Monday, September 30, 2013

Bits Of Barcelona

Some quick Barcelona sights and sounds from Matt and Marc.

Barcelona's modern art museum (MACBA) was designed by American architect Richard Meier.  This blog also covered Meier on August 6th in connection with his Rome work.  
A view of the Barcelona port from up on the Montjuic hill
And another
Your blogger in a rare moment of rest
Iberian ham
Seafood paella
The Casa Battlo apartment building -- another amazing Gaudi work
Eggs, potatoes, and Iberian ham -- yes, it was as good as it sounds!
The awesome Cascada fountain, inside the Parc de la Ciutadella
Your eyes do not deceive you -- the Cronuts have arrived in Barcelona.  Details tomorrow on how they taste......

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mazel Tov -- Barcelona Style!

Matt and I partook in a couple of celebrations today in Barcelona.  After some relatively conventional sight-seeing, we strolled down the Barcelona beach.  That walk is flat-out excellent.  Towards the end of the beach lies the W -- which is perhaps the most iconic Barcelona hotel.  It is a sight in itself.

We randomly stumbled upon the wedding of our new friends, Annabel and Olivier.  Annabel and Olivier are Parisian Jews who got married today at the W.  The ceremony, conducted in French, English, and Hebrew, was moving.  The setting was out-of-this-world.  We were touched by their hospitality -- and we only felt a little like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.  Matt and I then wandered around the Barceloneta district, where we found a beer festival with some funky street-dancing, a great live band, and a bunch of artisanal craft beers.

What a day!  Between all of the Horas with Annabel and Olivier, and all the Spanish dancing, Matt and I needed an early dinner.  We luckily found a place that would take us at 10:00 p.m.  We finished dinner at midnight, and called it an early night!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

OMG: Oh My Gaudi!!!

Matt and I enjoyed our first full day of sight-seeing in Barcelona today.  We saw a lot -- and ate lots of tapas.  By far, the highlights had to be the two architectural masterpieces by Antoni Gaudi that we saw. When you read about Barcelona, you inevitably read tons about Gaudi.  You read about his architecture and how it dominates the city.  But it just can't prepare you for how wondrous his work is -- it's singularly unique.

We will see more Gaudi over the next couple of days.  Today was for two of the best: the basilica of Sagrada Familia (which will not actually be completed for years), and the apartment complex called La Pedrera (or Casa Milla).  Both were unbelievable.  The Sagrada Familia really floors you.  I've been seeing lots of churches over these past 6-7 months.  This one stands alone.

Here are some pics of La Pedrera:

And here are some of Sagrada Familia:


Friday, September 27, 2013

Bridging The Gap

Matt and I have had a very busy couple of days.  I can't come close to remembering all the southern French towns and Spanish places we've hit during out drive from Marseille to Barcelona.  We've had some great meals, driven through some fabulous landscape in both countries, and seen a couple of remarkable sights.  The most memorable for me will be the Ponte du Gard in Vers-Pont-du-Gard (see, and the Millaue Viaduct (see, and, and  Both are in France.

The Ponte du Gard is one of the world's best preserved Roman aqueduct bridges.  I've been seeing some ancient Roman aqueducts in my travels through Italy; but none matched this.  The Millau Viaduct is unbelievable.  Really.  It is an awesome bridge that has been haled as the tallest in the world, and has been lauded as one of the greatest engineering achievements in world history.  The pictures below unfortunately don't do it justice.