Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back To Spain and Thanks...

Thank you for your kind words of love and encouragement. I never cease to be amazed at how perfectly God reaches out and loves me through people when I really need it. It makes me feel warm inside. Thank you so much.

Now... back to Spain... This will be one of three more posts about my wonderful trip. The next one will be about the market (wait until you see some of those photos!) and then the last one is a surprise about something really cool Don and I did there! Then I'll move on back to life and decorating and the arrival of my FAVORITE time of year!!!!!!!

The most impressive "site" we saw was "La Sagrada Familia". Due to the extensive amount of detail ( I mean every single inch!), this "Temple of the Holy Family" is often referred to as a catechism in stone. It was just awe inspiring. You could stand in one spot for half a day and not see everything before you! It is the unfinished church designed and started by Gaudi, one of Spain's most beloved artists.

There are two main sides (facades). The extremely ornate and intricately detailed side is the Nativity Facade. I could zoom in on one photo from this side and make about 20 great individual photos. It was just so much... so beautiful... the time and energy and effort that went into a square foot of this facade is just mind blowing. It obviously depicts and celebrates the birth of Christ and was built to face the east to receive the first rays of morning light! How cool is that? If you want more information on it (and there is SO MUCH MORE) you should google it... it's really amazing and so thought out!

The other side is the Passion Facade and it looks like a totally different artist designed it. The lines are very modern, smooth and simple. It is such a contrast to the nativity side... but isn't Christ's death such a contrast to his birth... or is it...? Hmmmmm. Let's get deep. My initial thought was yes... very different. BUT just as Christ's birth in a manager delivered hope to a world, his death delivered hope for the sinner... not so different after all. Anyway, I love it as much as the other side... just in a different way. It doesn't need the ornate detail to portray the sadness. I love the way Gaudi depicts the woman by the cross with her hands in front of her face... she doesn't even have a face yet her pain speaks volumes. There is also a sculpture of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss... very moving.

Our first night there, after a very nice nap, we went to this fountain show that is one of the highlights in Barcelona. Oddly enough, it wasn't in my site book so I am very glad Karine (our cool apartment girl) told us it was a must see. We followed the masses down this avenue (also lined with fountains) to this large fountain where they played very loud and powerful music as the water danced and changed colors. It's hard to explain but it was very cool.

The water would rise with the music and then change to mist and then change colors and I was just amazed at the mood something so simple could create.

Of course statues were everywhere... just as castles are everywhere along the roads in Ireland and Wal-Marts in the South! (I love the South) I also loved this statue of a mother and child.

Don and I spent a lot of time in Las Ramblas (pedestrian avenues). It is one of the most popular sections of Barcelona and is well known for the street artists who appear at night to entertain tourists and make some money! This guy was by far the best one out there. His coat was stiff in the back to look like he was walking, his tie was out stiff as well as was the paper he is "stepping" on... but he was motionless... until he heard change drop into his cup.

Upon hearing the cling of euros, he'd put on a little (30 second) show, smile for the cameras, thank his patron and then turn back into position. He was really good!

I love soaking in other countries. I just love being there. And so we didn't run around from site to site... we just hung out... and I took lots of pictures! Hungry? Who needs a menu!? Just find a nearby window! This gave all new meaning to "window shopping"!

Then, as if all the amazing pan (bread) with tomato, pizza, pasta, baguettes, and sandwiches weren't enough... walk over to another window and shop for dessert! Oh, how does a girl choose? It was worse than being in a great shoe store! So we just went back again and tried something else! We WERE on vacation and doing a LOT of walking! (although I need to do much more... of both!)

The sidewalks were wonderful.

The water fountains were works of art!

I loved all the motorcycles, scooters, and vespas! Women in dresses and men in suits... everyone just zipping around. And when it rained... well... you just waited... and you were late... and it didn't matter... because it rained... so cool!

And I loved riding the metro everyday!!!! OK... enough for tonight. I have got to get some sleep!


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