Rio Borosa

From our hike yesterday in Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park to the source of Rio Borosa, which originates out of a rock.

Here’s Ofer at the bubbling spring:

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Tarab Practice in Zanzibar

I have some more audio from our trip from way back that I have been meaning to share. This is some tarab music from Culture Musical Club. They are one of the two historically important tarab groups in Zanzibar. They still practice daily and this is a recording from the practice.

Dali House

It’s a small town several hours north of Barcelona, but Figueres is birthplace to larger-than-life Salvador Dali.  We were surprised to learn that Teatre-Museu Dali takes second place (after the Prado) for most visited museum in Spain. Not bad for a tiny town tucked away near the French border.


We were in Barcelona for a week. We both took classes to improve our Spanish during the afternoons and stayed with local families. We are touring now for a week and will continue classes in Granada.

On our first day we stumbled across Sardana Dancing at the Cathedral.  Here is a snippet of the music:

And some pictures:




We also ate very well at lunch – there are great lunch menus – 3 course meals including wine for 10-15 euro. Some pics:


Barcelona – The Spanish Masters

Man in a beret.  1895

Man in a beret. 1895

Still Life.  1901

Still Life. 1901

If art were food and wine, we’d have gained 300 pounds this past week alone. In our short stint in Barcelona, we have quite stuffed ourselves on Gaudi, Picasso, and Miro.

So far, the most surprising visit has been the Museu Picasso, not your everyday Picasso museum. The collection here chronicles his early years and features sketches and paintings rarely seen in U.S. exhibits. In addition to the usual abstract and Cubist menu, the works highlight Picasso’s very traditional training and feature his drawings, Impressionist-inspired still-lifes and classical oil portraits. One museum monitor aggressively chased out a visitor attempting to steal a snap of L’espera.  Photos were strictly prohibited but the museum provides samples from their catalog.

Pitcher.  1914

Pitcher. 1914

Portrait of a young girl. 1919

Portrait of a young girl. 1919

An extra special treat was the Miro Foundation. The curators didn’t do quite as good a job at showing the transformation from Miro’s early years to later ones, but the collection thoroughly displays the influence of Japanese portraiture and calligraphy.  In addition to paintings and tapistries, the museum has countless sculptures. Like Picasso, Miro’s classical training is hard to miss in his earlier work in oil and pastel. Tons of other goodies and an excellent catalog found here:  Miro Foundation Gallery


And then there’s Antoni Gaudi.  I’m not big on churches in general, but in the name of architecture, La Sagrada Familia is worth wading through the throngs of tourists.  A few photo ops to demonstrate the very labor intensive feat that is still underway.  (Speaking of labor, signs everywhere implored people to keep silent and respect the spirituality of the space. Never mind all the stone grinders and jackhammers.) I’ll let their website handle all the pretty photos.  Virtual tour here.

And the buffet continues tomorrow in Figueres, Dali’s hometown.

Barcelona – La Crisis

A few snaps here of Placa Cataluna, where a large group had organized to inform and protest against austerity measures.

Josephine Baker “House”


Chateau Milandes - Josephine Baker's "House"

Chateau Milandes – Josephine Baker’s “house”


Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Beauford Delaney and Chester Himes were among the many black American artists who traded the racist and segregated United States for a less oppressive life in France. But none became as entrenched in French society and legend as Josephine Baker. Unlike Baldwin, Wright and the others, she did not expressly self-exile because of the racism she endured at home. Instead, when offered a contract to entertain in Paris, she accepted without hesitation. In 1925, Baker arrived in Paris and twelve years later traded her American citizenship for French.

Chateau Milandes was home to Josephine Baker and her “Rainbow Tribe” of adopted children. She first inhabited the chateau in 1939, escaping Paris at the outbreak of WWII. Throughout the war she ran spy missions for France, her willingness motivated by her having a Jewish husband. She used her status as an entertainer to access parties and state affairs, where she collected information she had overheard. Later she completed missions in North Africa. France recognized Baker’s allegiance with three of the country’s highest honors: La Croix de Guerre, La Médaille de la Résistance and La Légion d’Honneur, which Charles de Gaulle presented himself.

Hiking in Perigord

We are on a 5 day hike in Perigord, walking from village to village. Started Tuesday Morning in Les Eyzies which hosts lots of prehistoric sites starting from the neanderthal period and ending in Sarlat. We left the car and most of our luggage in Les Eyzies and will take a bus and train to get back on Saturday (its only 20km :-)). So far been great – picturesque countryside and villages with just a little drizzle today.

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