FUN-travel: Barcelona, Spain – Day 3

September 21, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Trip Day 53 – Saturday, September 1 – Barcelona, Spain

Parc Güell Entrance

What I LIKE

Dragon Mosaic

  •  bright sunshine – cool breeze
  • Starbuck’s isn’t open
  • coffee is better across the street from hotel
  • 9:30 – hop on, hop off bus (take the one with the most # of buses so don’t have to wait long)
  • Barcelona Sightseeing is run by Grayline – has 2 routes & covers large area too big to walk
  • 2 day senior pass only $22 Euro!
  • 12:00 – 1st stop – Parc Güell – 30 acre garden designed to be a 60-residence gated community
  • 2 gingerbread gate houses flank entrance
  • ceramic dragon fountain on steps up
  • 100 columns – each different, decorated with colorful ceramic, broken bottles & bric-a-brac
  • snack break – cappuccino & tomato, onion, feta tapas
  • 2nd stop – Block of Discord – several colorful Modernista facades compete for attention on
  • Passeig de Gràcia – all built by well-known 19th century architects
  • Casa Batlló – Gaudi design with shell-like balconies & soft-ice-cream-cone turret roof

Casa Batlló

  • celebrating our anniversaries (1st date was 8-31 – got married on 9-6)
  • 2:00 – lunch @ 5 J – greek salad, fried egg with ham & broad beans – nice light, crisp white wine
  • siesta
  • wonderful Sylvia @ front desk recommends Bembi Indian Restaurant – have her call to find out what time they open – reservations full but will take us @ 8:30 when they open
  • 20 min, nice walk – lovely atmosphere & service – scallops in light cream sauce, rice , garlic nan, dal & chicken vindaloo – the best so far!
  • 10:00 walk back to hotel
  • Gallery Hotel area – has all of the high end designer stores on both sides of the streets for several blocks

What I DIDN”T LIKE

  • Don’t remember a thing!

FF (FUN-fact) – All over Spain you will pay extra to sit at an outside table.

FUN-travel: Barcelona, Spain – Day 2

September 19, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Barcelona, Spain – Day 2 

Trip Day 52 – Friday, August 31 – Barcelona, Spain

Cathedral of Barcelona

What I LIKE

Sagrada Familia

  •  Wake up to sunshine!
  • breezy & very cool
  • breakfast not included (save $36 Euro)
  • Starbuck’s around the corner
  • 9:00 – head out on walk
  • 1st stop – Casa de les Punxes
  • 2nd stop – Segrada Familia – Gaudi’s cathedral started in 1883 – line wraps halfway around entire block – glad I saw it in 2000! (need to buy tickets ahead of time)
  • 3rd stop – Placa de Catalunya – filled with fountains, statues & pigeons
  • continue walk to Arc de Triomf
  • 4th stop – Cathedral of Barcelona – 14th century colossal Gothic church ringed by distinctive chapels
  • continue walk through La Ribera – streets where wealthy shippers  & merchants lived are lined with grand mansions
  • 5th stop – 1:00 – Picasso museum (good time to go as line is quite short) – best collection in the country & best of his early works anywhere
  • 6th stop – Las Ramblas stroll – colorful, gritty tourist-filled pedestrian thoroughfare
  • 3:30 – lunch @ Sagarra – tapas of Greek salad, fried calamari, bowl of lentils with vegetables & beer of course!
  • nice afternoon breeze – high of maybe 80

Arc de Triomf

  • 4:45 – head back up to hotel
  • big day of waking so need siesta
  • 8:15 – dinner Brown restaurant on Passeig de Gràcia (we couldn’t get in last night – rain caused everyone to stop & eat) – quarto formaggio pizza, caprese salad, nice red wine – pizza so-so

What I DIDN”T LIKE

  • worst coffee ever at Starbuck’s on Passeig de Gràcia
  • try to get return flight home on 1st with no luck

FF (FUN-fact) – Placa de Catalunya is the center of the world for 7 million Catalan people. It is the hub for transportation and where they demonstrate, celebrate, and enjoy outdoor concerts and festivals.

