Madrid to Barcelona….2001

Madrid to Barcelona


The little Renault and me are having a great time weaving in and out
of lanes, driving over some magnificent terrain. Spain is beautiful. 

From Madrid to Goyagoza are castles, medieval towns from days gone by, and amazing ruins of every description.

The freeway powers forth to the coast, and every few kilometers  is a turn off
 to a  different town.  It took me a while to realize, that it is possible to veer off the main highway, visit whatever town is lurking in the eaves of the freeway and then back, without even leaving the car or missing a beat, coming straight back on to the highway and continuing on. I went off on every single detour once I realised I could do this and the ruins and the small communities are simple wonderful with breathtaking views, as they are mostly on top of mountains.

I missed some marvelous places just out of Madrid, and am hoping to see them on my way back. Places with names such as Guadalajarra, Torija, Medinaceli, Ariza, Alhama de Aragon, Catalayud, and San Mateo de Gallego, where I am now  writing this from.

All are exciting places with ruins, and Olive groves, and almond trees in
blossom. I stopped to photograph an olive grove, and discovered I was leaning against an almond tree with ripened nuts, which I collected, and ate while I drove along. They were sweet and juicy and I wished I had collected more, instead of just a small handful.

Many monasteries are there, promising mystery and religious awe, amidst some of the most majestic and most dramatic scenery I have ever seen. 

At various places perched on the highest vintage points for a very long distant visibility, the huge black silhouettes of bulls loomed over the immense mountains, and the desolation makes me wonder how the ancient Spaniards did manage to survive. The highest peak of every settlement has a castle, strong and arrogant, suggesting sentries with sharp eyes watching for visitors and strays from other regions. Local rock and stone are used for every building adding to its charm. It was truly spectacular and vividly dramatic and beautiful.

Every little patch of land had a little dwelling, and the vines were still sticks, as this is winter in Spain. I can imagine the hive of industry when the grapes were ready and the olives were being picked, and people were working. I was driving through the Vineyards and the wine making country, and the electricity wind vanes turned looking like giant fans cooling the already cold area. It was winter in Spain, and very cold.

I stayed the next night at Zaragoza, and found it misty and foggy.  The following day, because of  poor visibility,  I just carefully followed the road,  and missed most of what was beyond. It was like driving through a misty wonderland where one never knew just what lay on either side or even ahead.

At  Fraga, I joined a freeway, that cost me 21500 pesetas, which I just managed, as I had not made  allowances for cash for freeway tolls. The freeway was magnificent ,and fabulous for driving. The separate lanes for traffic, meant night driving was a dream, without bright lights, but you miss the magnificent scenery, which is why I stopped here for the night.

After Lleida there are towns again, and some fabulous monasteries and
ruins, and they are totally different to the settlements on the Madrid side.

Once again there were dramatic mountains and some breathtaking scenery. There were lots of Almonds and olives, amidst neatly sown patches of land,  that were all ready for planting. Lots and lots of wineries and again the names were familiar from wines rather than locations. I loved it all and
was sad the dull weather made it difficult to take many photographs.

Names such as Tarrega, Calef, Rocafort, Sta Colonna, St Jeromi, and Santa Maria, and lots of others not on the map, delighted the eye and the heart, and the names alone make Spain so romantic and so exciting.

Barcelona was a total contrast to Madrid. Some very modern Spanish castles and renovated buildings with lots of high rise in the process of being built. There appeared a more Mediterranean influence with arches and gardens and green as against Madrid’s more archaic formal structures. 

The freeways are everywhere, and the traffic so fast, that a new traveler who
cannot understand Spanish, and has no map, cannot possibly cope. True to form I got lost again and asked for help from a BP Garage. His help was fine, but the lanes of the freeways merge, and mingle, so though you start in one lane the final route is in anothe,r and with fast traffic and no prior warning, and beeping irate
drivers, it is hard to lane change easily.

So, I end up off the A2 highway and on the road to Girona, which is nearly France. 

There was no way to turn off, and at the end I finally came off, and whilst weaving the evening traffic found a police car with a friendly pair of police, who again not only put me onto the right highway out of Barcelona, but took me to a bank for money, and when that was closed, actually escorted me to the Airport, came with me to change my notes, and then guided me back. 

I would never have managed without their help. Believe me, it was a complete Hodge Podge of tiny one-way streets, with more motorists than I have ever seen
before, all  behind me,  all blowing their horns, and me not having a clue where I was or where I was heading.

