30 October 2005

Parking by braile

Someone over here used the phrase parking by braile. It's more true than I first knew. Parking, of course, on a long populated, donkey-paths-turned-roads continent is a challenge. The spaces are small to non-existent. When you find one, then you have the challenge of wedging your vehicle into it.

I'm not as good at the car shoehorn routine as is Dar. Plus I'm driving a car that I can't see out of as well as I'd like. I'm hoping the one we picked out from STL will offer me better sites. So anyway...at the parking garage this weekend I simply chose to go to the lower level where there would be more than say five feet in order to park the car. This is the cowards way perhaps but this is my way.

When I parallel or have to get into a tight spot, it is not unusual for me to get out of the car, see the position and realize I need to correct. So I get back in and try to center it. Here again, I'm hoping once we have our own vehicle and I drive it more and can see better that I'll be able to do this better. Parallel for many people here is a matter of bumping the car behind slightly and the car ahead slightly until finally the car fits- thus braile.

Today, we visited a monastery/tourist attraction site. Yikes, the crowds. There's all saints day holiday this week and perhaps that got everyone in the mood to visit their favorite black madonna, patron of the region. Did I mention this was on a mountain?

People were parked on the two lane highway for ages before we got to the ticket booth that let you "park" at the monastery. We took a ticket and crawled in a line of traffic. People were parked in ditches and on every spare inch of asphalt. Cars seemed to be coming down the mountain so I kept thinking they were people leaving, so we'd find parking. Actually no, you drive up to the monastery where there is a turn around and you drive back down to the ticket taker machine - with no parking or a parking attendant who could direct traffic. Dar cuddled the car up to a guard rail on the highway. I climbed out on his side and we walked back up the mountain. It was amazing and certainly not the last time we'll have a challenge finding parking.

14 October 2005

Church bells and underpants

We paid 2 Euros to go through the old city wall museum area. It's not really a museum, you just get to walk on top of the city wall in Tarragona. (I'd post a picture but I don't have the camera with me.)

The rocks at the bottom of the wall are pre-Roman. The rest is when the Romans conquered this part of the world. The old part of town is tucked inside the walls and is the most picturesque place around.

So we walked on the wall admiring the roof lines of old buildings and "newer" ones (only a few hundred years old) that have been wedged into the old town or sometimes even into the wall itself. (In places 12 meters high and 6 meters wide but mostly 9 high and 4 wide.)

Anwyay, a very pretty afternoon. The cathedral bells are tolling, what a moment. A building pushed its way up only a few feet from where we were on the wall. It was apparently a residence as there was a string of laundry even with us on the wall. Several pair of white underpants were swaying in the breeze. That's so Europe it may be really pretty and old and charming, but it's also everyday living too. It was a good day.

Then there was the day I found out we weren't going to be able to get a phone or computer service. Not a happy camper day. They just aren't going to be able to get around to it in our community or something. So alas, I still won't be commenting very often. Dar seems to eek out more time for online stuff and he's faster at it than I am...so I'll try but I'm afraid I won't be around as much as I'd like. I miss everyone and reading what's going on in your lives. It's the everyday stuff you miss so much, so blogs are perfect for soothing that.