Friday, 13 March 2015

Some snow, some sunshine

It would appear North America has stolen Norway's snow this year :). I keep getting complaints from Boston about too much snow, while here the white is disappearing fast. Not before I managed to make a bit of good use of what powder we did have though!

Given the lack of ice on the footpaths and only the leftover grit to be cleared, I think this is a good time to consider the snowboarding season over. This year I seem to have dealt exclusively in weekends, rather than single days or evenings on the slopes. Not a bad thing. The last month saw a bunch of us head off to Sälen in Sweden for a couple of days and then more recently to tried and tested Trysil for (what is for me) a super long 4 days of downhill!

The awesome thing with these last two trips was that a few friends had decided to learn how to snowboard, and had even attended a course before hand! So I now had snowboarding buddies down the slopes! This, somehow, helped me improve my own skills no end! So, short as it was, this snow season has been extremely enjoyable. :)

And in between all that, there was the trip to Barcelona! It was a rather last minute sort of thing. Friends I hadn't met in a while were visiting Spain, a weekend happened to be suitable, so I booked the flights, made no plans and on the appointed date just sort of appeared at the little bed and breakfast that I'd been booked into! :)

It's the first more or less brand new place I'd visited in a while and definitely not a bad location for it! The weather was beautiful and we meandered our way through the city looking for Gaudi's amazing creations! It was a lot of walking :). It was good to have some local guidance too!

There is a sense of oldness to Barcelona, especially around the Barri Gotic area and the Cathedral. The cloisters especially were like entering a different era. But as with a lot of European cities, the old and new jostle with each other. As do other contrasts. Narrow alleys criss-crossing massive multi lane avenues. Hole-in-the-wall food shops and expensive restaurants.

One of the more memorable experiences of the visit was a flamenco show in a tiny local jazz club! But there were many others. The rather protracted hunt for dinner at an 'authentic' Catalan place on one of the evenings, for instance :).

But if I were to skip what in many ways was the main event of the trip, that would just not do! The visit to La Sagrada Familia. We had to try a couple of times, but we managed to actually go inside and even climb part way up one of the completed towers. The most impressive part of the experience for me were the stained glass windows, bathing the interior in a multitude of colours at the slightest sign of sunshine.

I'd noted the model of the complete construction in Gaudi's residence, and the scope of the task still remaining is quite daunting. If and when they do manage to finish it, I for one, would very much like to visit. But that will likely not be any time soon.

So that was more or less the goings on of the last four or five weeks. To cut to the present, it's been quite nice and sunny, and suddenly I've started noticing how long the sunlight lasts these days :). While the temperatures keep dipping below zero every now and then, there is a summery sort of feeling in the air!

But of course, spring must come first. Question is, will it last longer than a weekend this time. :)

Currently: contemplating blue skies and sunshine
Listening to: Afrojack - The spark

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