Postcards from Cosmo Caixa Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

Today we went to Cosmo Caixa. It is, quite simply the best science museum we have ever been to. Interactive, engaging, visually stimulating, informative. Even Anaïs, at 16 months old was kept interested.

I’m sending you some postcards with no attempt to explain anything,but in hopes that one day, you to will have the chance to visit.

A well earned drink and ice cream at the end.

And that’s it… tomorrow night we’ll be in England, and on Tuesday, home. It’s been quite an adventure. We’re not really ready for it to end …

Postcards from Mataró

Catalonia, Spain

From Premià de Mar, you could go south west to Barcelona, or northeast to Mataró, a town of some 120,000, and that’s what we did today.

It used to be a textile manufacturing town. It saw the very first railway in the whole of Spain run between here and Barcelona in 1848. It’s still a prosperous and busy town.

We saw an exhibition of Catalan gigantes, those colossal figurines and heads processing on ceremonial occasions through the town, and later, in local shops, gigantic Playmobil figures on display, for – er – Playmobil week. Mainly we hunted down Modernista architecture. But that’s for another day …

Postcards from Sant Andreu

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Daughter Emily has lived in and around Barcelona for ten years now, so we feel well-versed in its tourist destinations. It’s fun for a change to get to know different neighbourhoods.

Today, we explored Sant Andreu, which was until the later 19th century an entirely separate town, a textile town, the home of Fabra i Coats (surely you or your mum had a sewing box full of brightly coloured Coats threads, though they won’t have come via Spain?). This factory complex is now an arts centre, not very busy this rainy day. And at Christmas time, it’s transformed into a toy factory for the Three Kings to collect the gifts they’ll deliver to the children of Barcelona at Epiphanytide. It’s a popular family destination at that time of year.

Our explorations began and ended with churches. First the church of Saint Andreu de Palomar of course, which gives the area its name …

This 19th century church has its beginnings in the 10th century. We’d like to have explored it more.

… and then Sant Pacià, which we were keen to see, as its mosaic floor was created by Gaudí in his early days. Irritatingly, both buildings were shut.

Sant Pacià. Firmly shut. Another Gothic Revival church.

Never mind. Mooch about with us and enjoy the cobbled streets of the old town, its Modernista buildings and independent shops: orange tree lined and bougainvillea bedecked. The area has a great feeling of community. We’d cheerfully live here.

Postcards from Badalona

Catalonia, Spain

We love our time with the family in Premià de Mar. Their home here is only some twelve miles from Barcelona, and well connected by rail and road. But it’s a world away. Strictly no tourists. Just everyday people living everyday lives.

Sometimes we venture into neighbouring towns for more of the same. Today it was Badalona and its charming Old Town – Dalt de la Vila. But no town in Catalonia can hold its head up high if it’s not protesting about something. Today we witnessed …

… painted protests against the projected destruction of some of this quarter’s oldest buildings …

… a small protest by and for pensioners (are you sitting comfortably?) …

… a poster near the beach: your struggle has secured freedom for others. We must continue the fight.

… and the inevitable posters proclaiming the need for Catalan independence.

Let’s finish with a few shots demonstrating some of the charms of Dalt de la Vila.

The featured photo, by the way, is of Badalona’s town flag.

A Historical Happy Birthday

Catalonia, Festivals, Spain

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge invites us to focus on birthdays. We’re not big on birthdays in our family, but back in June 2019, something special happened. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

We’re in Spain. Emily and Miquel had invited us to celebrate her 30th birthday with them, so off we went to Barcelona on Thursday. Where they immediately announced ‘Some friends have lent us their holiday home near the coast for the weekend. Don’t unpack. We’re off in an hour.’

The sun was setting as we arrived at a village, somewhere near Girona. As the car came to a stop, I was sure it must be the wrong place – there were cars in the drive, and this was no small holiday cottage. We got out anyway…. and a line of people appeared on the balcony singing ‘Happy Birthday’…. to me!

