Merry Christmas!!!

Wishing Everyone

a safe and Merry Christmas,

and to all: Good Night!

Christmas Day is almost done in Australia, but I know the rest of the world is just getting started! Best wishes to you all: eat, drink, indulge and be merry! It’s Christmas!!!



Our tree gets two stars.


Dizzy Christmas Tree has had too much to drink.



Haiku: The Sign of a Perfect Day


Brightening sunlight

signals the end of freedom.

End of holidays.

One last pink blossom

to remind me of beauty;

its welcome surprise.

Now, it’s back to work.

Yet I can be contented

with this lone photo.

This memory in

my fingertips, remind me,

please, of brighter days.

Gaudi in Barcelona


It is so difficult to get the Segrada Familia in one shot! It’s too tall. And there’s not enough empty space around to back up enough to get a good picture. But it is excellent though. And it’s only about a third finished.

This is what it’s meant to look like when it’s all done:


Gaudi didn’t believe in straight lines. He also believed in trying to emulate nature in his work. But above all, he wasn’t just an artists or an architect: he was an engineer. His landscapes and houses were designed with practicality. Even the cathedral (which is possibly where we got the word ‘gaudy’ from) is practical in that the belltowers were designed so that the music was directed to the street below, instead of just out into the open air.

Guell Park, Gaudi’s Landscape Art:

IMG_0785 IMG_0784





I found it really hard to capture the scope of Guell Park. That, and everyone was spread out lying over everything so their friends/family can take pictures of them. I don’t get posing for pictures. I liked taking pictures of the things I’ve gone to see, but not so much of myself.


I’m sure they’re a lovely family but all I can think is: GET OUT OF MY SHOT!

Oh! And I saw selfie sticks EVERYWHERE. Have you heard of that? It’s a stick where you put your phone on the end so you can take pictures of yourself from further back.

Sometimes, I feel a little put out that I was born in this generation. Then I remember I grew up with Sailor Moon and I’m happy again.

I love Gaudi’s work, but I didn’t really fall in love with it properly until Casa Batllo. Which I think I will cover in another post because this one has already gotten a little long for me 🙂

A couple of last shots of the Sagrada Familia before I go! What it looks like, and what it’s meant to look like…





Valencia is a really modern and beautiful city. Of course, it still has its old town as all places in Europe seem to, but after being through so much old stuff I was pleasantly surprised to see something new.

This is the really bizzare science museum / art project that has been built in a dry river bed. Not kidding. Every city should have this sort of ingenuity.



Then as we drove off I caught sight of this truly fantastic gargoyle just hanging about…


…and some truly fantastic person tagged its chest…ugh.


Downtown was your stock-standard Moorish architecture complete with cathedral and minaret-with-a-steeple-on-top-so-it’s-not-a-minaret-anymore-shuddup-it’s-a-bell-tower.


And the other side…IMG_0669

Aaaand inside the cathedral…


Okay, let’s eat!

Apparently Valencia is the home of paella. Not being fussed on paella (I’m sorry Spain – I just don’t get it), we found a cute American-style diner for tea. Cheap Spanish wine, caesar salad and nachos. Classy.



Then we walked through the grounds around the science centre, where all the locals were exercising at 9pm because it had only just started to get cool less hot.



It was only an afternoon in Valencia before we were off again the next day, to Barcelona!

Alhambra Gardens, Granada

The symbol of Granada

The symbol of Granada

For my Alhambra Palaces post I didn’t have access to my photos of the gardens, so: new post! This time featuring the lovely gardens of the Alhambra.


The difficulties of trying to get a good shot when everyone else knows it’s a good shot…The difficulties of trying to get a good shot when everyone else knows it's a good shot...

…and reaping the rewards that patience provides.

...and reaping the rewards that patience provides.

So many people…DSCN6770

Look! Look! Marigolds! 😀DSCN6779

And some purple flower I don’t know. But it’s pretty.


The multi-coloured chili bushes were a very nice surprise. DSCN6791

This is the view of Alhambra from the Summer Palace, and the terraced orchard below (more pomegranates perhaps?).DSCN6802

And the view of Granada from Alhambra was very nice too…DSCN6762

Alcazar Palace, Seville

The rain in Spain does not fall mainly on the plain – it falls on the Alcazar.

Yes, it was raining when we visited, so I didn’t have glorious bright blue skies to do justice to the wonderful architecture and gardens. But I have to recommend it, and if you can see it for yourself then do it!


The tiling and reliefs throughout the interior rooms were wonderful, but so difficult to photograph! It’s too dark so without the flash it’s blurry and with the flash everything gets washed out and you can’t see anything! I don’t know if pictures would do it justice anyway. But I tried. I tried a lot.


