Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beautiful Barcelona!

Paul had a four day weekend recently so we decided to go to Barcelona. We packed so much in (as usual) and had so much fun! There is so much I'd love to tell you and show you about our trip (this will be another long posting), so I'll try not to ramble and keep it as organized as possible. These first few pictures are some of my favorites and help you get a good glimpse into the diversity that is Barcelona.

I took this picture in the Gothic section of the city which was full of interesting niches and ornate architecture.

Barcelona is on the Mediterranean (which meant great weather despite it being November), and after walking along the water Paul and I decided that this city reminded us of another favorite city of ours-Nice.

Paul and I loved the feel of Spain as it reminded us of San Diego (the weather and S. California's Spanish influence)-which we both loved (I've decided you'd have to be crazy not to like San Diego!).

When I think of Barcelona I think of a few things: great food, crazy architecture, and freaks/weird people (that's right I said freaks) if you read on I'll expound.


Both Paul and I appreciate good food and this city had more than enough venues to find it. We started by going to the Bouquet Market on Las Ramblas which had the most amazing open air market we've ever been to. There we were able to find the most delicious figs(for dirt cheap), great chorizo, oh so salty olives (which I love), fresh tropical fruit and drinks made from their juices, and local specialties like potato tortillas.

This market had by far the most meat we had EVER seen!

I think this was Paul's favorite part of the trip as he loves markets and like I said this one was the best. He's a guy who couldn't live without meat and so this place made him so happy.

Paul's brother had told us about Spain's delicious potato tortillas for a long time, and so when we saw these we knew we had to get one.

This is what the guy selling the tortillas was wearing-I just had to get a shot.

Of course Spanish cuisine wouldn't be complete without Paella. Here was our first encounter with it, but it wasn't until later that we were able to have a delicious serving of this seafood specialty.

Going to these markets is so fun and I always get a kick out of the meat that is fully in tact. The pigs are so classic I just had to get a shot.

After going to the market we went to the coast and ate our delicious finds. Tristan ate everything we bought, but his favorite was by far the figs.

Later that day as we were walking around we found this guy. In the corner of an alley way wedged in between two buildings was this man cooking rotisserie chickens. They looked and smelled Delicious! Too bad we had just eaten.

Here again is Paella but this isn't just any Paella. This was served to the masses out of this mammoth paella pan (think soup kitchens). It definitely was a sight to be seen.

Crazy Architecture-Barcelona is full of buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi and they are like no other you've seen before (I read he was inspired by the organisms within us-so many of his buildings reflect this). His largest creation (not yet complete) is the Sagrada Familia cathedral. This posting wouldn't be complete without me being completely honest and griping about one thing... We were eager to see this cathedral as it is rare that you see one of its stature that isn't Gothic (think Notre Dame in Paris, the Duomo in Milan, Cologne's massive Cathedral...) and this one was often used as the mascot of the city. So, after viewing it from the outside we decided to go in. The first disappointment was the price. Now before I tell you how much it costed, you have to know that its rare to pay an entrance fee for a cathedral (even the most beautiful and world famous ones rarely charge entrance fees). Well it cost 10 euros per person to get in and this definitely made us think. We were about to walk away without entering, but we thought how sad it would be to not see the inside if it was truly extraordinary. Now first look at the outside.

Here's the front (all the cranes are present b/s completion is estimated to be around 2050)

Here's the nativity scene in the back.

Another scene on the back-oh so different than the judgment scenes we find on the edifices of most European churches.

More of the back of the church.

Ok here's the last picture of the outside (back) and now finally here's what we saw in the inside:

Here's the ceiling(well part of it-b/s of course its not completely finished), and what else might you ask was there to see? Scaffolding. Yeah that's right. We paid 20 euros to see pretty much this. There was a big empty space inside with part of the ceiling done and allot of scaffolding. We were NOT happy. We felt we were scammed and couldn't believe it. We wished someone had told us that the inside was close to empty. So...if you're planning a trip to Barcelona take a trip from us. If you don't want to pay an arm and a leg just to be disappointed, you wont want to enter the famed Sagrada Familia.

