Europe 2005-2006 travel blog

Apartment buildings with the constant sight of laundry hanging out the window

The fish market in Bilbao

Every part of the pig is good: snout, ears, and feet

Graffiti is everywhere - sadly

A woman doing her laundry in the communal laundry facility - no...

Old fashioned haystacks

Farmers still using scythes and using horse and wagon

Now that the formal borders have disappeared across Europe, it is sometimes difficult to know when you leave one country to enter another (other than a small roadside sign). Not so when you leave France to enter Spain! Immediately you sense a vibrancy: the noise of Vespas weaving in an out of traffic, cars putting on 4-way flashers and simply double parking in the street (making driving the motor home in towns almost impossible); the density of the population (high rise apartments with laundry hanging out every window was the norm); hordes spilling out onto the streets after siesta; restaurants empty at 8:00 p.m. and full at 10:30 p.m. - most including small children; the beautiful language usually spoken fast - and loud! And then there is all the development: new apartment buildings, upgraded parks, new freeways with viaducts stretching across vast canyons and subways and other transportation systems.

Moe thought things would be very different from her last trip here 30 years ago - but not so in many respects as you can still see evidence of the old ways. Siesta between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. is still sacrosanct; restaurants start filling up at 10:30 p.m. (when you leave); you can find the menu del dia including a first course, second course, bread, bottle of wine and dessert for $10-12.00CDN; women still wash clothes in ice cold water in outdoor, communal laundries; men still use scythes to cut hay and haul it with horses and wagons. Mind you, while we found the former "quaint", not so the lack of campgrounds this time of year, propane for the motor home, scarcity of fresh water, places to dump our "black water" and no laundromats. Do we sound like tourists or what?

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