Archive for November 7, 2006

Busy Sunday (Nov 5, 2006)

We had a busy Saturday and I was worried about Sunday but so looking foreward to it. We were going hiking with Naomi and leaving early. We were to meet up by the velodrome, near Parc del Laberint at 8:00. Alex and I were up at 6:00, got everything ready and headed out to the metro. Looking up from the metro station we saw the start of a great day.

The sun was still quite low and Alex wanted to cast a long shadow.

Heading up towards GR6 we looked out over the city, it was gorgeous view on our way out.

As we climbed we looked back and saw the sun reflecting off the Mediterranean and the city still quiet below us.

We had to follow these markings to make sure we were on GR6. Trails veered off in all directions and you really had to keep an eye out for the right route. Alex had a map so with her skills and the markings we kept on the right trail.

The trail was quite rough in some spots and the descent was quite steep in places. My knee was getting sore but I was walking with a new hiking pole so I could relieve the pressure on my knee during descent.

We had a magnificent view of the valley on our way down the back side of the mountain. The sun even co-operated by selectively shining on the mountain across the valley. It’s hard to believe that this is all accessible from Barcelona by a short metro ride. GR6 actually runs up to Monserrat which is a two day hike.

We arrived in Sant Cugat three hours after we left Barcelona. It was a great hike and I enjoyed the morning immensely. We walked over to the train station, had a bikini and coffee and caught the train back to the city. They run avery 15 minutes or so and we didn’t have to wait long. Alex and I headed home and Naomi brought Zak back to Nat and Mandi’s place.

Once home, we had to get ready to head over to Jackie’s and Sebastian’s for lunch. Francisca is heading home to Chile so they were having a lunch in her honour. I have to laugh about this. Jackie is forgetful at times. She’s like the absent-minded professor. Anyhow, she forgot to invite Francisca. We called her and she showed up but it was too funny. She showed Alex how to cook the dish she was preparing so the two of them were active in the kitchen,

while we were active in the living room.

Isa and Jackie having a “discussion”

Alex having one too.

I was playing with my camera and took some HDR ( I should call them pseudo HDR) photos.

Here is the same photo but different effects.

We had an amazing meal and quality time with friends but the combination of exercise and wine made me very sleepy. While everyone was chatting in the kitchen, I snuck off and had a nap on the couch. Sebastian has proof.

Ahhh, the good life

November 7, 2006 at 12:36 pm 5 comments

Vic

This weekend began with a movie on Friday night. A bunch of us, Sebastian, Francisca, Jackie, Jordi, Isa, Alex and I met in Sant Antoni for a movie. We went to see Copying Beethoven. It’s a film about producing the premiere for his ninth symphony. The next day Sebsatian and Jackie were taking us to a small town called Vic. Alex has wanted to visit this town for quite some time so we jumped at the offer.

They picked us up at home and off we went. When we arrived we met Jackie’s co-worker Mirella and her companion Pau. What great people they are, so friendly and warm. They live in the area so they became our tour guide. We were going to tour the town and then head into the mountains for a bit of a hike. Pau belongs to la Unió Excursionista de Vic and knows much about the surrounding area. He is an avid hiker and was going for a 35 km hike the following day. He was telling us about a particular hike that is around 80 kms in length and is rated as a very difficult trail because of the constant large changes in altitude. The record for this hike is 12 hrs. Needless to say, they are all in top condition and they reminded me of the atheletic attitude that my friends in Montreal have.

Pau and Mirella

Once we found them we headed off to the main square in Vic. It was filled with vendors selling everything from live chickens to rugs. Lots of produce so everyone was stopping to buy a few grapes at one stall, some apples at another and Jackie had to buy some red peppers from a vendor who said they were “muy picante”. She took a bite from the pepper and said it wasn’t hot at all. I tried a bit and found it HOT but I think it was my imagination because the following day I bit off a chunk and it was sweet, not spicy. Jackie is Indian so I think her taste buds are geared towards spicy. The spanish don’t like spicy foods so when a spaniard tells you it’s spicy then it’s mildly picante, and I mean mildly. I am not a fan of hot but even I have tougher taste buds than the spanish. The following photo is a multiple exposure to try and give a sense of how busy it was in the square.

As we walked around the square I came across this bronze of some kind of gnome. The expression was quite entertaining so I couldn’t resist. Notice how full his mouth is, must be a sampling of all the food for sale in the square.

Alex took this opportunity to test out her new lens.

As I said, even rugs were for sale here. Maybe you’d buy some food then pick up a small rug to sit on and have a picnic.Hmmmm, there’s a thought for next time we’re there

We wandered out of the square down some small streets and came across these ruins of an old palace. There were newer buildings on the other side of the walls but I couldn’t help but wonder where those doors and windows led to when the palace was in use.

The palace was originally built around an even older structure. When they started to demolish the palace they “discovered” this roman temple that had been there for 2000 years. How can you lose and then re-discover a building ?????

I’ve been playing around with new digital processing that requires multiple exposures and special processing afterwards. It’s called HDR and the following is a sample of the effect of HDR. It’s not a true HDR shot because true HDR requires highly specialised equipment to view.

After leaving the temple we wandered into another peaceful little square. I took another HDR shot so the children look like ghosts.

The face of the statue was covered with cobwebs but I loved the expression he had, so wistful looking.

The girls were feeling frisky as you can see Alex, Jackie y Mirella.

We left the little square to go to a restaurant that Pau and Mirella had chosen for lunch. On the way we came across a huge construction site that bordered on very old structures. It struck me that the old was giving way to the new and I tried another HDR shot. I love the graphic effect that you can get with this technology.

We had an amazing lunch at L’Alzina with wine and entrees. Marti and Eli showed up. They are friends of Pau and Mirella so we were able to meet even more people. I have to say again that the people we are meeting here are some of the warmest and friendliest people going. I’ve heard it said that catalans keep their distance from strangers but I have never experienced that. Every one I’ve met, including strangers on the trains and buses have been super. I keep seeing the face of a woman I tried to talk to on one of the city buses. I was asking her how you say a particular colour in catalan. Her face just lit up with the warmest smile ever, it was amazing. She even told us she was going to the apartment where she was born to see her sister.

After eating we walked back to the square. Marti and Eli invited us back to their home for tea so we walked through the square on our way back to the cars. All the vendors had packed up and left. It was as if they were never there to begin with.

I had to take a group shot in the square

Then I asked them all to jump around for this hdr shot. I wanted to see the ghost effect. I think it’s pretty cool.

We went back to the cars and drove over to Marti and El’s place. All I can say is wow. They live in a building that is 300 years old. It was getting dark so I couldn’t take many photos. What a place, like it was from a movie. Her father had a house nearby that was a 300 year old converted church. Eli showed us her new horse. She rides in the mountains and they are right in the middle of them. We played pool and drank tea and chatted. More friends of Marti and Eli came over but I didn’t get to chat with them. Sometimes I’m a little hesitant in getting into a conversation because of my limited spanish and my non existant catalan. They were playing with their new puppy.

It was a storybook ending to another great day here in Catalunya.

November 7, 2006 at 11:56 am 4 comments


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