What I did, was finally just stop the car right where I was in the middle of this one way street, and patiently wait, with every car in Barcelona behind me all blowing their horns,  until someone did something. Finally a Police car arrived, duly called no doubt by some exasperated motorist,  and showed me how to get out of this mess I was now in, by following them. I was now driving on bumpy cobbled stones, and the buildings around made it look like I was driving around a collection of cathedrals, which I possibly was. It was an awesome experience, and one I will never forget.

I did go through the three tunnels, and through another freeway, where I had to fiddle my loose change for the amount. I started to get worried and thought.. What for. This is my adventure, and I will enjoy it, and I did.

The scenery coming back, was even better than going there, as now I was traveling downhill, and seeing the whole expanse ahead. The colors of the vineyards and the buildings are wonderful, and the soil is as red in places, as the
Australian desert. 

I have never seen such beautiful mountains, and so many beautiful buildings as I did these four days in Spain.  I was just completely entranced and fascinated with everything I saw and experienced, and would consider this to be one of the most awesome experiences I would ever have.

When the sun set behind the clouds, some of the monasteries were floodlit, which was a marvelous sight. There was still enough light to see the surrounds, which were  magnificent. and equally dramatic.  This is such a rich and varied country, of vines and neat patches of something plowed, with stone and mountains, and long, long views. 

Because it is winter, there is not much growing, but the ground is ready for cropping, and everything was so ordered, and detailed and so perfect. Once when I stopped to take a photograph, there was a smiling farm couple with goats, and while they were trying to talk to me, the goats were climbing up the Olive trees trying to eat the leaves. It was so picturesque. I see the toothless smile of the old lady ,wrapped in many layers of clothing, and the man in rough boots with thonging to his knees. It was just awesome.

The drive was magnificent, and I am hoping tomorrow will be clear and sunny for my roll of film.

Beautiful, Beautiful, Spain.!!!

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Spain January 2001……

Unbelievable Adventure in Spain

I arrived in Madrid, and chatted to a lady from Mexico asking where to stay. They suggested I go to the Information desk
The Information desk sent me to another one. The other one showed me places starting from 20,000 pesetas, and when I expressed dismay, sent me to another desk. They had no vacancies at all for under 15,000 pesetas.

I am now quite upset, and ask about redirecting my flight. I swear that if Rita was not waiting for me in Berlin, I would have gone home, to where I do not know. That got me down too. I just do not even  have a home to run to.

I decided to try the trains and see if that or a bus, would fill in my night hours. 

I was told that a  festival of antique jewellery in Madrid, had booked out most hotels. So I go looking for the railway booking Office. I was sent away from there to another Information desk, and they too started to shake their heads.
But wait! I hear English! I burst into tears and wail away, like I have learnt to do, in a country where they cannot speak English and no-one wants to listen, and does not care at all about me or what I am wanting. 

“I have nowhere to sleep, I can’t find the train Office,  I don’t know where to go, no-one wants to know me”…that sort of stuff. It gets results as at least they realise, “Hey!! This Lady is upset!” It doesn’t matter what I am calling out, someone eventually understands that I am needing help of some sort.

 A girl eventually rang around, and found me Hotel Astoria, which was charging 5,000 pesetas, which was starting to look cheap. I accepted, then, she went on about how to get there.  “A taxi would cost too much, and the taxis are not reliable, they will rob the tourist”., she tells me.  I had to walk to a bus, and get off at a bus station, and then take a taxi. It started looking complicated. I tried to change my mind, and she started reprimand me  for wasting her time. So, I listened, took the address, the details, and fled.

Then I saw the Budget Cars. I wondered if they would be the same price as a hotel room, as at least I could sleep in the car, if unable to get a bed. They were… 18,000 for 3 days and 20,000 for 4 days seemed very reasonable. I took the 4 days and decided to head for Barcelona, planning to sleep in the car if I couldn’t  find a  room.

Whilst booking the budget car, an Italian , who said his name was Constantinople, who tried to talk to me, watched me carefully.  He attached himself to me, and I thought he too was waiting to book a car, and we chatted in the queue. I had jokingly said he could come to Barcelona with me, and then got concerned when he said he would come. I got nervous then, said it was not possible,  left him standing there, and went off to collect the car I had booked.

Whilst looking for it, he turned up at the car park, with two young guys he said were his cousins. As they were together I decided to come and have a coffee  with them, and maybe a bite too. 

He came with me, and we followed the others in the car they had  also hired. We got as far as the gate, and an authority figure wanted  documents. I couldn’t get the boot open to get at my luggage. The man got very cross and as cars were piling up behind us, asked me to back into a stall.  Well! I
couldn’t get the car into Reverse, and then he started yelling at me,  and I yelled back that I had just hired it and didn’t know how to drive it forward let alone backwards. He finally got the message, and backed the vehicle for me. We finally got the boot open, and the documents found, and off I  went with a strange man in the car, who had proved to be totally useless in this minor crisis.  He had just quietly sat there and smiled.

