Barcelona..Travellin’ with the Penguin

Sunday 19th May

This morning I met Glynnis, ftom Perth, who was at breakfast and participating in our small tour. Our meeting drinks are tonight when we meet the others and the guide.

I woke at 4:00 am as young people poured out of clubs, drunk,  singing sporting songs as loud as they could, fully lubed. Sporting songs sound the same in any language.

I fell asleep very early last night and felt rested. Once it got light, around 5:45 I walked around the block and took photos. Several people with their well oiled mates stopped and posed for me. It was very funny.

After breakfast my Florida friend and my new friend, Glynnis and I set out to explore Las Ramblas street. A popular tourist destination. We walked a long ways down the street until we hit water. Overall I walked 10 kms today. I will leave you with some of the photos.

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Markets, families, tourists, balloons
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Colourful cafes
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Art and statues
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Street entertainer, Don Quixote
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Penguin and I share a beer.
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When Mr P and I travel I always take a photo of his first beer of the trip. He’s home with pets so I had to do it for him. Here’s to Mr Penguin.

 

Have Arrived in Barcelona

Those who live in Australia will understand the no man’s land that is “travelling to Europe”. One hour from Hobart to Melbourne, 14 hours to Abu Dhabi, a couple more airport hours then seven hours to Barcelona. It does seem never ending but I did watch three movies, read some of The Joy Luck Club and dozed a bit.

My bags stayed right with me and Penguin jumped out completely unscathed.

I met up with my Florida friend who arrived a couple of hours after I did and waited in my room while the hotel got her room ready.

We were a bit hungry so walked across the street and found a nice bakery with beautiful pastries, sandwiches and pizza. They also had nice coffee. It feels like it should be midnight but is only around noon.

Next door to the bakery is a beautiful book store. We noticed it immediately. No flies onnus. We headed straight into it. Too tired and flaky to notice the name of it but we are in this hotel until Wednesday so might remember to look at it. Our tour group of no more than 20 people begins Sunday night with a welcome drink. I’m having fun teasing my American friend who joined us from Florida who will be amongst all the Australians.

I will put photos at the end of my posts as I’m using my tablet and it doesn’t seem possible to configure images. You might have giant images with little writing. Here are a couple of photos.

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The camera bag and home for Penguin are ready
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Hobart airport
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Leaving Abu Dhabi
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The beautiful little journals I found in the book store. Penguin got right onto them.
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Yes, this photo is fuzzy. It’s how we are seeing things at the moment.

Don’t believe all those glossy, glorious photos you see of people travelling on Instagram. The reality is not that fresh. Until later…

A Day Spent in the Cemetery

thumbnail-14I have a friend who I spend time with once a week taking time out to draw.  Neither of us have a great deal of drawing experience and although I feel I draw on the level of a five or six year old I really have fun doing it. So if people think it’s ridiculous, who gives a flying ……fox?

Yesterday my friend chose the venue of the large Hobart cemetery in Cornelian Bay. We arrived with our coloured pencils and pens and went to an old section of the cemetery.  We knew we would perch on the edge of a grave so we chose older ones as we didn’t think anyone would arrive to visit.  There must be several hundred thousand graves in this place.

Nobody was around. We did notice a service going on in the chapel but that was on the other side of this very huge landmass of graves.  There are bushrangers buried in this cemetery from the 1800’s. As we drove around we looked at the various areas and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the place. thumbnail-3

We spent quite a bit of time looking at the beautiful pots that were cemented in place on many graves. The ceramics and designs are quite old and beautiful.  I should have photographed those but I wasn’t thinking at the time I would write a post about this.

My friend chose a place to sit down and then I walked a bit away from her and chose my own spot. If we sit too close to each other we talk and don’t get any drawing done.

We never would have made it in the same school classes as young people.

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This grave had two hens and a rooster on it.

I found a grave marked George xxxxx, (I won’t reveal last names) who died in 1943. He was alone with no other family stones around so I perched on the edge of his grave and told George I was going to spend some time with him.

I recently found this book of drawing faces at Amazon when I was browsing and thought it would be fun to have a go at some of these.  Once it arrived I fell in love with the book. It is full of whimsical and unusual faces, bright colours and heaps of directions for drawing faces.  I haven’t had time to really read it so while sitting there with George, I began to read the first chapter. thumbnail-6

I then proceeded to sketch out my first face.  The only sound was the birds and the pencils scratching on paper. I could raise my head and look out over the river and the autumn colours.

Then a small car drove by. It turned around and drove by again. I said to George, “Hey, what do you think they think if they see me sitting here with you drawing.” Of course he didn’t reply but I thought he must enjoy having a bit of company.

The car turned around once more and stopped. Right in the line of sight of a monument my friend was sketching. The car blocked her view. I looked back at her and she had put her pastels down and was waiting.

thumbnail-4.jpegWas someone going to jump out and tell us to get the hell out of the cemetery or wonder what we were doing?  Two women in their 60’s can’t be that threatening armed only with coloured pencils and chalk.

