A Travellerspoint blog

Segrada Familia

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Segrada Familia by day. This Roman Catholic basilica puts you in a state of awe. The completed towers look unearthly. As a kid making castles out of wet sand, dripping from your fingers, letting each drop of water and sand pile onto the previous drop, you were creating Gaudi´s blueprint. The basilica has been under construction for over 100 years and only has 8 of its planned 18 towers. It is an site to behold. At night it takes on an even more impressive auora.

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As I had mentioned earlier, Las Ramblas is a street, an very interesting street. Populated by tourists and street vendors, you begin on the Mediterranean and end in the center of Barcelona. Mime statues pleasing the crowd can be witnessed at every turn; careful, when you reach to put a coin in the bucket, they might break their stone stance and silence. Artists doing cartoon portrait sketches, airbrush artists and painters mimicing the masters can be seen. It is said that every day brings a something new to the street. If you are into shopping, have no fear, you will find whatever you desire. Do you smell that? I don´t know what it is, but man it smells good. Hungry? foods of all kinds, from pitas and kabobs to McDonalds, can be found. McDonalds in Europe in comparison to the U.S. have proven to be some of the nicest establishments -- always with a WC. Just want to fit in as a tourist? Every day of the week you will find a crowd of people wandering the ins and outs of this place.

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This is just about it for Barcelona, we are leaving in a few hours for Portugal. Hope you enjoy the pictures. Two last pics, one of the Barcelona Arc de Triomf -- the buildings and architecture of Barcelona have no end. The second is Monserrat. North of Barcelona about 30 miles, this old monestary was worth the trip. It is a serene place among the rocky mountians of the Pryenees.

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Posted by foltz.45 13:26 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Barcelona

Three days ago, if I were with my parents, my Dad would be saying something to the effect of `you're mother is having kittens,´ meaning that things just aren't going right and it is best to steer clear of her. If you have ever done any traveling, you know that things aren't as easy as they seem and lots of patience is required.

Things are going well now, we have been staying in Barcelona, a great city to visit. We found by extreem traveling skill -- more likely by luck -- what I like to call a choice place. We were able to hook up an apartment for a week. This includes a locking bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and a wash machine, and a computer where the internet works from time to time. We are a 10 minute walk to the beach and a small hike to just about anywhere else. There is a supermarket 2 blocks away. The combination of making our own food and the apartment, I am glad to say that we have been under budget the last few days. The weather has been very nice, up to about 70 F during the day, although it gets cool in the shade.

Barcelona is a city full of things to do and see. The architecture is amazing. There are monuments, cathedrals, beaches, the olimpic village and other sights. We have been cruizing all over the city and doing a fair amount of relaxing on the beach (I managed in the last week, while traveling by bus, plane and train, to pick up a cold). We have also been able to secure places to stay for the next week when we will be traveling further west.

Two of the coolest sights so far have been Las Ramblas, the most lively and scenic street in Spain (the statue of Columbus pointing West is the start of the stree) and Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is a temple designed by Gaudi, whose construction started in the 19th century and is still under construction. The pictures I have not been able to upload; these and more details to come later, sorry to keep you waiting.

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Finally, I have been getting quite a few views on my blog. I sent out the link to a lot of people and would be interested in who is reading. Drop a comment or send me an email (foltz.45@gmail.com)-- maybe a place I should check out or just say hi.

Oh and glad to see the NCAA bracket, Go Buckeyes and Cougs!

Posted by foltz.45 11:20 Archived in Spain Comments (3)

The night train

The last few days have been crazy. I made it into Frankfurt, and managed to meet up with Dan the next day with little problem (picture below of the Frankfurt train station). I had made a one night reservation in Frankfurt, thinking that we could find a place to stay and figure out things from there. This would normally not be a problem as it is the off season for tourism, but there was some sort of huge festival -- everything was booked full. So, having no plan -- I will admit we had no real plan other than to head south to warmer weather -- we headed south. We booked ourselves a night train to Barcelona.