By now, we had lost the other car. My new friend Constantinople, told me to go ahead into 3 busy lanes of traffic, and all driving on the wrong side of the road.  It was a nerve-wracking trip, whilst I familiarized myself with the car, which was a manual. We ended up in Madrid in the heart of the city ,with cars
coming everywhere, where the main fountain was.

He finally got me to pull over, and  near the fountain was where I chose to stop as I kept coming back to it over and over again.  He went  to a phone box and phoned and I thought he was phoning his friends, but it turned out that he was actually phoning for a hotel room.

I really started  getting nervous now, as here I was in Madrid with a guy who was now talking hotel rooms, and all I knew was a first name, and “Italian Mafia” kept going through my mind, and it was getting late, and I was also getting tired.

Then he came back, and started to direct me to different hotels. They were all booked out like I told him. I was getting really nervous as I did not want to
go to a hotel with someone I had just met, and who I didn’t even know, and  who had no identification. He had watched me book the car and pay for it, , and knew where my wallet, and documents and cards were concealed, and he also saw me count out cash. I tell you I was very nervous.

 I finally said that I was not comfortable  with all this, and that he could be a murderer or a thief,  but with his poor English, I do not think he understood what I was saying, now or even before, as he was in a world of his own.

Finally I stopped the car, and just said, “Out!!! This is not what I came with you for. I am now lost. I still cannot drive this too well. I do not have much money ,and I am tired and cross and I want to go to Barcelona.”

I had to yell and scream, before he finally got message, and got out. I actually felt a little sorry for him. He was quite smart to have picked me up, but not smart enough to have kept me.  I left him standing there, looking despondent by the fountain, and just drove off.

I then proceeded to try and hit the country, and find the Barcelona road. Soon
I was hopelessly lost. I saw many different parts of Madrid, whilst trying to work out whether the road I was on was still the main road. I finally stopped at a garage, and I was on way to Toledo, and he said there was nothing there, and turned me around towards Barcelona.  I followed his instructions carefully, and next garage found me back on the road to Toledo again. He turned me round and off I went again and when I was lost again,  I was on the road to Toledo.  I swear all roads in Madrid lead to Toledo.

This man drew me a map, and showed me where to go, and I swear I followed his directions implicitly, and thought I was on the road to Barcelona having passed the airport  and back tracked too, and when I stopped to check, I was again on the road to Toledo, and actually going in the opposite
direction again. I was quite exasperated. How could this be?

Here the fun began. Two young policemen were called to assist me. I drew pictures, and told in writing where I had been, and where I was going. They finally understood where I was heading, but were not impressed with
me planning to sleep in the car. 
“Not done. Not done.”
Then they rang the station, and I talked to another policeman who spoke some English. I told him where I wanted to go and how I had 4 days. They asked  me to follow them, and  they would take me to Valdemoro, which is where I am now typing this, from my hotel bed.

So I am now escorted by a police van with a blue light. I come into a town, as so far I had been driving country roads, and it was now well after midnight.  

They take me to the Police Station, and leave me sitting out there, whilst they go inside. Then out comes 5 policemen, and we say hello and they laugh.  They all examine me, and I stand there smiling wondering what is happening next.
They get more police who also come and inspect me, and finally a different 4 policemen,  in two vehicles, escort me from hotel to hotel,  where there is no room.  There is a bullfight in the town, and all accommodation is booked out, like I told them in the beginning. 

The street is very busy with people going out, and all watch me with great curiosity. I am wearing black tights and high boots, which are my travel clothes, I am tall, I have shoulder length blonde hair, which fascinated the police, and I am laughing nervously most of the time. Policemen  come out and stop the traffic when it is too busy,  and wave me to follow the van. I do.  Its quite an experience being escorted by  a police car and a police van through the streets at midnight ,dressed like a bullfighter myself. All I needed was a red, silk cape and a Zorro mask and my fame would have been complete.

We finally come to this seedy hotel, and they go inside to inquire and yes, there is a room. They get a key and the man and the two policemen,
and me, go up the stairs to inspect the room.  I tried to say no worries, but they do not speak English. I say OK and they say OK and we all say OK and down we go, and they watch whilst the man takes my passport and fills in my details.  Then they carry my bags up for me, and leave, refusing a coffee some money, which I offer along with profuse thanks.

I brush my teeth, get into my nightie and sit here and smile and smile. What an adventure! Its now 2am, and I have just found a bed for the night.

