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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Cataluña, Spain

Nov 16, 2018 - Barcelona

The drive towards the Mediterranean took us through many small towns and villages including Huesca and La Vilella Baixa. Baixa should have been very interesting going by the info we had obtained but unfortunately that was not the case. But we were extremely lucky to find a small cafe just before it closed for the afternoon and enjoyed a delicious banquet lunch of red wine and potato chips. Yummo ! Rugged mountains and pretty rivers made the trip all the more fun on roads that rarely had any bad spots. Minimal traffic and great weather, that...

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Nov 8, 2018 - Antonio Guadi - Architecture as Art

Be it his architecture or his crafts (ceramics, stained glass, wrought iron and carpentry) we have really enjoyed the modernism style of Antoni Gaudi. Thus a visit to one of his many Barcelona projects was on our A-list. We chose the Casa Batlló. This 1904 project was a commission to totally renovate the owner’s traditional house. It was intended to be a grand display of wealth. Gaudi designed everything from the structure to the furniture to the door handles. The end result is a bit like visiting a set from a Tim Burton film. Gaudi’s...

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Nov 7, 2018 - Barcelona - A City Well Worth Revisiting

On November 6, we enjoyed a lovely train ride from Valencia to Barcelona as much of the route hugged the Costa Brava coastline. With only two days in the city, we made a point of hitting venues we had passed over in 2013, when we spent three weeks in Barcelona. Our first priority was the large Picasso museum. At the age of 14 the artist’s family’s moved from Malaga, where we had already visited two small museums of his works. Through five connected houses, the works are displayed chronologically. It begins with Picasso’s classical training...

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Oct 28, 2018 - board the Symphony of the Seas

We are leaving Barcelona in the nick of time. The rain continues and the temperature shouldn't get much above 50º. The areas we toured the last few days have ice/snow warnings. Malaga, our next stop, is a a bit further south and somewhat warmer, too. Time to head back to Florida. When people hear about how many passengers this class of ship can hold - 6,000+ they imagine interminable lines. We got on this ship faster than we did the Corinthian three weeks ago. Except for a short line in security, we literally just walked onboard. We had...

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South by Southeast

Oct 27, 2018 - Montserrat monastery tour

Montserrat is a mountain formation about an hour's drive out of Barcelona. In Spanish serrat means serrated and the aptly named chain looks like the top of a bread knife. I would guess that a thin stream of rock was squeezed out of a crack in the ground, but geologists say it is eroded remnants of rock and sediment deposited by an ocean eons ago. For our last day in Barcelona, we decided to take a tour to this scenic spot with a large monastery complex at the top. A bus bought us to the base of the mountain and a cog railway took us to the...

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South by Southeast

Oct 25, 2018 - on our own

We're on our own once again. Everyone in our travel group has flown to the US sometime today. We will miss their companionship and the leadership our guides provided. But it will be nice to move at our own pace and allocate our remaining time here as we see fit. The 96 people we cruised with on the boat were a congenial group, interested in learning, respectful of culture that does not correspond with our own, punctual. They did not complain even when they were seasick and carried on even as an upper respiratory bug made its rounds through...

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South by Southeast

Oct 24, 2018 - the final old neighborhood

The description of our tour today did not prepare me adequately for the wonder that we saw. Each day here we have wandered in one of the original neighborhoods of old Barcelona. Unlike the wide boulevards that our bus travels, these streets are barely wide enough for one car (although they are often two-way) and are full of tiny shops and restaurants that appear to be thriving. Most of the apartment buildings have very small flats with no elevators. Living on the sixth floor is affordable, but it must be a challenge to get a mattress up all...

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South by Southeast

Oct 23, 2018 - melting clocks

It is clear that art and culture are highly valued in this part of Spain and perhaps always have been. We saw the Picasso Museum a few days ago and today traveled more than an hour out of town to Figueres to see the Salvador Dalí Museum in the town where he was born. His museum is housed on an old theatre and this space dictates the way his surrealist art is displayed. He was alive when the museum was created and decided which pieces to include and where they should be. Some of it was outside, but most was under roof. In the courtyard he...

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South by Southeast

Oct 22, 2018 - Gaudí continued

It's hard to believe, but one of the biggest tourist attractions here is a failed housing division that only has three houses in it. The architect Antonin Gaudí whose masterpiece church we visited yesterday, was fortunate to find a wealthy patron named Eusebi Güell, who said, "I have no idea what your work means, but I know that it's special." Güell had a huge fortune inherited from his father and brought into the marriage from his wife, so he paid Gaudí a salary for his entire life and let him do whatever struck his fancy. Our word "gaudy"...

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South by Southeast

Oct 21, 2018 - world class

From my perspective Barcelona became a world class city in 1992 when the Olympics brought the attention of us all to its beauty and culture. It had finally come out from the forty year black cloud that was Dictator Francisco Franco. Undoubtedly, the Romans also thought it was a pretty great town when they founded it 2,00 years ago. Our tour of the city took us past many of the Olympic venues, which are still being used and are a vital party of city life, unlike some other Olympic cities like Athens, where the grass and weeds are rapidly...

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South by Southeast

Oct 5, 2018 - Barcelona

There wasn’t much to report on Thursday, our last sea day and last full day of the cruise, and the 760 mile journey back to Barcelona. We were off the ship very quickly Friday morning and after a short van ride were back at the Arc La Rambla Hotel before 9:00 to spend one last night in Barcelona. The clerk stowed our bags for us so we could wander without dragging our souvenir-filled luggage all over town and since we didn’t have to catch flights till Saturday, we had almost a full day and night to relax and enjoy Barcelona. We did some...

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Sep 23, 2018 - Barcelona

Sunday was our day to start our 12 night journey on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse. Following cab ride #88 we were all checked in and onboard just after 11am and starting to learn our way around the ship while waiting for our cabins to be ready. We had lunch in the dining room and by about 2pm were settling in to our balcony cabin on Deck #10, starboard side, which for you non-nautical types, is the right side of the ship. The women folk went to the Murano dining room to book 5 nights of specialty dining reservations for the cruise – and...

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