Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barcelona 5/14 - Park Guell

After inhaling as much coffee as I possibly could in 15 minutes, we headed back downstairs to meet up with our group and set out for our city tour of Barcelona. 

Marta was our tour guide, and our day started out at Park Guell. The Park is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site "The Works of Antonio Gaudi". The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. It was inspired by the English garden city movement

Only 1 plot was ever sold in Park Guell, and it was purchased by Gaudi's lawyer (no pressure, right??!). The failed development is now a municipal park. 

Here we are in front of the big marketplace: 

And a wider shot of the whole market

And yes, we climbed the stairs all the way to the very top. The view was totally worth the climb. 

The idea of the park was to blend nature with the construction, so that the park blended in with the hillside. This "tunnel" is one example of a shaded area:

And this is the other side of the above corridor

This is the top of the marketplace, looking up the hill to the only plot that sold in the development (the lawyer's house). 

These are the two buildings are at the front entrance of the park. One was the caretaker's home, and the other was Gaudi's studio. And a beautiful view of Barcelona in the background. 

The market

The mosaic tile work is found all over the park: 

Even the ceiling of the market

There's a bench that runs around the top of the market - all mosaic tile. It's shaped so that it protrudes right into the small of your back, making it VERY comfortable (for a stone bench). 

This window had an intriguing combination of tile and iron work, it's bowed out, making it even more intricate. 

They were doing a photo shoot with this ballerina in the market, and I snapped my own pic

I loved Park Guell, and would have loved to have had  more time (and energy!) to explore it. But it was time to move on to our next stop - La Sagrada Familia. Stay tuned! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Barcelona - 5/14

Day 1 was really just travel - DFW to JFK (for me), MCO to JFK (for mom), then JFK to BCN.

Except, we almost missed our flight to BCN, and it was totally my fault.

Our flights to JFK were landing right about the same time. Neither of us had been to JFK, or knew what to expect. All I could tell was that our expected gates were close together - WHEW!!

So as my flight approached JFK, I listened carefully as they announced connecting flights. Hopped off the plane and headed off to the gate they told me.

There I waited for my mom to find me, munching on a salad and some fruit (hey, one last chance to eat somewhat healthy before I gorged in Italy! don't judge).

Except, no mom.

I ate. I waited. I called. I texted her. I ate some more.

Still no mom.

I checked for her in-bound flight, and it actually arrived BEFORE mine.

So where was she??

Yeah. You guessed it. She was at the OTHER gate for our actual Barcelona flight. I was at the wrong gate...

We boarded, got settled into our seats, and endured the crossing.

After a decent meal, restless naps, a movie or two (Rent, The Tourist and Shrek), we caught the first rays of the sun rising through the clouds

And then we saw Barcelona - a city spread by the Mediterranean Sea, backed by mountains.

Oh yeah. I'm ready!!

We breezed through immigration, and found our bags waiting for us. I tell ya - DFW has a lot to learn from Spain!

After a game of charades with our taxi driver, finally being saved by my iPod/email, we arrived at our hotel: Hotel Continental Barcelona.

aka the hotel where pink threw up.

Now, I knew full well everything in these hotels rooms were pink. Friends had stayed her before, and I had browsed Trip Advisor before our trip.

What I didn't expect was the plastic furniture. Disclaimer: I borrowed these from tripadvisor.com - they are NOT from our exact room.

So see that plastic "dresser"? yeah..that's it.

and see those pink chairs? Lift up the covers..and plastic! the kind you'd put out on your patio (if you're cheap). (again, not our actual room..but you get the idea)

Now, if you know me at all, you know that pink is simply NOT my thing. That said, the hotel was comfortable, clean, and we had no complaints.

And the hotel is located right in the heart of the old historical part of the city, on Las Ramblas. I've never seen so many people - day and night - in the street.

But I'm getting ahead of myself - we didn't actually get to check into our room when we arrived. It was 8:30am after all. And our tour of the city was meeting at 8:45.

That meant a quick swill of some coffee, a light freshen up in the restroom, and we were off to start our adventure.

Stay tuned for more of Barcelona!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

So..yeah..and bonjourno!

It's been a whole month since I blogged. An awful lot has happened in that month. Fortunately, most of it hasn't been awful.

It's been - well wonderful. 10 days of it anyway. The other 20 days were fair to middlin. I'll take that, yanno?

About those 10 days.. I'll be flooding the blog with more detailed posts. I just wanted to get a teaser posted. It's mostly to motivate me to post, and you to read.

Yes, I have posted most of my pics on FB (as of today, I still need to edit the 400ish pics of --well I'll tell ya later). But here is where you'll find my favorites, and the stories that go with them.

10 Days.
3 Countries.
1 Very Pink Hotel Room.
1 Quaint B&B (with a hall bath).
1 Rather large cruise ship.
Me & my mom.

First there was Barcelona (la Sagrada Familia)

We boarded the ship in Barcelona.

The next day we woke up in Provence, France (Toulon).

The day after that we visited Pisa (Italy!)

and Florence (uhm, Italy)

The day after that, it was Rome.

And the day after THAT... Sicily.

Then finally...our day at sea. I slept that day - almost all day. And no pictures either. I needed to save my energy for the last two days...

...in Venice!

and yes, I still have about 400 pics of Venice to edit. The other 800ish pics are already posted on FB.

Are you dying yet?? I still can't believe I had the opportunity to see the places we saw, and do the things we did. I hope you'll enjoy the upcoming blog posts with me, as I do my best to recount my trip.


(and enjoy your new day!)