 I wonder what the Hotel Proprietor is thinking about his late guest. I bet the police are laughing their heads off, and the two young ones I first met have a great story to tell about the Crazy Australian they met , who was going in the
opposite direction to which she eventually told them she wanted to go.

Barcelona here I come, or shall I stay here and drive the local police crazy?
So ends my first day in Spain

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‘Please cherish your health’, losing yourself in Beijing’s hutong alleyways

Hutong in Beijing….


Old Beijing, the one before giant skyscrapers and BMWs, is rapidly vanishing from the map. There are still pockets of the tightly knit hutong alleyways that used to characterise life in Bejing, but vast swathes of these plain looking streets have been demolished to make way for progress. Mao’s communists, capturing Beijing in 1949, immediately set about reshaping and rebuilding the Imperial capital in their own inimitable style: erasing symbols of the past became official policy and Communist Party dogma.

A hutong, Beijing, China A hutong, Beijing, China

A hutong, Beijing, China A hutong, Beijing, China

A hutong, Beijing, China A hutong, Beijing, China

In 1940 there were over eight thousand temples and monuments in Beijing; by the 1960s there were around one hundred and fifty. The entire city had been transformed by the communist sledgehammer. Since the liberalisation of the economy, and official Communist Party blessing for rampant capitalism, greedy developers, in cahoots with corrupt officials, have seen to it that much of…

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Lone Pine Sanctuary Brisbane

Sunrise...Travel Talk with Maggi

What a wonderful place to spend the day..


Take a cruise boat from Brisbane…..Mirramar Cruises

Daily cruises to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Mirimar Day Cruises
“Relaxing cruise to Koala Sanctuary”5 December 2013 – A TripAdvisor TravellerRead 51 reviews of Mirimar Day Cruises

This popular Brisbane river cruise has been taking locals and visitors to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for over 70 years and is a “must do” experience while in Brisbane. Our Koala and River Cruise is the PERFECT way to get up close and personal with Australia’s cuddliest creatures while enjoying the sights and sounds of Brisbane’s most attractive waterfront suburbs, ONLY accessible by boat.

Here’s what to expect on your Koala and River Cruise…

  • Convenient departure point — right in the heart of the city!
  • Ultra modern cruise boat complete with onboard catering.
  • An entertaining narrated journey — the Captain will AMAZE you with his intimate…

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Neil Turner Weir Queensland

Sunrise...Travel Talk with Maggi

26°28′17″S147°57′31.2″EA fantastic place for a quiet rest and relaxation with great camping spots

A beautiful day

Neil Turner Weir is a small weir located on the northern side of the town of Mitchell, in Queensland, Australia. The weir holds back the waters of the Maranoa River. A campsite exists, with free toilet facilities. To the west, on the banks of the river held back by the weir, is a fishing spot known as Fisherman’s Rest.

a cold morning

The weir was built in 1984 and is made of concrete and filled with sand.[1] The capacity of the Neil Turner Weir is 2,000 ML.[2]

calm watersDSC00035ducksfrost on the grassfrostfrosty morning on the weirfrosty shoresgrounds of the weirMy camping spot by the waterreflections


The weir supplies water to the town of Mitchell, is used for irrigation and regulates streamflow.

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Great Wall Of China …Chinglish… Ebooks By Marguerite Carstairs

Sunrise at Wu Tai Shan


Mansjuri Temple

Temple Mansujurie

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Crime, Criminality and Criminal Justice. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

What textbook do I need?

White, R. and Perrone, S. (2010) Crime, Criminality and Criminal Justice. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Cost is $90 and I don’t have that….


White & Perrone (set textbook) pp.277-285;


Supplementary reading:


Bryett, K., Craswell, E., Harrison, A. & Shaw, J. (1993).The Australian criminal justice system. In An introduction to policing : Vol. 1: Criminal justice in Australia, (pp. 1-7). Sydney: Butterworths.


Bryett, K., Craswell, E., Harrison, A. & Shaw, J. (1993). Formal and informal methods of social control, In An introduction to policing : Vol. 1: Criminal justice in Australia, (pp. 8-14). Sydney: Butterworths. (Electronic copy provided on course website)


Daly, K. (2006) Aims of the criminal justice system. In A. Goldsmith, M. Israel, & K. Daly (Eds.) Crime and Justice: A Guide to Criminology (3rd ed.), (Chapter 13, pp 265-282). Sydney: Lawbook Co. (Electronic copy provided on course website)


Earle, K., Sarre, R., & Tomaino, J. (1999). Introduction : the criminal justice process. In R. Sarre & J. Tomaino (Eds.) Exploring criminal justice : contemporary Australian themes, (Chapter 1, pp 1-21). Adelaide: South Australian Institute of Justice Studies. (Electronic copy provided on course website)

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