I doubt it's even possible to fit almost a month worth of travelling into one blog entry, so it will be more "bunch of impressions" kind of post, rather than detailed description. First of all, thanks to all our amazing friends who hosted us, organized my seminars & trainings or devoted their time and money to show us around, in particular Virginie de Andrea, Christine de Andrea Welpen from Switzerland, Martine from France, Carlos and Oscar from Barcelona, Xavi from Valencia and Nina and Rafa from Seville - without you all that wouldn't be possible and we're both extremely grateful to you all.
Our trip started on quite rainy day and we got so cold and miserable that on the second day we decided to stop in Badesparadise in Schwarzwald. You can imagine hot mineral baths, Schwarzwald mist room and swimming pool surrounded by palms when it's cold and rainy outside - it was perfect. From there we headed to a competition in Fraschels - I was running with Mojo and Flaszek, Roman with Evo and Brego, so I had two A1 dogs and Roman two A3 dogs ;) (Flaszek is A3 with Roman, but since our license counts for a team, when running with me, Flaszek starts in A1 again, which is exactly what we wanted, since it's better for him to run on easier and more open courses). On the first day Mojo was getting more and more histerical with each run, screaming more and more and in the last run she knocked like three bars - I know she knows HOW to jump, so I was sure it was connected with her level of excitement which might have got just a biiiiit too high. So I changed my starting routine for Sunday - a bit more food games rather than toy games etc - and we got two clean runs and one very nice elimination (no bars at all!!!). I was really really happy especially that all contacts were done, new dogwalks and all, and flat tunnel which I think she saw like 2 or 3 times in her life (yup, not our favourite obstacle). Flaszek was really nice, decent speed and horrible A-frames as usual, so this is our winter project with him ;).
After the competition we spent three awesome days with Virginie and Christine, sightseeing in lovely Valais, training a bit agility in the most beautiful place, visiting friends - we had REAL raclettes which turned out to be a bit different from what we know under this name. On one of our trips we found a dog:
Couldn't get a better picture, but it was some kind of Swiss hound. She was really scared and clearly lost, fortunately she came to Roman and Evo and had her ID tag on, so Christine could call her owner and we met at the parking some 20 minutes later. As a thank you gift we got a bottle of local wine 🍷.
From Switzerland we headed to France, visiting Chamonix (just to take a picture of Zelda with Mont Blanc of course ;), Annecy and then spending a day hiking in the Alps. We found perfect camping high in the mountains and you could walk around it for hours... Perfect 💓💙💚💛💜. Later I had seminar near Lyon, organized by Martine (lovely people, super dogs, wine, cheese, different kind of raclettes... ) and from there we headed towards Spain. On the way there we visited Avignon (I loved it!), Carcassone (to be honest, a bit of disappointment, especially after Avignon... ), Foix and a couple of other nice places. We planned to visit Andora on the way, but it snowed during the night and then we found out you had to have chains for the tyres to actually go there, so in the end we choose different route. We took a little walk in the Pyrenean Mountains and had a little adventure there. It was raining, so nobody was there (or so it seemed...). At some point I heard something like barking, but then it went away and also we've chosen to head back. All of a sudden, we heard really bone-chilling noise that I can't really describe 😰... horrible howling, screaming and I don't know what and suddenly we found ourselves chased by three bloodhounds, screaming at the top of their lungs! Of course Punia Zeldunia decided she needs to tackle them and went to them, barking her high-pitched bark like a yorkie 😆 The bloodhounds looked a bit nonplussed 😮and turned back eventually.
Finally we reached Catalonia and Barcelona... oh, what a beautiful city that is! Carlos took us sightseeing with his car - it's virtually impossible to park anywhere there with our huge van - and we even managed to visit Sagrada Familia, something that I've really dreamed of for quite some time. For the second time in my life, I was speechless (the first time was in really small church in Cracow, which I didn't know had stained glass windows designed by Wyspiański and it got me totally by suprise). Sagrada Familia was a bit like that - after seeing the exterior with all the ornaments, countless figures, sculptures etc. you are totally not prepared for the inside... beauty, simplicity, space and light. I still have goosebumps just thinking of it. I really wish I was a better photographer of architecture or at least took the broader lense - although I doubt if I could do this city justice.
After a very nice and very joyful seminar in Barcelona we headed to Valencia for another short training organized by my friend Xavi (I must say I'm getting quite fond of Spanish Water Dogs after the seminars in Spain...) and a bit of sightseeing the day after. Valencia is also very beautiful and somehow much more dog and people-friendly than Barcelona: lots of space to walk (they have beach for dogs! and a river bed turned into a beautiful park!) and actually finding parking spaces even for a big car. I think if I were to live in Spain, I would choose Valencia. From Valencia we drove more South... finding more and more palms, deserts, dust... a bit like a different world, spectacular to view, but I think much more difficult to live - especially that we were there in sunny yet mild November rather than really hot times. Finally we reached our destination - Nina and Rafa's house. For a couple of days we had probably the biggest concentration of Pyrsheps on a square meter in Spain... and again I saw that really Pyrsheps communicate with each other much better than with any other breed. We spent a couple of lovely days walking the dogs, playing board games, eating jamon from #AppyPih, sightseeing and relaxing :).
For the weekend, we went to competition near Gibraltar (so of course we had to call it Copa de Africa) and each of our dogs won it in their category :D Brava and Flaszek on Saturday, Evo, Mojo and Zelda on Sunday. Yes, Zelda got to run too as they had a pre-agility competition for young dogs there :D.
Mojo progressed to A2, Flaszek hadn't (A-frame 😝), Brava was back in the game after her short break and boys were perfect as usual. Really fun courses by Zsuzsa Veres and Hugo Santos and lots of fun in general.
After that... we went to take some photos of Africa in the distance.. and slowly started heading back home.
We couldn't resist stopping in Barcelona again for a visit in Pablo Picasso museum and visiting the food market again (and there is still lots of things to see! I want to go back there one day definetely) and then again in the spa in Germany :D to flush some Spanish dust out of our system (I swear I had it in my tonsils until then).
And now we're back home... sun batteries charged a bit for gloomy Polish winter, some new training ideas for all of our dogs... time for a little down time now. Maybe.
If you like - more pictures from our trip under this link.