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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Italy & Spain

Sept 12 After a two day drive from Magnac Laval to Turin, Italy we were blessed to see our old friends from Denver. Ron & Diana had just completed a bike trip of the Piedmont area. It was decided that the 4 of us would drive to the villages of Cherasco and Bra 50 minutes from Turin.

Driving out of the city was a huge challenge - OMG! The Italian drivers are very aggressive. The larger streets have frontage roads for parking. In some cases we had to be in the frontage road to turn left. Question was: when do we get into the frontage road???? Pedestrians are walking across the streets, delivery vehicles are double parked, circles, stop lights - it was visual overload but we made it!

The first village of Cherasco was very quiet. This small village had many churches - many are no longer churches. Being a Monday, everything was closed. That was OK - it allowed us more time to just wander. The gate pictured here certainly was majestic. We had a great lunch which was better tasting and cheaper than our French lunches: beef tartare - OMG the best I have ever had, fungi (mushroom) souffle, ravioli, and my rabbit was delicious if a bit dry.

Bra was the next town we visited. What a difference as it was full of people running their errands, stores were open, and workers were laying down cobblestone for a pedestrian walkway. Gary purchased 1 kilo of coffee from a coffee shop. He asked for a strong bean - hope he likes it.

Sept 13 Ron & Diana had to catch an afternoon train to Milan’s airport while we needed to start our 2 day drive to Sitges, Spain. The 4 of us had a leisurely breakfast and a walk to the river behind the hotel. It was great to get together!

Sept 14 We arrived in Sitges, Spain. We had to stop using the few Italian words we know and start using the our small vocabulary of Spanish words. I kept mixing up gracias and grazie. There was a lovely pedestrian walk along the beach from our AirBnB apartment into town. We found a restaurant along the beach and had a cocktail and a tapa while we watched a storm racing across the Mediterranean sea.

Sept 15 We picked up Karen at the airport and then walked the beach to have a dinner of tapas. It is so good to see her.

Sept 16 We spent a relaxing day walking the narrow streets of Sitges. The apartment was only 3 blocks from the beach and a 10 minutes walk along the boardwalk into the town. The weather is perfect - not too hot with a nice breeze. The town still had plenty of visitors.

Sept 17 We drove to Tarragona  a 45 minutes drive south of Sitges. The Romans called the city Tarraco and was a successful and wealthy port. The city had a circus and it’s chariot races. The model of the roman city shows that it had a large temple area that has been buried by the “modern” building.  The city sits on the north end of the Costa Daurada. Tarragona was full of activity due to a church holiday.

Sept 18 Cardona is located in land in the Catalonia province. The castle, now a parador hotel,  sits a top the major hill. A salt mine near by made the lords of the castle rich. The salt was thought to have been used clear back to the Neolithic times. 40 million years ago, the area was covered by the Atlantic Ocean. When the Pyrenees were created, the mountains sealed off the area from the ocean. The water evaporated and the salt settled to the bottom. The mountain of salt was amazing and the inside was beautiful. Great tour even if it was all in spanish!

Sept 19 We left Sitges and traveled north of Barcelona. The noon time stop was Girona. We walked around the old part of the city. The cathedral had an old tapestry from the 11th century which I wanted to see. It was in very good condition. There was also a 2 feet high statue of Charlemagne in the museum. Charlemagne drove out the Moors in 793. We then settled into our Roses apartment. Had an issue as there weren’t any sheets and towels. The AirBnB site said nothing about this. We ended up renting the items.

Sept 20 The Dali museum in Figeres was very interesting. It does not repeat any of the items on display in St Petersburg, Fl. The museum had some huge pieces which were very different. I especially liked the painted ceiling.  Lunch was at the fishing village of Cadaques. It’s location on a long and curvy road has kept the village on the small side but there are plenty of modern homes along the shore line.

Sept 21 We drove to Besalu which is surround on 3 sides by the river. The Medieval Bridge is the emblem of the town built in the 12th century. We then drove back to Roses to find a restaurant on the beach. I am so glad we aren’t here during the peak season. Ther were many hotels, apartments, and restaurants. It must really get busy. I had my first cava sangria which was delicious.

Sept 22 Our drive into Barcelona was uneventful until the policeman said it was forbidden to make a turn which would have taken us to the AirBnB. The street was closed for some festivity. So we had to find another way. We were late for our meeting time but all turned out OK. Our goal today was to see the Park Guell, designed by Gaudi.  Gaudi’s love of nature is evident in the park’s design.

Sept 23 We took the Barcelona turistic bus in order to make the most of our time. The only place we got off the bus was for the Sagrada Família. All tickets to get inside were sold out. Guess it pays to be on a guided tour. La Rambla, pictured here, was still as busy as ever, the buildings were magnificent and the food was great. It was good to see the city again after 20 years.

Sept 24 We dropped off Karen at the airport and we made our way to Albi, France a UNESCO city. We walked through several medieval areas of the city. Gary was amazed to see the cathedral built with bricks. The city merchants became wealthy selling a plant that created a blue dye.

This chapter of our trip comes to an end. We are scheduled for a house sitting position in the Loire Valley. It’s time for a rest.