Our 5-hour drive from Marseille through the beautiful Pyreneese Mountains that separate France from Spain was GORGEOUS -- we loved the beautiful Tuscany-looking countryside with the vineyards along the Mediterranean. Then we arrived at busy Barcelona! It's the first time in Spain for all of us (except Daron who went to Madrid years ago for HP). We got to switch from “Bonjour, como sava?” to “Hola, como estas?” – that was a bit confusing and tricky – but the people just chuckled and were nice. The kids love the hotel here; we watched bull fighting on TV until the matadors stabbed the the poor bull with multiple spears and the blood pretty much sicked us out, so we turned it off. But this city has one of the neatest attractions EVER – Antonio Gaudi’s “La Sagrada Familia” church – so unique and simply incredible. The architecture was unlike anything else – it looked like it had rainbow colored ice-cream cones with raised words and birds and modern Jesus statues stuck to the outsides – really crazy. It was started in 1882, and won't be finished until 2026, the centennial of Gaudi's death.
The front is called the "Nativity facade"... with depictions of Christ's life (From Wikipedia: While Time Magazine called it 'sensual, spiritual, whimsical, exuberant,' George Orwell called it 'one of the most hideous buildings in the world')
We walked all around the outside, and decided not to wait in the 2-year-long line to go in. Then off to the neat-o park nearby with the pretty purple trees and crazy puppet man -- the kids didn't know what to make of his voice...
and then Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, with it's unique, wild Dr. Seussy looking designs. Originally designed by Gaudi for a middle-class Barcelonian family, the rooftop looks like a dragon's back with a lance going thru it -
We love the streets lined with matching trees and the fountains and the crazy drivers (because Barcelona is the most densely populated city in Europe, so we were feeling it!). We like this trip, but we’re excited to go back to our cute little Switzerland and plan our next trip... maybe to Jerusalem. (Just kidding Inger, just wanted to see if you’re reading closely... we'll wait and see if things in Israel calm down a bit before we take the kids there) 8-)