Thursday, October 2

We're going to Spain

today, today, today,,,,,

what can i say, it was an interesting day to say the least and we did so much but also not so much and now as I write this I have this weird odd feeling about me and I can’t figure it out. I think I may be missing the gals at On the Hoof already! Those lovely ladies started the day out in true-fashion by treating Scott and I to breakfast and let me tell you,,,was it ever-delicious and ever so good for the soul. Today they recommended the Big Egg Omelet which sounded pretty tasty so we both went for it. And yes, we covered it with brown sauce again, mmmm-yeaaahhhh.
Debbie, the owner, told us a few stories for the road and even offered to take us to Blenham, a nearby village if we were going to have time. It turns out we didn’t but that just gives me another reason to come back,,actually as I look at my notebook, it’s reason number 47.


After breakfast, Kevin, Steven, Corey, Kris, Scott and myself went down to a local market, nothing to fancy or unique enough to really garner my full attention, but interesting nonetheless. Scott was told a few times to not film but one fella who was sellin’ goods made fun by yelling out, “Sorry, no time for interviews today, too busy, sorry, no time for interviews!” Smiles all around.

Our next stop brought us to Christ Church where more of Harry Potter was filmed and where beauty and magnificence stands in grand form. It was quite astonishing. We didn’t even go inside as we were on a schedule but just from the outside you knew there was something incredible waiting inside for visitors. Scott and I spent a little extra time here filming and shooting. It was a pretty cloudy day but I knew if I could catch a break in the cover the front of the church would probably just glow against the background. And after about twenty minutes, there is was, only for an instant, so I feverishly snapped away altering my position here and there, lowering myself, watching the foreground, clicking. Whatcha’ think? I know some purists out there will say, oh, but the building is leaning, fix the perspective! I say, eh, I don’t care,,,it’s my image and I prefer it this way. I think the lean in this image lends to the enormity of the structure. Massive and powerful.


Iffley Church was our next and final stop this morning before heading back to the house.
It’s another old church yet it’s still used today for services. Worn, aging and unreadable gravestones lean forwards and backwards, some almost in their reach touching the grassy lawn surrounding them. Light colored mosses fill thin cracks and lichen tops most stones in uneven yet beautiful patterns. As I pass through the south side lawn, heavy somewhat dewy grasses pad my steps and I feel an incredible sense of peace; there’s a push on my chest and I breathe deeply. My head loses itself in a slight dizzy and my fingers go numb. I could have lied on my back right there in the afternoon light in those grasses and slept, I felt so at ease. I’ve experienced this feeling before but only a handful of times and in some of the oddest places in my travels. Can’t really explain it but I can only assume that there is something at work that just envelopes me. I’m sure it’s a combination of elements all lending together, maybe not, maybe it was my blood pressure dropping, who knows. I want to believe it’s more.

We headed back to the house where we had about 20 minutes to tidy up our things for our drive to the airport where we would catch our flight to Spain. I think I slept most of the hour and a half drive because the sun coming through the window onto my face, it felt good, couldn’t help it.
We didn’t fly out of Heathrow as we used a smaller carrier where tickets can be had for literally five bucks a person for travel to anywhere in Europe. We even discussed on the way up there that they must have some great way of generating dollars since they were so cheap. We were soon about to find out......
So, when flying out with Ryan Air, you can only have 15kg weight in checked luggage and for carry on, I believe, it was 10kg. Well, my camera bag weighed in at about 16kg.
I already knew my checked wouldn’t make weight and was ready to accept that and I thought for carry-on you’d be able to just pay extra fees and still be allowed to take it-well, we we’re wrong. We had to get our bag down to weight and we were only allowed one carry on. What the hell am I going to do with my gear???!!!!! I admit, I started to freak a little-I mean after all, I did have two cameras, about four very expensive lenses, a portable harddrive with all my images from the trip, miscellaneous cables that were needed and my macbook pro. I thought, I can’t check any of this!! Scott was in the same situation and many of us found that we were all overweight in our checked. So, with just a few minutes to get back in line to check in we picked an open spot on the floor near the scale, splayed out all our cases and were shifting gear from here to there, borrowing spots in others’ bags and trying to figure out what was expendable in case something did happen with our checked luggage. I said goodbye to my 35L f1.4 and some other odds and ends and stuffed them in my checked bag, burying them deeply amidst my rolled pants and folded shirts. I got my camera bag down to 12kg but without the notebook stuffed in I came in at just about 9.65kgs. I was going to have to make this work, I was not going to check my Mac. We all got in line and made our way through and my checked became fatter at weigh in and the extra charge for that was £129 or about $230! Ouch! The gal working the tickets never asked to weigh my carry on again but just asked if I had reduced the weight, which I had, and so there were no worries there, you can’t even begin to realize how relieved I was. When it was all said and done, I heard from someone that by the time we paid all the extra fees in our over-weighted bags we could’ve just bought tickets at a regular airline. Oh well, lessons learned.

We arrived in Girona a couple hours later and after a taxi ride we found ourselves in our hotel. Three of us are sharing what is like a little apartment, complete with kitchen separate bedrooms, living room and dining area. The only thing we realized is that internet was not available in the room and we had to go down to the lobby to hook up, hence no post tonight (last night by the time I’m actually posting this) sorry!
After a quick freshen we all met and walked down to a local cafe for a late night dinner.
We feasted on variety of entrées which included rabbit, melon, paella, sausage, rice and an awesome Catalan bean dish. We brought the day to a close with a leisurely walk through the historic district in which we are staying.
Right at midnight we found ourselves on the steps of St. Peter's Cathedral where as the bells rung I felt a loosening on my shoulder and before I knew what had happened, my camera slipped away from me and smacked to the ground. I picked it up and inspected it and found that the lens had taken the brunt of the fall. A strap had loosened and come loose but everything seems to be working fine, yes!


Today I skipped on early morning coffee and slept in a bit. Since the kids won't be getting in until late tonight we kind of have a day to do whatever, some personal time. Around noon, I think, I stretched out and rubbed my eyes awake. I awoke to spanish laughter on the street below my window and a gal cleaning house right around me as I woke,,,"Buenas Dias." I showere and got myself ready for some exploring. I just have to finish writing this first. See you later and I hope everyone back home is doing good!



Sammy said...

Hey Ronnie, I enjoyed the read, especially the Iffley church paragraph. I am also glad to hear that your gear is safe. Great images and the school is so blessed to have you as a part of the crew.

Cheryl said...

Love the pic of the lower gardens. Looks so peaceful!