Lynn Miles-Ottawa International Writers Festival

The 2012 Fall International Writers Festival is underway in Ottawa.  I have attended a number of events with a couple more in my plans over the next few days. It is one of the pleasures of feeling you have time to do this sort of thing when paid work doesn’t take up so much of every day.

The Songwriter’s Circle Event this year showcased the 25 year career of the award-winning Ottawa singer/songwriter Lynn Miles.  

Lynn Miles


I volunteered once again to blog about the event for the Writers Festival.  If you are so inclined, you can find my contribution along with blogs on other events in this link to the Writers Festival Blog.  

I find these events very interesting.  It’s something to hear directly from authors and in particular from those you have either read or plan to read.  The creative process is a marvel, really.

Have you attended a book reading?  What was your experience?

Barcelona-Part III

A third and final blog on my quick trip to Barcelona (a couple of days of sightseeing and one day of work).  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  After a career full of wonderful experiences and opportunities, I am very grateful and always some surprised that I might have something to say that would be of interest to others.  And being able to do that in Barcelona, well, that’s some wonderful.  As far as providing information of interest to others, I haven’t seen the participants’ evaluations so who knows.  

Four thoughts on travel to (from North America) and a visit to Barcelona:

  1. Flight Itinerary.  If you consider a flight itinerary that sees you transfer from, say, La Guardia airport to Newark International when travelling, try to avoid it.  You go through downtown Manhattan as you transfer and even on a Sunday afternoon, the traffic is a nightmare.  I had almost three hours between flights and it took two hours to get picked up and across town.  Have you ever transferred between the three main airports around NYC?  Perhaps you have some knowledge about rapid transit you could share.
  2. Gaudi’s Barcelona.  While there are many places you can visit buildings that were designed by Barcelona’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, I was only able to visit the Sagrada Familia in my limited time there.  I received a valuable tip from friends who had just visited Barcelona.  Buy an admission ticket on-line beforehand.  Great idea for even in a somewhat off-season (October), the line for tickets was almost three blocks long.  Those who had pre-purchased tickets had to wait less than 10 minutes to enter. 

I chose the self-guided audio tour and would recommend it.  There’s plenty written about the Basilica that you can find online.  Of note, the construction began in 1882 and  this year (2012), the construction is only 60% complete.  I have toured churches, cathedrals, basilicas in a number of countries and found the interior of this basilica to be breathtaking.  Gaudi believed in providing diffused light and rather than the dark interior you often see, this church is bright and airy.  The ceiling is magnificent.  A sunny day makes it even more amazing. My pictures don’t do it justice but there are plenty of images available online.

3.  St. Josep Market and environs.  Worth a visit.  It’s just off La Rambla, an impressive pedestrian mall in old Barcelona.  Hint: make sure you ask how much things cost if the prices aren’t posted (says she who paid what seemed to be a lot for a few sweets).

Have you been to Barcelona?  What your favourite spots and memories?

Window shopping on La Rambla
Asparagus and scampi risotto
Lunch before visiting the market
Refreshing drinks for a hot afternoon
Need a certain egg for a recipe?
Peppers anyone?

Barcelona-Part II

Apologies-I am trying to blog on a mobile device and it isn’t as easy to navigate as a computer. The pictures are from the hop on/hop off bus that ferries people around Barcelona. It’s a great way to get the lay of the land. Below are three more pictures that should have been in the previous blog. I pressed publish by mistake and away it went without more pictures. Below are three pictures: first-a bull-fight arena (now a shopping centre), a house designed by Barcelona’s most famous architect Gaudet, a tree-lined boulevard with a sole scooter. Lots of scooters in Barcelona.

Have you been to Spain? What was your experience?




A Quick Trip-Barcelona

One of the wonderful things about being in a place to do consulting work is the freedom to choose what and where. And when an occasion arises to Barcelona, Spain as the “where”, well who wouldn’t? I was fortunate to have almost two days in Barcelona before work and it gave me a chance to look around and shed a bit of jet lag.

The weather was great. Unseasonably warm they said. The city is very walkable and the people are friendly. I need to learn Spanish. It would be the courteous thing to do when visiting. I tried a little bit and the locals were patient and diplomatic. The current economic situation isn’t really apparent as you walk the streets. The region of Catalonia (where Barcelona is situated) is apparently more well off than some other areas of Spain. Overall unemployment is at 25% and the outlook is not rosy right now.

A few pictures of Barcelona.