Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Barcelona - A Feast for the Eyes

A view near the Olympic complexes looking down from the Museum of National Art (a castle in itself). What an amazing city. There is a lot of new construction due to the boom for the 1992 Summer Olympics (doesn't seem so long ago!) but it is mixed with incredible architecture from the last 5 centuries - a true blend of old and new. Some of which is absolutely wild of which I will have to include a photo or two with next blog.
View toward the start of the Las Ramblas at the Columbus monument. Barcelona is the port where Columbus was received back into Spain upon discovering the "New World". And, yes, I recognize the controversy with those of Scandinavian background who may also hold claim to the New World discovery - upon observing the character of Northern & Southern Europeans, I would say the Southerners yelled loudest about it.
Proof that American culture pervades the world - we cannot escape it. Is it just Disney - No!! - what I don't have are pic's of at least 5 Starbucks coffee shops within walking distance of each other (depends on who's walking of course). I did not succumb to Starbuck's in Spain! I ordered my cappucino's at the street cafe below our hotel. You have to draw the line somewhere. And proof that Bart love's me - he went and ordered my cappucino himself on our last morning - he doesn't even drink coffee. Oops - before I get too high handed about traveling and ignoring our "American" pop culture traps - we ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe - Barcelona!!!!! YES!!! It was soooooo good. Bart had ribs and I had a citrus chicken salad and the girls had regular old hot dogs with fries. You see - I have not had a salad that did not have either french (different than American french) or italian dressing on it since we left the United States. Yep - Switzerland has a variety of choices of dressing - French: full fat, lowfat or nonfat and Italian: full fat, lowfat or nonfat - hey, that's 6 whole varieties, right? And forget getting barbequed ribs unless you are a butcher and have a great b-bque recipe (yeah, I know we could make it from scratch but in some things we are hopelessly GenX and would like a bottle of KC Masterpiece). Now that I am totally guilty of blogging my runon thoughts - Will confess that we plan to indulge ourselves by drinking as much RootBeer as we can while we are in the States after Christmas!
Back to beautiful Barcelona - warmer than Zurich! We stayed on the Las Ramblas which is part of the heart of town, an avenue with little auto traffic - a large pedestrian boulevard full of souvenir vendors, small pet vendors (turtles, bunnies, ferrets,mice,exotic birds, roosters & chickens (can we say bird flu) and other various 'not legal to sell on the US street' small creatures) and a multitude of street performers (the girls really got into dropping change into buckets to see what they would do). Christmas market goods in Spain. It is interesting to see the differences in Christmas decor/goods in different countries. The nativities were very popular here - all the figures from the Manger to the Roman Army are available. And people were shopping - we had not been around that many people in a long time - Not even in London was it so crowded on the street at times. We kept a firm hand on the girls.


Mom E said...

Looks like fun, what about the language now that you have been in German mode for awhile? Bart getting your coffee...I really like that part.

Olson Family said...

Ha - Joke's on us. In Barcelona the main language is Catalonian (a form of Spanish, but different! at least it is written - unlike the Swiss German vs German languages). Signs are in Catalonian, then Spanish. And I threw a lot of Danke's out there - mom e would have been comfy with the Spanish. It looked easier to learn than Spanish - prob. cause we knew some Spanish!

Julie said...

Hi Susan and family!
Beautiful pictures of Spain! If I wanted to send you a little Christmas package, could I send it to MN? I've been torturing myself that I hadn't sent your Valley CD and our letter. Please let me know where I can get it to you the fastest!
(Natalie got a Littlest Pet Shop toy that is a snow dog (from Switzerland, she says)...she named it Kendra! Precious!)