Barcelona 2

Barcelona 2

From our hotel in the north end of the Gothic Quarter, we were able to walk to the famous La Seu Cathedral of Barcelona. This is only one of several cathedrals in the quarter.

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La Seu Cathedral of Barcelona

beginning a morning walking tour in the rain

beginning a morning walking tour in the rain

when it is raining you do not need a fountain.

when it is raining you do not need a fountain.

Refugees Welcome - May 2016

Refugees Welcome – May 2016

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

On the way through some narrow streets we found the “happy pill” outlet, and our first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral.

 

did you get your happy pills?

did you get your happy pills?

down one of the narrow streets we were led to this popular landmark.

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This is the picture-postcard bridge over the Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop street) that connects the Palau de la Generalitat with the Casa dels Canonges. The tiny covered bridge was built in 1928 by the Modernista architect Joan Rubió. It was around this time that the term ‘Gothic Quarter’ was coined.

You have to be good neighbours to do this

You have to be good neighbours to do this

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Cloister of La Seu Cathedral

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13 Geese in the cloister

There are always thirteen geese in the courtyard of La Seu Cathedral. Each goose represents one year in the life of the martyr Santa Eulalia, a young girl allegedly tortured to death in the fourth century by the Romans for her religion. The cloister also contains a small museum with precious liturgical artifacts.

Next on our tour was a bus ride to the hill top to see an overview of the city.

Port view from on high

Port view from on high

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Port Vell

Public Dock on left

Public Dock on the right.

Morning fog

Morning fog

Landmarks in the photo above are the bullet shaped Torre Arbar, the 34 floor office building built by the water department. It is in the upper right. In the mist, just to the right of center is the spire of  La Seu Cathedral. In the upper left is Sagrada Familia.

Morning rain

Morning rain

Next stop will be the construction site of the Sagrada Familia. The cranes are still working, there are more spires to build.

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Barcelona

Barcelona

There is so much to see in Barcelona. This is difficult, I have 125 pictures, 21 movie clips to select from. Decided to make three posts out of them.

Public Dock on left

Public wharf is on the right.

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

The bus ride from Carcassonne to Barcelona was a little long. The bus driver had to make a mandatory stop for a specific amount of time. GPS was watching and keeping track. The roadside stop was interesting. With the restrooms and food outlets on the opposite side of the highway, a pedestrian overpass was built to cross from the parking lot on one side to the kiosks on the other.

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

Agullana. Catalonia, Spain

The economic king of the world,  overlooking the Pyrenees Mountains which separate France and Spain. While looking at the map last night I learnt of a small independant county in the mountains between the two countries. Look up  Principality of Andorra.

Friday was a beautiful day. It was nice to have free time after checking into the hotel to walk down to the wharf.

When you have the whole Mediteranian, you need a boat.

When you have the whole Mediterranean to sail, you need a boat.

Imagine this, all of the buildings below face onto one of the four streets that define a city block. Inside the city block is this courtyard with the hotel Indigo Barcelona on one side.

courtyard behind Indigo Barcelona Hotel

courtyard behind Indigo Barcelona Hotel

looking down from room onto courtyard.

looking down from room onto courtyard.

In the top right corner is a glass cubicle that enclosed the fitness equipment for the hotel. The pool is on a lower level.

Flamenco dance

Flamenco dance

After a farewell dinner at the wharf restaurant, we went to a club to watch authentic Spanish Flamenco Dancing. The dancer moves so fast to the live band that his motions are a blur.

Flamendo dance

Flamenco dance

 

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Carcassonne

Carcassonne

This place has been inhabited since Antiquity. When was that?  The Neolithic period around 3500 BC. UNESCO says it was constructed on walls dating from Late Antiquity.

It was on the crossroads of trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.  The Romans saw it as a strategic location so built up the fortification. A French architect, Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, restored the site in 1853. When UNESCO added it to the list in 1997, tourism became another source of income in addition to manufacturing and wine production. It hosts a wine exhibition each year.

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

 

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

 

What's beyond the walls of Carcassonne?

What’s beyond the walls of Carcassonne?

The Pyrenees mountains are to the south. Carcassonne is in the center of a triangle made up of the cities of Toulouse, Montpellier, and Barcelona.

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the walls, the streets are narrow and many shops provide everything needed by the visiting tourist. Many of the shops are international brands.

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

Within the ramparts of Carcassonne

The bridge above is the main way in and out of the city walls. The mote has been drained and turned into a garden.

the country outside of Carcassonne

the country outside of Carcassonne

Spring beyond the ramparts of Carcassonne

Spring beyond the ramparts of Carcassonne

The video below is worth a few minutes.

