Silk Road 2


mi ruta de la seda » 2010 » February

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2010
02.26

 

http://www.vimeo.com/9755928

Quick video about the Pilat dune in the west of france. I´ll also find some of the highest dunes in the world in Iran and China, in the Taklamakan dessert.

The music is from 2 french girls, Cocoroise. Shrill and smooth at the same time.

I´ll  write you soon about Italy, there are amazing things here and my cold has nearly gone so I´m more energetic.

Fernando

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2010
02.25

My stay  in France was quick but interesting, just four days to see two big cities, but that’s the way I wanted it. France borders with Spain so even I visited some new places I’ve been in France before so I know the element of surprise wouldn’t be big. Moreover France is not a cheap country so I wanted to stay there just time enough to see the 2 cities on my itinerary.
I started in Bordeaux visiting Sainte Croix, taking the pictures I posted last week. The reason for going to Bordeaux was nothing to do with the silk route, simply it was a city I wanted to go for a long time so I added it to my route. The first city with a connection to the Silk route is Rome and the distance between Rome and Burgos is 1817 kilometers, so I had to stop somewhere!

 
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One of it’s corners.

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One of it’s streets.

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One of it’s squares.

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Downtown you also find modern surprises such as the Tribunal of Great Instance by Richard Rogers, the guy who projected the Pompidou center in París.

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The cathedral square with long lights from the ground.

Bordeaux is settled by the Garona river near the sea, as I love rivers for my kayaking I always take notice of river details. It’s the river that comes down from the ski resort in the Pyrenees that I visited before starting the trip. There’s another river that comes down from that ski resort also, but that falls into the Spanish side of the mountains, the Noguera Pallares, the most famous rafting river in Spain. The Garona is huge in Bordeaux, there are even transatlantic ships stopping here once in a while. I failed to take a picture to the river so you’ll have to imagine it…

Cristina took me out on the last night in the city, we met in the cafeteria of the Utopia cinema, an old converted church with stone walls and gothic arches. It was a pity not being able to see the actual cinema rooms as they use the rest of the church structure.
Dinner was, under my request, in a creperie, the chicest in town. La fromentine, a place owned by a middle aged woman so eccentric that she has decorated the place with cows, all kinds; pictures, paintings, figures, objects with cows colors and any other thing that resembles a cow in any way… now that I’m thinking about it, there was a black and white dalmata figure in the entrance… that woman is not right.

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Traditionally crepes are taken with cider, so that’s what I had with my cheese and salmon crepe that tasted amazing as well as the chocolate one I had for dessert. The non-sweet crepes are usually done with buckwheat flour, therefore the darker colour.

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Cows, do you see it!

One of the most interesting things of my trip will be to see the many differences from western to eastern, see how the cultures, faces, languages, customs, cities, landscapes all change, however there’s no need to go that far, the first thing you realize when going from Spain to France is the silence, the streets have less noise, the crowded noise in the bars hardly exists, it is as if people would walk in a stealthy way and as if the conversations would take place with the volume turned down. Probably I noticed it more because I was in Bordeaux as most of the centre is pedestrianized, in Marseilles the cars came back and added some more noise to the environment. Moreover, Marseilles is kind of a different city in France as the French people say, it’s Mediterranean climate makes it have more life in the streets making it a more lively city.

Marseilles captured my curiosity years ago, I’d seen it from one of those daily ferries that goes to Corsica and it looked good.

 Marseilles could be described as an ugly city with pretty things, it has a lot of that kind of coastal high-rises that no one understands why they were allowed to be built. It’s not really a place that deserves a visit per se, however it does not have the criminality that made it famous in the 70’s after the oil crisis when unemployment and the crime rate raised together. Here are some pictures so you can decide yourself if you like it.

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Picture just arriving at the train station. 

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Most of the streets in the historic center has no trafic or very little.

