Last bits of Spain

I always appreciate a bilingual menu. I can’t remember the last time I ate at an “American cuisine” restaurant in the states that had a menu with translations into Spanish, German or French. Apparently other countries are more considerate than we are.

However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the translations. Restaurants in China had my favorite incomprehensible menu items of “lilly bread over snow mountains” and “Backs of beans on rosy waves,”  but here are some good ones from Spain:

Can I get the Italian creaking mass on top of the hot daggerboard back? And a side of habitats tender? Thanks so much. Sounds delicious.

I like this sign as well. I’m giving it the Princess Bride “I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean” prize.

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We drove under the Greenwich meridian marker on our way into Barcelona

Aragon SpainI didn’t realize you could physically mark time…

I love this picture from my last morning in Barcelona when I got up early to see the Picasso museum and watch the city wake up.

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And this street art from Granada.

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The painted street signs in Madrid

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Unnecessarily beautiful street lamps of Barcelona

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And the ridiculous “sidewalks” in Ronda

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Despite all these posts and pictures, there were so many things I didn’t get to see in Spain so I know I’ll be back.

This feels like a good post to end on because I’m going to take a blog break for the month of September. I’ll be back in October.

Happy fall.

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Churches, Chocolate and Corey

My friend Missy pointed out that I haven’t explained anything about the wheres and whys and whos of this trip and that’s unlike me. She’s right. I am remiss.

I’m in Spain for 2 weeks, one of those weeks with my friend Corey, who I toured with on The Producers

Apparently it’s my summer for hanging out with Producers’ kids (see also Ryan McAlpine).

Corey had time off and wanted to go somewhere. I always want to go somewhere and lack only someone who wants to go with me. He said Spain or France? I said Spain. Ergo and voila, here we are.

I picked Spain because some of my favorite artists came from here or worked here (Hemingway, Goya, Picasso, Dali) and I hope to absorb some of their inspiration. I’m also here to extend my “Year of the Road Trip” by driving around Spain, which is an adventure that deserves a post of its own so I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Today you’ll get the last bits of our madhouse dash through Barcelona where the sights swung the entire length of the spectrum from pedestrian to mind blowing.

The Chocolate Museum (the Museu de la Xocolata) falls into the pedestrian category even though the museum tickets are chocolate bars. This must be a new thing because they also have a ticket machine like the kind you see in the subway and I definitely saw a girl ahead of me try to stick her candy bar “ticket” into the machine before the guard stopped her and let her in the door. I wonder how much melted chocolate is in that machine…

The museum is light on information and has terrible audio visual displays involving slide carousels like a vacation from 1975, but it does display some intricate chocolate sculptures:

Barcelona Spain

And they have a cafe where we ordered hot chocolate so dense it was less a drink than a melted candy bar.

Barcelona Spain

We followed this ho-hum experience with La Sagrada Familia, which is easily the most awe inspiring cathedral I’ve seen in any country.

Designed and begun by Antoni Gaudi, who built a 1:10 scale model UPSIDE DOWN using wire and bags of lead shot to show the proper curve of the parabolas and archways.

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The scale makes it almost impossible to photograph, though the interior is easier than the exterior.

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I love that woman in front :)

The light is tremendous

Barcelona Spain

Barcelona Spain

And everyone bumps into everyone else because we’re all looking up. Stunning.

They put a couple elevators in, like the Basilica in Zaragoza, so you can travel to the top of the cathedral and then walk down a tight twisty staircase

Barcelona Spain

Looking out the windows at rooftop views of Barcelona

Barcelona Spain

That it’s unfinished makes this cathedral even more awe inspiring. Gaudi worked on it for 50-ish years and left detailed models and blueprints that were subsequently destroyed by looters during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Engineers and designers spent years reconstructing his models from the wreckage and going ahead with the cathedral construction and they estimate they’ll complete it by the middle of this century. Meanwhile, cranes and tarps interfere in every picture:

Barcelona Spain

There are a lot of things that would bring me back to Spain but getting to see the completed Sagrada Familia is at the top of the list.

It was Corey’s last night so we found a great restaurant and had paella. Ours was delicious but less photogenic than this one that I took in the Mercat

Barcelona Spain

And then Corey left at the literal crack of dawn to fly to Madrid and catch his flight back to the states. It’s been such a fun trip with him and I’d do it again in a second.

Barcelona Spain

Bye Corey!

Tomorrow: on my own in Spain.

Barcelona’s Mercat de la Boqueria

An amazing farmer’s market with delicious things:

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Scary things. Sheep’s heads?

Curious things. I think this is tripe.

Unexpected things…

A little of everything, no?