Posts Tagged With: photos

Barcelona – Gaudi

Finally!  After, what, 4 months, finally my second Barcelona post…

I took so many pictures of the main Gaudi attractions, it’s really quite sickening. Seriously, way too many.  My first run through this post, I had over 50 photos.  Somehow I managed to cut the number in half.  I’m sure there are a thousand of the same photo that other people have taken, so I’m not sure that I can offer a better perspective.  Still – enjoy:

***

La Pedrera – Casa Milà

Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Casa Mila – exterior

La Pedrera, Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Atrium, Casa Mila

Guadi, Barcelona Spain

Windows and Smokestacks on the roof of La Pedrera

Gaudi, La Pedrera, Barcelona Spain

Doorknob inside Casa Mila – I feel in love with this thing.  It’s perfectly formed so that your fingers curve around it and your thumb rests on the end.  *want*

***

Casa Batlló

Barcelona Spain, Gaudi

Casa Batllo, exterior

Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Inside Casa Batllo, overlooking Passeig de Gracia

Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Lightwell inside Casa Batllo. The tiles are darker blue toward the top, lighter toward the bottom, giving the entire lightwell the appearance of being one color throughout.

Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Smokestacks on the roof of Casa Batllo

Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Roof of Casa Batllo – this is supposed to be the ridge along the back of a dragon

***

Sagrada Familia

Barcelona Spain

Sagrada Familia – Nativity Facade

Barcelona Spain

Doves on Glory Facade

Barcelona Spain

Detail – Doves on cypress tree

Gaudi Barcelona Spain

Detail from the Passion Facade

Barcelona Spain

Detail of door on the Nativity Facade.  The entire (massive) door (two of them) had words carved out – it was stunning.

Barcelona Spain

Detail on door at Sagrada Familia.  This set of doors was, I think, metal, and had all kinds of reliefs in it.

Barcelona Spain

Interior, ceiling of Sagada Familia

Barcelona Spain

Interior of Sagrada Familia – the columns are supposed to look like tree trunks, rising and branching out to the sky.

Barcelona Spain

Light spilling in from the ceiling and lighting up the triangle – I can’t remember, but I think this is supposed to represent God’s eye.  Can’t seem to find it online anywhere, anyone want to help me out?Gaudi, Barcelona Spain

Sagrada Familia – Model of what the Glory Facade will look like once complete

Here’s a great video showing the final stages of construction and what the cathedral will look like when finished (eta 2026):

***

Park Güell

Barcelona Spain, Gaudi

The entrance of Parc Guell

Barcelona Spain

Parc Guell

Barcelona Spain

Ceiling and columns

Gaudi Barcelona Spain

The back side of the benches

Gaudi Barcelona Spain

Columns

***

Stay tuned for the next post, with pretty pictures of non-Gaudi architecture.  Hopefully it won’t be another 4 months!

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Barcelona – Part 1!

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Familia

Oh, my gosh, Barcelona.  I had heard wonderful things about it, but I hadn’t expected to love it as much as I did!

We arrived on a Friday night, and left on a Monday morning, giving us nine very full days there.  Not that we truly filled those days – we definitely took it easy!  We rented an apartment while there, so we took our time in the mornings and enjoyed an afternoon siesta each day.  It was super relaxing, and a “vacation to recover from the vacation” wasn’t needed.

We didn’t plan out much for the vacation – we just knew we wanted to see the main Gaudi sites, plus the architecture of the different parts of the city, and take a couple of day trips outside of the city.  So the first day, we headed out to the Holy Grail in Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia.  The line for tickets went around the building (and that’s a big building!), so we decided to buy tickets online and come back another day.  In fact, that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for almost anything you want to do in Barcelona!

We had planned our vacation before we checked the events calendar, and it just happened to coincide with the end of La Merce Festival.  I read a little about it, and then checked out some videos online.  And then, I couldn’t wait to check it all out!!  Human towers, Catalonian dancing, fireworks, parades…Oh boy!  We decided to forego the correfoc (fire run) for fear of getting burned, although I admit I would have loved to have gone!

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade, La Merce Festival

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade, La Merce Festival

Barcelona Spain

Catalonian Dancing

La Merce Festival, Barcelona Spain

Building a pyramid (we saw some towers, but as you can see by the heads in the way, taking photos was difficult!)

La Merce Festival, Barcelona Spain

Topping out the pyramid – a kid (but at least he’s wearing a helmet!)

