Thursday, August 28, 2014

Syria and Israel 2008 & August 2014

I know many folks have been worried about visiting Israel with civil war raging in Syria next door. By and large, the war has not affected Israel. But just in the last few days, it has come to the Israel border, near a place we visited in 2008. A picture from that trip and one off twitter from a few days ago.

I would still NOT hesitate to visit Israel. This is a somewhat remote location. But it's likely to be off limits for some time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bonus Post - La Boqueria

OK, a bonus post today. I LOVE old town markets; you know, the kind with stalls of fresh food run by local vendors in some old building or market. If you have no interest in this, leave now. La Boqueria is the name of this 150 year old market in Barcelona and I would love to have something like this near where I lived. Gratuitous photos follow:

 This was where we ate a great lunch in the market.
 OK, that lobster was moving and just about to fall off.

It appears my dog and my daughter are in business on La Rambla. 

OK, and now only for those with strong stomachs.....

 This is my wife's favorite meat. Ugh!

Monday, March 17, 2014

No, the Bar-Celona is not a cattle ranch.

OK folks, I decided I’d give you a post on Barcelona. It’s a big city with Roman roots, but most of what it’s famous for now is modern art and architecture. Also, the Olympic games held here in 1992 are still a source of local pride.

There is a bit of a American connection. When Columbus returned from his first journey, he came to Barcelona to present his results to the King and Queen, at the fairly modest palace here. He also brought back six natives who were baptized in the Barcelona Cathedral. So, here’s a few pictures of what we toured today.

 This church takes some explaining. In 1882 a religious order in Barcelona decided to built a large Gothic style church. The famous and rather eccentric architect Gaudi came into the project and designed a massive and complicated church that defies imagination. It is called la Sagrada Família. Every piece and part has some symbolism built into it. Work has continued from that time and there is much still to do. They hope to be done in 2026. I only visited the outside, so here are a few pictures:

 School children having lunch before their visit.

This is the Barcelona Cathedral.

 OK, geese in the cloister and I never got the story of why they are there.

 This is a hoot. No need to light a candle anymore. Drop in a Euro and an LED candle lights up. Probably better for the environment, but the effect isn't the same.

 This is the baptistery the natives Columbus brought back were baptized in.

A few pictures of Barcelona's old town
 St George fighting a dragon. A popular saint in Catalan. 
 Finally! Some REAL history. A few columns from a Roman 1st C temple to Emperor Augustus, on a low hill at the center of the walled Roman city. 
 Gargoyle/animal rain downspouts
 The palace where Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabel after his first voyage.

Now this is cool. Several Spanish cities we've been in have racks of bikes you can cheaply rent. In fact, the first 30 minutes are free. You can return them to a different location and everything is automated. Very handy.