Andrew's Thoughts

Vacation in Europe Barcelona

November 16, 2019

So I have declared blog bankruptcy for the past 6 months, so I will just write about my vacation and start from scatch after that. I think most of the issue just stems from from the face that I find it kind of hard to make time to blog as much as I use to. I think it is because I have all these other projects that don’t require me to sit in front of a computer, so i don’t get around to it as much.

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For the trip, it was 2 weeks in europe. 1st  week in Barcelona, and 2nd  week in Rome (which will be in the 2nd  blog after this). I think my favorite part of Barcelona is just the small cozy city with very easy access to transit. Their metro system is really good, but there is a lot of walking because each metro station line runs on a different line (so when i switch trains, i have to go up a floor, or around a corner). And the train from the airport is maybe the lowest level station. I had to go up 8 flights of stairs to transfer one time.

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For the trip, it was Sherri and I, and we brought along her parents. It was interesting trying to vacation with them, because they are a little bit older and not really in as good of shape (They usually just do cruises) and don’t have much stamina to walk around a lot. It took us around a couple days to finally get into a groove (mostly because Sherri and her family have not really gone on a family trip in many years). Eventually, i figured out that her parents could really only hang with us for around 2–3 hours (1 walking tour/class/museum). Then they would start to tire, and be sitting around a lot and just did not seem that fresh at all. So eventually, they realized that they didn’t have to do all the stuff with us. So each day they really only did the Event A, and not the secondary Event B. I just brought them back to the airbnb, and let them walk around locally.

It was a good thing that I spent a little extra to make sure all the hotels/airbnb were located in a very tourist/busy part of town so that they had things to do at night (but it did cost me more for lodging).

Here is my pictures from each day.

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We did a nice walk around downtown barcelona while listening to Rick Steves. I love the architecture of the buildings, especially when one side of the city was old style architecture, while the other side was a more contrasting modern style.

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Day 2: Cooking Class

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We took a fun class that showed us how to make really good gazpacho, paella, spanish omelette, catalan crema, roasted veggies. Our chef was from argentina. So it was funny when sherri said “The empanadas in Spain are good, do you teach how to make that?” And the Chef says “Empanadas are from argentina”. So we ended up not really eating any empanada’s out in Spain. 🙂

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Here is all the pictures from the cooking class. The bad thing about eating out in the country that invented the food is that when you come back home, the food doesn’t taste as good anymore.

Day 2: Afternoon/Night: Sagrada Familia.

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We went around sunset, because the lighting coming through the building made the stain glass look even better. Sherri’s mom got sick, but that was good because she would not have done the tower walk to get back down. The tower was really fun to see and walk around. Sherri and her dad were afraid of heights, so when the steps got steeper, i could see their death grip on the handle become more pronounced.

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We started at the top of that tower in the middle picture. And on this side of the church was all the fruits.

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As you can see, I could see just a dark hole down the middle. The weird part was how Sherri’s dad was saying “it is scary, don’t look down, i’m not sure how good this tower is built”. Which was causing himself to get more scared. 🙂

Overall, Sagrada Familia is an amazing basilica. Which is so tall and beautiful, and has so many random things on the top to make it pretty. Just looking at the architecture, there is no way you can build anything like this fast at all. Which is why it will take until 2026 to get it all done. I just really love the stain glass, and the amount of work put into the building, which is breath takingly huge.

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On the streets outside of sagrada family. The nice part about staying in an AirBNB nextto sagrada familia is that even though Sherri’s parents are not that good at knowing their location. I told them to just look down the streets and find the Sagrada familia towering over all the buildings. That was their anchor point to getting back to their place.

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For dinner, we got rid of Sherri’s parents because they can’t really eat seafood, so sherri and I were able to go to this kitchen type place to eat a delicious meal at La Paradeta, where we just ordered the fresh seafood and they cooked it for us. Then called us over to pick up the meal. We had an amazing dinner, and could not finish the wine, so i remember giving it to an asian lady and her mom that we had talked to earlier in line.

Day 3: Gaudi Experience

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Gaudi was super ahead of his time, and really wanted to come up with some fun designs. The roof in the middle was amazing, and this is his early work when he was a happy go lucky architect guy. The house it self is just wonderful, and it took a long time to make it (3 years). I enjoyed the idea that some of the techniques he used to make a wall facade were forgotten, and now know one reall knows how to recreate it. It just makes me think of magic tricks, and how there are some really cool moves that have most likely been forgotten and will take a long time before they get figured out.

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Some last pictures of the place. (I actually took a lot more pictures, but i feel like that putting them all onto the blog will take too long to write, and talk about)

After the gaudi house, we ended up at the Gaudi Park, and this huge housing complex community that never happened Park Guell.

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Were are standing in the area that is holding all the water for the park. There is a huge amount of water behind the walls.

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Then late in the afternoon, we end up just looking at the Block of Discord at another Gaudi Building.

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Then we meander around down to the waterfront and find a really good restaurant that serves us more seafood.

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That day was one of my most favorite days, I’m not sure specifically what it was. But i think a lot of it had to be due to the idea of Sherri and I just having a lovely night walking around finding random places to eat and look at. Everywhere we went, we would see something interesting.

Day 4: Gothic Quarters

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We took a free walking tour (where you donate whatever you like at the end). It was a very interesting experience, thinking about how back in the middle ages that this place was where real soldiers/peasants back then walked. I think that is the thing that really blows me away, how there are structures made so well that they could survive all the way until now. When most of the stuff we make now, like an iphone will not last more than 3 years, and something like the first iphone or ipod is now considered an antique.

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I think this was an old goverment building. It had old school ventilation, with water in the middle, and 4 areas for the wind to come in and keep the area nice.

After the walking tour, Sherri and I went back to pick up her parents and give them an abridge version of the tour we took, and then brought them to the same place we had dinner the night before. Her parents met the same filipino waiter we had. He thought Sherri and I were from Brazil or something, because we tried to speak spanish to him. Hahaha, and then we find out that the waiter is from the same city as Sherri’s Dad.

Day 5: Flying to Italy

So because this was the first time we were traveling with Sherri’s parents, i didn’t want to make it too stressful on them, so i made most of our flights and trains leave around or a little after 12pm. This way, i gave them enough time to pack and rest up. So for the last day, Sherri and I just had a nice breakfast on the balcony of the airbnb we were at. Because Sherri was still scared of heights, we only sat outside for 1 minute.

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I can see the sagarda familia from our place.

Overall, barcelona is a pretty fun place to go to. I find the buildings and streets to be very interesting, which makes it fun to just walk around and find things to do. Also, because everyone in spain eats dinner so late, there are so many people walking around at 11pm. It makes me wonder how construction people even do work, when everyday they stay out so late! I think what stood out to me the most was really the relaxed atmosphere places like barcelona has, where there really doesn’t seem to be a rush to get things done.

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