Saturday, October 21, 2006

mai no sóblidi, la guerra continua

It didn't take long on our holiday for us to get back into activisim. We met friends Jeremy and Neus, where we stayed in their apartment and on our first day there,
we took part in an Anti-Iraq war protest in Barcelona. The theme - mai no s'oblidi, la guerra continua - "Never forget, the war continues". Thousands turned out and I have to say the only difference between this rally and others I have attended was the speeches were shorter (something unionswa should take heed from). The participants looked the same - communists, unionists, trots and families.

While marching, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that kept coming up. This was my country's war and we are all responsible. There's talk now of the US and UK (and therefore, I assume Australia) planning an exit strategy while the war is being likened to Vietnam with its impending civil war. I can't believe John Howard took us into war, and I can't believe we let it happen.

Peace on earth

Neus' heritage is Catalan, and she told us of the struggle for Catalan to be a recognised language. She also told us of the traditional Christmas stories that Catalan children learn....Every family has a nativity set up, but there is an extra character. This is the "shit log". A log is hollowed and filled with sweets, and when the time is right, children will bash the log and it "shits" lollies as presents. There is a little man in each nativity squatting near a log, with the King, Our Lord Jesus, lying in a manger not far away. It seems this is a people who don't take life too seriously.

This is a theme which continues through the streets of Barcelona. The Gaudi buildings are an amazing monument to the fusion between nature and traditional architecture. The scooter photo was taken from a landing in the La Sagrada Familia basilica
. An amazing journey through this cathedral sends you skywards in staircases modelled on the inside of a seashell and then back down to the main chamber where columns look like gian bunches of sunflowers.

Chocolate, Jock's favourite thing in the world, well, third fave after me and Chimay, is in abundance in Barcelona. We found this fantastic chocolate shop which was a feast for the optic nerve as well as the scooplets of saliva forming when looking at the choclate wall. I highly recommend finding a cafe which sells the creamy, thick drinking chocolate. A mug will do you for breakfast!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Roman ruins abound in Tarragona. We took a bus out of the city to see a perfectly preserved aquaduct. This amazing ancient structure is a monument not just to Roman ingenuity, but as a way of marking the Roman empire - where they conquered, they built aquaducts.

We met an American couple who spend 6 months a year in the US and six months in Prague which they use as a base for their Eurpopean travels. Lucky we met them, because we couldn't work out how to get back to the city so they gave us a ride!

I love the way a Roman aquaduct looks straight, but it has the slightest lean to enable the water to travel from one end to the other.

Tarragona has it's people living right over the ancient Roman ruins, so the photo of some old guy's singlets drying on the roof was taken standing on the Roman circus, singlets circa 1974, ruins circa 24 AD.