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Normandy – history and the horrors of war

Heading back to the UK we were bracing ourselves for the cold and we were not disappointed. The closer to Calais and the train back to London the colder it got.       On the way we stopped at Nantes.  The centre piece of the town is the magnificent castle where you can wander the ramparts and look out over the old city.               There is, of course, an imposing cathedral on the main square.                 …

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Zaragoza and Pamplona – enjoying more of Spain

      We’d seen a photo of the Basilica del Pilar in Zaragoza and decided to head there after our short sojourn at Oliva. Like so many places in this world, photos don’t do it justice. Our first glimpse of the majestic building was at night.                 While there has been a place of worship here for centuries, the Basilica dates back to the 16th century. Inside it is not as ornate as you would expect but the exterior is breathtaking whether …

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Barcelona – a striking city and a general strike

  We arrived in Barcelona on the eve of the November 14 general strike – a part of a European wide action against the austerity measures. Our hotel advised us not to go out but we were not going to be deterred. The city was certainly quiet with most of the business shut and public transport at a minimum. But this gave us a chance to wander the wide boulevards and photograph the magnificent buildings without hassle.               We did encounter some of the …