FUN-photos: Spain 2012 – Movie Trailer

September 17, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: Spain 2012 – Movie Trailer 

Chris has started editing the many hours of video I shot. This is a very short snippet. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_U6YhAajoE

FUN-travel: Chiva to Barcelona, Spain

September 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Chiva to Barcelona, Spain 

Trip Day 51 – Thursday, August 30 – Chiva to Barcelona, Spain

Placa de Catalunya

What I LIKE

Casa de lesPunxes

  • our neighbor called to see if we were back yet & to tell us everything was fine & they were leaving to go to Hawaii
  • 9:00 – ready to go to hit the road for Barcelona
  • 11:00 – starts raining
  • 1:30 – arrive airport Hertz
  • didn’t have any accidents in Spain
  • TI @ airport finds us a **** room in Eixample for only $137 Euro
  • 3:00 – taxi to downtown $30 Euros
  • Gallery Hotel is in great location – big comfy room
  • 7:15 – nice big walk to ECI – El Corte Engles for provisions
  • you can get an additional 18% vat tax back on items you don’t consume

 

  • 8:45 – dinner Tenorio – tomato, mozzarella, tuna belly salad & broad beans with ham & shrimp – mushrooms & duck with fried egg on top & tomato bread with parmesan slices – Pagode los Capellanes, Ribera wine is young & fruity
  • 10:15 – rain stops – only short walk back to hotel

Placa de Catalunya

What I DIDN”T LIKE

  • cell phone rang @ 6:20 am
  • now worried something might be wrong back home
  • can’t get coffee until 7:00
  • don’t have a room reservation
  • ECI gives non-residents 10% off everything and no one told us until now
  • walk out and it’s pouring rain – no umbrella

FF (FUN-fact) – Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and their motto is, “You’re not in Spain, You’re in Catalunya!”

FUN-travel: La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain

September 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain 

Trip Day 50 – Wednesday, August 29 – La Tomatina, Buñol & Chiva, Spain

“Pequeno Tomatinas”

What I LIKE

La Tomatina in Full Swing

  • 7:00 – up and adam for our big day
  • 8:00 – taxi over & back $20 Euros
  • secured roof top is a big win!
  • water station is set up in main square – Plaza de Puebla next to church – 4 huge hoses on raised platform
  • pole is up set up with big ham leg attached on top
  • the revelers cheer as people take their turns attempting to climb it to get the prize
  • biggest hurdle is that it’s all soaped up & slippery
  • 9: 00 – locals turn on their spigots & start hosing the people in the street
  • on rooftop we fill buckets with water to throw on the revelers
  • our hosts have typical breakfast of tomatoes, bread & olive oil, potato chips, tortilla (egg & potato dish) & beer for us
  • the costumes are incredible!
  • 3 people outfitted  in theme – as a hot dog,  Heinz ketchup & mustard bottles
  • 2 guys in full tuxedo body suits
  • 2 with watermelon head helmets
  • Japanese man in fishnet stockings & red ruffle panties with “pequeno tomatinas” sewn on
  • most people in t-shirts
  • 11:00 – canon sounds for the official start of La Tomatina
  • now the crowds are packed in like sardines in all 4 directions from our corner perch

Mixing the Soap for the Pole

  • 11:10 – 1st truck arrives with tomatoes – crew on board starts throwing as many as they can – then truck dumps a portion in the street
  • chaos ensues!
  • 4 more trucks drive through at intervals

    The Tomatina Truck

  • have no idea how no one gets run over!
  • 12 noon –  canon sounds for the end
  • by this time people are begging to be sprayed with water
  • locals come out and start sweeping & hosing the streets
  • you can’t believe the amount of clothing articles are left
  • the tomato juice actually cleans the cobblestones
  • 1:15 – we venture down to walk back to taxi pick up
  • Japanese couple sharing taxi are on their honeymoon
  • 1:30 – back to hotel
  • drive to mas y mas grocery store for lunch of you guessed it – bread, meat & cheese
  • go to recommended restaurant for dinner & make reservation
  • grande siesta
  • 8:30 – dinner @ La Orza – tomato & tuna belly salad, roasted tuna with grilled vegetables, nice Ribero del Duero wine
  • 10:30 – drive back to hotel

True Entrepreneur

What I DIDN’T LIKE

  • by 8:15 the main square is packed with people
  • major claustrophobia!

FF (FUN-fact) – La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year.  The town of 9000 swells to over 30,000 that day. The festival begins with the sound of the canon at 11:00 and ends with the sound of the canon at 12 noon.

More FF – We met people from Portugal, Finland, Norway, Latvia, Japan, India, & the US.

Up On The Roof

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