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has the biggest port in France(and the third largest in Europe) for having such a port, also has the highest immigration rate of the country. The building on the right is the latest building finished by Zaha Hadid in the huge container port. In Rome I´ll go to visit the one that will be her latest finished one. The musseum of 21st cenetury art!

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 The oldest city in France. One of the alleys in the hill.

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Marsei is the oldest city on the country. in the pictuer a ferry getting into the new port. The two fortres used to deffend the entrance of the new old port.

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  The old port.

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I love light houses, all ways take pictures to them even if they are tiny as this one.

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Experimental building by the swiss architect Le Corbusier from 1952.

And France went by, I visited places I liked, I had crepes and drank Orangina that are always my “must do” when I go to france. I’m happy for not having skipped France and gone straight into Italy.
There’s just one thing to tell you about France. Pilat, the highest dune in Europe, but that’s something that you’ll have to wait 2 days to view.

Hope you’ve like the story for today, I have a horrible cold with headache and nose blocked so I don’t feel very inspired

Write to you soon
Fernando

2010
02.18

http://www.vimeo.com/9544151

I´ve uploaded the video to Vimeo but I’m not sure if it can be seen very well, it´s supposed to be in High Definition, but I can see it with bumps, may be due to the connection I’m using, please, let me know well you can see it.

In the video I´m wrong, , Notwist are German, the Norwegians are Röyksoop, I´m also hooked on them.

Apart from what is in the video in Burgos I was all day from one place to another meeting people and doing things for the trip. I tried to avoid placing a picture about the famous (it´s famous in Spain, get in Google if you want more pictures there are many, more than enough) Burgos cathedral, but one day walking by San Pablo bridge I saw this sunset and I had to take the picture.

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On the right the theather “principal” and the river, with a lot more water than normally, the Arlanzón.

To complete the topics the second most famous ‘thing’ in Burgos is the black pudding. I skip Burgos cheese as it´s tasteless and tastes like tofu and I don´t like either.

Not that long ago I was at dinner with some American friends talking about food that can be disgusting and black pudding  was in all the conversations. The thing is that I kept thinking about it and I’ve seen black pudding in other countries, for example before the trip, I saw it in Ireland, they have two kinds that are used in the traditional Irish breakfast. I searched in Wikipedia and found that black pudding, or similar, exists in at least 24 countries, and the list did not include Ireland. May be that it´s not such a disgusting thing. Wikipedia didn´t list France either, but I’m pretty sure they have it, I’m going to see if it´s in the menu for dinner in a restaurant.

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Can´t be more typical!

That tapa(in the picture) was the last one I had in spain. That night at 3.16 am, I got onto the train that took me across the first border.  Being 3.16 and being totally sleepy I found it hard to sleep, as a powerful emotion kept me awake for awhile, as the train was leaving Burgos and gaining speed, finally the accumulated lack of sleep removed the smug smile on my face and the ‘Iron Horse’ took me at its pleasure along its rambling rails to my first port of call Burdeos. Leaving was a relief after the last few busy weeks, for you to get an idea, during the 6 weeks of 2010 before leaving I´ve slept in 9 different places, so the uncomfortable train seats became the most relaxing place in the world.

And to finisht the day´s chronicle , here you have my first pictures in Bordeaux inside Sainte Croix, with the super sunny day this is what i saw inside.

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I haven´t modified the color in the computer, otherwhise there wouldn´t be any interest, this is what I saw.

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I can imagine how cathedrals could impress people when they were just built and people lived in one floor modest houses.

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Me.

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Red.

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Column in orange.

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One of the pictures I like the most.

See you soon.

Fernando

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2010
02.14

The trip begins very shortly. This last week I´ve been non stop with an endless to-do list. The most difficult has been to meet everybody but I´ve nearly achieved that and I´m happy about it.

My sister has been the person that I´ve spent more time with, we decided to go for a trip to spend time together so we went skiing to Baqueira, that is the Spanish ski resort that has better snow quality and that’s where we went.

