Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page
Paris was spectacular! The weather was a bit drizzly, but I did get one full day of sunshine as I made my way through a four day whirlwind tour of monuments and museums.
The first museum I visited was the Louvre. It is huge. I cannot believe how big the building itself is! I spent several hours there, and it was incredible. The Mona Lisa was flocked by tourists and heavily guarded. I was surprised how many people were just flocking to the famous works listed in the map…
I also went to the Musee d’Orsay. I was impressed with all of the work I saw, but I found Monet’s paintings particularly interesting. The clarity of his painting (out of chaos) impressed me the most.
To keep my religious bearings, I visited Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, and Sacré Coeur. They were all very impressive. The Sacré Coeur has a pretty amazing view of Paris, especially at night.
The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, and the catacombs also got some of my time. The Eiffel Tower was an impressive piece of architecture, but it seems a bit out of place compared to its surroundings. The catacombs were very creepy! I could not believe how many bones were down there. It definitely made me cringe.
All in all, Paris was a great experience. I feel like I got a quick revue of the city and its culture (including the nightlife). But I will have to return someday to see the many things I missed.
I had an exciting five days in Barcelona. The weather was nice, the time changed (to DST), I saw some great Gaudi buildings, and ate some amazing food.
My hostel was located on the south side of the Eixample neighborhood, in the middle of huge clothing stores and near La Rambla. La Rambla (sometimes referred to as the plural Las Ramblas) is a long street full of human statues and performers, souvenirs, restaurants, bars, and animals. There are actually lizards, hamsters, and a variety of other potential pet animals for sale right on the street! There seemed to be a Zara on just about every other street corner. I guess it is quite popular in Barcelona…
The Guadi buildings around the city are epic. There was one near my hostel. The Barcelona Cathedral was also epic. It is full of beautiful wood sculptures. The cathedral itself was rather dark, being that it is all stone, but the details were what impressed me the most. I enjoyed that it was stone and wood after seeing so many marble cathedrals in Italy.
One afternoon I walked to the Parc de la Ciutadella. It is an incredibly well kept park with ponds, fountains, and a maze of walking/running paths. It was a great place to bask in the Spanish sun. Next to the park is the Barcelona Zoo. It has been a long time since I have visited a zoo, and I forgot how fun it could be. They had a Komodo Dragon. Its tongue looked like it was a foot long!
The nightlife in Barcelona was quite different than anything I have ever experienced before. People go out for drinks at midnight and then go dancing at 3am. The sun was coming up when I left dance club on Sunday morning… needless to say I slept through most of the morning and early afternoon.
Overall I really enjoyed my time in Barcelona. I was able to see some art and architecture, shop for trinkets, people watch, dance all night, and eat Paella. I will probably have to visit again; I had a lot of fun.