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Archive for March, 2002

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Saturday, March 30th, 2002


From Avignon we took a train southeast to Nice on the Mediterranean and stayed there in a virtual apartment in the Hotel Constadt a block from the water. Spent most of the two days basking in the sun…with a few topless sun-worshippers…people watching on the Promenade…peaceful at this time of year…the sky filled with colorful kites.

Avignon France

Thursday, March 28th, 2002


Took the train from Barcelona to Avignon in the Provence area in the south of France. Stayed at Hotel Mignon on rue Joseph-Vernet. Cute little French hotel room but the smallest loo yet! Sitting on the stool, you find your knees sticking out the door!

We tried to eat at Christian Etienne’s famous restaurant so I could report to Josh but they were full up. They referred us to another restaurant with a respected chef, the Piedoie where we had a wonderful dinner at half the price.

At another fine restaurant a woman had her dog sitting on her lap during the meal. Must be acceptable in France.

Avignon is an old Roman city with narrow winding streets and is entirely enclosed by ancient Roman walls. The highlight is the Palace of the Popes-so called because the Vatican moved it’s center from Rome to Avignon for a time. Attached to the Palace is the Church of Notre Dame. Bob went to Easter mass there the morning we left. Capturing some of the incredible music on the camcorder, he reported that the chief celebrant was a cardinal…if a big red hat means anything.

In the 14th century, this city in the South of France was the seat of the papacy. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress lavishly decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giovanetti, dominates the city, the surrounding ramparts and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the Rhone. Beneath this outstanding example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Romanesque Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by Avignon in 14th-century Christian Europe. Avignon is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Barri Gotic Barcelona

Monday, March 25th, 2002
In Barcelona we stayed in the Lower Barri Gotic area at Hotel Peninsular at Carrer Sant Pau, 34. Two single beds; sink; window opens into central court; very clean and nice bathroom and shower down the hall; towels, ... [Continue reading this entry]

The New Young Brits

Saturday, March 23rd, 2002
In the train, before crawling into my compartment, I stood out in the hall and had a great conversation with a bright energetic young Brit (Richard) attending Cambridge. He had been traveling by himself on college break all ... [Continue reading this entry]

9/11 & Two Muslims

Saturday, March 23rd, 2002
The next day, we spent the day in Marrakech waiting for our favorite night train back to Tangiers. I spent all afternoon at the Ali Hotel Internet Cafe while Bob went out walking through the city again. Ate dinner at ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Atlas Mountains

Thursday, March 21st, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172104421567.gif We took an excursion trip south and east past incredible green terraced fields and old Berber kasbahs (ancient Moroccan self-contained communities made out of the rust colored mud of the countryside)-seemingly idyllic-to the Atlas ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pink And Tent-like Marrakech

Wednesday, March 20th, 2002
Founded in 1070–72 by the Almoravids, the Medina of Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural centre for a long period. Its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. It has several impressive monuments ... [Continue reading this entry]

Night Train To Marrakech

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172104421567.gif The night train to Marrakech really gave us an opportunity to stretch our cultural boundaries! You have a 9 foot by 9 foot compartment with three "beds" or platforms on each side with ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tangier $40 Taxi Ride

Tuesday, March 19th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172104421567.gif I think it is more difficult to ignore your own cultural filters when in a country similar to yours-for example-Europe as to America. There is a tendency to want to think that everything about ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, March 12th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif From Seville we took a bus to Algeciras on the south coast of Spain and saw hundreds of windmills that reminded Bob of Don Quijote. In Algeciras we took the ferry to Tangier. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Seville Spain

Monday, March 11th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif In Seville, found a charming pension-the Hospedaje Monreal at Calle Rodrigo Caro, in Barria de Santa Cruz-about a block from the cathedral right in the middle of maze-like Barrio Santa Cruz with its hundreds ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lagos, Portugal

Sunday, March 10th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif Bob was hell-bent on going to Lagos, a resort area on the south coast of Portugal thinking it would be a nice break from the cold wind and one and two star hotel rooms. ... [Continue reading this entry]

European Popular Culture

Saturday, March 9th, 2002
Most days in Europe you would see at least once a wonderful display of affection between two young people-playful and sensuous-mostly kissing-but never offensive. And then they walk on as if nothing had happened. Bob finds it uncomfortable...but no ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, March 9th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif Roosters are symbols of Portuguese culture so we felt that it was appropriate that after staying one night in a boring part of Lisbon, Portugal in a hotel room offered to us by a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Spanish Trains

Friday, March 8th, 2002
Spanish trains have compartments with room for six people. Luckily ours had two young Swiss girls that we recruited, a young guy from Japan that was studying Spanish in Salamanca for a few months but going to Portugal for ... [Continue reading this entry]

Salamanca Spain

Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
I just walked out of the jaw-dropping Cathedral in the beautiful old city of Salamanca a few minutes ago. Made Notre Dame in Paris look pretty tame. And there are several cathedrals in Salamanca! The city, named ... [Continue reading this entry]

Through Others’ Eyes

Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
In the hotel in Paris at breakfast one morning. I struck up a conversation with a woman that wasn't speaking French to the waiter and she had avoided talking to me. I guessed that she might be English ... [Continue reading this entry]

Bayonne & Biarritz

Friday, March 1st, 2002
knQlFSdvbI6pWFyrlGKiaM-2006172134815236.gif Bayonne is a beautiful Basque town in the south of France. I would not be surprised if the movie "Chocolat" was made here. We were told that Bayonne had almost a hundred chocolate ... [Continue reading this entry]