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We’ll this is my inspiration- sitting at 7pm on a Saturday night on our verandah in a town on Lake Como called Varenna- no that’s not a spelling error- it’s not Verona the town made  famous by the Montague’s and Capulets  from Romeo and Juliet-  it’s Varenna a gorgeous village on the lake with cobble streets, a lakeside walk and magnificent flowering gardens.  I really thought I would have written a couple of blogs by now but it is so exhausting being on holidays- with a relentless programme of new experiences, eating and drinking (mostly to excess-but I am sure we have walked so many miles that it should have burnt off an equivalent number of calories) – and train travel.
We arrived in the beautiful Barcelona on Monday afternoon, after a relatively good flight from Australia. And after settling into our hotel (Citadines)in the main street (called La Ramblas) we headed straight out to experience the culture, food and excitement of Barcelona. Bob, my husband, who meticulously organised very waking moment (there aren’t too many sleeping moments) of our trip, could easily switch to becoming a professional tour director, as he has so far organised a fantastic trip, covering many of the key delights in each of the cities we have visited, with a military precision that any army general would be proud. Our first stop was Boqueria Markets – and the vibrancy of their fruit, veggie, juice, chocolate, marzipan, chilli, meat and basically any foods your heart desires, was spectacular.
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Raspberries for 1 euro a punnet; coconut and mango juice; marzipan bars and tapas of all types for small amounts of euro made for some heady eating and drinking in those first frenetic hours. The crowds were thick and my daughter’s final words about Barcelona were ringing in my ears- hold your purse tight as their are lots of pickpockets operating. It always takes a few days to get used to the sheer numbers of tourists that are visiting the big cities of Europe and I certainly clutched that clutch purse tight to my body in that first walk through the markets. We walked to the harbour and then back through the Gothic quarter – which is so beautiful – and fell into bed exhausted but exhilarated with the excitement of Barcelona.
The next day belonged to Gaudi, a famous, unorthodox, Barcelona architect who died in 1924, unceremoniously run over by a tram at 74. His signature architecture is so ahead of his time, and so inspirational – I would recommend to everyone- make the trip to Barcelona and be captivated by his audacity, imagination and sheer brilliance. Evidence of his mastery is everywhere in Barcelona and our only regret is we didn’t have much much longer to spend there. All I kept thinking was- how did he cope with the scrutiny that his clever but eccentric designs would have brought? When we walked into Sagrada – the basilica that will not be completed until 2026- I literally wanted to weep- it was breathtaking and blew my mind- this special man designed this building and knew that it’s design was controversial, but kept his vision alive by building the external structure first so that it’s progress had to be continued long after he died.
imageLa Pedrera
image On the rooftop of La Pedrera apartment
imageInside Sagrada Familia
Anyway as much as I have the energy and desire to write more- I am fighting with my iPad and WordPress trying to do this and I’m afraid my patience has worn thin (it has nothing to do with us sharing a bottle of Prosecco!)
Also for any patients trying to contact me via email- the same problem is happening as it did in 2011- I can receive emails but cannot reply to them- so if you don’t get an answer, it’s not for want of trying.
I will try and post some more about the beautiful Swiss alps  in the next few days.
Ps Apple, WordPress and autocorrect are responsible for any spelling errors – I have spent the past hour trying to rectify the spelling errors, but give up if this time it isn’t right!

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