After visiting the Alhambra in Granada, we took a bus along the coast, spending the night in Valencia before getting back on the bus to Barcelona, where we were getting on a ferry to Italy.
I wanted to have Graham take a route along the coast because he likes the sea, so we didn’t take the recommended train/bus route to Barcelona via Madrid. The Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences) was the main reason I stopped here and not some other point to break the long bus trip in two. It did not disappoint. Apart from the interesting architecture, it is this larger-than-life area dedicated to public space.
I didn’t get good pictures of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía but it was impressive, and I’m itching to somehow make some sort of papercraft model of it. It’s like the sexier version of the Sydney Opera house, which is pretty good in its own right.
Ten minutes before the bus departed I saw beautiful horse sculptures in a shop window. It was the Subastas Darley auction house. They were closed for lunch but the lady I bothered said they have direct sales via their website. (Un)fortunately I faffed too long and by the time I sat down to do something about it, the sculptures have been sold. Probably for the better. But this is now another thing I’m going into rabbitholes for.
We were only in Barcelona for a short while. We got a sub-standard taxi driver which led to a misunderstanding of where the ferry embarkation point is, leading to a mad run to make it on time, when in the middle my bag’s wheels gave out. All this reinforces my absolute disgust at big cities. I think I set my expectations too high for the ferry ride, but we made it to Italy, we slept well, so all’s fine in the end.
Trying to depart was another adventure. We couldn’t find how to get to the reception on deck 7! We went to and fro, up and down, with less and less people around us, having titanic nightmares, not finding a lift or stairs that goes to 7, and if they do they go to the cars and not the reception.
When we finally made it into open air, we were psyching up to walk to town but fortunately there was a port bus and the dude dropped us very near our accommodation. It was budget, and noisy through the night, but the view was worth it all.
We caught the train from Civitavecchia on time, arrived in Pisa to meet Ashton and Ania, and the more relaxed, classy half of the trip begun.
For the first few days I was trying to think how I could replicate Ania’s house in my house. It’s all so beautiful, so tastefully done. But after a while that feeling was replaced with a dull ache. I need uncivilisation. They told us about Lucchio, which is apparently, maybe, becoming abandoned, and I wanted to go see it. It’s a bit hard to get to, and indeed plenty of places was for sale, including one ruin where there is only foot access. I started looking at the property websites. But, on the way home, I found ruins in the north of mainland Portugal that are cheaper. And our village in the Azores almost has that remote feeling.