So spoiled!

I am now living in the Casco (the old historic part of Toledo with coblestone streets etc) and the family that I live with is Great!
I live with Paloma, and Paloma… one is I’m not sure how old… late 40s and the other is 10- A mother and daughter.

They are very endearing. Paloma (10) loves to explain everything to me and is a very busy girl. She has music lessons 2 or 3 times a week- singing, piano and music theory and also does horseback riding twice a week.

The apartment is very beautiful- it is 2 stories, wood floors and even a chandelier! There are 2 bedrooms (Paloma(s) share their room….I dont know if they always shared and thought they might as well have a student or what? but anway mine is the other room)

the really interesting/weird thing about the apartment is that there are 5 bathrooms.
3 upstairs and 2 downstairs. We only really use 3…and the other 2 are kind of like storage. But why would you need 5 bathrooms if you onlhy have 2 bedrooms. its a mystery.

Also on friday mornings Paloma (the mom) cleans but has a girl named Carmen come and help her-We also wash the sheets on fridays- the exciting part of this is Carmen (at least i think it was Carmen) made my bed/put on the new sheets ! that was really exciting.

Peace.
Love.
and Bathrooms.

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Published in: on February 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Gaudí fascinates me

When I was hanging out with Kym (an Australian couch surfer) she told me that she thought the term gaudy came from looking at the works of Gaudí

Merriam-Webster onlines says Gaudy is : marked by extravagance or sometimes tasteless showiness

well….. this origin of the word could very well be true because the works of Gaudí are certaintly extravagant- lots of decoration and lots of color…..EVERYWHERE

Gaudí has famous works all over the city of Barcelona- 17 to be specific- I was so fascinated by him I bought a book about all of his architectural works.

Here is a quick rundown about Gaudí:

He was born in 1852 with a full name of Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (no it wasnt a typo… i dont know why the extra “i” is there…could be a first…but it is lower case, who knows)

He is considered the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism and one of the leaders of Art Nouveau in Europe

When he was younger he was quite sick and spent a lot of time on his farm studying nature.  He used this interest in all of his works- Gaudí includes nature -whether it is the curves of waves or pillars that resemble elephant legs- in all of his works.

If you look at any of Guadí’s works you will notice that is is Extremely difficult to find straight lines.

Oh one thing I just remembered about Gaudí- Not only did he have very detailed architectural works, but he also designed/picked out ALL of the furniture in the buildings, and the plants what were outside/in his parks- he didnt just build a building, but created a whole fluid work of art

La Pedrera: an apartment building built for some really wealthy people

(okay so right about now – when im looking for a full facade photo… i realize i never backed up to take a full view photo… but this is looking up at the apartment- the balcony’s have wrought iron )

A bed in the apartment building- once again please notice the lack of straight lines

The apartments were kind of like shaped like a GiAnt Bundt Cake…yes, i am comparing a buliding to a Bundt Cake- But its TRUE!

See this Bundt cake- it has the curves like the apartment buliding, and the apartment building had this sort of oval-ish shape.  -Each apartment is one entire floor of the Bundt Cake

The  important part that makes it most like a bundt cake is that on the inside there was a circular opening -courtyard at the bottom, well… more like a open air hallway with some pretty things.

The most, for lack of a better term, crazy thing about La Pedrera is the Chimneys….who said chimneys couldn’t be fun and pretty?

Okay so its not the best picture- but im not so good at the “holdthecameraoutasfarasyoucan,aim ,andtakeapictureofyourself” game.

Park Güell

Park Güell  is a 15 hectare park that was meant to be apart of a residential complex….when i was there i didnt see a ton of houses- but to be honest we didn’t walk around all the 15 hectares either- so i dont know if people every really lived there/do live there but its a beautiful park that over looks the city

And Finally- La Sagrada Familia aka the Sacred Family (its a church)

Guadí started this church in 1883 and worked on it his entire career. He died unexpectedly in 1926 at the age of 73 and although they have been working on the church since his death it is still only 60 percent done.  I think part of this is due to funding and part due to the HUGE and DETAILED project that it is.

