Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend Trip #7 Zaragoza and Barcelona Part 1

Can I tell you how pumped I was to go to Barcelona 2 weekends ago? I was SO excited! All I knew about my journey to Barcelona was that I was going to see a lot of art and architecture that thousands of tourists flock to see. However, before we got to Barcelona we first had to take an 8 hour bus ride across the country, which equals the perfect time to celebrate Ashley's 23rd birthday as documented below!

The birthday girl herself--the card was picked out by Michelle and Becca and said something to the effect of: Congratulations on getting married!

Ashley's favorite candy

Align CenterWe all love Bueno Bars, but this is a sister candy made by the same chocolate company called Happy Hippos that Ash wanted to try out. Oh, how we love you Kinder chocolate.

When we were shopping for Ash's birthday present, we found this cute little toy called a "Mar in my Pocket" that we HAD to buy, once we saw this on the front of the package:

"Stroke them so tender". YES. We may or may not have bought this solely for the description.

And stroke him so tender we did.

On the way to Barcelona, we had an hour stop in Zaragoza. The city has a beautiful plaza and cathedral that is different than any other cathedral I've seen in Spain; the interior is entirely Neo-Classical, one of my favorite styles of art! Though I love me my Spanish cathedrals, it was nice to get a break from the usual Gothic cathedrals that are peppered across Spain.

Zaragoza's Catedral and main plaza

The cathedral's roof had these sweet multi-colored tiles. The funny thing about this cathedral is that the outside is so completely different than the inside; you can't tell that the interior style of the cathedral is Neo-Classical based on the cathedral's outer architecture.

A cute kid I saw in the cathedral's plaza, running after the pigeons.

BARCELONA! To make things a little easier for me and these posts, I broke down Barcelona into sections instead of a day-to-day recording of what I did. Mainly I've just lumped all of my visits to Guell Park together, as well as La Sagrada Familia, and then everything else so that I can keep things straight. Let's be honest: sometimes blogging is a little hard, which may be why it's taken me so long to post this.

We got to Barcelona in the evening on Wednesday, and after checking into our hotel we booked it to Guell Park to see some cool Gaudi architecture without all the tourists that usually come with it.

Becca told us to interact with our surroundings. And I just decided to look pretty.

Cool cacti plants with carved inscriptions from past passers-by that line one of the pathways into Guell Park.

The plants on top of the arch look like pineapples and/or Spongebob's house, no?

The "wave" arch that just so happens to be where the finale of season 7 of America's Next Top Model had their fashion show walk-off.

Standing inside this was epic: arches, pseudo-wave, and THE runway of my favorite season of ANTM? Heaven!

Fun fact about these columns: not only do they support this amphitheater-like area, they can also double up as a storage area for water because they're hollow. Gaudi seriously thought of EVERYTHING.

Romani/gypsy guitar player in the amphitheater

This picture was taken at 10am on a weekday. Just imagine what it's like during the height of summer.

The infamous salamander/dragon

It really does look like a gingerbread house.

I saw the bubble man.

Childhood was recognized in this exact moment.

I admit it. I thought I wasn't going to like Gaudi's crazy-infused architecture in Barcelona, but after seeing it in person, I take back all my negative anti-Gaudi thoughts. Gaudi is a GENIUS. Case in point, an ergonomically correct bench in the middle of his Guell Park:

I'm a little obsessed with this bench, but if you sat on it you would be too. The entire park is made of recycled material, even the tiles. Gaudi went to different tile makers all over the city to get their scraped and broken tile to decorate the park. In planning the park, he was so conscious of the vegetation within the area that he made sure to include all of the wildlife in his plan, meaning that he didn't rip out a plant or tree to make his design "work". He incorporated everything into the design, making it fully functional and recycled.

I get REALLY happy when I buy awesome knock-off Rayban sunglasses in Guell Park in a color I'm pretty sure Rayban doesn't even make. RESULT! Best 4 euro I've spent.

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