30.10.2011 - 04.11.2011 18 °C
Saturday, November 5th
We are sitting in Gregorio´s apartment, eleven floors in the air, looking out at an uninterrupted view of the Mediterranean, with Gibraltar large in the distance. Well, actually, I´m obviously looking at the computer, although I am sitting right next to the window. Everyone else is watching Phineas and Ferb. It has been raining more or less the entire time we have been in Torreguadiaro, enforcing a long rest period quite unlike the last many weeks. But it´s been nice to have a good rest and change of pace, and not to have to think about where we are going to stay next, or how we are going to get there. We are chilling. We´ve had heaps of rain, a spectacular thunderstorm, and a baptismal party at the restaurant next door that started at 9PM, with a spectacular fireworks display literally right outside our window at 4:30AM, featured loud music and singing until 5:30AM, and ended about 6:30AM. It was cool. We have been enjoying very short walks outside, mostly to Cafe Leila and Mi Punto (the small local grocery store), and hanging out with Lourdes, Huseyn, Firoz, Mariam, and Nadia. Firoz is enjoying a week off school, and the girls are both walking and specializing in being adorable.
On Monday, we will go to Malaga to begin our 13 day Royal Caribbean cruise, ending with four days in Puerto Rico, and arriving home late November.
I´ve put together some of the videos we´ve taken during our trip. They´re generally all quite short. They´re more or less in chronological order. One of my favourites is the "Call to Prayer, Selcuk" near the top.
wild boar, Dusseldorf
We went to the Wild Park in Dusseldorf with Uncle Nizar. The wild boars were quite medieval looking - all bristles and tusks. They particularly liked to eat spaghetti. They had a large "herd" of deer as well which were quite tame and ate oatmeal out of our hands.
Jorvik Viking Experience, Chester
Alternate Jorvik video.
Chester was a great town to visit. It was a good place to walk around and admire the "Ye Olde English" town atmosphere. Even without the atmosphere, Chester would be worth a visit just for the Jorvik Viking Experience. This video shows the one "ride" that takes you through a recreation of the town, with animatronic villagers. Our favourite villager was the very last one, who had an authentic smell to go with his sound effects.
Topkapi Palace band, Istanbul
The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is a magnificent Ottoman Palace, now a popular tourist attraction. This presumably traditional band was playing.
Sulemanye Mosque interior, Istanbul
It´s so hard to capture accurately in words the look of the interior of the mosques in Istanbul. Alison recorded this view.
Blue Mosque interior, Istanbul
The interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Rustem Paşa mosque interior, Istanbul
The Rustem Paşa mosque is not nearly as well known as the Blue Mosque or the Suleymaniye Mosque. Susan had been there with Angela on her first trip to Istanbul. This time, we had a spot of trouble finding our way in, but we enjoyed watching some urban football take place in the alley containing the entrance we knew about. The entrance concealed behind the cafe was more popular.
call to prayer, Selcuk
One of the best parts of being in Turkey was hearing the call to prayer many times a day. It was really very beautiful. This is the call to prayer at a local mosque in Selcuk, opposite the train station.
call to prayer, rooftop restaurant with Mehmet, Istanbul
In Istanbul, we had lunch with Mehmet on a rooftop patio. It had a spectacular view of the Blue Mosque. While we were there, we heard the call to prayer.
Boat trip, Bodrum
A small slice of our amazing boat trip in Bodrum. We loved our day on the boat, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who visits Bodrum. It wasn´t just a ¨foreigner¨tourist activity either, as there were plenty of Turkish tourists aboard. Plus, it was the cheapest boat trip of any we saw along the coastal part of our trip.
boat with music coming to harbour, Cesme
This is one of the boats in Cesme that take people on day trips. We considered going, but eventually decided to enjoy a day at the beach instead. They were playing some extremely loud, very soul stirring music as they came into the harbour.
changing of the guard, Presidential Palace, Athens
The Presidential Palace in Athens fronts onto Syntagma Square. Once an hour, they change the guard. It's a bit weirder than the Buckingham Palace version.
rain in hotel courtyard, Trani
Well, this is a bit of a weird thing to video, I admit. It´s just that it was such a heavy rain, and the very first rain since we had been in England. We had been absolutely soaked the previous day, coming back on the train from Barletta.
a capella Klapa singers, Diocletian's Palace, Split
This traditional Klapa group was one of several based in Diocletian´s Palace in Split. They had an excellent acoustic space.
sea organ, Zadar
The sea organ in Zadar was so cool. It was a very spiritual experience, watching the sunset and listening to the otherworldy sound of the organ. To get a feel for it, turn the volume and the subwoofer up, then sit near the subwoofer.
greet the sun, Zadar
The Greet the Sun installation is right next to the Sea Organ in Zadar. It stores solar energy during the day and lights up at night. It was cool, but lost a bit of its lustre by being right next to the even cooler Sea Organ.
view from Campanile, Venice
The view of Venice from the top of the Campanile in St. Mark´s Square is spectacular. Here, we recorded the ringing of the bell to mark the hour. The two ´´Moor´´ were not originally known as such, but gained that appelation as the colour of the sculptures darkened with age.
bell ringing in Campanile, Venice
There is a large bell at the top of the campanile in St. Mark's Square in Venice. At noon, the bell rings. We just happened to be up there at the right time. It was LOUD.
Alison relates story about column, Venice
In Venice, one of the columns on the exterior of the Doge's Palace has elements which tell a tragic story. Alison relates the story.
russian singers in cathedral, Carcassonne
We enjoyed listening to these Russian singers in the cathedral in Carcassonne, a mostly Romanesque structure. They reminded us of the Klapa singers in Split, a significant difference being that the Klapa singers were in their traditional habitat, whereas these Russian singers were a long way from home. Still, we enjoyed them sufficently that we bought the album.
latin beats band, Carcassonne
Clearly, this type of band isn´t likely to be traditional to the area of Carcassonne, but it was fun!
view of Toledo from bridge
Coming towards the old part of Toledo from the train station, you get a very impressive view of the city. This is what we saw from the bridge crossing the river that curves around the city.
Place Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech
I tried to capture a bit of the atmosphere of Place Jemaa el Fnaa at night. It´s busy, loud, and chaotic.