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Showing posts from August, 2014

Visit to Europe - part 4: Gaudi's Barcelona

So after a swift reboot of our trip to Barcelona, things improved. After basking in the AC for an hour or two, we set off for Montjuïc, the site of the National palace, the Joan Miro museum and the Olympic venues from the 1992 games. The walk up to the palace from the Espanola Metro stop is pure photo-bait. The cascading terraces matched with fountains creates the spectacle, the unexpected escalators leading almost all the way to the top was an unexpected treat. In addition to housing examples of Gothic and Medieval art from Spain, the National Palace also provided one of the better views of downtown Barcelona. The Joan Miro museum is nicely structured as an overview of his work but at that point in the day we starting to lose steam. After we left it was a short walk to a funicular leading down to Paral-lel and then a short tour of the famous shopping district La Rambla. The next day we found another funicular (this one closer to what I think people mentally picture

Visit to Europe - Part 3: The Nine Circles of Barcelona

Our arrival at the Orly Airport outside of Paris for our Transavia flight to Barcelona offered a foreshadowing of what we would encounter the next couple of days. Approaching the check-in desk we saw an impossibly long line at complete stand-still. Lauren went ahead and discovered that, yes, this was our  line. We settled in for a long wait, the line inching along, the time until our flight drawing nearer and nearer. Josh referred to this as the First Circle of Hell, but we weren't worried. We still had an hour and a half before our flight. Then we had an hour. Then 45 minutes. Eventually an attendant strolled past asking for passengers going to Barcelona. Identifying ourselves, the attendant escorted us to another shorter, but equally immobile line. "Second Circle of Hell," Josh observed. Another ten minutes passed and a second attendant strolled past asking again for passengers bound for Barcelona to wait in one final, very short line. Third Circle. Once past

Visit to Europe - Part 2: Paris

The second day I wanted to see the Louvre. Josh had already seen it and Lauren wasn't particularly keen to spend the hours I knew I was going to walking around there so I woke up early Sunday morning to find its famous glass pyramid opening. I arrived shortly before 9:00 am, when the museum opened, to discover a line already stretching across the pyramid, across the courtyard, up some steps, well on its way to filling up the next courtyard. It took maybe half an hour to finally reach the ticket office and from there I was free to wander the galleries. Warned against following the incipient hordes to the Mona Lisa gallery, I decided to visit the ancient art galleries first. Seeing as how every other gallery contained something - Hammurabi's stele, cuneiform astronomy tables, an statue of an Egyptian Scribe - that I teach in my classroom, this part of my visit felt more business than pleasure. No matter. One aspect of a museum like the Louvre is it opens your eyes to just h