It was my family. My whole family. My three children, their partners and children had all secretly plotted and contrived to come here for a long-delayed 70th birthday celebration, just for me, here, this weekend. And I hadn’t suspected a thing.

On the actual day, two years ago, Ellie was in the middle of chemotherapy and celebrations were in short supply.

So here we are, all 15 of us, all in the same place at the same time – something that almost never happens. For a whole long weekend of glorious weather, spending our days playing with the children on the beach, and exploring, and our evenings on the terrace outside eating, drinking and talking, always talking…..’

June 1st, 2019

Let’s have a miscellany of the house, the sitting-round-together, the beach, the meals, the Catalonian ambience, and even … a praying mantis.

That first evening
Celebrating in town
Eating out by the beach

A legend tells the story of the Creation of the Earth

England, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Walking, Weather

Every culture throughout the world has its myths about how the earth, and everything that inhabits the earth, came into being. Here in the UK, historically part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we’re most familiar with the creation story told in The Book of Genesis.

Day 1 – God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light ‘day’ and darkness ‘night’. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Day 2 – God created an expanse of sky to separate the waters. Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.

Kirkudbrightshire

Day 3 – God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground ‘land’, and the gathered waters ‘seas’. Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

On day three, God also created plant life. Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

Day 4 – God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and the night. These would also serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years.  Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

Near Grinton, North Yorkshire
Sleningford, North Yorkshire

Day 5 – God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird, blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven…  Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Day 6 – God created man and woman in his own image. He gave them every creature and the whole earth to rule over, care for, and cultivate. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Which is perhaps where it all started to go wrong …

Along the River Thames in London
Haeundae, Busan, South Korea.

This week, for Lens-Artist Challenge #192, Amy invites us to tell Earth’s Story. So I have, with the help of the Old Testament.

PS. Thanks to your ‘likes’ on this recent post, I’ve been able to donate £28.00 on your behalf to World Central Kitchens, as they feed the dispossessed fleeing from war in Ukraine and other humanitarian catastrophes.

Red Squirrel, Grey Squirrel

England, Spain

Pretty much exactly three years ago, we were in Málaga, and yomping up the hill towards Castillo Gibralfro, the fortified castle which protected the city for centuries, and shown in the header photograph.

Part way up, we were charmed to be accosted by the local red squirrels, who very politely skirted round any visitors they met, asking for nuts.

This cheeky chap clearly stole the hearts of these two teenagers.

Let’s move in just a little closer ..

…. and closer still …

I thought of this little charmer when I was posting my Monday portrait of that irritated grey squirrel I met at Fountains Abbey. This was the ideal chance to compare the two squirrels who each lived on historic sites. They’re more different than I at first realised.

Those ears. Those eyes. They’re quite different, aren’t they?

And what about the tails?

Here they both are, back in their respective trees:

For Patti’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #190: Close and Closer

The Great, the Good or the Odd

Barcelona, Spain

Civic statues. The great. The good. The bad. The politicians, the soldiers, the rulers and poets. Women? Not so many. But the overwhelming number of civic statues are of people.

Oddly, in Barcelona there’s a lobster, a ten metre long fibreglass lobster by Spanish artist Javier Mariscal. Originally, it fronted a seafood restaurant, but when the place closed down, the city council in Barcelona bought and restored it, and installed it on Passeig Colom in Port Vell.

For Becky’s Square Odds

… and Marsha’s Photographing Public Art Challenge.

Dragons in odd places

Poland, Spain

The header shows a splendid pair of dragons topping off a perfectly ordinary drainpipe on a perfectly ordinary house in Sagunt in the Province of Valencia. How perfectly odd. Here they both are, shown singly, to keep to the Rule of Squares.

And just to keep them company, let’s show two more dragons, gargoyles this time, one from Gdansk, and one from Krakow.

For Becky’s Square Odds.