Project 28 France, Spain and Ireland

20 March 17

Posted at 4:51

Short days and inclement weather in the early weeks of 2017 resulted in a slow down in Project 28 activity. I did however fit in trips to France, Spain and Ireland. The towns chosen for Project 28 in those countries were Laval, Salamanca and Galway.

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I chose Laval on the basis it is twinned with Boston, Lincolnshire. Other than being similar sized market towns in rural locations there are few similarities between Boston and Laval. Least of all is their attitudes towards the EU. Boston had the biggest percentage leave vote in the whole of the UK influenced very much by immigration levels. Laval on the other hand, seeing its population fall as its traditional linen industry declined, used EU funds for a technology park to attract new industries to the town offering the people an alternative to moving to major cities.

Musee du Vieux - Chateau and Pont VieuxMussee de Vieux - Chateau and Pont Vieux

This is the iconic image of Laval, the Mayenne, the chateaux and the Pont Vieux.

Laval to me was all about the river, La Mayenne.

Basilique Notre Dame d'AvesnieresBasilique Notre Dame d'Avesnieres

The weather during my stay was bitterly cold, the river turned to ice for much of each day. The clean cold air and winter light made for some nice images though.

Pont de l'EuropePont de l'Europe

Le Viaduct de LavalLe Viaduct de Laval

Pont VieuxPont Vieux

The old bridge with the chateau on the right and the Basilique  Notre Dame d'Avesnieres in the distance.

 

 

I left Laval and headed by train to Salamanca, Spain

City Hall ReflectionCity Hall reflection in Plaza Mayor

Salamanca in January proved to also be bitterly cold (more so than is usual I was told) and quite wet (it is on the plain I guess). Not what one expects when visiting Spain but on the positive side I had far less tourists to wrestle with than would have been the case for most of the year.

Plaza MayorPlaza Mayor

A friend had mentioned to me Lazarillo de Tormes so I sought out the sculpture in memory of Salamanca's most famous son.

Lazarillo del TormesLazarillo de Tormes

Salamanca from Scala CoeliSalamanca from Scala Coeli

If you have been following Project 28's progress you will be aware that since the outset if there is a ariel view available in the town I am visiting I take advantage of it. In Salamanca it was Scala Coeli. The climb there differed from any to date as the staircase was wooden, the stairs are narrow towards the top and finish with a tight spiral to the bell tower. There are two towers de Clerecia joined at the top by a walkway. There is a 360 degree view of Salamanca. My first ascent was met by a squally storm as I reached the top, I didn't venture out, in fact it was difficult to maintain a footing inside the tower. The following day the weather a lttle calmer enabled me to get some shots.

Catedral NuevaCatedral Nueva

The break in the weather enabled me to take a walk across the Roman bridge to the far side of the Tormes and look back at old Salamanca.

My return journey by rail involved a border crossing just South of Perpignan, on my journey to Spain I had crossed into Spain North of Irun on the Atlantic side. The crossing that way was, as one would imagine between Shengen countries, unnoticeable. The only difference I noticed when changing trains at Irun was on board the Spanish train the staff totally ignored the no smoking rule. However on my return my train, travelling from Barcelona to Lyon, stopped at Perpignan for an age. The train was boarded by numerous police and the ID of every passenger was thoroughly checked before the train moved on (40 mintes late putting connections at risk). This was my first experience of border control (other than at airports) during the project so far. I assumed it was prompted by terrorist concerns.

Next on my 'winter schedule' was Ireland, Galway in particular.

The Long WalkThe Long Walk

I guess the colourful houses of the Long Walk are the most photographed in Galway.

The Long Walk (sun)The Long walk with the sun out

Friends have told me I was lucky to see them in the sun and I must admit it was brief. The term 'wild Atlantic coast' is not inappropriate.

Galway Hookers and Browne DoorwayEyre Square

The central landmark of Galway with the Browne Doorway and the Galway Hookers. A man I met told me Galway is 'all about the Craic and the Hookers', thankfully he explained that Hookers are traditional fishing vessels before I got the wrong impression. Eyre Square is also know as Kennedy Square and there is a bust and a plaque to JFK commemorating his visit in 1963. JFK is revered in Galway more than I could ever have imagined. In fact..

UntitledJFK Mosaic

...there is even a mosaic of him in the Cathedral. I've met many from Galway who didn't know that. Rumour has it that JFK's family funded the completion of the Cathedral which was finally finished two years after his visit - progress had previously stalled due to lack of funds.

Fourteen Tribes of GalwayThe Fourteen Tribes of Galway

Galway from Mutton IslandGalway from Mutton Island

Nora Barnacle's HouseNora Barnacle's House

 

As the days now lengthen and Article 50 is served I will ramp up my travels to the 28 EU states. In April I plan a whistle stop tour of nine countries in 15 days which will bring my total to 20 so there will be just 8 to go.

 

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Tarifa

28 July 14

Posted at 10:31

Tarifa 1

Tarifa is the southern most point in Europe, just 15km away from Morocco across the Straight of Gibraltar. It is the point also where the Med meets the Atlantic.

Tarifa to Tanger

It is a gateway from Europe to Africa with ferries going to and fro regularly.

Tarifa Street

It's not exactly a Pueblo Blanco like the towns I've mentioned previously but I guess it once was. The historic quarter is somewhat dwarfed by understandable development to cater for holiday makers and some industry. Having said that the development is sympathetic, not high rise and so far not excessive.

Tarifa Street 2

We spent a few days there staying a couple of kilometres out of town at Cortijo El Pozuelo.

The Garden

Cortijo El Pozuelo is a haven. Set amongst a group of smallholdings on the edge of the beach this one has been converted to a bed and breakfast with a difference check it out  cortijoelpozuelo

Tarifa and the area around Cortijo El Pozuelo in particular is a centre for kite surfing

Cortijo El Pozuelo

When the Levante blows the skies are filled with kites on the end of which are surfers of every level from novice to expert

Kite Surfing 3

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Kite Surfing 1

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Kite Surfing 2

From Cortijo El Pozuelo there is a boardwalk that runs all the way alongside a stretch of magnificant beach to Tarifa and they even provide you with bikes as a B&B service

Tarifa to Morocco

Here you can see Tarifa, it's lighthouse and in the background Morocco.

The Beach

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Morocco Sunset

Above a view from further up the coast at La Duna, the setting sun picking out the Mountains of Morocco.

below La Duna earlier that evening.

La Duna

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Oranges and Lemons

Tarifa

 

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