Tag Archives: Gaudi

Top Ten Posts of 2022

As we leave 2022, please excuse my annual self-indulgent post to begin the new year as I peer through the keyhole to look back over the last one.

Ireland Inch Beach

The top ten most visited posts on my Travel Blog always surprise me but then I don’t pretend to understand how search engines work.  I say visited pages rather than read because I am neither so conceited or sufficiently naive to claim that a visit equals a read.  I know that a lot of people will arrive here by mistake and swiftly reverse back out via the escape button!

No. 1

Mount Vesuvius

 

I first posted this in March 2010 so this one has been around a while and with 722 hits and a thirteenth year in the Top Ten is becoming a stubborn stayer.  It is also No. 3 in all time page views with 19,400 recordings.  It has been viewed every month since first posted.

No. 2

Royal Garden Party

First posted in June 2009 the post has 552 hits in 2022, almost double the previous year and staying in the Top Ten for the fourteenth successive year which by that measure makes it my most successful post.

In total it has 23,750 visits which makes all time second after my post about  Norway, Haugesund and the Vikings at 24,722.  This one has been around for a long time ( since June 2009) and has always been popular especially around the Spring and Summer when invitations to the Royal Garden Party are going out and when people are wondering how to get one or what to wear if they have one.

Another post that has been visited every month since first published.

No. 3

Bratislava to Vienna Without a Passport

This post was from March 2022 and comes in with 400 hits, I cannot imagine why.  It links back to a much earlier post of December 2009 which was spectacularly unsuccessful…

Travel Issues – Forgotten Documents

No. 4

Catalonia – In Search of Norman Lewis

I must confess that I am rather pleased about this one.

I posted this in July 2013 and it first made the top ten in 2015 before dropping out the following year so I am glad to see it back again.

There are some posts that I have written that I would like people to read and this is one of few that have achieved that. Before visiting Catalonia in 2013 I read the book ‘Voices of the Old Sea’ by Norman Lewis which is an account of the Costa Brava in the 1940s and the approach of mass tourism.  In this post I attempted some research and some interpretation of the book and the area.  It has recorded 288 visits and in this case I like to think that this is because of the subject rather than the pictures.

Another post that has been visited every month since published.

No. 5

Turkey – A problem with Stray Dogs

Another maverick post this one.  I first put it up in July 2013 and it received a few hits but suddenly this year it has had regular visits and finishes the year with 288.

No. 6

Malta, Happiness and a Walk to Mellieha

I have written several posts about my visits to the island of Malta, this one is from May 2015. I consider some of them much more interesting than this one but where they have sunk without trace, this one just keeps on attracting hits.  280 hits in 2022 and seventh successive year in the top ten.

No 7

Streets of Naples

I visited Naples in April 2018.  Recently In February 2022 I  editing my pictures and sharedethese images of an exciting and eclectic city that I hadn’t used before in my posts…

268 hits this year.

No. 8

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

This is the ninth successive year in my top ten for my post about the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.  After I had taken a look at the official Twelve Treasures of Spain I thought it might be fun to draw up my own personal alternative list.  I included Antoni Gaudi in a general rather than a specific way.  I posted this in March 2013 and this year with 256 visits it has risen one place to number eight.

This is another post that has been visited every month since posting and with a total of 7.,456 recorded hits is number 7 in my all time list.

No 9

Poland (Wroclaw), The Anonymous Pedestrians

This is another post that I am happy to see in the top ten with 360 visits.  I wrote this in March 2014 after visiting the Polish city of Wroclaw and finding the street statues of the Anonymous Pedestrians.

The statues are a memorial to the introduction of martial law in Poland on December 13th 1981 and the thousands of people who disappeared (‘went underground’) in the middle of the night courtesy of the militia. In a symbolic statement the fourteen statues were erected in the middle of the night in 2005 on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the introduction of martial law.

A total of 248 hits in 2022 and with visitors every month since originally posted.

No !0

The Island of Hvar

Published in January 2022 and has 242 hits.  I can offer no explanation why.

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 3,200 others on my site ‘Have Bag, Will Travel’then thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I guess it proves that George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) was right when he said: “The three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.”  

Total visits in 2022 – 48,500

Total visits all time – 1,147,447

Countries where most visitors come from – UK, USA, India, Australia, and Spain.

Most viewed picture in 2022…

A little disappointing, I like to think I have posted one or two good pictures of my own during the year but most clicked is a picture of Casa Batlló  in Barcelona that I scanned in from my collection of postcards…

I would be interested to know about other people’s most popular posts in 2022 and the possible explanations why?  Comment and let me know.  I’m a sucker for statistics!

Alternative Images of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

I am inspired today by my blogging Pal Jo who has completed a thirty one day challenge to post in pictures and in words about a visit to Barcelona.

In 2018 I visited Barcelona and my friend and keen photographer Richard spent every spare minute taking pictures of Sagrada Familia.  I am convinced that he possesses the largest collection of pictures of the Gaudi masterpiece in the entire World.

I am quite unable to compete with either Jo or Richard so I offer you these alternative images.

These are from the walls of the nearby metro station…

This is from the beach at Barconaleta…

By Dali…

And this is from the inevitable gift shop…

 

Thursday Doors – Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Casa Batllo Door 01

Casa Batlló is a unique and fabulous building that defies any sort of description and is a building that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. From the road outside the building looks stunning and the local name for the building is Casa dels ossos, literally the House of bones and the building has a visceral, skeletal organic quality. Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles that begins in shades of golden orange and moves and merges harmoniously into greenish blues.

Casa Batllo Door 03

Read the Full Story…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Travels in Spain, The Barcelona Metro

Barcelona Metro 02

Some pictures of tiles down in the Barcelona Metro.  I imagine a lot of people miss these as they rush through to make connections whilst being on the look-out for pickpockets!

