One of the best things about Manoa Falls are the parking security guards. Semi wild chickens who have the run of the car park!
Nestled in the Manoa Valley mountains, the Na Ala Hele (trail for walking) Manoa Falls Trail is a 2.6km/1.6mi hike up into the mountains. Starting at the car park the trail takes you into the rainforest. I think admission was about $5 if arriving by car otherwise it’s free. Trees start out tall with canopies reaching fanning out to the sky. Looking up they gently give each other breathing space while almost matching each others outline just like looking at world maps seeing where continents once connected, like a jigsaw puzzle or tropical coral fanning out. As you get higher up the path becomes narrower, steeper. Plants you don’t notice unless you use a branch to help you up. Tree trunks become skinner, the leaves become bigger as they compete for light, the forest becomes more dense, the path narrower and rockier. When we went it had been raining earlier so the path was muddy. Muddy! If you do this hike, wear something more than sandals as several people met the mud in style. Also do the hike earlier in the day if you want to avoid people. The hike takes around 1-2 hours there and back. No photos I’m sure it can be done in just over an hour. I think the trial during the initial covid-19 lockdowns was closed for maintenance to widen the path and make it more user friendly. It’s since reopened however I’m so grateful I got to visit before the covid-19 pandemic took hold. I’d love one day to go back to explore more trails that connect to it and those from the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum located near the start of the trail. This girl can visit in her dreams!
The path ends at Manoa Falls, a beautiful waterfall that I swear has ledges cut out each side for shampoo. Only joking, the ledges are filled with plants, but maybe just maybe shampoo. I wanted to get closer but the good positions were taken up with selfies. Take 100, delete all, take another 100 selfies. Another reason to get there early. I felt for the people that hiked up with 2 people with loudspeakers. Why? The epic soundtrack. In a city I get it, but in nature, please leave the music behind if anything to let others who for many it’s once in a lifetime experience to enjoy it. Man, I sound so old! Looking back I didn’t hear many birds. Maybe they avoid the area due to people. There were moments on the path to myself which was cool against the day’s heat.
October 2020 full moons were a little extra special as one was a blue moon!
Blue moons are when a full moon occurs twice in one month. Maybe it was All Souls Day magic or Samhain magic in pre Christian Celtic celebrations marking the end of the harvest and start of winter that gave October 2 blue moons or the autumn fall equinox working it’s magic. Or just how the Earth’s orbit did it’s thing.
October’s first full moon, Harvest Moon was on the 1st. It’s 2nd, the 31st a Halloween Blue Hunters Moon which was also 2020’s smallest moon. Some name origins are the Harvest moon clears the fields for hunters to see prey in the now clearer fields under Hunters moon which can be in November. Other names for Hunters moon are Sanguine or Blood moon which can again be associated with hunting or leaves turning colour. For me it’s one of the sadder moons as the days are getting shorter and colder weather’s coming.
Visiting a friend I couldn’t stop admiring her rug in the living room lounge. It was so nice to sit on (she has a 1 year baby so you’re on the floor playing) I got thinking that’s what’s missing with my sofa. I had a look at some, saw the price and left it for when there’s more pennies at the end of the month until I went to HM Home. Knowing it probably wasn’t going to be big enough I got it anyway as I liked the texture and colour. It’s more or less the size of a yoga mat, way too small for the sofa so I added to my ‘office’. Checking online HM Home have the same version in larger sizes however maybe too big and on the pricier size. I wasn’t prepared to pay €99-199 for a rug when the first one was €29! I decided to wait until the sales however I found by chance looking again in HM Home the next size up at €39. It’s not the perfect size as it does doesn’t go. I’m happy and that’s the main thing. It feels so nice under my feet and separates the room into a living room from the bikes. In the office/spare room it again separates the room and while the desk can get messy, it gives it a bit of luxe feeling. HMHome España currently only sells the 2 larger sizes here.
The first official day of spring, winter returned but as quickly as it returned it disappeared with almost a week of blue skies. This winter has been grey with few fully sunny days. I’m not sure if this is due to climate change as usually winter’s here are sunny. The temps are going up and that makes me happy feeling warm sunshine, seeing trees getting dressed, changes in light. This time last year Spain was in it’s 5th week of lockdown with only being allowed out for work unless can work from home, food, pharmacy, doctors. I could only watch spring from the balcony and while the light was getting brighter and spring warming up, inside was dark.
Back in February Catalunya allowed gyms to reopen! While the whole of Spain has a curfew, the central government gave regional governments the power to reduce covid-19 transmissions bar total home confinement again. Catalunya I think was one the strictest, but we were allowed out. Some weeks only in our towns although exercise we could travel further. Gyms were closed for a while October to December to be closed again in January. For now they’re back open with restrictions but I’m so happy to be training in a gym again and back climbing indoors (this girl is a bad climber for outside climbing. It’s complicated, gym climbing’s easier to get to).
No surprise my Easter weekend was spent taking advantage of being able to go to the zoo a few times. I could have caught the train or gone someplace else, but no where is as green tropical green, filled with wild birds that are more used to humans to pose and is free. Free for me being a member*.
One of my favourite insects were out too, bumble bees. I like bumble bees. They happily ignore everything around them apart from flowers. By design unlike honey bees, they shouldn’t be able to fly, yet they do. Happily flying flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen, pollinating plants. Growing up I used to see loads of bumbles bees, now living in a city seeing them makes me feel warm inside. Unlike honey bees, they live in a smaller colonies. Sadly like honey bees, their populations are in decline due to pesticides, habitat loss and climate change. No bees, no human food. Bees do about 80% of pollination work on cultivated crops. No human or machine can replace their work! It’s estimated without bees humans would be able to survive just 4 years.
There are ways you can help these gentle giants by planting wild flowers, native flowers or bee friendly flowers in gardens or on balconies. It might not be much, bumble bees might not even come, but other pollinators will. Choosing food if possible with less pesticides so the demand for reduced pesticide food goes up and prices to the consumer down, using less or even better no pesticides gardening. Buy organic food if you can (and help the price of organic food go down!) as they usually use less pesticides. Being mindful of what type of honey you buy. Some honey the bees aren’t kept in good conditions. Support local beekeepers, build homes for native bees, put out a bee bath, plant trees in gardens for bees to rest in! More ideas here!
No one knows the origin of Barcelona’s parakeet population. Some say they were stowaways on boats arriving in Barcelona Port in the 1970’s, others say they’re descended from Barcelona Zoo or house pet escapees, or house pets released when the owners couldn’t deal with them anymore pre 2013 when it was legal to trade Monk and Collared parakeets, just 2 of the 4 types of ‘Spanish’ parakeets.
Some like me love watching a streak of green as they fly by, listening into their cheeky chatter, watching how they use roads as their own flight paths. Other people regard them as pests that have now travelled further outside the city ruining crops. Some say their nests are dangerous due to how much they weigh if they fell on someone. Barcelona isn’t the only city in Spain with parakeets. Madrid and Valencia are just a few Spanish cites with their own populations.
To be honest, they’re pretty kinda cool birds, happy to share with the pigeons, sparrow, starlings and blackbirds for snacks. The other day I think Parc de la Ciutadella had been closed for most of the day. Only one entrance gate open with a temporally closed sign everybody was ignoring. I had bread for the ducks, my new thing with the covid restrictions so I get my bike ride to a green place which I’m aiming to still do now restrictions are slowing being eased. I wasn’t going to go seeing all the people, but thought the ducks and geese would be extra hungry without their usual snack feeders, which I‘m not one as you can tell the ones that are. A few parakeets lined the pond railing waiting for bread pieces so nobody got fed much that day. Even the seagulls were out hungry. Knowing they wouldn’t stand a chance with pigeons that also wanted in, I placed a few pieces on the railing. Some almost took a piece out my hand, others a little more shy waiting until I wasn’t looking. While I like feeding the ducks and geese, parakeets accepting my bread made me feel extra special! Now the zoo’s back open I’ve been seeing them more relaxed than in the park. Less people around, more trees to nest in. Seeing them too as I cycle flying along streets and ramblas with twigs twice as long as them up into the trees for their nests. That flash of green and cheeky squark lights up my day 🙂