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Barcelona - November 2006

Christi attended Tech-Ed in Barcelona to meet with the people who put it on, and look for innovations she can implement in the technical events she owns. Since I'd already have a place to stay I decided to take some vacation and fly over with her. We'd never been to Spain before and were psyched to check it out. Plus, trading the record rainfall in the Puget Sound area for the mid to high 60's along the Mediterranean seemed like a no-brainer.

Christi had to work most of the time so I was on my own to wander around the city, but I was able to target some of the coolest sights for the times when she could join me. We had a blast.

The trip home, on the other hand, was a bit brutal. We got up at 2:45AM in Barcelona to get to the airport, only to discover that the KLM check in counter didn't open for another 20-minutes. Once it opened we found out that the second leg of our flight (Amsterdam to Seattle) was cancelled and we'd have to fly Barcelona to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Chicago, then Chicago to Seattle. They sent us to another counter (which didn't open for another 20-minutes) to get a ticket on United from Chicago to Seattle. After a run through the Amsterdam airport (because our boarding passes showed the incorrect boarding time) only to be stuck in line at our boarding gate next to a huge smoking area (lovely). Once in Chicago, after about 20 minutes at the gate United announced that our flight to Seattle was also cancelled, resulting in hours of wrestling with multiple airlines to try to get home. United said the best they could do was get us on a plane the following day, but though the genius of Microsoft travel we were able to get on an American flight that got us into Seattle at around 10:00 (vs. the original plan of 2:30). On the plus side our baggage made it : )

Of course I took a couple pictures, and here they are.


Photos

That Damn Penguin

To add to my frustration with Linux as a Microsoft competitor, I had to put up with the Linux-based entertainment system in the airplane erroring out and re-booting multiple times while we were watching movies. Speaking of movies, we saw "You, Me, and Dupree", "My Super X-Girlfriend", and "John Tucker Must Die." They were all really good and I'd definitely recommend them.

Clear Enough

You ever notice how trendy places are putting trendy markings on the doors of their restrooms, and you sometimes find yourself standing there pondering which of the arcane symbols on the doors represents the one you're supposed to use? Well our hotel has cool markings which are completely self-explanatory.

The Other One

Here's the one from the men's restroom

Art Over Convenience

Now here's a busker who isn't afraid to put a little effort into getting his instrument to the street

Mass Hokey Pokey

We were wandering through the Gothic district and came around the front of the Barcelona Cathedral to find a square full of people dancing in big circles to this outstanding live orchestra. I don't know what the dance was, but from the movements I assume it was something akin to the Hokey Pokey

Put Your Left Foot In

Here's a good view of the dancers. There were half a dozen or so circles of various sizes. Here's one of the largest ones

Don Quixote

There were a huge number of human statues both on La Rambla (the huge pedestrian street our hotel is on) and in varous other areas. This guy dressed as Don Quixote was in front of the Cathedral

Cathedral Interior

Unfortunately the exterior was covered almost entirely with scaffolding so I didn't get any good shots of that, but the interior was breathtaking

Chapel

The chapels along the walls of the Cathedral were beautiful, and this one was particularly far out

Have You Seen my Cat?

I can only assume that this poor girl's cat passed away, and she was so distraught that she had a purse made out of it so they would never be seperated. Yes, I live to mock

Levitation

Out in the square in front of the Cathedral, a group of four guys were doing some pretty incredible breakdancing. If you look closely at this one you'll see that his hand is actually a few inches off the ground

Musicians of all Types

The Gothic district was a warren of tiny streets that wound in seemingly random directions, and were full of cool shops, restarants, and people. We came around a corner and I saw this guy sitting against a wall and playing. He was so far out I had to get a shot of him

Gothic Architecture

The Barri Gotic is the oldest area of the city and the architecture is awe inspiring

View from the Hotel

We lucked out with a great room overlooking La Rambla which is a huge tree lined avenue with a pedestrian walkway down the middle. You can also see some incredible skyline views like the Cathedral on the left, and further to the right (not shown in this shot) you can see the giant statue of Christopher Colombus that stands over the harbor and points across the water

Tree Guy

One of the many mimes around Barcelona. This one was in front of the Barcelona Cathedral

Back Street

One of the many skinny back streets in Bari Gotic

Beware

This sign clearly warns of the danger of lightning bolts striking your crotch. A specific, and incredibly concerning danger

Parc de la Ciutadella

This cool fountain was in the Parc de la Ciutadella

Beauty in the Parc

Christi in front of the Dragon Fountain

Dragons

Cool dragon fountains

Dinner

We had some dinnter on this great little boat in the marina

Blue Boat

I shot this picture of a boat as we sat at our dinner table

Pesca-Lune

Another cool boat by where we were having dinner

Sunset

As we sat at dinner the sun set over the city, throwing the palm trees and skyline into sharp contrast

Christopher Columbus

This statue sits at the end of La Rambla and overlooks the harbor

Night Falls on La Rambla

The view from our hotel room of La Rambla at night. You can see the statue of Columbus at the far end of the street on the right

Cathedral at Night

The view of the Cathedral from our room at night

Bar Art

A cool sculpture hanging over the bar in a restaurant

Lambkin

Lambkin had dinner with us

Our Hotel

Our room is the one on the corner five windows above the hotel name

Christi on La Rambla

Christi looking beautiful as usual on La Rambla

Nifty Building

It's incredible how many far out old buildings you run across just walking down the streets in Barcelona

Casa Batllo

One of the Art Nouveau apartments designed by Gaudi who is Barcelona's favorite sons

Another View

Here's another cool view of Gaudi's apartment building

Casa Mila

Another one of Gaudi's buildings, it is pretty incredible

Gaudi's Masterpiece

Gaudi began his most ambitious project but never finished it. It is Sagrada Familia and has been in progress for around 100-years. It is the most incredible structure I've ever seen anywhere

Stained Glass

The stained glass inside Sagrada Familia was beautiful, and the light shining through was particularly stunning

More Stained Glass

Here's a really cool view

Columns

The columns inside the cathedral were awe inspiring and the light from the stained glass is beautiful

Spiral Staircase

They are continuing work on Sagrada Familia according to Gaudi's specs. The design for the finished product is even more spectacular, including spires half again as tall as those already in place

Interior Shot

Here's a cool shot of the interior

Nativity Facade

Two of the three facades are complete including this one which celebrates the nativity

Close Up

A closer view of the Nativity Facade. Gaudi's vision was for it to be colored in, but they say that isn't likely to ever happen

Distant View

Here's a backed off view of Sagrada Familia

Angel Mime

The mimes were incredible. They were perfectly still until someone dropped a coin in their basket

Afternoon Sun

The afternoon sun on the Barcelona Cathedral as seen from our room

Flaminco

We went to dinner at a place that had Flaminco as entertainment and it was really impressive

Dancer

The lighting at the Flaminco show was great

Guitar Player

One of the guitar players at the flaminco show

Dancer

One of the male dancers. they were incredibly good

Dancers

Two of the mail dancers

The Singers

The singers really got into the performance

Spinning

A cool shot of one of the dancers spinning

Dancers at Rest

Three of the dancers watching another dancer

Dancers

A cool shot of two of the dancers

Final Dance

A cool shot of the final dance

The Other Guitar Player

I love this shot of the other guitar player

Fishing Boats

One of the days I went with Christi to the convention center and then walked back along the beach. The walk was about 5-miles, and there were a lot of people laying out on the beach and enjoying the sun

Fishing Cats

There were several cats hanging out by the fishing boats. They probably got snacks from the fishermen

The Beach

The beaches were beautiful, clean, and there were all sorts of neat little restaurants along the walkway that ran down the length of the waterfront

Montjuic

You can see Montjuic off in the distance beyond the Christopher Columbus statue

Market

Just down La Rambla from our hotel was this incredible fresh air market

The Pigeons

I ran into this park (Placa de Catalunya) with thousands of pigeons. They barely moved when someone walked through

Statue

I love the reflection of this statue in the water

The Pigeon Project

I set up my camera with a timer and fed the pigeons some crackers so they'd come and visit me. AND THEY DID!!!

Lamp Store

Isn't this shot far out? I'm standing outside a lamp store with rows and rows of lamps below street level, and am getting reflection from the street

Sunset over the City

The buildings look jumbled in the dying light

Subway

They have a great metro system in Barcelona. It gave me a chance to add to my collection of trains in motion shots

Wine Rack

I got this neat shot of a wine rack that was enclosed in glass, so the bottles are reflected in the glass on the left

A Long Hill

I took the metro out to Parc Guell, but the metro drops you off quite a ways away. Here I'm looking up at the hill I have to climb to get to the park

Kind of Funny

The banner on this building is kind of funny, but a little less so when you are a tourist

Hill of the Crosses

I hiked up to the Hill of the Crosses in Parc Guell and sat up by the crosses for almost an hour. The views across the city were incredible

Dude

This guy sat on the wall the entire time I was there writing in his journal. I peeked over his shoulder at what he was writing, and it looked like he was traveling around europe

Lambkin Over Barcelona

Lambkin sitting on one of the crosses, looking over the city

La Familia

Looking across the city with my 200mm lens at La Familia shows how imposing it is on the skyline

Tibidabo

Looking away from the city I had a great view of Tibadabo which has both an amusement park as well as the huge Temple del Sagrat Cor. I think people would be much more likely to attend church if it was in an amusement park

The Square

In the center of Parc Guell there is a great square held up by pillars and surrounded by this far out tiled serpentine bench. Barely visible to the right of the square you can see three women getting their picture taken. I was standing by them taking pictures when I overheard them talking about Seattle. We talked and it turned out they were going to school at Western and had been in Europe for three months studying

Serpentine Bench

Here's a cool shot of serpentine bench and the incredible rock pillars beyond it

Entrance Pavilions

These two pavilions mark the entrance to the park. I'm standing at the edge of the square looking down for this shot

The Square

Here's a shot of the square from the other side

Columns

I hiked up the second hill in Parc Guell and the path was lined with these neat columns and benches

Pigeon

Check out how this pigeon is landing on the birdbath

Pavilion

I wasn't familiar with Gaudi before going to Barcelona, but most of his stuff was pretty neat

Looking Up

Here I am by the entrance pavilions, looking up at the square

Fruit Stand

This fruit stand was in the open air market just down from our hotel

Sunrise

The sun was huge rising over the sea

MNAC

From an upper floor of our hotel I was able to look across at Montjuic at the Museu Nacional D'art De Catalunya. The huge white thing behind it appears to be a cellular tower in the olympic village

Cable Car

We took the cable car from the waterfront to Montjuic. It provided incredible panoramic views of the city

The Beach

A shot from the cable car down the beaches of Barcelona. You can barely see where I started my beach walk in the distance

Montjuic

Here's our cable car approaching Montjuic

Portrait

Christi and I overlooking the city. Of course I'm wearing a Barcelona Football Club jersey. I can't pass up a soccer jersey

Kitty Kitty

There were tons of cats up on Montjuic

Olympic Statue

On Montjuic we ran into this cool olympic sculpture

Olympic Pools

The olympic pools had a commanding view of the city

Olympic Stadium

The olympic stadium was huge, and most importantly had an ice cream stand inside

Fountains

The fountains in front of the Olympic Stadium with the Palau Sant Jordi in the background

Christi

Christi in front of the olympic stadium with the MNAC in the background

MNAC

The Museu Nacional D'art De Catalunya from the back

MNAC from the Front

There were incredible fountains in front of the MNAC. Unfortunately they were all empty, but I've seen pictures of them all lit up and it's stunning. Just look at this picture and imagine it all pretty and colorful instead of lame and empty

Metro

One last metro motion shot