’s gorgeous down here!

    • #44 by tialys on August 3, 2017 - 17:51

      It is and luckily not too far from where we live so we’ll probably be back.

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