I really like Veronica in this one- she is in the center on the bottom level.


There is soooo much beautiful and colorful stained glass in this church – i would LOVE to see the inside of the church when it is done…..but Wikipedia says the EARLIEST it will be done is 2026….hmm  well maybe by then i can save a few pennies to visit.

Peace.

Love.

and Bundt Cake!

Published in: on February 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parks and Markets and Fountains OH MY!

Barcelona has PLENTY of both of these.  Lots of Parks and Lots of Markets.  The other day I met with Leah, I found her on couch surfing.

a timeout to explain Couchsurfing for those who do not know:  Couchsurfing is a really neat project started by … i dont know who, but I imagine some people who wanted to encourage kindness, friendship and exchange of ideas, culutures, languages and all the good things that come from traveling and meeting new people.  Through this website you can meet people who live in teh city you are traveling to and other travelers.  You can do anything from meet them for some coffee, explore the area or stay at their house.

Leah is from New York and is doing her thesis on immigrants and the food they eat… only a bit more complicated than that.  We met up at the most famous market of Barcelona:

She bought me some new fruits that I have never eaten before. They were interesting- but not my new favorite.  Leah also taught me that the feeling of Barcelona community is that every neighborhood should have their own market in walking distance… therfore there are MANY markets in Barcelona.  The city is not alllll that giant, but still a good handful of markets. I think she said over 40.

Another thing Barcelona has an abundance of is parks…and fountains! lots and lots of beautiful parks.  (in fact i feel like all of europe has lots of beautiful parks…and fountains)

please notice the gleeful cherubs pushing the other cherub IN to the water… and the group effort to crawl up

The Lovely Signage

THEY HAVE GREEN BIRDS!!!!!!! weird.

GIANT fountain

This Part of the fountain gives a whole new image to a Sea Horse

I must say- it makes me happy to see flowers in Winter

Peace.

Love.

and Winter Vegetation

Published in: on February 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barcelona

I arrived to Barcelona on Monday the 28th of December.  The first few days I laid low- recuperating from a cold and from just plain being tired of traveling.

Once I decided it was time to get out of my cave I walked around close to the apartment I am staying in.  Turns out I live near to  the MNAC- or Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña-or the National Art Museum of Cataluña, A beautiful garden (it was locked when i went passed , so i did not get to enter… yet) AND one of the stadiums/ Olympic areas from when the Olympics were held here in 1992.

Here is the Museum- but it looks like Jasmine’s palace in Aladin

Montjuic Communications Tower — Montjuic is the name of the mountain and the tower was built to transmit the olympic games   //  I’m personally a fan of this photo  – the sky was just right //

Off in the distance  from the bottom of the Museum you can see La Sagrada Familia aka The Sacred Family Church.  This church was started by Gaudí in 1883….. and today it is only 60% done…  This church  is very intricate and detailed…wikipedia said it wont be done until alteast 2026….so maybe when i’m a retired spanish teacher I can come back to Barcelona and if I’m lucky the church will FINALLY be done.

Peace.

Love.

and Clouds.

Published in: on February 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

I confess…It was me… I knocked the Pope over!

I couldn’t help it. He is just soo darn petite and cute. And really it wasn’t me that pulled him down. I simply held on to him as the security guard pulled me away….and Because of the irresponsible security guard…the Pope went down.

Okay, fine, it wasnt really me- i was actually  much to far away- like outside far away.  Day 2 in rome was Christmas Eve and we went to Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s square- It was a pretty cool experience to say to have done- but actually concentrating on the mass was very hard to do.  There were people talking, taking pictures, it was raining , we had been stading there for an hour or 2 before Mass…lots of distractions- but still a neat experience.

Rain

yes the umbrella did flip inside out . quality rain shield.

My favorite part was when the priests came out to give communion- that was a really cool feeling- We didnt get any b/c we were behind the barricade.

Below is a link to a video of them coming out….i think it should work.

