Venice gets a lot of bad press these days, primarily because of the crowds. I can’t say that it’s completely unjustified. Around St. Mark’s and the Rialto Bridge, the throngs of people can be maddening, especially when there is a cruise ship (or two or three) bobbing at anchor nearby.
But St. Mark’s and Rialto Bridge, as spectacular as they are, are by no means all that Venice has to offer. Some would even say that they’re not even the best that Venice has to offer. Count me in this latter group.
Venice is a captivating, confusing, utterly beautiful city. We are having a wonderful time, even though the weather has been a bit uneven (that’s Debra atop the bridge in the photo, above, with her lovely head encased in a hood against a light rain).
This is a teaser post. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to doing a complete post – or series of posts – on Venice but I wanted to give you just a taste. To let you know that you’re on our minds.
It is a big, wonderful world out there and we hope that you’ll make every effort to experience as much of it as possible.
So, until we have time to sit and visit and look at LOTS of pictures, I hope you enjoy these few glimpses of a truly lovely Venice Adventure.
I received an email from the lovely folks over at AlltheRooms. They had seen our post about Springtime in Seville (which you can find here) and wondered if we were familiar with Sitges, Spain. It so happens that we are.
A charming, beautiful seaside town just south of Barcelona, Sitges really should be on your itinerary for travel in Spain.
The AlltheRooms blog put together a post about The Top 8 Things to Do in Sitges, a couple of which I confess were new to me. I didn’t know that they did up Carnaval in Sitges, for instance. And I wish we had known about Museu de Cau Ferrat when we were there. House museums are our favorite, and we would have paid it a visit, for sure. I guess we’ll just have to go back.
Debra and I decided that it was past time that we took a trip to Portugal. So, in March 2018, we did just that. We spent the first week of the trip in the lovely, small Algarve-region town of Faro.
The Algarve region is enormously popular in the summer months, notably with British tourists anxious to trade cold drizzle for drenching sunshine. Like I mentioned, we were there in March – well before the throngs hit the beaches. Which suits us just fine. We’re not really beach people (although many of our closest friends are) and we like the weather when we travel to be what some consider cool. Eighteen to 20 Celsius (64-68 Fahrenheit) is ideal.
It was a touch cooler than that most of the time we were in Faro – and we had steadily pounding rain all of one day – but we didn’t mind. Besides, we had the place practically to ourselves – from a tourist standpoint. Which is better than fine with us, particularly as the Portuguese people are almost universally pleasant and accommodating. (I even managed to think of the pickpocket who lifted my wallet in Lisbon as a nice fellow – remember? If you missed that post, you can find it here.)
So we spent much of the week strolling and exploring. This post is dedicated to some of the shots we took doing that – things you probably won’t see in the Algarve promotional material for tourists.
You want to go to Spain, perhaps visit several cities, and you’re wondering which cities and what time of year. Make Seville – the heart of Andalusia in southern Spain – one of the cities. And go in late March or early April. Springtime in Seville is a delight.
Southern Spain can get quite hot in the summer, with many days topping 100 degrees. In March, though, it is as pleasant as you could wish for – warm enough to be comfortable in short sleeves during the day and sometimes cool enough for a light jacket at night. But the real reason to choose that time of year for your visit is the smell.
While you’re strolling the cobblestone streets during springtime in Seville, the scent of orange blossoms is everywhere, sometimes so strong that it’s almost intoxicating.
Thousands of orange trees line the streets of Seville and in the early spring, they’re all in bloom. The oranges, themselves, are not edible. The Moors brought Seville Oranges to Spain a thousand years ago and, unlike more modern varieties, the fruit is bitter. It makes wonderful marmalade, though, and most of it is harvested and shipped to Britain for that purpose.
This lagniappe post is a visit to the rooftop of the Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera” in Barcelona.
You might remember the post that we did back in February 2017 featuring Gaudi’s Park Guell. You can find it here. Rebecca at Artsy found it and reached out to us after reading the post
Here at With the Barretts, beautiful things – architecture, furnishings, art, nature – mean a great deal to us. So, Debra and I were delighted that Rebecca found our post and wanted to make sure that we had seen Artsy’s Gaudi page. Please go take a look at it here. This post is our way of saying “Thanks” to Rebecca and Artsy for helping make art accessible to everyone. Is that a great mission, or what?
Gaudi Casa Mila or “La Pedrera”
Gaudi’s spectacular apartment building, Casa Mila – colloquially known as “La Pedrera” – was mostly closed for interior renovation when we visited in 2014 but the rooftop was more than worth the effort and price of admission. As with many – even most – Gaudi sites, it feels like an alien landscape, complete with otherworldly sentinels:
The structures are unpredictable, both as to shape and as to material.
A couple of years ago while on a trip to Ghent and The Hague with some dear friends, we decided to hop on the train and take a quick trip to Lille, France, right across the border with Belgium. Come along with us for a bit of travel lagniappe, won’t you?
The architecture in Lille has a Flemish flair and, like most small towns in France, charm to spare. In fairness, though, Lille is not all that small. It’s the fifth largest urban area in France with over a million people living in the vicinity. The city, itself, claims nearly a quarter of that number. You can find some of the statistics here.