And then there was wine

There are approximately 10,000 winegrowers and 853 wine companies in Catalunya. None of which I had ever heard of a few months ago. Now I can confirm that Catalonian wines (or at least the ones I have tried) tend to be full bodied and high in alcohol. Apparently, due to the grape varieties and the region’s warm weather ­conditions. With so much diversity around, one ought to start somewhere and look forward to explore other grape varieties and climate conditions…

A promise delivered

Tucked away at the end of a street and in the middle of a maze of narrow street of the gothic quarter is a place that promises good coffee. The long walk and wait were well worth it. Though I should have probably ordered two.

Neighbours

The most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona at my doorstep. The Sagrada Familia started construction in 1882 and is hoped to be completed in 2026 – for the centennial of Gaudí’s death. That will total 144 years of construction which is 7 times the time it took to build the Taj Mahal.

Antoni Gaudí is buried in La Sagrada Familia, he died a few days after being hit by a tram. He was mistaken by a beggar and thus people didn’t take him to hospital promptly. So in a way, we are now neighbours.

Finally, I see the sea

I finally put my running shoes on and strolled to see the sea. I learnt that beaches in Barcelona have names and each is under a kilometer long. So this is a patch of a handful of beaches that extends the East of Barcelona. Two of the beaches I ran past are Playa de la Mar Bella and Playa Llevantes.

Playa de la Mar Bella is a popular beach that was created in 1992 when Barcelona invested money for the Olympic games. It is meant to be one of the two nudist beaches in Barcelona but either I was too focused in my running or the unofficial divide of this beach into zones means that there isn’t that many people roaming around in their nakedness. Playa de Llevantes is Barcelona’s easternmost beach. These 800 meters of beach opened in 2006 and since 2016 allows dogs to roam the beach freely.

Just out of town

Sant Cugat del Vallès is a town only a half an hour train journey from Barcelona, in the region of Vallès Occidental. It has lots of history starting by its Benedictine monastery, whose origins can be traced to the 9th century, and as it is surrounded by amazing natural areas. It has the feel of European small towns with old buildings, slow town life and narrow streets.

A history of escapes

With the risk of loosing Perth and WA to other colonies, the brits saw no other way to keep this side of the world than to do the same as in the rest of Australia: build a city with convicts. Freemantle prison was first known as the Convict Establishment; it was built by convicts for convicts between 1852 and 1859 using limestone quarried on the site. The first prisoners moved into the main cell block in 1855 and the prison continued to be used until 1991.

On its own, Fremantle Prison isn’t World Heritage though it is part of a group of 11 convict sites in Australia which together are on the list.

One of the Prison’s most famous inmates was Joseph Bolitho Johns, known as Moondyne Joe. He became famous for a lifetime of escapes from the prison. A habit that never died, even after finishing his last sentence, Moondyne Joe escaped three times the psychiatric ward he got put in.

Bigger than Central Park

Kings Park is at least 15% bigger than the Central Park in NYC. At 400 hectares it is one of the largest inner city parks, and is visited by more than six million people each year.

The park sits in Mount Eliza and overlooks the beautiful Swan River, the city of Perth and its surrounding suburbs. The park is 2/3 bush and 1/3 is gardens, playgrounds and other areas. Ideal for walks, runs and picnics.

This place is sacred for Aboriginals. They believe that the Wagyl, a mythical serpent, entered the ground near the park and came out at the foot of Mount Eliza and created the Swan River.