We strolled through the City Park (Parc de la Ciutadella)…

Barcelona Spain

Fountain at the City Park

wandered down by the beach…

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona Beach

took the funicular, then the cable car, up to Montjuic Castle (really a fortress, with old cannons and amazing views of the sea and the city)…

Barcelona Spain

Montjuic Castle

View of sea from Montjuic

View from Montjuic

walked over by the National Palace (which looked much cooler from far away than it did up close)…

Palau Nacional Barcelona Spain

View of National Palace from Montjuic

Barcelona Spain

National Palace – fun fact:  The Palau Nacional was built as a temporary building over 3 years for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona.  They were going to tear it down after the exhibition!

checked out the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (the polar opposite of Gaudi)…

Barcelona Spain

Mies van de Rohe Pavilion

Barcelona Spain

Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

On our last night, we finally made it out to the Magic Fountain, which was the fitting end to our vacation.

Montjuic, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain – Thursday-Sunday, starting at 9pm.

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

*****

I have five or six more posts on Barcelona in the works, including a whole post on Gaudi and a whole post on the food, which, let’s face it, is the most important part of vacation!  Oh, and a post about our day trips to Montserrat, Casteldefels, and a Cava winery.  Stay tuned for more.  🙂

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Vacation (Part 1)!

Stephen’s parents came to visit us over the last few weeks, and it was great seeing them!  We spent a few days around Rauma, then took the ferry to Stockholm, and ended our trip with a couple of days in Helsinki.  So much to see, so little time!

Nordic Museum, Stockholm Sweden

Nordic Museum, Stockholm Sweden

The obligatory trip to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm -

The obligatory trip to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm –

I had heard wonderful things about this museum, and it certainly is worth a visit!

I had heard wonderful things about this museum, and it certainly is worth a visit!

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

Changing of the guard, Royal Palace, Stockholm Sweden

We also went to Skansen (the open air museum), the Swedish History Museum, and took a lovely canal cruise.

One afternoon, I went out to the Woodland Cemetery, a UNESCO site.  It was lovely, but it was still a cemetery – I didn’t see why it deserved World Heritage status.  The cemetery was split by a road, or so I thought.  When I crossed the road to the other side, I found the actual Woodland Cemetery.  I have no idea which cemetery I was at to begin with!

*Not* the Woodland Cemetery (but lovely in it's own right)

*Not* the Woodland Cemetery (but lovely in it’s own right)

Woodland Cemetery

The *real* Woodland Cemetery

Woodland Cemetery

Woodland Cemetery

While in Helsinki, we went to Suomenlinna (the fortress island off the coast), as well as Seurasaari (the open-air museum).  My back was absolutely killing me, so I left the camera at the hotel for the most part while we were there.  I did take the obligatory photos of the Cathedral, though:

Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral

Part 2 of the family vacation will come in a couple of weeks, when my mom comes for a visit.  So excited!

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Sum Sunday – June 9, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Last night, I requested that we watch the movie Dune.  It’s in our DVD library, I had never seen it, and I had it in my head that it was similar to Stargate, which I enjoyed.  
  • …It wasn’t.  I hate myself for requesting to see that movie.

Writing Progress:

  • I got a wild hair this week to make one of the ideas in my head into a screenplay instead of a novel.  I’ve never been interested in doing a screenplay before, but the more I thought about it, the better I liked the idea.  Then I thought about it some more, and there’s one particular scene in the beginning of the story that…well, would be ruined if it was film (because it’s kind of a big reveal at the end), so now I’m back to thinking it would be better as a book.  
  • But the whole thing got me thinking about screenplays, and…I don’t know, maybe I’ll give it a go one of these days.

What’s Making Me Happy this week:

  • I’ve been trying to get into running again after the winter.  After my knee injury from…what, 4 years ago?…I’ve had a hard time with any distance over about two miles, when doing more running than walking.  Well, yesterday, I actually did 2.5 miles in 31 minutes.  And I didn’t have any pain in my knee (and even my shin splints were better than they have been over the last couple of weeks).  I was really excited with my time and pace – and I hope to get better.

New on Zazzle:

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A trip to the garden

I went out to the community garden today and took some photos – Love the way they turned out!

