Spain. Well, only Barcelona actually. Our time here has been spent walking and sleeping and working out flights and hotels for our next destination, Jordan. We've walked, what feels like all over the city. The first day here we set out to see the architecture of the famous Gaudi who lived during the late 1800's and early 1900's. He built some really cool crazy buildings with all sorts of neat twists and curves. We walked by a few but saved our admission money for the HUGE cathedral he was in the process of building when he was hit by a tram and died. They continued his work and are still building it. When its done its going to be massive and very neat looking. The inside is done, but he had plans for lots of spires and gargoily things. The whole thing has a very naturey theme. The columns on the inside are made to look like trees and on one side of the outside there are scenes from Christ's life mixed with lots of animals (turtles, lizards, frogs, chickens, etc). The main doors going into the church have the Gospels of I think Matthew and John, or maybe Luke, written in full. Jeff said it is the best Cathedral he's ever been in and I would have to agree.
We've spent some time at the beach, fully clothed in pants and coats because its in the 50's here but I can't say that for everyone there. There was a man with nothing on, no shoes no hat nothing, walking up and down the sidewalk that goes along the beach. He seemed to feel so comfortable in his nudity. It just grossed me out. We saw what we joked and said was his wife later down the beach in the exact same apparel. :) The mediterranean is beautiful and seemed clear, but very very cold right now. The beaches here are spacious and really nice for such a big city. We watched some street performers juggle and spin their bodies in giant hula hoops things. There were people building elaborate sand castles and dragons for money. One even had a waterfall and a fire! And dumb me wasn't carrying my camera.
We went to the Picasso museum the 2nd day and with hopes of not making people mad I would just like to say he paints like a 5 year old (No offense to any 5 year olds I know). There is this beautiful painting done by a guy named Velasquez that I happened to really like. Its a gorgeous painting that Picasso tried to recreate and totally mucked it up. Not to say I don't like some of his stuff, I do. It's just not my favorite. They had a room of ceramics that he did and let me say, the only reason they are in a museum is because of his name not because he is a good ceramicist. If this makes die hard Picasso fans mad, I apologize. Sort of.
There's a big hill on the west end of the city with some museums and the Olympic stadium from 1992. Anybody remember those? We hiked up a dirt trail overlooking the mediterranean then walked across the hill to the olympic swimming pool and then the stadium. The views from up there were incredible! We opted out of the art museum and went to the archaeology museum which had tons of really cool artifacts. I absolutely loved it, but unforunately it was all in Catalan, the language a lot of people speak here. So I didn't get to learn specifics but it was still a really good museum.
Yesterday morning was spent at the park after going to the train station to go to a nearby town and discovering we were at the wrong train station. And because we were sick of walking at this point we opted not to walk across the city to the other station. And by the way, there is public transportion here, and I'm sure its very good, but it's costly and we decided we have legs that would get us where we need to go if we needed to go bad enough. So the park, it was a huge and lovely. We came across a movie set! That was fun. We sat and ate our packed lunch on the steps of a gazebo and watched them do their thing. We found ping pong tables in the park which made Jeff's day until he realized we had no paddles and balls. We almost got drenched by sprinklers that came on while we were walking across a grassy area. We ran so fast and luckily stayed dry, but I am convinced they were motion sensitive. We sat for a while and people watched. We saw a couple fighting in the middle of the sidewalk at a busy intersection. She was yelling and flailing her arms and her boyfriend was quiet as can be. He tried to hold her hand and hug her but she pushed him away. And then she stomped off so he went the other way, but the dummies just ended up crossing the road and heading the same direction. She saw him up ahead and started running after him. As you can see it was very entertaining. We sat and disected the whole situation as it unfolded. Oh and the dogs!! People in Barcelona love their dogs. There are tons of sweet pups all over the city and they are all so well behaved. Hardly anyone has them on a leash. They carry the leash in their hand which is how you know who the owner is and the pups keep a close distance but still get a little freedom. The dogs were so much fun to watch, but not many wanted to be pet. They are definitely city dogs. They were totally used to hoards of people and were all on a mission. I only got to pet one chihuahua the whole time
Our hotel was located in the Gothic Quarter, my favorite part of the city. It was full of narrow alleys and cobble stone streets barely big enough for cars, which not many ventured in. The hotel itself was on the 3rd floor above a jewelry shop so you had to have a key to get in at street level when the shop was closed. It made you feel like a local. The small streets were bustling during the day but by 10pm all the shops pulled down a graffiti filled garage doors which totally changed it from a crowded winding path through the city to a desolate, dark, alley.
We have left Spain and are now in Jordan having a grand time. More soon!