Apologies for an absence of Weekend Friday Favourites recently. Spain’s officially out of lockdown after ending its State of Alarm 21st June. Things are gradually becoming back to pre covid-19 with exceptions. Climbing I can no longer drop by whenever I want. We have to book up in advance set times to climb for 2 hours. I usually end up only having 1 hour thanks to my organisational skills. I’ve picked up a class with time being all over the place. We have to wear masks in all enclosed public spaces and when we can’t self distance however Catalunya has ordered that we wear them outside even when we can social distance to avoid the spread of covid-19. If we’re caught not wearing one, €100 fine. Exceptions are exercise, eating and drinking and if you’re under 6 years old. The beach is a grey area shhhhh. Yes, beach season is back! I’m studying a great photography course on Udemy using beach time to study via their app and videos. Otherwise I’d just play games on my phone.
Anyways, Weekend Friday Favourites, things that have made me smile or caught my eye this week.
Muy Mucho is an interior decoration shop I always like looking around doing my best to appreciate and not buy. This desktop fan was one of the impulse buys my Mum says, if you see it, get it. It’s perfect in my ‘office’ now it’s hot keeping me cool. I use an old iPhone socket charger as my Mac’s usb ports are taken for. I can’t recommend it enough if you want a small desktop fan. It’s silent too, a bargain at €5.99.
You can’t go to Northern California and not take time out to checkout Redwoods and Sequoias some of Earth’s oldest and tallest trees! On holiday vaccay easier this year to San Francisco, Hawaii and the Big Sur, we wanted to see for ourselves these amazing trees.
Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks were under snow and when P looked to see how far Hawaii was from California, Hawaii won. Luckily just north of San Francisco is Muir Woods and Muir Woods National Monument, a National Park filled with Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias.
Most of the photos are noisy with ISO as it was my first time shooting in such light. I wasn’t sure of the levels shutter speed or aperture so please excuse the noise and look of some photos. As usual I’m a bad editor cutting down photos.
If driving there you have to book up in advance the parking ticket. No advance ticket, no entry. About 1-2km from the park are signs reminding you last chance to book up before as there’s no mobile or wifi coverage once in the park. Parking is $8.50, entrance $15 per person. Under 15’s free. A shuttle bus is available from near by towns.
The main show is the monument, a mostly boarded loop trail in the thickest darkest part of the forest. Redwoods are the stars here. I wanted to do the Panoramic Trail (once the ocean view walk before the trees grew blocking the vista) however time was an issue before the park closed. A ranger recommend the Canopy trail, a 4.8km/3mi approx 2 hours hike that connects with Lost Trail and and part of Fern Creek trail looping back to the entrance. He mentioned it’s great for lefties. Being mixed handed I loved the trial until it looped back in favour of righties. The path flowed. We got there around midday on a Sunday with the trial already getting busy. If you want peace and quiet, no human voices go early. It was so obvious we were the tourists in our winter coats while the locals were in t-shirts and tank tops. No way was it warm enough! It was the same temps as back in Barcelona and everybody there was in winter coats.
The past few weeks during time slotted exercise hours I switched the coast for the park. As much as I love the sea I needed some greenery!
It was a little emotional my first ride cycling past the zoo and around Parc de la Ciutadella. After 7 weeks lockdown indoors, 2 week cycling up the coast, then being hit with greenery, birds singing and flying everywhere, I nearly burst into tears. I had missed what being outside surrounded by trees not just the sea felt like, how I missed being surrounded by nature. Now we’re in phase 2 the beaches are open to sunbathe and take a dip, exercise hours dropped save the over 70’s time slots, we’re allowed to go outside as many times as we want. That said the park only has it’s peaceful magic in the mornings. The afternoons and evenings the place gets loud with humans. When I can I’ll still take my early morning bike rides to the park for its quietness. I get to see the sea up close cycling there and back. That is until the zoo opens where when everybody’s at the beach if you time it right it’s like you have the place to yourself (my view on zooshere) when I can do both the beach and zoo. A little balance of both.
The ducks and geese early morning like to preen and sunbathe as do the turtles. Later on in the day I’ve noticed they either hang around the easy spot for food or take a nap.
We stopped by after visiting Muir Woods National Monument earlier this year on our holiday vaccay to Northern California and Hawaii, Muir Beach. A cove, lagoon and beach that’s nestled along the coast by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park. Though it was January it was still busy when we got there near sunset with a switch from the day beach goers to the dusk beach goers.
We didn’t stop long, only exploring the beach not the beach overlook as we wanted to look around Sausalito before it got dark. It was enough time for me to understand the magic of California beaches. All beaches have their charm. Maybe it’s the hype, maybe it’s because California is known for its beach life, maybe because it was my first California beach, maybe it was the mid winter light. Either way I can see why California beaches and the sea ocean draw people under their spell.
Last October P, D the cat and I took a weekend road trip to Bilbao. D was his usual drama queen self in the car. We figured out to put the litter box available for easy access and remind him passing police, he had to get back into his transport box, which wasn’t happening as it’s D. He was at trooper all weekend enjoying pre cooked roast chicken we thankfully found in Hypercor otherwise who knows what would have happened if he had to eat normal cat food. The shits. Sadly it was his last road trip before he said his last see you later in December. I still can’t believe he’s no longer here. He missed his brother AJ and I think he just wanted to be with his brother.
The Saturday we explored Bilbao, the Sunday we went to Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock in English. A castle, St Juan de Gaztelugatxe built on a little islet along the coast of Biscay. Steeped in history it’s been a hermits hut, castle, fortress, refugee, chapel, laid under siege, caves prison to ‘witches’, Game of Thrones Dragonstone set and a pilgrimage site. Depending on how you see it the weather was in our favour. Sunny clear skies would have been great but the drizzly rainy day added to the feel. The way the sea crashed the shoreline matching the jagged rocks and coastline. The one time we got someplace early and experienced the lesser foot traffic before the afternoon visitors picked up. Had we been usual time getting anywhere foot traffic would have been high, queue for vistas while the Instagrammers got their selfie.
Access is free although they prefer if you book online. Maybe it speeds up the ticket office work. Parking is plenty with overspill car parks. Hiking boots are recommend even though the path down is paved it gets slippery when wet and it’s steep in places. The Basque region is a luscious green thanks to its rainy climate. Walking back up, several were wishing they had different more grippy shoes as they clung onto the handrail getting down the 35 degree slope.