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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trip to Spain - Marseilles, France to Barcelona


Weather:  Beautiful sunny day.  A bit chilly (maybe high 60's).

Bar-Thuh-loh-nuh.  Love this city!   It's the only city on my entire itinerary that I've been to before and I loved it back then, too.

This time I didn't need to puchase an excursion tour package from the ship.  The ship pulled in right next to the heart of Barcelona and a $5 roundtrip bus ticket was all I needed to take me directly from the ship to the starting point I wanted...the statue of Columbus.

From there, my favorite street 'Las Ramblas' stretches for a mile.  What's so special about it?  The layout of the street is like this:  wide sidewalk, 1 traffic lane, very wide promenade, 1 traffic lane (other direction), then sidewalk.   On the tree-lined promenade are charming cafes with outdoor seating and heatlamps, flower stalls, street performers, and other vendors of all types.  Most people sitting at a cafe tend to face outward in the same direction so they can take in all the activity of the passerbys.  I could sit in one of the cafes all day and drink a cappucino, followed by wine, followed by more wine, another cappucino....and so on, and watch the thousands stroll by.

Where I live, in Cuenca, Ecuador, I get pretty ticked off at what I call 'stupid noise'...noise that's totally unnecessary.   It involves horn honking (because the light turned green .0000001 second ago), car alarms wailing, car alarms yelping whenever someone locks or unlocks their car door (why does everyone need to be informed when you do that?), and dogs barking.   Quite frankly, I'm fed up with it.  It's soooooooooo refreshing when I travel to other countries to see/hear they don't have this problem.  Seattle is quiet, Miami is quiet, Rome was quiet, and Barcelona (with it's population well over 1 1/2 million) manages to be QUIET!!!   I may have heard ONE horn honk.  I heard ZERO car alarms.   ZEEEEEERRO!!!!  In Cuenca, you have to stop using your fingers to count within the first 5 minutes of landing.

But, I digress.

The other element I love about Barcelona is the architecture.  I'm an architecture freak (as if you can't tell by the types of photos I post).  Not a freak in knowing all the nitty gritty details of when, how, who, etc....like my little brother knows about every baseball player that ever existed....but just the appreciation of it.

So, need I say, I'm orgasmic at the sight of Gaudi's work and Barcelona is his showcase.  I never knew where 'gawdy' came from until I saw his work when I was here the first time.  It's AMAZING, though it may not be everyone's favorite.  One thing is for sure, when you see a structure designed by Gaudi, you KNOW IT...there's no question.

So, let's take a look around, shall we?

The Wyndham hotel near the cruise ship port.

The Columbus monument is the starting point from the sea, upwards along Las Ramblas.  You can actually go up to the top of this thing, but I didn't.



A mime street performer along Las Ramblas.  Imagine getting painted up in gold every day?



Las Ramblas

A guy in drag dressed up as Marilyn (orrrrr, is she still ALIVE?) beckoning passersby to come check out her museum (umm...so to speak)

I like the tile ornamentation on this building's facade.


Even though Las Ramblas was a wide street, narrow side off-shoots, no wider than a car, housed many a charming boutique.

The mercado where fruits, vegetables, treats, meats are sold.

A diabetics dream.


ICE CREAM!!!   WHO WANTS ICE CREAM!!!

I stumbled upon this performance hall.  I was time-transported to 1998.  I PERFORMED IN THIS HALL!!!
The theater was stunning with all its stain glass decor.  It was one of those magical moments in my life.  I was on a tour with a group.  We ended the show and headed down the long ramps below to change our clothes, taking off elements as we descended.  The audience went nuts and gaves us a standing ovation and kept going and going and going.  The stage crew shouted 'GET BACK ON STAGE!!!' and we all ran back to the stage pulling up our pants, buttoning our shirts, etc to receive their enormous ovation!!!   WOW....what a experience that was!!





OH MY GOSH!!!  This is my bank in Cuenca, Ecuador!!  Bank of Pichincha!!  Pichincha is a province of Ecuador!

I don't know what those spigots at the bottom of the lamppost are for.
I held a cup under it, but no milk
No beer, neither.
Maybe it was for water for the horses of the olden days?

GAUDI!!!!
Construction began in 1882, a mere 134 years ago.
Gaudi died in 1926 and the work has continued ever since to complete it.
It has 8 spires (but 18 planned) with the tallest rising to 560 feet.
No doubt, it's an amazing feat of architecture and design.  It's not a surprise that it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.





Ummmm....are those the guys from Star Wars protecting Jesus?


I soooo wanted to see the interior.  I believe at the time I was first there in 1998 the interior was not open to the public.  Now, however, it's so popular that once a ticket is purchased it may be several hours before you can get in.  DANG IT.  Oh well, next time.

I dunno...doesn't it look like this side is angry?  Doesn't it look like he's GRRRRRRR-ROARING???? (the turned down mouth half way up).  Maybe because his face is deformed whereas the opposite side is pretty?  Maybe it's because the cranes are attacking it?

Ummm...is that fruit topping?

Yep, I see a raspberry.

Why yes, I would like some sprinkles on top of my cone, thank you!!

Back on Las Ramblas


Another Las Ramblas performer as Galileo.



and back to the ship.  Boy, it was QUIET!!!  This particular cruise initiated in Barcelona, though I embarked in Mallorca.  Therefore, a thousand or so disembarked in Barcelona when we docked and only a few hundred got on board to START their journey.  Me, I had one day left.

...to be continued

Dano

1 comment:

  1. Great posts, Dano. As I've traveled throughout Europe...the architecture is my favorite. Such amazing designs, created hundreds of years ago ! Yes, I have tasted some great foods in Europe too...but the architecture
    is worth the trip. Spain & Italy are my two(2) favored destinations.

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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