That was the best photo I got. Everything else is slightly blurred. I got some good outside shots of the fountains and the gardens though:






I am posting all this when I’m back home and jetlagged, but looking at these photos just perks me up. I’ve still got so much of my trip to go through! And now instead of being on holiday, I have the responsibilities of reality to deal with. Well, bugger it all. The escape was very nice while it lasted.

On the plus side, I get to watch tv again. Just discovered the new cooking shows SBS is running on Thursdays: The Incredible Spice Men and The Little Paris Kitchen. Both are very cute in their own special ways. What does this have to do with Spain? Absolutely nothing. The digression is only proof that fatigue causes the mind to be strongly influenced by its immediate environment.

Buenos Noches!


Alhambra Palaces, Granada

Lovely, but if you are going wear proper walking shoes! The different buildings are all spread out over the hillside and the tour guide told us at the end we had walked over 4km! And it’s mostly on cobblestones. Kinda wish I knew that at the start of day, but anyway…


It was pretty spectacular.


The majority of the palaces were Islamic architecture, but before that there were roman ruins, and even a Jewish fountain, which is the only figure of animals in the whole complex since Muslims don’t create effigies (they took the creating false idols commandment very seriously after their reformation).



The gardens were lovely too, with huge amounts of flowers and even lots of little multicoloured chilli bushes! Which I stupidly didn’t take a picture of, but here’s a fountain.


Mijas near Costa Del Sol

I screwed up when I was on the beach in Torremolenos- I only took pictures on my camera and not my iPad. So no photos for blog, whoops. I wasn’t that interested in the Costa del Sol either (explaining the lack of photos), which sort of made it a double-whammy for ‘meh’ tourist places for me, since I had gone to Gibraltar the day before and hadn’t understood that either. But there are plenty of people who love the grey pebbly sand and flat beaches, so who am I to judge? An Australian with white sand and surf beaches all around, that’s who.

ANYWAY I promise that to be my last negative note of Spain. I did like the small village of Mijas in the hills behind Torremolenos, and have the lovely pictures to prove it:


Beautiful. It was a lovely village, truly picturesque in the foothills of the Mediterranean with DONKEY TAXIS!


Fun fact: throughout half of the Spain trip I though Don Quixote was spelt Donkey Hotey. I hope I’m not the only ignorant Anglo to make that mistake.

And the town had this cute almost Gaudi-inspired park at the top of the town.


And a great view towards the Mediterranean Sea.


So I was able to leave the Costa del Sol feeling a little happier than when I first rocked up. Positives. Must try to think in positives.

Gibraltar is Weird

To be fair, I visited Gibraltar on a Sunday when everything, even most of the souvenir shops, were closed. The first impression I had of Gibraltar was the huge number of parked cars everywhere. The streets were just cluttered with cars. Apparently there are lots of Spanish who cross the border to work in Gibraltar, but being a Sunday I don’t know what all the cars are for.

Next impression – they accept euros, but Gibraltar has its own pound sterling. You can’t even use it in England – the money is only for Gibraltar. Which makes it kind of useless in my opinion.

The rock is… well, it’s a rock. I know that might sound strange for a geologist, but I’m not going to get excited by a rock. Not that there’s anything wrong with the rock, it looks nice enough and stands out, definitely. I mean, it’s doing its own thing so credit where credit is due but…


Yup, definitely a rock.

There were also limestone caves, which are nice but there are plenty elsewhere in the world. I’ve heard the caves in the United States are quite extravagant. Plus, I’ve been to New Zealand, so it was nothing I haven’t seen. And New Zealand caves come with glow worms.

The monkeys were pretty cool. I’m always going to like animals, but at the same time if I wanted some distant relative to steal my food, I would just visit Bali. I’m speaking about the primates, of course.


And I kind of expected Gibraltar to be more British. I actually thought all the kids in the park were speaking Spanish. Then I got my ear in and realised they were all speaking English with strong Spanish accents. So that was different.

Gibraltar was one of those places that was worth seeing to say I’ve been there, but unless you happen to be in Spain already and are strangely curious, I can’t really recommend it. Rocks, caves, monkeys, these things you can find elsewhere without going to Gibraltar.


Haiku: An Uncultured Aussie in Spain

Paella’s not great.
It’s just rice, seafood, and what?
Am I uncultured?

Tapas is average,
Fried cheese, jamone, tortilla.
I just don’t get it.

Sangria’s awesome.
Tinto de Verano, wine,
It’s all very good.

The food isn’t spiced,
At least, not enough for me.
Maybe I’m just drunk.

I suppose I’m a
Bit unappreciative.
Spanish food seems… bland.