Spain (Day 1, Part 1)

October 21

Barcelona

OK, I hear you say, you just finished blogging Russia yesterday – how’d you get to Spain today?  Well, I’m just way behind.  This Spain trip wasn’t even on the calendar when we left Russia in mid-June – but then it was.  From October 21 – 31, with friends Anne and Bill Gross from northern Virginia, we visited Barcelona, Madrid, Grenada, Seville, Cordoba, and back to Madrid and Toledo . . . 

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October 19

[Word from our “early bird” was to get packing . . . ]

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October 20

[The new Executive Express terminal in St. Cloud – on the way to Barcelona . . . ]

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[Stage 2.  Made it to MSP – we were ‘TSA pre’ so it only took 3 1/2 days to get to our gate . . . ]

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[Stage 3.  Hotlanta.  We may have hit some flying reindeer on the way down but otherwise an uneventful flight.  See you in Barcelona in the morning . . . ]

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[OK, it wasn’t all smooth – many people tried to board with carry-ons as big as a Buick – and NO peanuts on board because of an allergic passenger.  The boarding gate only required you stand facing a “face identifier” – no ticket or passport necessary.  This was way too complicated for the “adults in the room.”  In spite of a very large sign at the entry point, many did not stand “behind the line” waiting their turn for the check-in prcedure.  It was like herding kindergarteners.  The gate attendant was getting frustrated.  And so it goes . . . ]

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October 21

[Something like three movies later, we were over Barcelona . . . ]

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[Arriving at 8:30 am . . . ]

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[Barcelona, we are here!]

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[Where we were going and how we were going to get there . . . ]

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[Stage 4.  Arrived at our hotel, Olivia Balmas, where we jumped on some mimosas! Woo-woo!]

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[Planning the rest of the day . . . ]

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[Weather courtesy of our hotel – it was going to be lovely . . . ]

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[We heard there was a pool on the roof . . . ]

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[Bill leads the way to it . . . ]

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[Hey, this is nice!]

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[Horizon pool with a view . . . ]

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[But somehow in our four days at the Olivia Balmas, we couldn’t find time to come up here again . . . ]

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[I believe the Super appreciated the tanning prospects . . . ]

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[Buenos dias, Barcelona!]

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[Just across the street – Jami could have come with us!]

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[This was our room.  We had three English-language channels – CNBC, Bloomberg, and RT.  Not exactly exciting entertainment . . . ]

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[The view from our window.  We were right downtown . . . ]

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[Lest you were wondering?]

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[We’d probably been up for 20 hours.  But it was a beautiful morning – so we set off to see the excitement that is Barcelona . . . ]

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[A civilized city – an easy to use and efficient subway system . . . ]

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[And now I have some Euros . . . ]

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[Our train arrives in 54 seconds . . . ]

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[Looks like mostly locals . . . ]

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[Our stop would be Espanya . . . ]

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[Courtesy of the internet, this is where we were and where we were going – to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the National Art Museum of Catalonia, on Montjuic hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, near Plaza Espanya . . . ]

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[Venetian Towers on Plaza Espanya leading the way to MNAC . . . ]

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[Catalonia Hotel (background) of the monument fountain in Plaza Espanya . . . ]

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[Las Arenas, a new shopping centre . . . ]

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[An unidentified small statue on the plaza . . . ]

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[Walk this way for the MNAC . . . ]

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[Up the grand avenue – note the guy in the white tee shirt hanging on the lamp post, he will appear again . . . ]

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[Fira de Montjuïc is the convention center . . . ]

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[There’s the white tee shirt guy again . . . ]

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[We’re closing in on our goal . . . ]

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[And finally photobombed by white tee shirt guy.  I gave him a thumbs-up . . . ]

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[The Magic Fountain in the foreground – though it’s not fountaining . . . ]

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[A look back from whence we came . . . ]

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[The Four Columns (“Les Quatre Columnes” in Catalan) are four Ionic columns originally created by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. They were erected in 1919, where the Magic Fountain of Montjuic now stands.  A replica of the columns was erected in 2010 very close to the original site and following the original plans (Wikipedia).]

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[Are you taking my picture, mister?]

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[The classic first-day-of-vacation photo of tourists, standing in front of an iconic setting, on a beautiful day, with the guys in matching outfits . . . ]

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[Looking down now on the Magic Fountain of Montjuic and the Venetian Towers . . . ]

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[A triad of photos of Anne leaving the scene of the crime . . . ]

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[Why yes, this is beautiful . . . ]

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[Why yes, this is beautiful . . . ]

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[Still a climb to our final objective . . . ]

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[And we made it to the top.  Part 2 of day 1 will be our fun time on Montjuic Hill and our excursion back to our Diagonal subway stop hotel – hopefully published soon.]

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There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day.  ~  Ernest Hemingway

Up Next:  Barcelona? Thanksgiving?

2 thoughts on “Spain (Day 1, Part 1)

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