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/acXXZY7Wpml1mtph85NCAg?feat=directlink

On our long 1.5 walk hour home because all public transportation (minus the everyso often night buses) stopped at 10 that night it rained, and then it Poured for about 8 minutes…and i mean POURED!

Earlier in the day we went to the Vatican Museum

and inside we saw the:

To be honest- there has always been so much hype about the Sistine chapel…and yes for the era it was done in and the lengths which were taken to paint it- very mazing…but overall i wasnt that impressed. I was expecting something very different.  I have heard this is the same reaction of others as well.

Christmas day we went to the pope’s blessing- wow! did you know he says the last line of his blessing in like 50 languages!?! that was cool.  Then we went into St. Peters…also some videos there, and went to Sherlock Holmes at Warner Brother cinemas-  it was in english b/c they say a dubbed movie just isnt the same thing- and they are right! but i am happy b/c we got to see it in english.

Peace.

Love.

and RAIN.

Published in: on February 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oh Hey there!

Rome.

Day 1.

Colosseum

Roman Forum

Fountain of Trevi

(yes…that is how it came out of my mind onto my fingers I have officially spanish-ized my english…Aka Trevi Fountain)

Lauralee and I had plans to meet Patick (my cousin) and his friend at 2 pm at Trevi fountain so we decided to take advantage of the morning and go to the Colosseum.  On our walk there we saw this park and decided to walk through it- I think my favorite part was the Yellow building behind it.

l.o.v.e

Before we left we read in my Europe guide book that Italians are “enthusiastic” smokers…we both thought this was a funny adjective to choose.  Here is the guidebook at work and i just liked the building:

Colosseum

We were worried about being short on time and we didnt want to be rushed because we had to meet Patrick at 2-so we decided instead of buying tickets and going in we would just scope out prices.

We were looking at the prices and the Roma Pass (great deal by the way) and then I turned my head and who do I see! PATRICK!

Crazy- the second Patrick I ran into with out meaning to. Yes we were going to meet at 2pm but at this time it was about 11:30 and on the other side of town. Same time, Same place, big city, lots of people. CRAZY!

Because we ran into them there we proceeded to go into the Colosseum and later the Roman Forum.

The Roman Forum..

The Roman Forum (LatinForum RomanumItalianForo Romano), sometimes known by its original Latin name, is located between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill of the city of RomeItaly. It is the central area around which the ancient Roman civilizationdeveloped. Citizens referred to the location as the “Forum Magnum” or just the “Forum”.

The oldest and most important structures of the ancient city are located in the forum, including its ancient former royal residency, the Regia, and the surrounding complex of theVestal virgins. The Old Republic had its formal Comitium there where the senate, as well as Republican government began. The forum served as a city square and central hub where the people of Rome gathered for justice, and faith. The forum was also theeconomic hub of the city and considered to be the center of the Republic and Empire. ”

Trevi Fountain

Peace.

Love.

and Oh look there is Patrick!

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Athens

WARNING THIS ENTRY CONTAINS MATURE CONTENT: poop

Rule # 1 about going to Greece: DON’T FLUSH THE TOILET PAPER!!

The pipes are too small to handle the toilet paper…so you can’t flush it, Instead you throw it in the garbage. Guys have it easier than girls because half the time there is no need for wiping.  What do people do when they poop? do they throw that in the garbage too…but then you have gross toilet paper in your garbage.  I have no idea.  Lets just say I refrained from pooping for 3 days- I was happier that way-Also happy when we left the country and returned to normal bathrooms

Don’t worry- I didn’t clog any pipes.

We arrived in Athens on Saturday night-had 2 days to sightsee and left on Tuesday

The first day we spent all day at Acropolis, and the Second day we spent on the shoreline (there was a small part of beach, but mainly lots of giant rocks)

It was a lot of standing and looking and enjoying- The weather there was a WONDERFUL change from Paris. Paris was FREEZING and Athens was Fresh- it was warm enough to go in a t-shirt with out a jacket if you were in the sun

Favorite Pictures:

This was a Market in Athens that happens every Sunday- Basically people take old things/second hand  lots of which could be considered worthy to be thrown out and Sell them.

