Upon returning from any vacation, I usually have a great desire to
upload all my pics to Flickr and give each one a detailed, witty,
interesting description. About five pictures into the process, I grow
fatigued and give up on the whole process. So what if the picture is
Also, with jet lag, it makes it difficult to focus. So rather, I’ll post
a link to the pics on
Flickr for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing.
For the rest of you, I’ll post some highlights. We started the trip off
in Madrid. We were only here for one day and didn’t get to see much.
That wasn’t a problem for me since I lived around here for three years
already. To the left is a picture of the royal palace at night.
While in Madrid we also visited Torrejon de Ardoz, the place where I
lived back in the day. Not much to look
at, but it has
sentimental value for me.
Our next stop was in Leon where we stayed in a magnificent Parador. A
parador is a government-owned hotel, often in a converted historical
building such as a castle, monastery, etc… I think the one we stayed
on was a converted palace or castle. Apparently it also served as a jail
during the civil war.
The parador has its own cathedral attached and an internal cloister. It
was really beautiful inside and out and the best part was that we were
able to explore on our own. It really felt as if we were staying inside
a museum exploring ancient nooks and crannys.
From Leon we headed over to Bilbao, home of the very famous Guggenheim
Bilbao museum designed by Frank Gehry. From what we learned, the
inspiration for the design is a Salmon. It is hard to tell from this
picture, but the museum has the shape of a very large fish. Its outer
walls are made of titanium sheets and must have given the construction
teams and engineers nightmares with its odd angles and shapes.
What was most interesting to me was to learn that before this museum was
built, Bilbao was a pretty industrial city with very little of interest
to tourists. However, with the introduction of a beautifully designed
museum, the entire city became devoted to design in some way or another.
Everywhere we looked we found interesting touches of design such as the
entrances to the
Our last stop was the lovely city of Barcelona located in the Catalunya
region of Spain. Though as one graffiti sign reminded us, “Catalunya is
not Spain”. Catalunya sees itself as a fairly independent entity and
Barcelona is its capital.
The architecture in Barcelona was dominated by a single great architect,
Antonin Gaudi. It seemed that nearly every significant building in the
city was either by Gaudi, or a disciple of Gaudi. His most famous work
is the unfinished cathedral, Sagrada Familia. It was intended to be a
project that would be left to future generations to finish, and
construction continues to this day.
The highlight of our trip (at least for me) was our fantastic seats at
the FC Barcelona game. In the pic on the left, you can see how close to
the action we were. That’s a picture of Ronaldinho actually missing a
penalty kick. No worries, as he had another opportunity later that he
converted during their 4 to 1 win over Racing Santender.
FC Barcelona is clearly the pride of Barcelona, especially after their
recent 3 to 0 dismantling of Real Madrid, Barcelona’s perennial