Hairy Flower IMG_8674 IMG_8688 IMG_8693 IMG_8702 IMG_8713 IMG_8716 IMG_8718

 

So all of those are pretty much untouched as far as editing goes.  But then I had to play around with a few…

Dandelion

Inverted colors on this one-

Inverted colors on this one-

Categories: Photography | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent Sunday afternoon at the Water Jumping World Championships here in Rauma. I had seen this event listed online a few months ago, and I knew I would have to check it out. I mean, people on bicycles jumping into the Bothnian Sea. It’s just one of those random things you rarely get the chance to see, you know? Apparently there were big name BMX people here, not that I would know any of them…

It was a fun day, we met up with some friends and watched a good show. I stuck my feet in the sea, and the water temperature wasn’t too bad. It’s probably getting close to 60°F. My feet weren’t immediately ice, which I took as a good sign, but I didn’t test it by going any deeper. Although, a few people did…

They had this cool…I don’t even know what it was. Like a Water Tron or something. Your feet and arms are strapped to these water jet packs, and a hose is hooked up to a jet ski, and when the jet ski driver revs the engine it provides the water power to propel you out of the water. It was apparently pretty difficult to master – we watched one girl struggle for 10-15 minutes before she was able to get up out of the water. I couldn’t help but wonder if my wakesurfing abilities would come in handy if I tried it, but for €200, I wasn’t going to find out.

AquaTron - coming soon to a theater near you...

AquaTron – coming soon to a theater near you…

Finally getting out of the water a bit-

Finally getting out of the water a bit-

IMG_8616

IMG_8626IMG_8637

IMG_8632

After a cold dunk in the sea, a warm dunk in the hot tub.

After a cold dunk in the sea, a warm dunk in the hot tub.

 

 

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sum Sunday – June 2nd, 2013

Thoughts:

  • Why do people agree to correspondent interviews on The Daily Show when they know they’re just going to be ridiculed? Do they not know what The Daily Show is about (and which way they lean)? My favorites are the ones where the interviewer feeds the interviewees rhetoric back to them, and they do the whole “…*blink*…that’s not…I mean…What I mean is…”, and then they double down. Seriously, this show has been around long enough for them to know better. Unless they’re idiots. Which most of them probably are….
  • Those who know me know that I have a very odd, very specific fear. I’m afraid of driving over bridges over water. It’s not a fear of heights – heights don’t bother me. And I don’t know that it’s necessarily a fear of bridges, because highway overpasses and “mix-master” type bridges don’t bother me. But driving on a bridge over water – an expanse of water more than about 15 feet – is my irrational fear. Walking over it – not a problem. The water itself isn’t a problem – I love being in and on the water. I recently read an article that actually named this phobia – sort of. Gephyrophobia:  a fear of bridges. Now, to be clear, I don’t go out of my way to avoid them. I don’t have to take a tranquilizer to go across them. I don’t have a panic attack, at least not in the truest sense. I just get really tense and freak out a little, inside. It’s worse when I’m driving – I do better when someone else is driving. Probably because I can just close my eyes and not have to see it. The main problem, again, isn’t the height – it’s more a fear of being trapped in a car that is going under water. Is there a named phobia for that? Until there is, I guess I’m just a Gephyrophobic…

Writing Progress:

  • I spent a lot of the week working on the concept for the new book, working out the characters, the main plot line, doing a bit of research. I also wrote a short story that I really like, and it gave me some confidence again in my writing – something that I will admit had faded this year. I’m thinking about working on a novella, and self-pubbing that through Kindle Singles. Just a thought swirling around in my head right now, nothing more…

Photo of the week:  

  • Stephen and I went to the Rauma Water Jumping World Championship today out at the nearby campground. Bicyclists rode down a ramp and jumped into the sea. It was fun to watch, and I’ll be posting a few more photos later this week. Here’s one for now:
Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

Rauma Water Jumping World Championship 2013

What’s Making Me Happy This Week:

  • GeoGuessr. It gives you a random photo from the google car, and you try to determine where you are. Some are easier (photo shows a “Welcome to Melbourne Australia” sign) and some are way harder (surrounded by trees). The higher your score, the better you did. I’m completely addicted.
  • Russian dashcams provide unlimited entertainment, but it usually involves scary crashes or meteors flying across the sky. I came across a different one this week, though, and it’s the “softer” side of Russia. I *love* all the big burly men stopping their car to help little old ladies and animals across the road (although the bit with the baby in the road freaked me the hell out!!).

What’s made you happy in the last week?

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A drive around Sicily – Part 2

Did you know there are more Greek ruins in Sicily than in Greece?  Crazy, huh?  If you didn’t see Part 1 of our trip, we went to the Neapolis Park in Syracuse, where we saw a still in use Greek Theater and the Ear of Dionysius. That was only the beginning.

On Day 5 of our trip, we went to the Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi), located just outside the town of Agrigento, an important city in the ancient Mediterranean world.  The Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an archaeological park that contains the remains of seven Greek Temples dating from the 5th century BC, including the Temple of Concord, which is recognized as one of the best preserved Greek ruin in the world.

