Tuesday, April 28, 2009


First visit to Costa Blanca to supplement the knowledge of the area and climb some more went on last w-end. It is the most hilly province in Spain, and for a reason! The popularity of climbing around Alicante, in the Valencia region, is partly due to the Costa Blanca guidebook published by Rockfax, a good resource for the English-speakers, something rather rare in the Spanish climbing world, or at least in my home Cataluna. This might be to the best on the other hand, given the plethora of Englishmen getting all these nice routes polished to death in Costa Blanca - i'd rather they kept far, far away from our hidden treasures...

For our first visit, we went to Sella, one of the most popular sport climbing spots. The limestone is polished on lower grades, however the setting is beautiful and makes you quickly forget the buildings and ugly cemented coast of the close-by urbanistic disaster, Benidorm. The first day we spent working Kashba, a very good line, although pretty sustained for the grade.

The second day, with more confidence, we went to the Rosalia wall, where the real things happen. The limestone is totally unpolished due to higher grades and 5-minute longer approach. We did a 3-pitch Tanit (view below from the belay on the 2nd pitch), and a couple of first pitches. I was impressed by the 1st pitch 6c of La estacion de la bruia, and especially the El endemoniado that can be toproped from the same anchor - a very sustained line, worth by itself coming back to the crag - not mentionning all the other multipitches we ignored this time...

And below is el Divino, on the other side of the valley, one of the many many objectives, like Puig Campana or Penon de Ifach, that remain out there. Thanks to all the friends who made this another very nice w-end!

There is a relaxing, Mexican-style refuge almost at the base of the cliff, with climbers as guardians, and 6 eur per night, hard to beat! Definitely a place to come back for further exploring!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Susana Baca

A very good Peruvian singer, Susana Baca is worth listening to over and over on a good or on a bad day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh My Dear Ukraine

I have spent my Easter holidays in the long forgotten homeland. It greeted me with wonderful weather, warmer than my adopted Barcelona. The first day i strove through the familiar streets and took a couple of positive and negative shots. First, the spring view of renovated Lviv sights, the Korniakta tower on this one:

Next, the various restaurants and bars that have clustered the streets of my city in numerous, sometimes unexpected places. With the outside seating the city center looks very comfortable and welcoming, especially on the sunny days.

And some negative ones of the post-Soviet reality, this one of the garbage cans in front of my apartment building (in the fore-left is a hole in the road, marked with a rod for careful drivers to securely bypass)...

On a sidenote, my funniest experience in Ukraine has been listening to the news. Most of the stories were perfect humoristic ones - for example this is the list of news from one evening: a ship cannot get into port in Crimea since 4 months because it is caring stinking meat that none wants; 50 Indonesians living in Kiev are going to vote using their fingers and have even more parties to choose from than the ukrainians; a kindergarden that won a Leninist medal in the 1930ies is going to close because new elite is building apartment blocks on Kyiv´s hills with beautiful views on the river...Ukraine, eternal country of paradoxes! Here goes another shot from the entrance to the nicely restored Armenian church in Lviv, in the city center:

And finally our old but happy yellow house in the mountains:

The other upside of travelling is getting to see old friends, some of whom I have not seen for already...10 years! This is sad but true, time is passing relentlessly. Below Julia and Julia in London´s parks:

And Jenia in same London rambling:

And coffee lovers in Lviv´s Svit Kavu:

And several more that i forgot to take pictures of. Thanks for everyone who found time for me, coffee, conversation, and even a spare bed on occasion during this trip!