Barcelona Metro 01Barcelona Metro 04 Barcelona Metro 03

Travels in Spain, Alternative Images of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Barcelona Tee Shirt

From the inevitable Sagrada Familia Gift Shop!

Travels in Spain, Valencia and The Costa Blanca

003

I am fairly certain that I have mentioned here before that I have a travel ambition to visit all of the seventeen Autonomous Communities of Spain.  So far I have managed fifteen but still need to add La Rioja and Navarre to my  list.  I could have chosen to go there this time but instead I went to the east coast where I have been previously.

I have been to Valencia and Murcia before and I have always said that it isn’t my favourite part of Spain but now my sister lives there so this provided an opportunity to visit and possibly make a reassessment.  I resolved that if possible that this should be a voyage of discovery.

This part of the east coast of Spain is called the Costa Blanca now but it is still quite often referred to by its once regional name of Levante from a time when the Moors had colonial ownership of the Iberian peninsular and had a heavy presence all along this Mediterranean coastline.

It is said that the name Costa Blanca was originally conceived as a promotional name by British European Airways when it first launched its air service between London and Valencia in 1957 at the start of the package holiday boom.  I think this may explain why I have always been a bit snooty about it because I have always associated it with concrete holiday resorts and as we flew in over Benidorm, gleaming like a shiny pin-cushion I was fairly certain that nothing short of dynamite was going to change my opinion.

Alicante Castle

This opinion exposes my prejudice and ignorance because the problem that I have is that I find it difficult to get an understanding of Valencia because you need to dig deep to find the true heritage of the place.  Nothing shouts out to me like the Flamenco of Andalucía, Don Quixote of Castilla-La Mancha or the Conquistadors of Extremadura, of Gaudi in Catalonia, the Camino Way of Galicia or tales of Saint James and the Reconquista in Castilla y Leon.

The only flimsy thing that I have ever had to go on was the story of El Cid and the battle with the Moors over the city of Valencia

Benidorm Spain

Allow me to go on; it has always concerned me that there are a great many British living in this part of Spain, in Torrevieja alone there are about twelve thousand which accounts for about thirteen per cent of the entire population.  In fact the Spanish themselves are in the minority at only forty-eight per cent and soon it is estimated that in total there will be one million Brits living on the Costa Blanca.

It is not only British but also the Scandinavians and the Germans and the Dutch and even the Spanish themselves because as more immigrants arrive then more people from other regions of Spain head east for the jobs that are created. Valencia has some difficulty retaining and protecting its own identity and many local people lament the loss of heritage and language and tradition.

So I got a bigger spade and started to dig a bit deeper to try to learn something about Valencia other than the story of El Cid.

paella

I suppose I have to start with paella because although it has come to be regarded as the national dish of Spain it originated right here in Valencia.  When the Moors reached Alicante in 718 they discovered a pleasant climate perfect for growing crops that wouldn’t grow in the deserts of North Africa and set about turning this part of the peninsula into a centre of horticulture.

They developed a system of irrigation and exploited the wetlands that were created to grow rice.  Not just any rice however, not your supermarket economy rice, not Uncle Ben’s ‘boil in a bag’, but arroz bomba introduced from the east which has the perfect constituency to produce the dish.

These days people will add almost any ingredient to a paella but the true Valencian meal is always made of chicken, rabbit and white beans.  Most things work but I have a friend who adds liver and that doesn’t but then again I have strong culinary views on liver – avoid it at all costs – it takes offal.

valencia-oranges

The period of Moorish occupation was to last nearly four hundred years and normally I would look for palaces and castles as a reminder of this time but in the Levante you have to look at the countryside because the Moors created the landscape of the region. After the irrigation they planted citrus groves and peach and almond orchards. The terraces seen on the hillsides throughout the region are an everlasting Moor legacy.  There are no olives or vines in Valencia just acres and acres of fruit that stretch as far as the eye can see.

In holiday brochures this might be the Costa Blanca but it has a less well-known alternative name – the Orange Blossom Coast which owes its name to the sharp, sweet smell of citrus that hangs in the Spring air.  Spain is Europe’s largest producer of oranges and two-thirds of these little balls of sunshine come from the region around Valencia.  The millions of orange trees are shiny green the year round, clothed in delicate white blossoms in spring and bright orange baubles in the autumn when each tree groans under the burden of some five hundred fruits.

We landed in Alicante in bright sunshine around about lunch time and after a short drive to the urbanisation of Quesada we immediately settled in to local life by finding a bar with some local tapas.  It was good to be in Spain once more.

Tapas Alicante

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

I visited Barcelona in 2005 before I had really heard about or fully appreciated the architecture of Antoni Gaudi so this place came as a real surprise.  On a sightseeing day I was walking along the Passeig de Gràcia part of the Illa de la Discòrdia in the Eixample district of Barcelona and heading for the Casa Milà, which is Gaudi’s most famous creation when across the street I saw the most amazing building that I have ever seen that turned out to be the Casa Batlló, recently restored as a museum and open to the public.

Read the full story…

Portugal, Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte

The plan now was to drive north to the City of Braga and visit the park of Bom Jesus do Monte and although this was only a short journey this wasn’t nearly as straight forward as it should have been.

Tired of paying motorway toll charges I decided to take the old road instead which runs close by and often parallel.  What made this so difficult was the curious system of road signs that the Portuguese have.  One minute you are happily following signs to a destination and then suddenly, usually at a roundabout or busy junction, they simply disappear and taking the right option becomes a bit of a lottery.  It was all too confusing so after only a short while I abandoned the old road and found a way back to the motorway.

Read the full story…