Some sort of Church/place of worship

We have asked, we have looked it up….still not sure what this is/used to be..but its old…and now there is also a museum there. whatever it is…its free on Sundays i think its a garden, that had statues…and now also a museum

Inside the “Garden?”

A Tiny Turtle!!

Doesn’t it look like an upside down tree?!? with the roots growing up and the leaves down?

Lauralee and I thought this looked like Phil’s house from Hercules

Phil

His house in Athens:

In reality…It could be something for water…or secret caves..who knows

Acropolis – Aka the Famous really old buildings and temples-

Theatre

Look UP!

There are dogs- EVERYWHERE in Athens.  Lots of them have collars-but that doesn’t mean they have owners.  Before the 2004 Athens Olympics the City collected all the stray dogs, vaccinated them and put a collar on them so the Athletes, tourists and everyone coming wouldn’t worry about the dogs….tricky tricky.

Spanish Embassy (the one with the red roof) and Acropolis in the background

Prison of Socrates

The Coast!

Another Quality Paper Hat

Tiny Truck!

Harbor

Peace.

Love.

and Toilet paper.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Notre Dame….for real this time

I looooved Notre Dame. It is one of my favorite churches- sadly I did not get any pictures that really turned out- I only took a few.

Flash is not allowed in the churches- and in a dark church , unless you are super skilled at lighting adjustments on your camera (and i am not…..yet) the pictures really just dont turn out- and i think its really disrespectful when there is a sign that asks you not to use flash and you are in a church where people are praying..and yet a ton of people use Flash.  I will not be that person. So….i dont have decent pictures.

but here is the outside!

Lauralee and I attended vespers and a mass at Notre Dame, that was pretty cool- even if it was in French and we didn’t really know what he was saying.

During the sermon I was rather tired, but I had this weird/crazy experience like i was half asleep yet I felt like i was translating the sermon and actually getting something out of it-guessing what he was talking about. Or maybe i just made up my own. Whatever it was- it was neat.

Peace.

Love.

and tranquility.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Louvre

So I will make an ignorant confession.

Here it goes: I’ve heard the story about how the Mona Lisa was in the basement of (somewhere) and then…. i think moved to the Louvre? People have also told me they thought the Mona Lisa was rather small. But anyway so I had this idea of a Old building medium sized-nothing of grandeur, Dark basement, and 8×12 Mona Lisa with candle light (okay so I like to romanticized  a bit in my imagination)

#1-Yea. wow. Holy CRAP the Louvre is HUMONGOUS!

Lauralee and I were in the Louvre for 3.5 hours before it hurt to walk and our Art Appreciation had faded.  Each time we started to leave it was like ‘oh but that painting is cool too lets just walk past it- we wont stand and stare at it. just walk past it. ‘  We literally had to only look straight ahead /put on our blinders to be able to leave the building.

3.5 hours…and we only saw about Two-Thirds of the Museum

whole long building… only a part of the Louvre…and alllll art

#2 Because people have ‘warned me’ or complained about the size of Mona Lisa- I actually thought she was quite big or at least a decent size.

this is my new friend/man used to see proportions

lets call him Chad.

Chad and Mona:

I think Chad also got worn out from how HUGE the Louvre is. And although Mona looks a bit small in this picture-in her defense Chad was decently far away

Inside the Louvre I found the goddess of me. So I thought we should take a picture together.

Oh Look there I am again!

Peace.

Love.

and Chad & Mona.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Too much arm swing

Your arms naturally swing back and forth when you walk, and when you walk faster your arms swing higher and faster.

This is not conducive for crowded places

IE: the Metro

While we were in Paris we used the metro a lot, and I walk fast but with a little too much arm swing for the metro where there is no space for arm swing.

Have you ever notice how your arms/hands end just at the lower waist/crotch area?- thats just how people were made.

Correlation between length of arm and crotch+ arm swing + crowded metro= Diane accidently molesting about 4 french men…and about 1 in Rome and 1 in barcelona…you would think I would learn to fold my arms or something!

Peace.

Love.

and Sorry Fellas!

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment