Jessica, Stanley, Barcelona

We received an unusual visitor after we returned from vacation. Our cousin, Nickie, sent us Flat Stanley as part of a class project. Armed with our instructions to take some pictures of him around town and answer some questions we tried our hand at being tour guides. We ended up with 50 pictures of our excursion, which may have been getting a little carried a way. But you know us, go big or go home. Right?
So we started the day at the train station in Valldoreix where we quickly realized we had forgotten the camera. When I say we, I mean me. Bad mom. The camera was the whole point. Nick went home to get it and after that small hiccup we were on our way.
We took the train to Provenca then the metro to the Sagrada Familia! I finally got to see it. It's a very impressive building. There was a line to take the tour so we passed on that but we walked around the gate and took some pictures. The Cathedral was designed by Gaudi and he worked on it until the end of his life, I think. It's still not finished. I think the estimate at this point is another 20 years. I believe the reason it takes so long is that it doesn't accept government financing. But, I don't have the books in front of me. The four sides of the Cathedral each depict different scenes from Jesus's life. I believe the one behind the kids is the Death and Resurrection.

Joe said this building is where Gaudi lived when he was working on the Cathedral. Now it's where the school groups gather and since we didn't make it inside the gates, we'll probably have to get back to you on any more stories about that.

At different points around the Cathedral there are words repeated. Here is one section....Sanctus...Holy

Below is the Nativity facade. The spire in the middle is actually a Christmas tree. It has doves on it and appears more green in person.

The detailing is just amazing on the building. I like this facade a lot. The other side has a more cubist/modern look to the sculpture on the facade.

From there we decided to walk to Placa Catalunya. It's about a ten block walk but the day was gorgeous and we took some pictures along the way.

I can't remember what building this is...

As we were walking by this church the bells were ringing. I tried to get a picture of the bell swinging but...I'm not sure it really worked.

We walked to Passeig de Gracia, where more Gaudi buildings are, as well as shopping. It's sort of the 5th Ave of Barcelona. Here is Stanley in front of Casa Batlo. This is the Gaudi house we've toured before.
These are the street lights/benches that line Passeig de Gracia. I love them.

We finally made it to Placa Catalunya so we could help Flat Stanley feed the birds. Yes, we sang a few bars of Mary Poppin's Feed the Birds as well.

Flat Stanley trying to get more information on what to do in Barcelona at the info stop.

After all the walking we decided a stop was in order. We crossed the street to treat ourselves to a little Americana at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Here is Nick setting up the shot of Flat Stanley reading his menu.

And Flat Stanley admiring the rock icons.

After we refueled we turned the corner to go down La Ramblas.

Where we entertained Stanley with the street performers.

He liked it so much he thought he'd try to get in the act...

But that was a one man show so he moved on and tried this one...

He was quickly bored by this...(and you can only imagine the amount of embarrassment this caused Andrea who is solidly in the middle of her teen "OMG I can't believe how embarrassing you guys are for breathing") stage.

We stopped to admire the architecture of the side streets..
And listened to some musical street performers.

And we were all toured out. So we headed home on the train.

Andrea got over her embarrassment enough to make monkey faces with Joe for the camera.

(I'm pretty certain she'll be plotting my death when she sees this one. *grin*)
Thanks to Nickie for inspiring this great day!!!
Hope you all enjoyed it too.
~Love you


Travel Tales

Pictures and tales of our travels. I hope you all had a chance to look at the pictures in their entirity. The landscape of the island was breathtaking...and so unique.

It was a short 3 hour flight to Lanzarote. The last few flights we've taken have been transAtlantic so this seemed quick to us. We quickly got our luggage, picked up the rental car and we were off through a land that was definitely different than anything we'd seen before. The ground was peppered with areas of black earth and rockm surrounded by the deepest green vegetation. We drove around and over mountains as we traveled to our beachside hotel, even seeing a few camels on the way.
We quickly got settled into the hotel, The Princesa Yaiza Suites Hotel. It's a nice hotel, even if they did manage to lose Nick's golf clubs. It's a long story but we spent bits and pieces of our 4 days trying to track them down with no luck. The hotel nicely set up a few tee times for Nick.
The hotel sits right on the promenade that leads to a small harbor town. The weather was sunny and about 70 degrees each day. It was windy but just beautiful.

We went back to the hotel and ate at the Mexican buffet for dinner. The next morning we decided to go to Timanfaya, the National Parc. Lanzarote is an island that was formed from volcanic explosions. The last explosions were recorded in the 1800's but because there is little rain on the island the landscape looks much as it did after the eruption...which is eery and breathtaking. On the way to the entrance of the park there is a place to pull in and get a camel ride. It's a total tourist trap but it was the most hysterical thing we've done in a long time. We were all laughing and joking...it was an enjoyable 20 minutes. The animals were clean and friendly...a little too friendly with Nick as the one behind us kept nudging and nudging him.

Once we got to the park, we had to board a bus to tour the national park. You can't do this on foot. It was an interesting ride getting a close up look into the mouth of the volcanos...and seeing it's force. We took a lot of pictures that are on the slide show here are a few...

After the bus ride we went to the grill at the park. This grill using volcanic heat coming out of the earth to heat the food. This pit goes down really far...and the heat coming up was smokin.
The food was probably the best we'd had in a long while. Yummy!

The next two mornings Nick took Joe, then Andrea to go golfing with him. The rest of us spent the morning leisurely waking up, having breakfast and strolling through town looking for trinkets.

One of the afternoons Nick and the kids decided to take a banana boat ride. They rode around for 1o minutes while the onlookers at the beach tried to figure out who would fall off first. Good money was on Jess, she was the youngest. (Lest you are suddenly impressed with my Spanish skills...there was an impressively LARGE amount of English tourists in town with us) The ride went without incident though as the jet ski gently pulled the boat to float toward the beach. Suddenly, he hit the gas and everyone flew off..except Jess, who was still holding on. Nick asked her later how she held on and Jess answered...."For my Life." lol Everyone else relaxed their hold as they drifted...Jess was still in fear mode and never let up...so when he hit the gas no one else had the proper hold on the boat. *grin* smart girl.

Our last day we drove to La Cueva de los Verdes. There are several scenenic areas of the Island and with a name like the Green Caves I thought for sure we were in for a treat. Turns out there isn't anything "green" about the caves. There was this family...the Greens...seriously, they used the cave for shelter from Pirates. Still it was an interesting tour getting a close up look at how lava travels on the walls and floors and how the temperature of the lava effects the appearance of it.

Our camera ran out of batteries at this point...200 pictures will do that apparently. We used Andrea's camera for this part. Unfortunately only two came out.

There is a secret to the caves that I can't tell you...but it was really cool. If you ever travel to Lanzarote, make sure you plan a visit here.
We really enjoyed our trip to Lanzarote and we all want to go back. There was more we wanted to see and didn't get a chance to and we'd like to enjoy the beaches when it's a little warmer.
Check out the slideshow in the previous post for all the pictures.
Love you