Continuation of the trip to Barcelona (here) and to Girona (here) and to Figueres (here)
Date: Sunday Sept 10th & 11th
Place: Girona toward Taragona
The heavens banished the clouds , concluded their major wet dumping, and let the sun shine again, embracing the earthlings below. with its bright cob rays.
An early morning walk on Girona's 14thc fortified walls, and once again climbing endless steps throughout its narrow steep alleys, made it a bit easier to depart this enchanting town, and move on down South the Spanish Mediterranean coast toward Tarragona.
David and I had some negotiations regarding the attraction spots we should stop and visit on the way.
I suggested places below Barcelona like:
"VilaFranca del Penedes" - Catalln Caava/Wine Culture
VilaFranca del Penedes a capital of commerce situated on the main axis of communication from Barcelona to Tarragona and Valencia.
The most traditional and important wine region in Catalonia originated from the early 12th century.
It is a home to Comtes-Reis Royal Palace, a building dated from the 12th-13th centuries where King Pere the Great died in 1285.
The architecture of other villas is beautiful.
Alas, as it was Sunday, and the Spaniards could not care less, about especially visiting tourists to the area, all the local Wineries, which usually offer during the week-days Caava and wine tasting, were closed, as were closed other buildings.
So we just wondered around a bit in the old center, and then continue on our way.
*Stiges"- a coastal town in Spain's Catalonia region, southwest of Barcelona
Stiges is Known for its Mediterranean beaches, seafront promenade lined with grand mansions. The Maricel Museum and Cau Ferrat Museum showcase Catalan and other Spanish art.
A gateway to the Costa Dorada, a resort destination with 5 miles of sandy beach
Calafell ,once an old fishing village, is considered one of today's fashionable
resorts on the coast of Costa Blanca, with beautiful stretching sandy beaches.
It also offers an old quarter, Iberian Citadell, medieval castle and Romanesque church. (more)
What David wanted to do is just to get directly to the beach...
So we compromised on visiting first in VillaFranca, the one surrounded by beautiful vineyards scenery, but on Sunday all was closed, so it was decided to go straight to Taragona .to find an hotel for the night stay.
We didn't make it to Taragona that afternoon, since when we drove through the town mid afternoon, David got excited by Calafell's open sandy beach strip, and especially when encountering the Grand Meridian Hotel Spa, situated right on the beach front
So we decided to immediately check into it, as well as had diner there.
Le Méridien Ra Beach Hotel & Spa
The classic seafront building, originally built in 1929 by the Sant Joan de Deu Order, was converted into a luxury hotel in 2004.
At the Hotel’s garden on display are few of Salvador Dali’s typical whimsical impressive statues.
Wondering the towns' authentic low-key shopping streets, right off the beach strip, this late Sunday, was a joyful experience. It was packed by only local Spanish visitors, strolling along with their large families or hanging around at the local modest restaurants and bars.
The weather was perfect for a sea-side stay, and we loved the La Meridian Ra Hotel- a thus we decided to extend our stay for an additional night.
To be Continued....
"Taragona" - UNESCO Heritage town
Monday Sept 11 - On the Catalans
9/11 Catalonia's National Holiday.
We were lucky to get an hotel room during this long Holiday weekend.
Nine Eleven (9/11) is not only a World Trade Center crush date, but also the official date on which Catalonia National Holiday is being celebrated all day long. It commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession
The holiday was first celebrated on 11 September 1886, then was suppressed by the Franco dictatorship in 1939 and reinstated in 1980 by the autonomous government of Catalonia, upon its restoration after the Franco dictatorship.
Congregating in public spaces, marching in the streets, dining, drinking and forming an acrobatic human pyramids, is how the festival day's tradition is being celebrated.
Catalans are Romance ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia, who form a nationality in northern Spain and are recognized as a "nationality”. They enjoy a high degree of political autonomy, leading to reinforcement of a Catalan identity. Due to the continued identification with a distinct identity, many Catalans support Catalan nationalism or Catalan independentism in Spain.
The traditional religion in Catalonia is Roman Catholicism.
The total number of Catalan speakers is over 9.8 million (2011), with 5.9 million residing in Catalonia.
The Catalan language is a Romance language. It is the language closest to Occitan, and it also shares many features with other Western Romance languages such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Aragonese.
Historically the people are a mix of Iberians , Phinichians, Carthaginians and Romans. Rome established Latin as the official language and imparted a distinctly Roman culture upon the local population. In later conquests the Roman colonists were invaded by a mix of German tribes, Visigoths, Muslims, Berbers and Francs. Because of their intertwining history, much of the traditional symbols of Catalonia coincide with Aragon.
This year Hundreds of thousands gather to mark Catalan national day . Marches held ahead of referendum on break from Spain that could throw country into crisis
Tuesday Set 12 : From the Dourada Cost to Costa Blanka-Valencia
2 km away from were we stayed in Calafell, when driving South toward Tarragona, the beautiful villa of this Cataln world famous Cellist/composer/conductor and peace activist-Pavlo Casals is encountered.
The villa, now a museum to his tribute, is situated right on the beach front promenade in a town named San Salvador, and is definitely worth a visit.
Pau Casals museum San Salvador
Av. Palfuriana, 67, 43880 Sant Salvador,
The villa, which was originally conceived in 1910 as a summer house, was reformed by the architect Antoni Puig i Gairalt between 1931 and 1936, together with the Music Room, the garden and the belvedere. Pau Casals lived here until 1939, when he was forced to go into exile, never to return again.
Pau Casals and his wife Marta Montañez created the Pau Casals Foundation in 1972 for the purpose of preserving the great musician's patrimony at the house. In 1974, one year after the Maestro's death, the Hall of Sentiment, the Concert Hall and the Vigatà Hall were opened to the public, and in 1976 the house was inaugurated as a museum.
With the car full of luggage we didn’t feel like stopping on the way and drove straight South arriving late afternoon to Valencia