Valley of the Temples, looking uphill towards the town of Agrigento

Valley of the Temples, looking uphill towards the town of Agrigento

Greek columns in Valley of the Temples

Greek columns in Valley of the Temples

Temple of Castor and Pollux, Valley of the Temples

Temple of Castor and Pollux, Valley of the Temples

Temple of Juno, Valley of the Temples

Temple of Juno, Valley of the Temples

Temple of Concordia, Valley of the Temples

Temple of Concordia, Valley of the Temples

The giant cacti at Valley of the Temples had graffiti all over them.  Kind of cool to see at first, but then we saw that the older the graffiti, the more dead that area of the cactus was, which was kind of sad.

The giant cacti at Valley of the Temples had graffiti all over them. Kind of cool to see at first, but then we saw that the older the graffiti, the more dead that area of the cactus was, which was kind of sad.

Our next stop was Selinunte, founded in the 7th century BC and once the most western of the Greek colonies in Sicily.  The archaeological park here contains 5 temples and the remains of the city walls.  We were actually able to crawl all over most of the ruins here, and being able to touch some of the carvings and walk inside a temple was incredible.

Temple E at Selinunte

Temple E at Selinunte

Greek columns at Selinunte

Greek columns at Selinunte

Stephen standing next to a piece of a column - to give you some perspective on size.

Stephen standing next to a piece of a column – to give you some perspective on size.

Temple C at Selinunte

Temple C at Selinunte

Overlooking the sea at Selinunte

Overlooking the sea at Selinunte – you can see the remains of the city wall surrounding the temple-

This image would have been on the top of the temple, and we saw similar images in the archaeological museum in Syracuse.  To me, it looks very Mayan, which makes me think of the whole collective unconscious idea.

This image would have been on the top of the temple, and we saw similar images in the archaeological museum in Syracuse. To me, it looks very Mayan, which makes me think of the whole collective unconscious idea.

We had some time to spare before we needed to check in to our hotel in Palermo, so we took a small side trip to the medieval town of Erice.  We had gotten an Italian sim card by then, so we mapped the location and set out.  We turned off just before reaching Trapani and started up this…hill.

Seriously you guys, this road was insane.  It was just over a lane wide, but meant for two way traffic.  There were no guardrails, no lane markers, and consisted almost completely of switchbacks.  Some of the turns were so tight, we couldn’t quite make the turn and had to back up a little to get around it.  When you looked down the hill, all you saw was a drop off.  Luckily, most people evidently knew better than to take this road, so there was little traffic – I think only one or two cars passed us heading down.  Oh, and an elderly man on a moped with a dog on the back.  Both of us got a good laugh out of that (wish I could have gotten a picture!).  Once we reached the top, we found out there was a cable car we could have taken up the hill from Trapani…oops!

Looking up the hill at Erice

Looking up the hill at Erice

The town overlooks the sea

The town has a commanding view over the sea

Torretta Pepoli, built on the hillside under the Balio Towers in Erice

Torretta Pepoli, built on the hillside under the Balio Towers in Erice

We were smarter when we left Erice, choosing to go down the opposite side of the hill, where the road was wider and there were actually lane markers.  We both breathed much easier.  We arrived in Palermo around 5pm, checked into our hotel, and wandered out to find a place to eat.

And got lost in the wrong part of town.  More on that later.

The next day, May 1, was a holiday, so the only thing I was really interested in seeing in Palermo (the catacombs) were sure to be closed.  Instead of sticking around in Palermo, we went on to our next destination, Milazzo.  It was nice being in a smaller town again, and I’m sure the fact that it was a holiday helped, because the town was ssssllllllooooowwww.  No traffic, no noise – oh, so very nice (I’ve become so spoiled!).

Because it was a holiday, we didn’t do much.  In fact, the main reason we stopped in Milazzo was so we could catch a ferry the next morning to the Aeolian Islands, where we had a kayaking trip booked.

And that will be the next post, because it really, truly deserves its own post.  So stay tuned for Part 3!

Panorama at Selinunte

Panorama at Selinunte

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A drive around Sicily – Part 1

We just got back from a 10 day trip in Sicily, where we drove around the whole island, saw some amazing Greek ruins, and did a kayaking trip with the most amazing host ever! How about some stories and photos?

We flew into Catania on the East coast of Sicily. We had hoped to get a sim card for the phone when we landed at the airport, but couldn’t find them for sale, so we ventured into the city blind, with no idea where our hotel was. This was…a mistake, to say the least, as we quickly discovered, mostly because driving in Sicily was INSANE. I’ll say more about that later…. Anyway, we ended up turning on the roaming on our Finnish sim card, just to map the hotel and cache it.

