Simanaitis Says

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BAEDEKER’S, MURRAY’S, AND MY MEDITERRANEAN PART 1

I LOVE COASTLINES. The beauty of California’s Route 1. The panoramas of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. 

Above, image from “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of California’s Route 1 in 1988.” Below, the town of Amalfi, seen from its pier. Image by Jensens from Wikipedia.

And then there’s the coastline of the Mediterranean, as exemplified by Baedeker’s, Murray’s, and my own travels. 

Baedeker’s Mediterranean,Karl Baedeker, 1911.

These tidbits in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow focus on the western Mediterranean, Barcelona to Monaco, an appropriate itinerary because it follows a drive I enjoyed years ago with good pal Rich Homan.

Murray’s Hand-Book to the Mediterranean Part II,1892, John Murray, 1892.

Barcelona. Murray’s Hand-Book to the Mediterranean Part II, 1892, says “Barcelona is the chief city in the district or principality of Cataluňa, which, for industry and entereprise, is second to none other in Spain. It became part of the kingdom of Spain when Ferdinand of Aragon espoused Isabel of Castile, and here it was that they received Christopher Columbus after his discovery of the New World.”

“Soon after this, it began to decay,” Murray’s says. “…captured by the English in 1705, it has taken an important part in all the political movements which have desolated Spain ever since.”

Barcelona, 1892. Image from Murray’s Hand-Book of the Mediterranean Part II.

Antoni Gaudi. Murray’s writeup predates mention of Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s own and perhaps my favorite architect. La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila, was built between 1906 and 1910. 

La Predera, Barcelona. Image by ericvokel.com..

As noted here at SimanaitisSays, La Predera is located on Passeig de Gràcia, a fashionable shopping avenue in a city known for its Catalan cuisine. 

Adventurous Eating. Colman Andrews writes in his fine cookbook Catalan Cuisine: Europe’s Last Great Culinary Secret, “Like Catalonia itself, Catalan cuisine looks outward toward Europe and the Mediterranean, rather than back into the Iberian interior…. a complex and sophisticated system of recipes and techniques, first codified as early as the fourteenth century. Catalan cuisine’s roots are Roman, with Visigoth, Moorish, French, and Italian influences.”

Image from Baedeker’s Mediterranean.

Northward and Easterly. Traveling north from Barcelona, we pass into France, bend eastward around what Baedeker’s calls the Gulf of Lions, and head for Marseilles. Ready for some bouillabaisse tomorrow in Part 2? ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021

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