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Sunday, November 27, 2011

de nada, it's Granada!

We recently spent four days in Granada, which is in the south of Spain. We stayed in the Albaycin, the old Arab quarter of the town.

The Albaycin sits on top of one hill and looks at the Alhambra, which is what Granada is most famous for, situated on the opposite hill, which was the reason we went to Granada.

Our apartment was in one of the typical stone houses and just a few minutes from the Mirador San Nicolas, the best place to sit and look at the Alhambra. You can see from this photo how big the Alhambra is! We were excited about visiting the Palace.

On our first night we went out for dinner. Our chef was French and he showed me how to flambe! I helped him make crepe suzette.

The Alhambra is a very old Moorish palace made up of lots of smaller palaces, the most famous of which is the Palacio Nazaries.

The palace is filled with ornate patterns, carvings, tiles and pools for reflection.

We visited the beautiful gardens of the Partal Palace, part of the Alhambra as well as the Generalife.

The mirador was close to our apartment so we came back to the beautiful view of the Alhambra many times. We even packed a dinner picnic with blankets so we could see the palace lit up at night.

This second best thing in Granada is this: Rabo del Toro (ox tail)!

from Phoebe

Friday, November 25, 2011

pan's labyrinth

I came to this park first when I was here six years ago. It is called the Parc del Laberint (labyrinth or maze).

It was originally owned by the Desvalls family, who in 1791 hired an architect to create a cypress maze. The family wanted to create an Italian style garden in Spain.

We weren't allowed to go into the maze because it was being clipped. Some parts of the maze were very shaggy and overgrown but where the gardeners had finished clipping, the maze was like a green wall.

Mum said we could come back on another day when the clipping is done and get lost in the maze. 

The maze is so tall, the gardeners have to stand on ladders and scaffolding to trim the top. The newly clipped cypresses smell fresh and minty.

We had our own picnic lunch and decided to explore the park.

There were lots of beautiful things to see. Here is a temple that only princesses can visit,

and a forest that only princesses can enter...

There was a lake that contained mermaids that look like common goldfish.

 Because everything in the park is so very old, some things are breaking. This statue has lost its nose.

And this one has lost its whole head!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the rain in Spain

October and November are the rainy months of the year in Barcelona and we have certainly had lots of rain lately. Today was very wet so we stayed in and did some drawing. Mum bought Olympia and I a sketchpad that has each page printed with a frame so our drawings look very special.  Now that we have put some on the walls, our apartment looks special too.

Mum by Phoebe Zavros

Unicorn and Rainbow by Olympia Zavros

Lady in a palace a long time ago by Phoebe Zavros

Dad by Olympia Zavros

Woman feeding animals on a farm by Phoebe Zavros

All works are for sale, price on application. GST doesn't apply in Spain.

from Phoebe

Monday, November 14, 2011

a tower in Tarragona

On our second visit to the town of Tarragona, we stopped to have coffee at a cafe in the old city near the cathedral. There were many local people gathering outside wearing traditional Catalan costume. We could tell something was about to happen.  Soon we heard a drummer and then a trumpeter begin to play.

People dressed in red and white stripes with black sashes tied around their waist began to form a huddle. There were men, women and children of all ages.

They were making a human castell (castle). This is common all over Catalunya during festes (festivals) but in Tarragona they really love doing this. They are called castellers.

It was very exciting to watch the castle grow,

and grow...

The top of the castell is always finished by children.

Two little girls with red crash helmets climbed to the top very fast, shimmying up the adults, then crossed over the castell and climbed down the other side, to a big round of applause. 

Here are two future castellers.

from Phoebe

hollywood comes to barcelona

My godmother Kimberley came to visit for 5 days after she had been in Kazakhstan where she is directing a documentary. My Mum has known her for over 30 years and they are best friends. They hadn't seen each other for two years so it was a special time. We went with her to Tarragona overnight and stayed in a hotel.

All this time I didn't know she had been in many television shows, but when we were having lunch in a very small restaurant in Tarragona two girls recognized her from Lost! They had their photograph taken with her. It was very funny because I didn't even know she was a star. She is to me anyway.

We visited some of the amazing Roman ruins and visited the cloisters of the cathedral.

There is more to blog about our visit to Tarragona (we have been there twice now) but this is what we had for dessert when we went with Kimberley: fresh orange cut up and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. So delicious!

from Phoebe

Thursday, November 10, 2011

dress up at down time

There aren't too many toys in the apartment and the television is pretty much only in Spanish so when we are at home, my sister and I use our IMAGINATION. We are INNOVATIVE.

Today I am wearing a lovely fleece evening gown. No it isn't Lanvin or Dior, it is a Qantas blanket with a Zara belt.

with likes, 
from Phoebe

Desayuno de Cabra (breakfast de goat!)

As you may have noticed previously, we get very excited at breakfast time here. Today was a special day because Leo sat in the high chair for the first time. He was very happy about this. Our table is such a mess because we all like to eat so many different things even though it's all about goat cheese today (queso de cabra) to go with our fresh bara (baguette).

Today I'm eating Roncari Blue which is a strong tasting roquefort blue sheep's cheese, and also little Babybel cheeses which have their own little wax seal.

Olympia's favourite cheese is Garcia Baquero goat's cheese slices. She has this everyday and she puts the slices on fresas (strawberry) jam

Mum is trying a new cheese today. It is goat cheese from Muntanyola. She is eating it with honey (mel).

 Leo is having baby porridge and sampling small bits from everyone's plate.

Dad is having his favourite goat cheese Soignon Saint Maure, a French cheese. Cheese is called fromage in France, which is a bit similar to the Catalan word for cheese, fromatge, which is different to the Spanish, queso - confusing! He is also eating a local delicacy called sobrassada, which is a bit like jam made of meat. It makes him happy.

We are listening to this:

Pumped up kicks by Foster the People is my favourite song at the moment.