For more crazy architecture (by Gaudi as well), we visited the Guell Park. It was strange but breathtaking as well.

Here's Paul waiting for me to stop taking pictures, as Tristan slept (he was a little insomniac during our four day trip, so finally he caught some z's ).

Here's a close up of the little guy sleeping. It doesn't look like he's very comfortable as he's slouched down in his stroller, but he slept just fine.

These buildings at Guell Park looked like something from a fairy tale.

This is a home he designed for a resident of Barcelona in the late 1800's.

And yet again, some more Gaudi. This was also a residence.

The Freaks-

So its kind of a harsh term, but thats what so many of these people are. These street performers that are in so many big cities pandering for money (Paul says that in Europe these performers are their version of carnies), are abundant in Barcelona. I have never seen more performers in one city-ever before. It really was crazy, and some were just a little bit scary. Here's a few of them.

The Invisible Man

The Man in the Electric Chair.

some sort of Grim Reaper (or just a scary freak)

I think this guy was supposed to be an arab ( you know similar to the ones in Ali Baba and the 1000 tales).

The Dragon Man

The gnome

The fairy.

The one performer you dont see is a Roman senator, who flipped me off and yelled obscenities at me. Yeah, I spared you the photo of this angry (freak) who was acting pretty profane. You can only imagine what a scary character he was!

All of these people were found here on Las Ramblas (the main street where you find performers, street vendors, artists, and everything in between).

Besides food, architecture, and freaks Barcelona provided us with so much fun and numerous memories (including someone robbing me-and only getting my makeup bag, Tristan keeping numerous hotel guests up at night -including us, and Tristan winning over the hearts of numerous spaniards on the metro). I hope you enjoy the rest of these photos I'm sharing.

The Espana monument

Our little family overlooking the city.

A mosaic tucked away in a small side street.

The Olympic Park.

The Olympic Stadium.

Outside of the Olympic Stadium.

In front of the Musem of Natural History.

My men at the marina.

Beachfront Barcelona.

A father and son playing some badmitton (without a net).

Last of all, a beautiful store front getting ready for our holiday season.


Leslie said...

Loved it! Can't wait to go myself. Personally the photo of the angry freakish Roman senator would have been highly entertaining but I know your trying to keep it family friendly. =)

Amy said...

Love seeing pictures of your adventures. You guys are making the most of your time in Europe. Love traveling with you via your blog.

Julie said...

I feel your pain re. the expensive cathedral visit. You have to figure--if the Vatican doesn't charge you to visit St. Peters then should any of the others? They couldn't possibly have more to see than that one does.--Love the picts and stories--just keep them rolling. --Julie

Jenn and Mike said...

You are so lucky to be experiencing so many parts of the world. You will have awesome tells to share as your famiy grows.

k1 said...

Looks like a lot of fun! Beautiful pictures. I miss seeing palm trees...

Bev & Mike said...

Ever since I read "Shadow of the Wind" I've wanted to visit Barcelona. Thanks for all your photos

Deborah said...

How cool you were in Barcelona. We were in Spain this time last year, but along the Costa del Sol. I have always love Gaudi and am very jealous that you saw so much of his work.
I am trying to talk Darren into a trip to Germany next year. I will keep working on him.

Krista said...

I loved Barcelona too. Glad you had such a wonderful time. Did your feet get tired from all the walking? I am glad now I never went into the cathedral. And yes, those are some weird ways of people making a little change.

Alisha said...

Great post. Spain is going to be one of my number one stops when we travel Europe. I loved the stroller shot of Tristan. Kids will sleep anywhere!

Sara said...

Wow! You did do a lot! And I'm so jealous you went to Spain! I served in the Malaga mission (basically all of Andalucia, which is the southern province).

Spain is so beautiful! And I love that you had a tortilla and paella! And I'll let you know that the rotisere (sp?) chicken is DELICIOUS!

If you ever make it back to Spain, you have to go to Andalucia. It's an amazing place!