Costa Brava and Barcelona
Toussant (All Saints Day) is celebrated by a long weekend for those working and a ten day vacation for the schools. The French love celebrating their saints and so who is to complain. Toussant, Nov 1 is the day after Halloween when everyone buys hugs plants of fall flowers and visits the graveyards of their ancestors, picnicing, praying, and enjoying the sun. The ancient stone cemeteries are full of life and colored with orange, yellow, purple and bordeaux colored flowers.
Taking advantage of the vacation we headed down to Costa Brava and Barcelona for a few days. Costa Brava is the bay of beaches between the French Border and Barcelona. Roses the largest bay is a grand bay with miles and miles of white sandy beaches. Stretching down the coast further are small bays, beaches, fishing villages and inlets cut between jagged cliffs and expensive homes built on the edge of the coast. Similar to many beautiful places it especially reminded us of the California Northern coastline.
Costa Brava Coastline - beautiful weather in early November
Barcelona is a major economic centre, with one of Europe's principal Mediterranean ports, and its airport is the second largest in Spain. Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona and the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination and has a rich cultural heritage. Particularly renowned are architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (from wikipedia)
For us it was a wonderful city to tour by the doubledecker turistique bus as well as by foot. The beautiful port was amazing with a seven two person sailboats ready to depart for the first Barcelona World Sailboat Race for Two Men (only men went). The boats are sleek and small and I can only imagine what it must be like to be on them for 90 days in a race around the world.
Hitting the acquarium we were impressed with the kids center, huge walkthrough acquarium and the Octupus.
Gaudi was a huge hit and a must see. Even though I visited Barcelona last year with my two girlfriends (see May 2006) it's a great city that can be revisited and explored for days if not weeks.