Many of you faithful readers (all three of you) have sent me notes wondering where the hell I've been. It's a bit flattering that my postings have been missed, let alone noticed -- so thanks.
The reason for my absence is a combined work/pleasure trip to Spain (and the accompanying catch-up back at home). Mrs. Scampwalker accompanied me on the trip, and we were able to hook up with the NH family for some Catalonian fun (which for us typically means wandering the narrow streets of Barcelona, in search of the next fix of tapas, cañas, or sidra).
After saying adios to the NH's, Mrs S and I explored Girona and Figueres, two smaller, but no less significant, cities in northeastern Spain. Figueres is best known as the home of Salvador Dali, and we both enjoyed an Alice-In-Wonderland-style tour through his mind-bending museum there.
But the thing that'll stick with me most from the trip is Girona's Passeig de la Muralla, or the Passage of the Wall. It was originally constructed in the third century B.C. to keep out marauding hordes, and spread across the mile-long rampart are turrets, lookout towers, and hundreds of slits designed to launch a hail of arrows at attackers. Over these thousands of years, the city has been occupied by early Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, Kabbalah Jews, French, Spanish, and now Catalonians -- more than 30 seiges in all. So it's probably hard to argue that the wall was very effective.
What can't be argued, however, is the wall's supreme majesty and antiquity. As we strolled along the narrow crest, I couldn't help but ponder those who had patrolled the wall under far more arduous times -- dating back to 300 years before Jesus Christ himself was in short pants.
And the views were stunning -- from Girona's old Jewish quarter to the verdant, rolling hills (which I must say, looked exceedingly birdy -- perdiz, anyone?), to the giant snow-capped Pyrenees beyond.
There's nothing like a little time off in a foreign land to put things into perspective.