Meeting up with my niece, who is currently a zookeeper apprentice at Banham Zoo near Norwich.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Thursday 16 October: arrivals, some walking, coffee and cakes in Shaftesbury Avenue, and the musical Billy Elliot (a real tearjerker but with some incredible talent, especially the boy who played Billy Elliot, and catchy music by Elton John).
Friday 17 October: London Zoo, Frieze Art Fair (or that was the plan, but the queue was a mile long, so for another time, bring a fast-track ticket), a hands-on cooking lesson in Vietnamese Street Food, at Recipease, and the musical Urinetown – a musical with a social and environmental message. Strongly recommended.
Saturday 18 October: Walkabout, past Tower of London, this time with ceramic poppies, Borough Market, past The Shard by Renzo Piano, an unsuccessful visit to Nike Town (Christine), The Lion King (Christine), Fair for Contemporary African Art (Helle), Indian restaurant (Masala) in Brick Lane.
A recommendation: If you are in the West End, the Strand area, looking for lunch, Tom’s Deli in the courtyard of Somerset House provides delicious, natural and seasonal food and a nice break from the crowds and the fraffic.
(Work in progress)
A visit to four West Balkan countries: Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Slovenia
3. Plitvice-Zadar-Trogir 28 June
4. Trogir-Split-Dubrovnik 29 June
(Click photos to enlarge)
Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum (it was not allowed to take photos inside):
More impressions from Bilbao:
Sopelana is one of several beaches within easy reach from Bilbao. Take Metro line 1 towards Plentzia to Sopelana (Sopela), go one block up and take the bus that goes between the station and the beach every half hour, or walk a little less than 2 km. Head for Hotel Goizalde (from there you can see the sea), and – overlooking the beach – El Peñon. By the way, none of the eateries open till 13.00 hrs.
A misty morning en route:
And after a comfortable six-hour train ride, arriving in Tarragona in pouring rain, thunder and lightning:
PS: Be aware that Camp Tarragona, the station for regional trains, is miles away from the centre of Tarragona, and seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There is another station in the centre of Tarragona, but many regional trains do not go there. There is a bus, on paper every half hour, but I waited almost an hour and half before it came. It goes to the main bus station in Tarragona at the bargain price of 2 euro.
The weather cleared in time for a late afternoon walk around the old part of Tarragona:
This Roman aqueduct, aka Pont del Diable, is only four km away from the centre of Tarragona (Plaza Imperial). Take bus 85 there in about 15 minutes and then follow the signs. To return to Tarragona, you have to take the bus from the same place and go all the way around. This trip takes about 35 minutes.
If you want to make a day of it, it is a beautiful nature area with well-marked hiking trails. I did not see any signs of any pitstops, so bring your own sustenance.
Back in Tarragona: Castell Monument by Fracesc Angels.
A visit to the ‘Local Forum’ or ‘Colonial Forum’ dating back to year 30 BC:
And of course the beach:
The first couple of hours were quite scenic, the last part less so. After about 2,5 hours the bus stopped for 45 minutes at a motorway cafeteria with relatively decent food (and really good coffee …..).
Jardin del Turia used to be a river but got diverted after a devastating flood in 1957, and the riverbed is now a very, very long park below street level, flanked by busy one-way streets and crossed by many rivers. There are walking/jogging and bike paths, playgrounds, a zen garden, and spaces for outdoor concerts. In places, it is wide enough for a football patch, tennis courses, and even the occasional travelling circus. It also has a great variety of flowers, bushes and trees.
The central market in Valencia is 8.160 square metres of pure food paradise:
City of Arts and Sciences, Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, comprises a.o. an imax cinema and planetarium, one of Europe’s largest aquariums, an interactive science museum and an opera house and performing arts centre.
Bioparc (Valencia zoo):
Some impressions from the historical centre of Valencia (which unfortunately is not car free):
Unfortunately, contemporary art seems to be sadly lacking in Valencia. These three galleries are listed, but I did not have time to visit: Kessler Contemporary, Tomás March Gallery, Galeria Puchol. For next time, then. I am definitely not done with Valencia.
The focus was on contemporary art and modern architecture, but first some general impressions:
…… from Rome Contemporary Art Fair: