Well, I’m back. Thank you so much for all your kind wishes and comments, I will reply as soon as I have drawn breath. I’ve had a very interesting trip despite a lot of very dodgy weather that seems to be afflicting all Western Europe at the moment. We arrived in Geneva at lunch time and after our 2 hour train journey to Sierre then a taxi ride up the mountain, we finally arrived in Crans Montana in the early evening. It was surprisingly warm and sunny (we had expected to be cold!) but by the next day, it had become grey and misty and that set the tone for much of the rest of the journey south.
It was really interesting to see the same places I photographed a couple of months ago – minus the snow. It’s quite astonishing to see how quickly the grass and trees recover after being covered in snow for months on end. The snow covered hillsides had become meadows filled with wild flowers and the cows were out to pasture, each wearing a huge cow bell which rang constantly. The poor creatures must be deaf with the noise.
Our journey was not going to be a leisurely sight seeing trip unfortunately. We were booked onto a ferry leaving Barcelona the next day so we had a lot of driving to do in a relatively short time. We set off in drizzly rain and and drove to Geneva and then down to Lyon. This part of the journey was through a region called the Jura and the scenery is quite beautiful. I managed to take a few shots as we drove through the mountains and through many tunnels.
After that we headed down the motorway which runs down to the South of France, (called the Autoroute du Soleil – the Sunshine Motorway) heading towards Spain when we reached Orange and bypassing some wonderful places like Montelimar, Avignon, Nimes, Carcassonne and Perpignan. The weather did improve as we drove south but as we were in the car, it seemed a waste! Just after we crossed the Spanish border, we came to Figueras (which has a famous Dali museum) and we stopped for the night in a pretty little fishing village called Port de la Selva.
This was the night that my team, Manchester United played Chelsea in the Champions League Final in Moscow. I managed to watch the last hour or so, in my hotel room on Spanish TV (so no John Motson or Alan Hanson – every cloud has a silver lining) The match was very close and even after playing extra time, the match was still drawn. The penalty shoot out which followed was unbearably exciting and stressful – I could hardly stand to watch it. Luckily, we won and I expect my screams of joy could be heard in Barcelona. Oops! Sorry! Manchester United knocked Barcelona out in the semi finals….. :-) Anyway, don’t let anyone say that we Mancunians weren’t pleased to win the cup!
We were heading for Barcelona to catch a fast ferry over to Palma in Mallorca. When we reached Barcelona, after only getting lost once (and that was because we had a duff road map and the streets had no names or road signs – honest! Maybe it was revenge for the football) we just about had time for a quick lunch before catching the Sea Cat, so I only had time for a quick look around the harbour near the port. (Click on thumbnails for a larger image)
I have stayed in my friends’ apartment in Puerta Pollensa many times and the weather has always been brilliant, so I suppose I was due some bad weather. Friday wasn’t too bad. We did manage to sit in the sun for a while but the three days after that were awful – very unseasonal rain, high winds and storms.
Having said that, I saw THE most amazing thunderstorm which happened whilst there was a spectacular red sunset. Even after many efforts, I didn’t manage to get a photograph of the lightning but shortly after I took this shot there was a HUGE bolt of forked lightning. With the building site in the foreground, this photograph reminds me of Mordor in ‘Lord of the Rings’ :-)
I arrived back in the UK yesterday after our grey, wet week to rain, rain and more rain. Marvellous. Welcome home.
Welcome home safe and sound. I know Pollensa well as we were anchored there for several days and on separate occasions.
The weather can change very quickly there. Some people we met got swept ashore one night and smashed their boat up completely. Luckily they managed to get ashore safely …. with their babe in arms. They retired from cruising after that ……….. phew!
It’s a shame it’s been so wet – be better to be cold than wet..
Still, it looks like you had a fascinating trip – great photos!
Welcome back. That final picture of the sky is brilliant.
All the others are nice too :)
DP – Eek! That is bad. The weather can change rapidly but the locals were saying that the weather had been unsettled for the last 10 days and there was no sign of a break in it… Sounds pretty settled to me :-)
Lady B – it was a good trip. I just wish there could have been more blue skies! You’re quite right, I can stand the cold as long as the sun is shining. :-)
SW – thanks! It was an amazing sky. Just wish I could have caught the lightning bolt too….
Wow, that last photo…what fantastic colour! Love the cow too :)
welcome back…welcome back Diane…
the photos are stunning..
I love the boats…that would look fantastic on the cover of a magazine !!!
those poor cows….those bells are huge.
your storm pick is definitely Lord of the Ringsy :) :)
Huzzah! Welcome back, m’dear.
It is too bad that you have returned to rather dismal climes, but still it could be worse.
I am trying to think how. I shall get back to you!
I remember sitting with DP in Puerta Pollensa watching drifts of large, feathery pieces of ash settle all over our beautiful boat and being riveted by the sea plane scooping up thousands of gallons of water and flying off to drop it all on the burning hill sides across the bay, over and over again
Drowsey – it was an amzing sky – I’ve never seen a red thunderstorm before. It made it seem more ‘doom laden’ somehow! Very scary – and loud :-)
Kim – thanks, Kim! I was thinking that the boats might just make a good book cover…. :-) The poor cows must suffer from permanent tinnitus :-)
Lord L – it has stopped raining! Marvellous! Now if the sun could just manage an appearance….
Lo,TG – I love the sea plane – they take it out for a test flight every morning and I have taken endless photos of it at various times! There was a fire when I was there once – always quite scary (and fascinating at the same time).
Welcome home! It’s too bad that your trip was rained out. You did get some spectacular photos, though. I can’t wait to see which ones make it onto the covers of your books. My favorite one is the one of the boats.
Thanks! I’m already seeing that one as a book, I must admit. :-)
I was going to comment that your photographs are as amazing as your book creations, and then I read other people’s comments and your replies and realized that of course they are because you use them for your book covers! I’m a bit slow. ;)
Would you believe my favorite one is the one of the tunnel? I’m an odd duck, I know.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun despite iffy weather; so good to have you back though!
I like the tunnel photograph too – and then the red sky one (which looks much more impressive when you see it full size) I just wish I could have caught the lightning too….
the fishing village looked great and i have to admit to feeling very jealous. i need some travel!
grey weather back home, eh? that will hardly lessen the post holiday blues, will it? well, i hope it improves. i’m looking forward to be back in england in about 7 weeks and i hope it’s gorgeous!
What a whirlwind trip! Go, go, go!! Lover the pixs — especially the boat one. Nice composition. I’ve tried to catch lightning in a picture, too, but it’s very difficult. Great shots, all.
Welcome back. Oh you have some great pictures. But, I must agree concerning the sunset. It is breath taking!!
Burnt maze – it was a very pretty (and relatively unspoilt) village and the weather wasn’t too bad there! At least it has finally stopped raining here but for how long? Who can say?
Writinggb – It was a whistle stop tour. I want to do it again but stopping wherever the mood takes me. It was frustrating to pass all those lovely places and not be able to explore.
Shinade – as a sunset it was impressive – as a storm sky, it was incredible!
Oh, your pictures are so lovely! I adore rain but I know it’s a hassle while you are vacationing. Glad you’re safe home, Diane.
Sorry I’m late! What wonderful pictures from what seams to be a great trip – I’m so glad you had such a great one!
I can well imagine the frustration of not being able to stop for longer….
Last summer, I took my ten-year-old son on a road trip across America. We visited 22 states and traveled over 10,000 miles, taking seven weeks. Though I had an agenda (I was researching my grandmother’s memoir), we were able to take our time and stop at a weird little dinosaur museum in the middle of nowhere Montana, sample smushed grapes (ground seeds included) at a rest stop in Pennsylvania, and visit the original but now deeply weird London Bridge at Lake Havasu, Arizona, on our way to the Grand Canyon. Still felt like a whirlwind trip, but we did take the opportunity to stop frequently.
Hopefully you will get the chance for another, more leisurely, trip soon.
Jenny – weirdly rain in a foreign place doesn’t seem as depressing as rain back home, although it did rather spoil my mental image of me sunning myself….
Renny – you are forgiven! Better late than never! Glad you enjoyed the photographs. :-)
writinggb – that sounds like a fabulous trip! I would love to take a gap year and just go! So many places to see…. :-)
Oh, yeah. Sabbatical has been truly amazing. I’m lucky to be in a profession where such things are possible. Lots of travel this year — our cross-country trip, a service trip to Peru, and this summer I’m headed to the land of the ancestors (Scandinavia). Gonna look up the long-lost relatives (dead and alive). :-)
How fabulous! I’m hoping to get out to Australia later in the year – fingers crossed :-)
My number 2 son just graduated from Uni and is having a second gap year to go traveling before he settles down. I wish there had been gap years in my day! :-)
PS It just occurred to me that I shouldn’t whinge. Since my boys left home, my life is one permanent gap year if I’m honest and the reason I don’t travel more is I’m too scared to go on my own :-(
Ah, well, I understand about the fear thing! I was terrified when I went to Peru. I was afraid the trip would be beyond my capabilities to cope. Yup. It kinda was. Yet I survived.
This summer I solved the problem by arranging to go on my trip to Sweden and Norway with an old friend. She’s flying out to my area to meet me, and we’re headed overseas after that for almost three weeks of travel. Can’t wait!
You should see who will go with you and just do it! OH!!! I just remembered there are also these specialty travel vacations for women with all kinds of activities central to the trip: wine tasting, hiking, biking, you name it. You should do something like that.