Then an elderly man got out and walked towards me. Just when I was getting ready to pack up and move away he stopped at the grave next to me.  He started pulling weeds. He straightened the flowers in a jar. He paused to reflect.  I put my head down and kept sketching pretending I didn’t see him.

He looked over and smiled.  I stood up and handed him a silk rose I had picked up that was unattended on a walking path. I was going to leave it for George but instead gave it to him.  He thanked me, put it in the jar and said, “Oh, that looks better.”

He then walked back to the car but said to me before he left, “Bye now, I have others still to visit” and he got in the car and the woman driving put the car in gear and they left. thumbnail-13

We didn’t see anyone else for the rest of the afternoon. My friend and I both looked at each other and laughed. All we could think of was, “for heaven’s sakes, there are a million graves and he visits the one next to us. What are the chances?” and burst out laughing.

Next time I’ll get the Penguin off the page and take him along. I think he might like that kind of humour.

 

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Weekend Wander – April

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My view when I got up.

When I woke up the other day I looked out the window and saw sun, bright leaves and no wind. As I am off to Spain, Portugal and Morocco in three weeks time with two girlfriends I thought I’d better get a bit fit. We are on a small tour (with our own rooms so we’ll continue to be friends) and the tour company requires one is able to walk at leasts three kms on cobblestone and up and down stairs. I got dressed, grabbed my camera and decided this was another walking day. I’ve had quite a few of these over the past couple of months.

I had Mr. Penguin drop me off in South Hobart which is only three kms down the road and I decided to head into the city, another three to four kms to the centre. I needed a plan. Elizabeth Street runs north and south through Hobart. I decided once in the city, I’d head straight up this street into North Hobart. It is a slow incline uphill as one walks, enough to get your heart rate up and the next task was to plan my destination. There is a Cat Cafe in North Hobart and I thought I would go there and get some toast and have a coffee to reward myself. Off I went. This is the walk.

 

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I began the journey at the top of MacQuarie Street and headed into the city.
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Once in the city I sat in the Elizabeth Mall and practised a bit of street photography. I do enjoy watching people. This woman had her husband under control and following her without argument.

 

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I liked the shop front signs as the woman seemed to ponder the 3INA Makeup 
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On the north end of the Mall I headed towards North Hobart in the distance.
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I thought I should look up once in awhile. When in cities we tend not to see what is above us. Hobart has some lovely old architecture if one just stops and bothers to look at it. 
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Here is another building that will be 100 years old next year.  
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As I walked along this fenced in churchyard an older man came up to me and stopped. I thought he would ask for directions. I stopped and looked at him. I enjoy talking to people on the street. He smiled and said, “If you ask for sustenance, it will come.” I said, “Yea, you’re probably right.” He smiled and walked on. That’s what I love about walking. 
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I arrived at the Cat Cafe and they were closed. I guess they are taking Easter week off as so many people are doing. I squatted down and took photos of the cats through the window. They all looked fat and happy. 
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Farther on there is a corner restaurant that has all day breakfast. I sat outside and noticed how many dogs were sitting quietly under tables. There were more dogs than prams which always makes me happy. This collie was attentive to a Rottweiler puppy across the way who was chewing on everything he could find under the picnic table while the two women above chatted quite happily. When he started eating the dirt out of a pot plant they intervened. 
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This couple on the left intrigued me. I would guess newly dating. He talked and talked and talked and talked some more. They were dressed in very trendy clothes and have their whole life in front of them. I kept thinking though I wanted to tell the young woman to get up and leave and don’t look back because he had no interest whatsoever in anything she had to say. I think I saw her open her mouth once.  When I went to pay for my coffee, eggs and toast he was still talking. It was definitely all about him today. 
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Now, This guy has a bit of a story. In the Mercury Newspaper there is a classified ad that makes absolutely no sense published several times a week. It is always :Attention- Croatian Name. It mentions something that happened in the 1990’s but is not coherent and monetary figures are involved. It’s like a secret code you’d see in those British crime dramas. He walked past me, stopped turned around and handed me a note. It was a classified ad he had photocopied of the ones seen in our newspaper each day. His English was bad as he explained it to me. I smiled and thanked him for it and he walked on. When I got home, I showed it to Mr. Penguin and he said, “Oh that guy is nuts. He’s in the paper, blah blah blah”. I googled his name and there is an actual facebook posts with more than 1000 followers of people who are trying to decode the messages. People photograph the ads and then between them try to work out what they mean.  I thought, “Wow, a Hobart underbelly.” I followed him down the street and he cut off the main road and went around the back of a pub and disappeared.  I won’t put this photo on the FB page as they have enough to talk about. 
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This is the coded message he handed me. Any thoughts?

I then headed back into the city and turned up the hill towards South Hobart to wait for the next bus home.

