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So… Europe Trip! I’ve been putting off doing these entries because there are SO many pictures, but I finally just sucked it up and uploaded a ton this weekend. So here is to getting all my Europe posts up during this week. I will probably write a lot, but there will also be a ton of pictures too, which means these entries are going to be LONG. Sorry!

We started out our trip early in the morning on Saturday March 23rd by taking a taxi to the bus stop to await the airport bus to take us to Narita. This year the sakura bloomed early, so I got a few pictures since I figured we’d probably miss the whole season while in Europe, and then the bus came, and I got car-sick, so the entire time from the ride to the airport was pretty miserable tbh. We got to Narita an hour late, too, which meant that while we had planned to spend some time in the United Lounge, we didn’t have near as much time as originally thought. Still, we were able to spend a little time and let me recover from motion-sickness. The plane ride was a pleasant surprise… Kenji likes aisle seats and I like window, and we can never agree who gets the middle, so we resigned ourselves to someone sitting between us, but as it turned out that middle seat was empty, so we had the whole row to ourselves. So that was nice. We got to Paris in the evening, and had already made reservations at an airport hotel since we were flying to Barcelona the next morning. It took a bit of walking to figure out where the hell the shuttle for the Hilton was, but we finally found it and got settled, and ate dinner at the hotel. In the morning, we headed back to the airport for the Barcelona flight where once again we had no one sitting between us.

Kenji took pictures throughout this whole time, while I don’t have any between the sakura and arriving in Barcelona. So the pictures basically start from landing in Barcelona, but trust me, the in-between stuff isn’t all that exciting anyway.

So, Barcelona! Upon landing, we took the airport bus into the city, which dropped us off at Placa Catalunya. We walked from there a short distance to our hotel, the Renaissance Barcelona. We took some time to settle in and then walked around the block to a Tapas Bar for lunch, then decided to start our sightseeing out with the famous Gaudi church La Sagrada Familia. We walked there, but nearing the end of our visit it started to rain, so we took the metro back to the hotel, and found a place around the hotel for dinner.

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Sakura before leaving

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Our small stack of euros from the airport

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At the Tapas bar in Barcelona

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Good stuff!

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Passing Manzana de la Discordia on the way to La Sagrada Familia

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Walking to La Sagrada Familia

A video of La Sagrada Familia itself

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The church is pretty much perpetually under construction. I sorta doubt it will be finished in my lifetime, or it it is, at the end of it. But it is neat to see it in the building stages!

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This is what the finished church will look like; currently only the darker tan parts have been built. They’ve got a ways to go…

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Gaudi had a very unique style, but I liked it

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And the inside is really just magnificent. The stained glass was only half finished which was a cool effect

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Looking up is supposed to give you the feeling that you’re in a forest of trees

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And everywhere you look…

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…there are a ton of details.

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We decided to climb the higher of the two open towers

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It gave a really good view of the work currently being done

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As well as a nice spread of the city

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And a few more from inside

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Dinner in the evening

For day two we went to Park Guell in the morning to beat the crowd, and took a bit of a siesta in the afternoon, followed by more Gaudi buildings: Casa Batllo in the Manzana de la Discordia, and Casa Mila (also called La Pedrera) in the evening. I had much more planned, but we were both feeling the effects of jet lag and plane travel, so we took it slow.

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Breakfast… I ordered a hot chocolate which was like drinking heavy melted chocolate… good but rich!

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We took the metro most of the way

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The walked the rest of the way up the hill, and went in through the back gate

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The view from the highest point in the park was really nice!

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We spent some time on the hill, the wandered down into the more famous architectural areas

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The main plaza area

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Birdies for Mary!

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The benches are a popular area

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And below them a column area meant for a marketplace

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With some really beautiful ceramic murals Gaudi is famous for

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Buildings of the entranceway

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The famous Gaudi …salamander? lizard? thing

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Hi again

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Lots of musicians in this area

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Heading out of the park

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Cool street performers heading back toward the metro

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Kenji was impressed with this giant vending machine

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My sangria after a siesta at the hotel

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We started out with Casa Batllo, which for some reason I don’t have a half-way decent picture of the outside beyond the one that is posted a bit above, so here is the model of the house.

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Strait lines are hard to find

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And beautiful colors and murals abound

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The main skylight area

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Hallways and windows

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Out on the roof

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The facade of the house looks like the scales of a dragon

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Back down the stairwell

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And on to Casa Mila

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A lot of the apartments are still in use today

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The use of color is nice as always

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But the roof is really the highlight

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Getting darker

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Heading down

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Another model

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Casa Mila at night

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And back past Casa Batllo at night before heading to dinner.

Day three was the grand exploration of Las Ramblas and the Barri Gotic, or the Gothic Quarter. There was too much to see in one day, but I think we did pretty well!

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Better views of Placa Catalunya and the start of Las Ramblas

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It was still early, but there was some activity

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Lots of interesting buildings, hidden nooks and crannies, and fun shops and stores to explore

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Church and stained glass window

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La Boqueria Market

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The market was definitely crowded!

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Weird dragon umbrella statue on a building

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Theatre de Liceu

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Another cute Placa

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Coming up on the famous chimney’s of Palau Guell, yet another Gaudi creation!

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Inside the Palau Guell was much darker than any of Gaudi’s other works, perhaps reflecting the tastes of his patron?

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Not my style, but interesting!

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Nice windows though!

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Up close with chimneys, etc. on the roof

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I liked the chimneys!

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And back down

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Christopher Columbus Monument at the end of Las Ramblas

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Getting lunch

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Near the sea

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Various buildings of the Barri Gotic

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And a last view of Placa Espanya on the bus back to the airport to take us back to France!

*whew* if you managed to get through all that, congrats! It was a busy three days in Barcelona, although not as busy as it could have been. Still, I really enjoyed the city and would love to go back and see the places that I missed… and to see La Sagrada Familia again!