Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Better late than never...right!?!?

Hello friends! My blogging hiatus is over. Hopefully. I'm trying to get caught up with some pictures and added a few to the right sidebar on here. I realized I never blogged about my April spring break trip to Barcelona last year. So, I'll roll out a condensed version of that now. And then, I promise, I'll get to blogging more about random things from here in Morocco. You can yell at me if I don't.

If you have never been to Barcelona, Spain...I recommend a visit. I spent 5 or 6 days there (can't remember for sure), and you wouldn't need that many to really 'see' Barca. Although I was definitely not bored during my time there. Apparenty before they got the bid for the '92 Olympics, Barcelona wasn't much of a tourist attraction. The Olympics basically revitalized the city and increased their tourism as a result. The city has a good vibe, and definitely seems geared more towards entertaining the 20-something generation. So, I fit right in. :)

Highlights included the following, in no particular order...
1) Antoni Gaudi. Architecht/artist. This man, was a genius....ahead of his time in design and creativity. His style is something you won't see anywhere else. They say his work  was marked by the four passions of his life: architecture, nature, religion and his love for Catalonia (a nationality recognized within Spain). He worked with everything from wrought ironwork, to stained glass, to ceramics. He introduced new ways to treat some of these materials as well. All I can say is that I have never seen anything like the stuff he created. Magical. He also didn't believe in really 'sketching' his designs. Instead, he would actually build miniature three dimensional models of everything. Seven of his works have been declared World Heritage sites. His masterpiece is the Sagrada Familia, a jaw-dropping cathedral like nothing you've ever seen. He designed it, starting in 1883. And it is still not complete. Rick Steves (travel guid extraordinaire) says that if there's one building he wants to see in his liftime, it's a FINISHED version of the Sagrada Familia. It is an ongoing project, being funded partially by money from tourists. I paid the money to climb go to the top where you could see men in ropes and harnesses 'flying' all over the place in construction hats. Crazy.

One view, from the outside

One design outside...depicting the scene of Jesus' birth
Looking up inside the Sagrada. Pillar design is amazing. Like trees...
You get the idea. It is amazing. Period.
Gaudi has some other really amazing architecture in the city. He designed a park, and some other buildings as well. See the pics below.
Park bench that is ergonomically designed for comfort. And individually tiled for beauty.
Casa Mila

Not a lot of normal 'edges or corners' in his designs
(I have decided I'm not going to actually number things or drone on with this post. Partly because I've forgotten the names of some of the places. And partly because I'm bored with this post that I started a week ago and want to get it done. So, I'm just going to give a bit of information and then put pictures on. Cool? I thought so.)

Montjuic Park  is where the main venues for the '92 Olympics were located. And there was a castle up here too. Castles are always cool. We don't see many of them in the Midwest.

Montjuic castle

Lance was here. :)

Some fast people ran on this track.
Some of the streets and buildings were just picturesque. 

Just a little street cafe
We even managed to find a pub crawl one evening. Flaming shots!

I think it was called a "Boy Scout" shot. Yes, those are marshmallows
on the ends of the long sticks. Yum!

love the colors
There was a cool open market with pork hanging everywhere (exciting to see pork when you live in a Muslim country and don't get to eat it very often).

There always seem to be funny signs. I guess people who come to the states probably laugh at our signs too. Which is OK. Turnabout is fair play...  

Careful! You might get a shot of lightning to your mid-
section. And, no swimming.

Don't climb on this wall
or you might fall awkwardly
on your head and shoulder

So, that was my trip to Barcelona in a nutshell. Met some great people along the way from Scotland, Australia, the States, and elsewhere. And, had a great time exploring a great city with Danni and Jenny. :)