What I enjoy in travelling by car is the real freedom you have: no timetables, no tight schedule, no preset stops and so on. For me riding in a car with a map and a camera on my knees and my husband as a driver is one of the best ways to spend several hours.
Driving in Europe for us is also quite interesting as it differs a lot from driving in Russia at least because life in countryside there is organized differently. So every ride is a discovery.
In this post I want to show some pictures that were made on our way to Graz from Vienna. We used navigation program in mobile phone for it and switched the highways off, so we could ride through small towns. I should say a couple of times it was quite funny. The first time we appeared on a unpaved road through some corn field and the second one we drove on top of a small hill to someone’s house. Behind the house there was no road, just a field, but the navigation said “drive straight”. We decided that we’d had enough and turned the highways on. In half an hour were we in Graz. Though it took us about 5 hours to cover the distance we were pleased with the ride.
As I started the medieval theme in the previous post, I’ll keep to it in this one too and will tell about Besalu:) It is famous for Roman bridge – this is how I found that place of interest. So one day we started from Barcelona towards that small town.
On our way we passed by a town called Olot, that seemed to be preparing for a celebration. This town is also very nice, so if unlike us you’ll have a chance to take a walk there don’t miss it.
To our great pleasure the bridge is not the only interesting place in Besalu. And as we didn’t have the plan, finding the place we came to see was not that easy.
Cardona castle was not a planned destination at all. We were on our way to Andorra actually. But we didn’t want to drive along paid road – roads are fine in Catalonia and higher speed limit is what we can live without.
So we started from Barcelona and some time later were on a C-55 road. We were enjoying the small towns we were passing by, the nature, the road. And then, I turned my head to the left and saw an amazing really old castle standing on a hill. And to my surprise it looked so good and was far from being ruins. I told my husband and he was fascinated too. And to our luck a minute later we saw a sign “Cardona” indicating the right turn from C-55. Of course we didn’t miss the chance to explore the castle and find out some facts from it’s history.
When we are traveling to a new city we like just to take a walk around and not only visiting some places of interest. I’m not saying that we always get away from the popular tourist routes, but what we do is trying to avoid the crowd – that’s for sure. Besides, we often chose directions like this: “See that sidewalk? Looks nice. Shall we take a look?”
That is how we found some quite nice yards in Vienna. What I like about them is that you almost for sure can find a quiet cafe there, or some organization, or both. In one of the yards we even found a university building!
So here are just a few pictures of yards in Vienna.
There are a lot of opportunities to look at the city from height, and it’s a lovely experience when you visit a new city. In Vienna we chose the most difficult way to do that – climbing one of the towers of St. Stephan’s Cathedral.
This is the story of how we did that and what we saw at 67 meters. Join me, it will be easy.
Vienna has a lot of beautiful parks and during quite a hot spring day of exploring the city several times we found ourselves in the refreshing shadows of trees. That is why in my mind Vienna lives also as a very green city. The only other city that can enter a competition is Barcelona, but it’s anyway different.
The day of our visit was a weekend, so a lot of people enjoyed their time on green lawns and benches. Have a look at some Vienna’s parks with me.
We visited Vienna in May – it was the first point of the “European circle” we made. Making photos is quick and easy, but looking through them, sorting and organizing is not. So only now do I start sharing them.
When I looked through the photos of Vienna, I went through a lot of photos of roses. And there’s a reason for that: Austrian capital seems to be the most flower city we have visited so far. Even flower shops attracted our attention a lot: they are quite big and offer a large variety of flowers. And some of them occupy quite a lot of place in the street in front of the entrance.
But the best flower experience was in the Volksgarten (i.e. People’s garden). It is located right in front of the parliament, across the road, and has such a great variety of roses that I was amused and tried to photograph every rose bush withing available distance.
In the photo below is part of Volksgarten itself. To the right behind the chairs are roses. And by the way, old local ladies like to sit on these chairs and have a chat with friends. That’s lovely:)
It’s been a while since my last post and during my absence from online I had a lovely vacation in Spain.
I was in Catalonia, in Barcelona. And as we normally can’t stay only in one place for a long time, we explored the surrounding areas of the city…and areas that are not so close to it too.
We spend several days solely in the city, with a normal tourist program of visiting the well known places: Sograda Familia, Park Guel, La Rambla, La Bocqeria. Don’t forget laying on the beach – it was a seaside holiday after all – I came for the sun and blue salty water:) I love the sea and lately I have been swimming only in seas – so all summer I wait for vacation to bathe in the sea waters.
After a while we took a car and enjoyed the beaches of Costa Brava in a town called Blanes, and later found ourselves at a strange half-nudist beach of Costa Dourada in the city of Terragona.
We navigated by paper maps only as the phone navigation refused to work – now I can surely call myself a good navigator. I managed to set our way to a tiny, but incredibly beautiful medieval Besalu, where one of the shops blew my mind with leather notebooks and ink&feather sets on the shelves. We also drew through big, lovely Olot, decorated in colorful flags and the other day visited Girona.
We drove 3 hours to Montserrat – this is where I should call myself a bad navigator, disliked it’s all new buildings and crowds of tourists. Then wasted a day in Andorra-la-Vella where the only possible activity in summer is shopping and the city itself is nothing special. But we were paid off by an amazing surprise the road offered – the Cardona Castle – 9th century caste which as we found out there was one of the last places to surrender in the war of 1714 and one of the main points of defense of Barcelona.
And finally we had a lovely excursion to Catalonian Government, Parliament and Barcelona City Hall on the Catalonia Day (11th of September). As a final surprise of the day we met 2 nice ladies that took part in the Independence march and took some photos after a small talk about the day.
Today my husband and I had a little walk in the centre of Moscow. Honestly I didn’t think we would find something interesting, but took my camera nevertheless, just in case.
And after all we turned to a side walk and found an incredible place. But it was not that astonishment you get from some breathtakingly beautiful places. No, instead it was like misunderstanding of how this lace could be in the centre of Moscow. And more over, how people could be living there…
This is the view from the side walk. The coloured building in front looks nice, but the one behind it…
One of the reasons we drove to Santander was seeing the ocean. To be exact there is the bay of Biscay. And there is also the Bay of Santander, where I shot yachts sailing.
In the end Santander turned to be one of the best places in Spain for us, a place I want to return to.
Here are the pictures of the beach in Santander and the bay of Biscay. Note that it’s the 9th of April! I could never fully believe one can swim in the ocean on 9th of April before that. Though I know of course that it’s possible is some places of our planet…