Our stay at the hotel in the walled city was very memorable. Cars are not allowed in the walled city. This hotel had a back door that they used to bring our luggage from the bus to the hotel. We were responsible for our carry on stuff that we had to carry through the cobble stone streets. The streets were very busy with tourists. Fortunately the day tourists had to leave about 5:00 PM. After that only those staying overnight inside the walls were able to wander the streets and take pictures. Unfortunately most of the shops had also closed and the staff probably left for their homes outside the walls.

The Hotel is Mgallery Hotel de la Cite. The link below will let you see the pictures of their lovely hotel.

http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-8613-hotel-de-la-cite-carcassonne-mgallery-collection/index.shtml

Wikipedia  link is :  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcassonne

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Nîmes

Nîmes

If we could follow the water from the Pont-du-Gare aqueduct it would lead us to the city of  Nîmes. There it empties into a large fountain in the center of the city. The fountain is surrounded by a lush green garden.

Nîmes, France

Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France

One of the landmarks of Nîmes, is the Maison Carrée (Square House). It was built around 19 BC by the Romans and dedicated to the sons of Agrippa. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples anywhere.

Nîmes, France

Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Maison Carrée, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Another famous landmark is the Roman Arena. It is still used today, and hosts a French form of the bull fight in which the bull is not killed.

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

To get a sense of how large this ancient building is, look at the woman in the yellow jacket standing on the second floor, second arch from the left.

Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Notice the reflection of the arena in the windows of the Justice building. The morning sun gives it a lovely golden glow.

As I enter the arena, it reminds me of some of the hockey arenas in Canada.

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Roman Arena, Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

Nîmes, France

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%AEmes  for more information about the city.

Did you know that Denim Jeans are a creation of Nîmes?  When the fabric was shipped they contained the package label “de Nîmes” meaning from Nîmes. They were shipped to the world through Genoa, (Gênes) Italy were tailors used the fabric to create the well know clothes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denim   for more information on your favorite Jeans

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

Between the cities of Avignon and Nimes in France is an aqueduct that was built by the Romans to bring water to the city of Nimes.  The Pont du Gard is the highest elevated Roman aqueduct and one of the best preserved. Therefore one of the most well known.

Pont du Gare , France

Pont du Gard , France

From Avignon 25 KM. From Nimes 25 KM.

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It is a scenic drive.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

There is a tent camping ground near by.

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Google satellite view

The pictures below were taken from the right bank  near the pin drop on the satellite view above.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France Looking to Les Perrières.

Pont du Gare, France

Les Perrières from Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

In addition to carrying water in the upper level, the bridge also served as a toll bridge  across the Gare River.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Flat stones were used at the top to cover the water channel to keep out seeds, dropped by birds, from growing in the aqueduct.

Pont du Gare , France

Pont du Gard , France

The construction is believed to be from 19 BC. The sign above is in French and describes  the restoration dates. Only the numbers are Roman.

Learn more from Wikipedia :  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_du_Gard

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOyuFF7Xwk4&feature=youtu.be

 – Where do you want to go today? –

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

 

What have you heard about Châteauneuf du Pape? It has been described as a commune and as a medieval village. With a population of a little over 2000, it is located on a hill about 18 kilometers north of Avignon.  On the top of the hill stands the remains of an ancient medieval castle. You may associate the name with a very nice bottle of wine.

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After our visit to the Palace of the Popes, we checked into the Avignon Grand Hotel. It is located just outside the south wall of the town. We had an appointment for an evening tour of the Fines Roche winery in the Châteauneuf du Pape region.

Old Castle, new chariot

Old Castle, new chariot

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img_2279-1280x634The cypress trees are planted to moderate the winds coming off of the Rhone river and the Mediterranean Sea which is about 80 kilometers to the south. The soil around the vines is covered with limestone to moderate the heat of the soil; gathering warmth from the sun during the day and keeping the soil warm during the cooler evenings.
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After sampling several vines and a little food, we returned to our hotel in Avignon with a few bottles of the region’s finest wines.
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– Where do you want to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teauneuf-du-Pape

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Inside Palace of Popes

Inside the Palace of Popes

Inside the walls of the Palace are two main courtyards. The first and largest is used for concerts and other events. The stage is still set up. In July Avignon hosts the Avignon festival of the arts.

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the main courtyard

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The main courtyard

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

Rose Exhibition

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

BENOÎT XII CLOISTER is being set up for a rose growers convention and exhibition. It is the smaller of the two courtyards.