During the trip, totally excited, I tried to explain the feeling you have when skiing in virgin snow, especially in powder, I was not very sure if I made Ana understood what I meant… In summary  for me it is the smoothest feeling I could think of, something like being over a spongy cloud. In one of our funny conversations we came to the conclusion that caressing a cat was very smooth also even though you only use your hand. On the way back Ana understood the explanation by herself, we had incredible luck, it snowed a lot and the snow was perfect powder, here are some pictures that explain this better than me.

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After four days of snow, this is what we saw when waking up.

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Me snowboarding out of piste.

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Ana as photographer from the lift. I love the pictures.

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This slope didn´t have a lift, you had to walk 200 meters by the road.

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Ana skiing as she liks. faaaaaaast.

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OK, i confess. I falled after the turn.

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Down Luis Arias double back diamond piste.

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Last day and the last time we ski, the lifts were already stopped, nobody on the slopes any more. The last day has always to be taken advantage of, plus normally there’s not that much snow. On the left Ana, on the right Laura, both speeding at my request. They were my perfect models!!

In the last post I promised some pictures, I´ll start with a picture from the Tate Modern Gallery in London, it´s about an exhibitiion I loved. The very high ceiling of the gallery was covered in metal material, the background had half a yellow circle and they created fog, with me in the picture, this is the blur result.

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Al took the picture.

The second are pictures of the Calatrava bridge just opened in Dublin. In fact it is as beautiful as any other from Calatrava, surprisingly the colour is white, hehe.DSC_2584 (628x430)

A curious thing is that the bridge was constructed in Holland and it was brought to the Liffy river by boat, where it was set up.

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It´s located in the renewed docklands area, surrounded by modern buildings, all together looks amazing.  It´s not far from the harbour entrance to the city. Here the plan was to build two skyscrapers on the banks of the river, one was going to be the U2 building designed by Foster with a recording studio on top, the other was going to be by Zaha Hadid, but seems that the plan is stopped now, what a pity.

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I was taking pictures for a while so the night came.

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I took this picture with my cell phone a day they where testing the bridge. ¡it turns to let the boats go through!

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This  is simply a picture I felt like publishing here. I love this corner with the sticks moving the lights at night.

To finish, a little summary about what I’ve been preparing, there are still 1000 things to do, but these are the important ones, enough to depart:

  • Backpack, without doubt the bag I´ve thought about more in all my life.
  • Renew my Spanish ID. It was falling apart  and I afraid I would have problems at the borders, recently in an airport I sweated to be allowed Through.
  • International driving license, needed to drive outside of the EU. Getting it is just paperwork, showing the normal driving license and paying 9.49. It is a little book with the driving license in several languages

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  • Vaccinations. I´ve got vaccinated for typhoid as it  had expired, apart from this I haven´t needed anything else, I already have the A and B hepatitis and the tetanus. I also have the meningitis from a trip I did to India, good to have it for food in dodgy conditions.
  • Glasses. Review them to be sure I´ll be fine during the trip.
  • Dentist. Routine review that may have saved my trip!!!! My dentist found a deep cavity, he was pretty sure it would have given me issues on the trip. I´m happy to have gone to the dentist, I don´t really like the idea of being in an Uzbequistan village with an inflamed mouth like a fugu fish while a local dentist pulls the tooth out with a rusty pliers.
  • Prepare money, cards and other stuff.
  • Prepare my kitesurf, whitewhater kayak and skiing equipment. It´s possible that some of my friends will visit during the trip to do our sports in special locations so I needed to leave all prepared
  • Laptop, I´ve bought a small 12” to be able to write and prepare the pictures for the blog. An Asus EEE1012.
  • First aid kit. It even scares me to see so many medicines that i´ve never used.
  • MY FIRST VISA STAMP! I show you a picture of the Syrian visa, really happy to have the first sticker.

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And I keep doing things every day non stop.

I have a little surprise for my next entry.

See you soon

Fernando

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