We spent a day wandering around Catania, soaking up the warmth and sights of the city. I suffered a bit of culture shock, with all the buildings and people and cars and noise – seems I’ve gotten quite used to small-town-Finland life!

Roman Amphitheatre, Piazza Stesicoro, Catania Sicily

Roman Amphitheatre, Piazza Stesicoro, Catania Sicily

Graffiti seems to be a national pastime in Sicily...

Graffiti seems to be a national pastime in Sicily…

The next day, we took a drive up to Mt Etna, which looms over Catania. Mt Etna is the highest volcano in Europe, and remains quite active. It’s actually just been accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with an official proclamation scheduled for June, per Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the day we went, the clouds were low, and when we took the cable car up to the top of Etna visibility there was less than 20 feet. We had hoped to do an excursion to the top of the volcano, but the weather made it impossible. Still, we were able to walk around the Silvestri Craters at the main tourist hub, which were the source of lava flow in the 1892 eruption.

Mt Etna, towering over the city of Catania

Mt Etna, towering over the city of Catania

Silvestri Crater at Mt Etna

Silvestri Crater at Mt Etna

Next, we drove down to Syracuse and spent the afternoon wandering around the Old Town portion, Ortygia Island, which I completely fell in love with. It was a much slower pace than Catania, better maintained, and surrounded by the sea, which immediately made me happy. We saw the end of a wedding at the cathedral in Piazza Duomo, then chose a restaurant at random for dinner. Twenty minutes later, four people came in with American accents, saying they were with the Rick Steves tour. Twenty more Americans quickly followed. This little restaurant in Syracuse, and it’s the two of us, 24 other Americans, and a handful of Italians eating. Go figure!

Looking over Porto Piccolo in Siracusa, Sicily

Looking over Porto Piccolo in Siracusa, Sicily

Castello Maniace, perched on a promontory at the south end of Ortygia, Syracuse Sicily

Castello Maniace, perched on a promontory at the south end of Ortygia, Syracuse Sicily

Temple of Apollo, from the 6th century BC

Temple of Apollo, from the 6th century BC

We spent the night in Syracuse at a lovely hotel, then in the morning walked across the street to the Museo Archeologico Regionale, which houses statues, pottery, and other artifacts from the 5th century BC and earlier, from Greek, Roman, and Christian eras. It was stunning to see so many artifacts so well preserved. Next we went down the street to the Parco Archeologico Della Neapolis, which includes a Greek Theater, a Roman Amphitheater, and the Ear of Dionysius – a soaring cavern (76ft high) with amazing acoustics. Supposedly you can stand at one end and hear a whisper at the other end, 214 feet away, but everyone there wanted to yell.

The Ear of Dionysius, at the Syracuse Archaeological Park

The Ear of Dionysius, at the Syracuse Archaeological Park

Inside the Ear of Dionysius

Inside the Ear of Dionysius

Roman Amphitheater in Syracuse

Roman Amphitheater in Syracuse

Also in Syracuse was this Cathedral that looked quite interesting from the outside – it reminded me of the Church of Saint Joseph in Le Havre, France. However, when we went inside, we were surprised that it was essentially a concrete bunker, and everything above the ceiling of the second floor level was blocked. There was no light streaming in through the top, as we expected. Very strange…

Our Lady of Tears Shrine in Syracuse, Sicily

Our Lady of Tears Shrine in Syracuse, Sicily

Next we drove to Agrigento, where we strolled with the locals along what was apparently a promenade. Everyone was out in their Sunday best, seeing and being seen, arm in arm with husbands, friends, and grandchildren. And I forgot to put the SD card back in my camera, so unfortunately, no pictures…

I think that’s enough for now. Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our trip, when we go to the Valley of the Temples, Selinunte, and the medieval town of Erice!

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sicily – A Sneak Peek

We just got back from a 10 day trip around Sicily, where we saw a huge volcano, tons of Greek ruins, and went kayaking in the Aeolian Islands.  I’m working on getting through the photos and doing a write up of our trip, but in the meantime, how about a little teaser?

In Catania, Sicily

In Catania, Sicily

Catania, Sicily

Catania, Sicily

Love these little guys!

Love these little guys!

Greek ruins in Agrigento

Greek ruins in Agrigento

Greek ruins overlooking the Mediterranean

Greek ruins overlooking the Mediterranean

Medieval castle in Erice, Sicily

Medieval castle in Erice, Sicily

On the island of Vulcano

On the island of Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands

Kayaking in Sicily, photo by Eugenio at SicilyinKayak.com

Kayaking the Aeolian Islands, photo by Eugenio at SicilyinKayak.com

 

 

 

 

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.