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8 kms under our belt today.

 

A Bit More About the Sailing Vessel I Wrote of Yesterday

thumbnail-6I had some interest by some to know more about the boat trip I wrote about yesterday on the Huon River in Tasmania.

I found the brochure from Yukon Tours this morning and thought I would share the information from it with you.  Just a short post.

thumbnail-7The blurb on the back of the brochure describes the boat as this:

Built of Oak in 1930 the privately owned Danish sailing vessel Yukon was rescued in 1997, by Australian shipwright David Nash and his Danish wife Ea Lassen, from the bottom of a harbour near Copenhagen and carefully restored Yukon is available for private and corporate group bookings, accommodating 8 overnight and 28 day guests The crew are ask experienced sailors. They always aim to give you a joyful and safe adventure.thumbnail-5

All Photos are taken from Yukon Tours Brochure.

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Remember to take your camera.

Tasmania Huon Valley Yukon Tours – A Great Day Out for a Saturday Wander

On the 30th of March two of my friends and I decided to have a ‘local’ adventure and drive down to the small town of Franklin in the Huon Valley to do an afternoon tour on a small ship that goes up and down the river.

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We had just boarded and this is the view to shore.
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This is the three of us on our Girl’s Day Out. Patricia in the back ground with the glam hair, my 90 year old friend Betty and myself keeping them all in order. You can see the containers the food was in.

We were on the water for about 2.5 hours and enjoyed a brilliant day out of sunshine, mild breezes and the best food. All of the food and wine is produced in the local Huon Valley. We had locally smoked pork (the meat eaters amongst us), salad, pickled onion and radish type treats as well as the best local cheese and home baked bread one could ask for.  The food was served to each of us in, what I can only describe as a small horse trough shaped container.  It was very clever. Everything was packaged up and was a great deal of fun to explore. We found too many goodies to eat to remember. We were busy gnawing our way through it all.

3N3A7304 copyTasmanian wines were sampled as well but as I was driving so my sampling ability was rather limited.  The guy up front told us a bit about the boat.

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I have been practising getting sun stars and was very happy photographing this one.

I think the photos will speak for themselves as to how much fun we had.  It was a wonderful Saturday Wander.

 

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There is a lot of work to keep these boats going. This one has been completely restored and began its life in Scandinavian regions. It was sailed for I believe they said 7 years and once they found Tasmania, they went no farther.

 

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I’m happy they knew what they were doing. I am not a boat person so am really hopeless. 
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We sailed past local paddocks and sheds. Such a gorgeous day but you can see how dry it has been here. We still need rain.
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Dessert finished us off with a custard type dessert and local fresh berries. So good.
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Our hosts were wonderful and I can vouch for them, they never stopped giving us wonderful things and they never stop smiling. 

Until Next Time…..

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I stayed home and worked in the garden. Someone has to do it. Girl’s Day Out. Yeah, Right.

A Couple of Wednesday Notes

Snip-it_1555461772981A friend and I had a fun time at the book launch last week of political cartoonist Jon Kudelka and writer Jim Jeffrey’s book. Mike Bowers, Guardian Australia photographer also came along and facilitated the conversation. The three kept us entertained about their adventures with parliamentarians in Canberra. Their little book is called The Wonks’ Dictionary. This book is very much for Australians as the federal election has been called for the 18th of May. It was an enjoyable evening as they related tales of the Ausssie pollies we all love to make fun of. The jokes about Michaelia Cash’s hair in windy interviews had many wonderful chuckles. It never moves. I won’t even mention the pages they read about Eric Abetz. Let it suffice there were snorts and chortles.

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Another note is our book group read and discussed The Everlasting Sunday by Robert Lukins. This story of the English blizzard of 1962 involved teen boys who were placed at a school/home for “boys who trouble had found”. The reader senses an ominous start to this book from the beginning. The combination of the personalities, leadership of the school and the ongoing blizzard made me a bit on edge. At first I couldn’t adjust to the writing style but others in the group weren’t bothered by it. Too many adjectives and “try hard” descriptors for my taste but I thought the second half of the book was much better. Members disagreed widely on this novel that is the author’s debut and up for several awards. Some loved it, one wanted her money back. I liked the concept for the story. It held my attention and I worried about a couple of the boys. However there was one girl character the group all thought had not been developed enough and we wondered why she was included. A couple of the characters were developed well while others weren’t so much and the inconsistency bothered a couple of our members, myself included. I thought it quite a good book as a debut and would read more by this author. His previous works have been short stories in several literary magazines. I thought the novel began like a bit of a short story that got away from him but settled down into a novel again. I could feel the transition.

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I continue to peruse photography books and magazines in anticipation of my trip in May. The latest one being Why You Like This Photo by Brian Dilg. It opens with a lovely quote by Werner Heisenberg:

“Nobody sees a flower-really-it is so small it takes time-we haven’t time-and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

received_344353279619767Until next time.