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes Church courtyard

Palace of the Popes Church courtyard

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes ongoing restoration

Palace of the Popes ongoing restoration

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

The hall above is called the Grand Tinel. It is often used to host banquets.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

The tour includes viewing more than 20 rooms. Many of the rooms are decorated with frescoes, however, photographs are not allowed in these rooms.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes door to Pope's Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope’s Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope's Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope’s Quarters

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Palace of the Popes 1

Palace of the Popes 1

Is it the largest gothic palace in Europe, or in the world? It’s construction began in 1316 under Pope John XXII and continued under Pope Benedict XII and Pope Clement VI. It is built less like a palace and more like a fortress because of disagreements about who would be the pope of the realm. After the Great Schism was over in the early 1400s the Pope’s residence was re-established in Rome. After the French Revolution it became a barracks until the early 1900s when it was opened to the public.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

This is one of the first views I saw when I walked out of the narrow street into the great square in front ot the palace.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes – Pope’s Quarters

The picture above is from the right side of the Palace where the Pope’s residence  and viewing chamber were built by the later two popes.

The picture below is from the left part and is the chapel tower which was built first.

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palace of the popes

Palace of the Popes in Avignon, Provence, France

I took the tour inside the Palace and will share those pictures in the next post.

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

 

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Avignon

Avignon, Provence, France

Avignon is a very special city in Southern France. It is ancient, enclosed within a wall, and is home to the Palace of the Popes. In the 1300’s there was more than one Pope, one in Rome and one here in France. It is also home to a unique relaxed French way of life.

the Pont d'Avignon

the Pont d’Avignon

You have probably heard of the French song “sur le pont d’Avignon”. Well this is what it looks like now. High water flooding caused part of it to break away. Other bridges are nearby so it was not rebuilt.

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The old city is enclosed in walls and some of the entrance routes are narrow.

narrow winding streets

narrow winding streets

niche art

niche art

Early May of the streets of Avignon

Early May on the streets of Avignon

Inside the city walls are many courtyards and squares with a feeling of isolation from the hussle and bussle of the modern world.

Hotel de Ville, Avignon, Provence, France

Hotel de Ville, Avignon, Provence, France

Theatre - Opera

Theatre – Opera

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clock tower

clock tower

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

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This looks like a good place for lunch.

small tapistry in hotel restaurant

small tapestry in hotel restaurant

Avignon, Provence, France

Avignon, Provence, France

such a variety of street scenes

such a variety of street scenes

Avignon en Provences

Avignon en Provence

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– Where do you want to go today? –

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TGV

TGV – Paris to Avignon

TGV means the train goes very fast. In France it is the “Train a Grande Vitesse”. It travels the 600 (as the crow flies) kilometer distance in less than 3 hours. That is an average speed of 200 kilometers per hour. Since it has to travel slower in the city and at some other places, and it makes a stop for a few minutes in the Lyon Station to let passengers on and off, I could be traveling up to 300 Km per hour.

Historic restauarant of Paris.

Historic restaurant of Paris.

Before saying goodbye to Paris we drove by the famous restaurant where the who’s who of history sat at the tables of the sidewalk cafe. We were too early in the morning for them to be open, so we just continued on to the station so we would not be late for our train.

Paris Gare Lyon Station

Paris Gare Lyon Station

Although the station was first built for the 1900 World Exposition, it has been updated to accommodate the TGV.

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

TGV

TGV

There is the train.

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

And there it isn’t. The train is powered by electricity and is so quiet, that it left while were standing and talking, and we did not even notice. No sound of big diesel engines revving up.

this is not Paris

this is not Paris

Our train was the next to leave, and here are a few pictures of what I saw through the window. I had to make a few adjustments to get better pictures.

less than 30 minutes from the center of Paris

less than 30 minutes from the center of Paris

one hour South of Paris

one hour South of Paris

After two hours we stopped at Lyon for a few minutes, then we were off again. If there was something interesting to take a picture of, there was not enough time to point the camera at it and take a picture. Even when the camera was pointing out the window, by the time the brains thought a picture was there, it was gone by the time the finger had time to push the button.

To get a better sense of the view through the window, watch the video clips at the end.

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

It was interesting to see the landscape change as we travelled south. At first we spent some time getting settled into the coach and examining our new surroundings. Before we know it we were out of the city and into the flat farmland. There were many fields of bright yellow flowers of the rapeseed plants that are used to produce canola oil.

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

As we moved farther south, the terrain started to rise and fall more and soon we were seeing the Rhone-Alps mountains south of Lyon.

Gare d' Avignon TGV

Gare d’Avignon TGV

In some places the high speed rail stations could not be built in the center of the city or town. Avignon is an example of the station being build a safe distance away from the city center. Not unlike airports being built at some distance from the city. However it is not long before businesses build up near the new center to sell their services. This is then followed by homes for the business owner’s family.

Gare d'Avignon TGV bus terminal

Gare d’Avignon TGV bus terminal

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

the short clip;
https://youtu.be/upVHKxUOuTk

A longer clip:
https://youtu.be/j0b54_11vvI

There is no sound at the beginning but it is on for the last few seconds

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