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I am glad to say that I am writing to you in Barcelona now. The trip was just about 24 hours. We made a short stop off in Paris, I had heard that the French don´t like to speak english, oh man -- we will need to have our plan together when we head back there. After trying to deal with German, French and now Spanish, I appreciate the friendliness of the people here.

Well we are worn out and are now trying to work out a place to stay the next few nights. When traveling you really get down to your basic needs -- water, food and a place to get horizontal. I have had little more than a shower in a sink since leaving Israel. We have certianly found ourselves in the thick of an adventure.

Posted by foltz.45 11:08 Archived in Spain Comments (3)

Leaving Israel

Final Thoughts

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I just wanted to comment on the food here in Israel. Yesterday we had a traditional biblical meal. This consisted of pita bread, humas, a salad (what you might call it greek salad), goat cheese, yougart with honey and figs, tea, and of course olives. This has been a typical meal since I have been here. It is all great tasting and healthy, I think.

Right now I am just killing time, waiting to meet up with a friend from OSU swimming, Matan. He is a native of Israel and lives in Jerusalem. We are supposed to meet in Tel Aviv; I forgot how it used to be before cell phones. Tonight our group will have dinner, I will say goodbye and they will all fly back to Columbus on the red eye.

Tomorrow I will head to Frankfurt and crash at a hostel for a few hours before heading back to the airport in the early morning to meet up with Dan, my travel mate for the duration of the trip.

Below is a shot of the some olive trees in Garden of Gesthemane. Olive trees are an important biblical plant. Today olives are eaten at every meal in addition to olive oil used on bread and salad.

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Israel has been an amazing place to visit. I highly recomend a trip to Jerusalem if you ever get the chance. The people here are nice and most everyone speaks english. Although you may feel a little uncomforatable due to the religious tensions and men walking around with machine guns, I never felt that I was in a bad situation. Next time I will be sending word from Europe.

Posted by foltz.45 13:39 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

The Holy City

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Well, there it is. The old city of Jerusalem. Since last time, I have traveled the Israeli-Jordan boarder south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, into the Negev and north again to Jerusalem. The Dead Sea is one of those things that you have to check out once in your life. It is 30X more salty than the ocean, I don't think you could sink with a ten pound weight tied to you.

The southern shores of the Dead Sea hold an ancient jewel. Built by Herod the Great 2,000 years ago on top of a mountian, the remains of his palace still stand today. The story of this place is full of drama; I won't go into the details, but check out wikipedia.org if you are interested. Present day Israeli soldiers are sworn into service at this place -- a testament to the faith and will of the Jews. The view of the mountians and the Dead Sea is amazing.IMG_8818.jpg

The Negev, the Israel Desert comprising 60% of the country, is a sight to see. We visited a agriculture research station that uses brackish water for irrigation. Considering this, the drastic daily temperature swings and the soil -- basically sand and dust, it is amazing that they produce the quality and quantity that they do.

After traveling in a round-about manner to avoid Palastinian areas, we arrived in Jerusalem. As you can see from the picture, the old city of Jerusalem is not large. The city was fully contained within the wall, the grave sites you see in the picture would have been outside. The city is full of history. I am sure that every religion has a different story and view of history and people within each religion have an additional variation. Within the walls, there is a Muslim quarter, a Christian quarter and a Jewish quater. Even within these quarters you find the other religions. It is all very confusing. The bottom line is that several religions share their respective holy places within a very small area.

I was in awe of the workmanship within the city. The sites, sounds and smells touch the senses. The Church of the Holy Seplicur, the Christian holy place, was something else. The energy and passion of the people in addition to the incense, singing and pipe organ and the religious art was a highlight of the city. This church claims one of the current resting locations of Jesus, of course there are more than one.

Well friends, I am signing off. I will be in Isreal for three more days before heading to Europe. Take care.

Posted by foltz.45 23:15 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

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