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.
Recently, I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my son. It’s a trip that we’ve been talking about for years and it was an amazing, transformative, massive experience. No doubt it will be the subject of many posts. Today’s travel lagniappe is from that trip: before we began the trek, we visited a Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative where indigenous people create beautiful woven textiles of sheep, llama, and alpaca wool.
Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative
The outfitter for our trip – G Adventures – sponsors a foundation that, in turn, sponsors these cooperatives. Unlike many of the “shopping opportunities” that are foisted upon you on some tours, this one felt authentic – a genuine chance to experience and foster a traditional way of life.
Interestingly, despite the rustic and rural setting,
You may have noticed a lapse in posts. I spent a couple of weeks in Peru hiking the Inca Trail with one of our sons – something we’ve been talking about for years. Right before I returned, Debra flew to France with a couple of dear friends for a “girls’ trip.” The schedules just worked out that way. Life With the Barretts means adventures down many paths.
But I’m back and she’s coming back and we’ll be back on track, just as soon as the jet lag abates.
For now – here are a some teaser shots from Peru – a little journey lagniappe.
Time Travel – Hong Kong 2009 – 10,000 Buddhas Monastery
Today we’re journeying back in time, up a mountain, and through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.
It’s mid-March, 2009. We’re in Hong Kong, enjoying a trip that Debra won (yes, that’s what I said – she won) courtesy of Central Market, a wonderful up-scale food store in Texas, and Intercontinental Hotels.
[There is a story behind her winning the trip – aside from the fact that she is a lucky lady – but that will have to wait for another day. Trust me, I took something like 1,200 pictures on that trip, so there is a lot of material for posts. I’ll tell you the “winning story” in connection with one of them.]
We see something in a guidebook or somewhere about a place called the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. How can we not be intrigued? So we go and find it.
10,000 Buddhas – But What’s an Arhat?
The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery is on the side of a small mountain. The Wikipedia site – you can find that here – says that you access it by means of “431 ‘steep steps’ … surrounded by statues of arhats – the Buddhist equivalent of saints who have achieved enlightenment.” Since it’s 2009 and if Wikipedia is even a thing, we’ve never heard of it, we don’t know anything about the 431 steep steps. Or the arhats. (I’ll call them “arhats” in this post since I have the benefit of 2017 research. But back in 2009, we don’t know anything about them.)
We figure out the steps pretty quickly.
We’re not sure what the arhats are, but they’re pretty cool.