November 15, 2000Amsterdam We woke up to the rising sun shining in our window, but it has clouded up and a little rain falls every once in a while. The seagulls don't seem to be bothered by it and like to sit across on the roof of the building across the canal from our hotel room.
Last Saturday we were in the Pyrenees visiting a monastery famous for hiding the Holy Grail from the Muslims for three centuries. The old monastery is built in the tenth century into the cliff and was impossible to find. Tell that to Indiana Jones! Maybe he could have found it.
After exploring the old Monastery where they even have a pile of bones and sculls lying around in a little cave dug into the wall we drove on up to near the top of the Mountain where they build a new Monastery.
We took a nice hike up there. It was cold were we were but not as cold as the higher peaks in the distance. They are something like 13,000 feet and so we decided not to go that direction since we were not prepared with parkas and boots.
From the monastery we took a hike out along the bluff, with views both north and south. To the north the Pyrenees covered with snow and closer by this tilted mountain which can be seen for miles, and to the south the farm lands of the valley. You can see very clearly the layers of sedimentary rock that were once flat and under water but have been forced up and tilted by plate techtonics as the Iberian peninsula has been pushed up into the Pyrenees.
I've been trying to draw the incredible view from our hotel window, these typical Dutch buildings. Why do we think they are typical? Is it from photographs or TV or movies? But they look just like you would expect. Drawing from a view five stories up is a challenge though it is fun to have a view both up and down the canal since our hotel juts out over the water a little. The canals give a nice sense of space and light between streets, and at night all the bridges are lit with an arc of lights for the boats to see.
Now, this was a perfect day. High sixties in Sitgues on the coast of Spain just south of Barcelona. Seemed like the whole world turned out for a stroll on the promenade. And everyone was over dressed, not expecting the good weather. So all these people were taking off jackets and scarves and basking in the sun at the outdoor cafes. We had a great feast and pollished off a bottle of excellent Roja wine.
The view from our hotel in Amsterdam. It seems to be gray and rainy here most of the time, but with a nice room and a good view, we can't complain.
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