Bern, Switzerland

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bern (did you know that Bern is the capital of Switzerland?) looks like you imagine Switzerland to be.

I am unsure what this sign means. Maybe we should be watching for cats?

The cows all wear bells

The house we stayed in, about 100 years old.
The beautiful garden across the road.

I have loved seeing all the different architecture in each place we've been. Each has its own unique style. I wonder what the Australian style is? I guess more of the low lying single story houses, less apartments and two story houses.

Basel, Switzerland

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The people we were staying with took us mushroom picking not long after we arrived, then made lovely mushroom pasta.
This is a field where you can pick flowers, you just have to put a few dollars in the honesty box.

The view from the flat where we stayed.
We didn't spend all that long in Basel and we only made it into the city centre at night, so there aren't many photos. We did have a lazy afternoon at the local bathhouse having saunas and spas and swimming. Delightful.


Monday, October 18, 2010

The first day we tried to make it into Barcelona was a Spain wide workers strike so we stayed in Badelona on the beach, but everything was back to normal the next day and we made it into the city.
Sagarda Familia - at first I thought that restoration works were underway but as we read more it turns out that the church is still under construction, 128 years after the first works began.

First Paella

Off the main streets are these wonderful winding laneways, you can get lost for days

The courtyard of the Picasso gallery
Roman ruins found below street level

Free tapas with our beer purchase!

Badalona the Frankston of Barcelona

Saturday, October 16, 2010

After Paris turned grey and raining we thought that it might be nice to head to sunny, warm Barcelona. Nick has always wanted to try paella in Spain. We booked a cheap hostel out at the beach, a 29 euro Ryanair flight and off we went. We were staying in a northern suburb of Barcelona, called Badalona, which we quickly worked out was the Frankston of Barcelona. Next to the beach, cheap, and mullet central. Devoid of paella and tapas. In Badalona the locals don't eat pealla so they don't serve it. Turns out that they only serve paella in Barcelona in the tourist areas. Badalona is not normally a tourist area. Oh well, but we did have a nice few days at the beach (and yes I did sunbathe topless). And Badalona is right on the train line, so it was a quick 20min ride into the centre of Barcelona.
The architecture in Barcelona (and Badalona) is amazing. Even the average apartment block will have an interesting design.

Public space areas, however, tend to be devoid of grass, with a few trees around the edges.
The beach was undergoing a little bit of renewal.

Great beach house
Sangria - which had a lot of added sugar
At night all the shop windows (on the ground floor of the apartment buildings) are covered with roller doors. It gave me the feeling that the area wasn't safe, even when the only people we saw were walking their dogs or mums with babies.

Garbage collection is done from a central point, so each street has these rows of bins. It was the same in France, Switzerland and Berlin


Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'd read about the catacombs in Rome in a novel as a kid and always wanted to visit them so when I saw catacombs on the map I had to visit them. The Catacombs are located on the edge of the Latin Quarter, though a nondescript door, down many stairs, way underneath the metro, winding for about 2km.

Nothing prepares you for seeing thousands upon thousands of bones piled higher than me. It's really unsettling and you get the feeling that the whole area is haunted by the people who's rest has been disturbed.

Click on the link to read more about the catacombs.

Fat Tire Bikes - Paris

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We tagged along on a bike tour that our friends had hooked up. I had assumed that the tour would follow the many wonderful bike tracks that surround Paris, but I was wrong. The tour went down the very busy Rue St Germain, sharing the bike lane with buses and taxis - terrifying. Not to mention that the bike was a little too big for me, making it harder to stop. However we did get to see a lot of the city with a very knowledgeable guide. We rode through the grounds of the Louvre at night and ended up on a boat ride with wine. Not bad, but not for the faint hearted.

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