Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dreaming of Catalunya, Spain

I know, I’m strange. While everyone else is writing about Christmas markets, snow, winter sports and frozen lakes or spider webs, I become fixated on sunshine and blue skies in winter. Perhaps it has to do with my African heart but while I can tolerate the cold, I thrive when it is hot and sunny.

Lately I’ve been dreaming about Catalunya in Spain.  We were absolutely fortunate in 2012 to visit Germany, France and Spain but Spain feels the most unfinished on account of all the time I spent on the beach and not exploring the nearby area.  Let me tell you about what I missed and why I will definitely be returning to Catalunya:

The Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona

The Barcelona Pavilion, BarcelonaThe Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona, 2010 uploaded by Ashley Pomeroy on Wikipedia

There are time when I look at photographs of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló or the Sagrada Família and my chest begins to constrict and tears prick my eyes as I realise how close I was to seeing such wonders of architecture.  Of course, then I think back to endless hours spent watching the waves roll into he shore in Santa Susanna and I feel much better.  But Barcelona isn’t just about Gaudi and I do believe that what I really missed out on was seeing one of the world’s finest examples of modern architecture and the home of the Barcelona chair, the Barcelona Pavilion.

Other vital areas of Barcelona that I’d like to visit would be the Dali Museum and the Jewish Quarter (as my mother’s family are descended from Sephardi Jews who were expelled from Spain in the Spanish Inquisition).

De Mar i Murtra Botanical Gardens, Blanes

View from De Mar i Murtra, BlanesLa Costa Brava vista des de Mar i Murtra uploaded by Jofre Ferrer on Flickr

Blanes is located just a short train ride up the coast of Spain from where we were staying in Santa Susanna.  It is home to the De Mar i Murtra Botanical Gardens, 15 hectares of gardens comprising over 4,000 species of plants, situated at the edge of a sea cliff looking over the azure seas of the Costa Brava. One day I hope to see this view with my own eyes.

Girona Riverside, Girona

Girona RiversideGirona enamora uploaded by Iban Riu on Flickr

Just as Gaudi isn’t all there is to Barcelona, Barcelona isn’t the only major city in Catalunya.  Photos of Girona just take my breath away and I would love to spend some time exploring this ancient city.  Like Barcelona, I’d also be especially intrigued to explore Girona’s rich Jewish heritage and to see the vague remains of those Jews that were expelled 400 – 600 years ago.

It occurs to me how very different Catalunya and the Costa Brava are from Andalusia and the Costa del Sol which I had previously visited.  It seems richer somehow and more colourful although I was really taken with the Moorish architecture in the Costa del Sol. 

Have you ever visited Spain? If so which is your favourite part?

14 Comments:

Kathy Amen 19 December 2012 at 20:41  

This area was on my list of places I really want to visit before, and now it might have moved up a couple of slots!

Hels 19 December 2012 at 23:25  

Joe and I spent a month in Spain and Portugal this past winter, and I didn't know what to write up first :) There were so many places! I suppose because your timing is so perfect I would have to choose the heroic artists of the Spanish Civil War. The amazing Reina Sofia Museum is in Madrid.

Thanks for the link
Hels
http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/spanish-civil-war-1936-9-brave-artists.html

Josep 20 December 2012 at 08:26  

You'll love the narrow streets of the old Jewish quarter in Girona, and don't forget there's the Dalí museum in Figueres, near Girona — it's a must. And, you may be already aware of it but in Barcelona watch your wallet. Pickpockets are a plague.
On the other hand, I realize now that I've only visited one third of the places you mention here! I'll have to do something about it.

Victoria 20 December 2012 at 14:00  

Wow..totally blissful and beautiful..all that blue of water and sky..magnificent! now I am dreaming too! Thanks Emm for a stunning post!
Victoria

Adullamite 21 December 2012 at 09:09  

I can live without Gaudi, but give me the sunshine - now!!!

Loredana Galea 21 December 2012 at 21:38  

we visited Marimurtra gardens in 2011,Lloret de mar and it was just beautiful.We stayed at the Hotel Costa Encantada and we have so many lovely memories. I would love to go back there again one day.I also suggest Santa Clotilde gardens and Pinya de la rosa gardens:)

Betty Manousos 25 December 2012 at 16:55  

dearest emm,

merry christmas to you and yours!!

big hugs.

xx

Trotter 27 December 2012 at 11:06  

Hi Emm! Hope you are having a great season! Sorry for the absence, but 2012 was definitely a difficult year here in Portugal, and even worse for me...
Wish you a very Happy 2013, and enjoy Grenada in Blogtrotter Two!

Wonderful shots!!

Selena 29 December 2012 at 16:15  

I'm now starting to crave some sunshine on my skin and blue waters. I see a trip to Spain in my future. I hope you had a wonderful trip home to South Africa. When you get home and settled in, let's get together! Happy New Year!!!

xoxo
Selena

Beatriz 1 January 2013 at 17:51  

Oh, how I would like to know Catalunya...
I have never been there yet, although my sister lives in Barcelona!
Great post and beautiful blog, I'll be back soon!

Bia
www.biaviagemambiental.blogspot.com

Betty Manousos 1 January 2013 at 19:17  

happy new year!

may it be the best ever!

xx

Angelikas Photographic Sketchbook 7 January 2013 at 12:46  

So nice to see some light and sunshine. I can relate to "getting out and warm".

Vagabonde 7 January 2013 at 23:34  

I have been to Spain twice and like you, I did not see enough in Barcelona. I like to “look” at snow, but as you say, I enjoy the sun in winter. Here in Georgia there have been sunny days for quite a while.

Emm in London 13 January 2013 at 10:58  

Hi all! I'm just getting into the swing of 2013 so please don't mind if I reply to some comments on my older posts!

@ Kathy: this area truly has it all - coastlines, mountains, cities and even resorts. Definitely bump it up your to-visit list!

@ Hels: oh, you must have had a wonderful time! With your knowledge of history and culture, you must make an amazing travel companion! I will definitely check out your posts.

@ Josep: indeed, you will! I absolutely champion the idea of exploring our own countries and towns! I definitely regret not seeing the Dali museum as I've been a lifelong fan of his art.

@ Victoria: see why I am so eager to return now?

@ Adullamite: heh, I guess his work wouldn't appeal to everybody but yeah, sunshine is pretty universal!

@ Loredana: wow, that sounded just idyllic. I will have to investigate the places you mention!

@ Betty: thank you! Hope you had a great Xmas and NYE too!

@ Trotter: oh no, I hope 2013 is kinder to you!

@ Selena: South Africa was a.w.e.s.o.m.e! Yes, let's definitely meet up.

@ Bia: oh! You must visit if your sister lives in Barcalona, the heart of Catalunya!

@ Angelika: absolutely - the English winter feels interminable at times!

@ Vagabonde: you are very lucky. Georgia is one of the places we would not hesitate to move to if my husband got a job there - the company he works for (think biggest soft drink co on earth) has their head office in Atlanta!

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