Bare Buns in Barcelona

The mile long — pedestrian only boulevard in Barcelona — known as Las Ramblas is filled with cafes, shops, and oddities!  My traveling companion and I were spending two nights in Barcelona, having explored some of Portugal and Spain already, before embarking upon a 12-night–Royal Caribbean cruise of the Mediterranean.

I’m busy snapping photos and my traveling companion says, “Sherry, there’s a naked guy”!  I look up just as he walks by me, with a look on his face that could be described as smug satisfaction.

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Luckily, I had my wits and thought to take a photo.  Aren’t you lucky!  I thought it interesting that everyone is ignoring him.

He could help advertise along with the billboard next to him–2 tapas and paella!!

This is the street minus him!

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This guy was levitating…not quite sure how!

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We all know how this is done!

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 There were a number of sidewalk artists and they were talented!

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Another trickster…

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I guess he wants to be nibbled on!

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His grin looks sinister to me!

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 Give me more, more, more!!

Frolicking through Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain has a certain energy.  A fresh, fun, and exciting spirit!  Arriving by train from Madrid (a 3-hr. trip), my traveling companion and I dropped our luggage at the hotel and began walking.  First along the waterfront…

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Then we found a park with–of course–a fountain and magnificent statutes.

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Heading towards the “Gothic” area…we saw “Street Art”…

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 Fun shops…

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That’s me in the window…acting silly!!

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Colorful veggies, fruits, bread and candy…a true Farmer’s Market!

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  No visit to Barcelona would be complete without viewing some of Antoni Gaudi‘s architecture.  I love his whimsical style!

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The famous Sagrada Familia’s completion is planned for 2026…the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.  He designed it to have 18 towers, 12 for the 12 apostles, 4 for the 4 evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus.

In 1926 Gaudí was hit by a tram. Because of his ragged attire and empty pockets, many cab drivers refused to pick him up for fear that he would be unable to pay the fare.  He was eventually taken to a paupers’ hospital in Barcelona. Nobody recognized the injured artist until his friends found him the next day.  When they tried to move him into a nicer hospital, Gaudí refused, reportedly saying “I belong here among the poor.”   He died three days later and was buried in the midst of Sagrada Família.

I know this isn’t a very good photo…but it’s so tall…hard to fit it all in, so I’m only showing a small portion…

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Tomorrow we’ll enjoy “bare buns” in Barcelona.  Oh, and thanks so much for reading!

Look to the Sky in Madrid

One of the many delights of Europe is the architecture and Madrid was no exception!   Every where you turn there is a new fountain, statute, or plaza!

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I have a split personality…probably because I’m a Gemini.  Anyway, I currently live on five acres surrounded by woods, with a 70 foot deck to enjoy it.  I love it!  But, I would love to have a place in the City.  To be in the center of the action and be able to walk to the grocery, etc.  For now, I can imagine what it would be like to live in a building like this.

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Lovely gardens…

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The next destination of my three-week whirlwind European vacation was Lisbon, Portugal.  We took the 10:30pm night train and I slept on the top bunk.  Although this night train looked much newer than the one I took in Cairo, Egypt, it was much noisier.  I didn’t sleep very well!  But, who cares about sleep when you’re in Europe.

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 See you in Lisbon!

Enchantment…the Alcazar Castle in Segovia, Spain

The famous Alcazar Castle is located in the enchanted village of Segovia, Spain, which is surrounded by a medieval wall, and the village itself has twisting alleyways and pedestrian streets where cars are banned.  Located 22 minutes from Madrid via fast train (which is how we traveled) or just over an hour by regular train, makes it a perfect day trip to include in your itinerary while in Spain!

Originally, I thought the Alcazar Castle was the source of inspiration for Walt Disney when creating Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disney world.  Actually it was the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.  But, this castle was where Columbus secured the financial backing necessary, from Queen Isabel, to discover America.

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I took this photo from within the castle…

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The gardens were amazing!  This shot was taken from above looking down (obviously).

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The world-renowned Roman Aqueduct, the largest and best preserved of its kind anywhere is a massive architectural marvel.

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This 16th-century Cathedral, a prominent landmark as one approaches from any direction, was impressive.

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I’m not sure what the history of this is…but I like it.

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This little girl agreed to be photographed while her Mother stood by.

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I hope I’ve convinced you to visit Segovia.  You’ll fall in love!

Walking Madrid

Madrid was the first of many stops of my whirlwind three-week European vacation, in 2010.  I traveled with a woman who I had met through my meetup.com affiliation.

Europe’s small sidewalk cafes are so charming!  I love to people watch, drink sangria, and dine on tapas in Madrid!  For me, that is what makes Europe such an alluring place to visit or live!

Following the advice of Rick Steves, our hotel made reservations for us to see a traditional Spanish Flamenco dance, at “Corral de la Moreria”.  The following evening, we walked the mile or two to see the show and were informed they had a private show that evening.  The hotel had mistakenly made our reservation for the previous evening.

Of course we were disappointed, but luckily, one of the dancers was outside and I requested a picture with her.  She graciously agreed!

Obviously, I hadn’t learned how to stand for a picture.  If you’ll notice, she is standing sidewise…which gives the illusion of a smaller frame.  She’s quite beautiful!

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This gentleman lady was anxious to pose for my lens!

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I’m not sure we’re experiencing the authentic Madrid?

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 These puppeteers were quite entertaining

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More walking…

SS850413The Jamones or ham in Spain are very tasty!

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We stayed in Madrid for three days, one of which we spent taking a side trip to lovely Segovia…which I’m saving for a later post.  We typically walked four to eight miles a day, which is a nice way to acquaint yourself with an area.  But, Madrid is one of the larger cities we visited, so I didn’t get to see as much as I would have liked.