La Pedrera in Barcelona driving to Girona, Spain, May 31

Barcelona is a wonderful city to recover from jet lag. It is small enough so it isn’t overwhelming. The food is wonderful, even for those who have dietary restrictions. There is a mix of Roman ruins, multi-century Spanish architecture, and Gaudi! & then there are the people!!! Everyone we met was warm and welcoming.

We bought 2 adult soccer shirts and a shirt for the baby on the way. We already have two granddaughters. Mike and Kate are expecting a baby boy. Kate’s dad is a big Messi fan. Sean put one on.

  
 Today we left Barcelona for the North. We will not be going to Morocco. Instead we are going to the south of France & Portugal. Before we left Barcelona, Jim, Sean, and I got up and went to La Pedrera. You can go inside to see it. Sophia did not want to get up and go. (We won’t let that happen again. It was totally worth getting up for.)

  
   Antonin Gaudi was born in 1852 into a family of coppersmiths.  He moved to Barcelona to study teaching. He became interested in Utopian society and socialism. He studied architecture. I don’t know why he switched from teaching to architecture. His first architectural projects focused on buildings for proletariat. He began working on the cathedral Basilica de Sagrada Familia. He became enomored with the Catholic faith. After working on the project he converted both his political beliefs and his faith. He spent the rest of his life as a passionate advocate for Catholicism. When you are inside La Pedrera it feels like you are walking through a Dr Suess book. The roof has 13 chimneys + some vents all with interesting shapes. His designs were inspired by nature.

  
              

The tops of these chimneys are broken champagne bottles!

It is hard to stop taking photos. Each turn is cooler than the last! Some of these are from the rooftop to the buildings across the way.

He would do things like hang strands of wire upside down, examine their shape in a mirror, and mimic the shape they make draping down.

  
 The attic of La Pedrera is structured like a snake’s skeleton.

  
 His chairs and door handles are ergonomically designed. Gaudi would have a peron grab clay and then squeeze it and make a mold so that the door handle would be perfect for them. La Pedrera was originally designed for one prominent family. Eventually it was divided into apartments. Today much of it is still private apartments. These are a series of photos showing how an apartment would be decorated during Gaudi’s time.

  
                               We took a cab to the airport where we rented a car, left Barcelona, and drove to Girona. The taxi ride was funny because there was not enough room in the cab we hailed, so Sean and Jim had luggage piled in their lap. We went back and forth about taking a train or driving and opted to drive.

  
   I forgot to tell you a funny story. Everyone took a shower before I did. When I went into the shower, I noticed there were 3 bottles in there. Can you tell what they all have in them?

In case you cannot. There is bath soap, hand soap, and hand lotion. I asked who used lotion on their hair. LOL, Sean thought it was conditioner.

We rented a room in the historic district on the hill. (More on that tomorrow.) Girona is like stepping back in time. Sophia had never been to Europe, so she had never been to one of these old towns. Her entire face lit up. We would wait until the next day to explore Girona. We wandered around getting our bearings, marveling at the surroundings. Girona is in the Catalan region. Many of the signs are in Catalan. With our Spanish as bad as it is, it was confusing. We could not figure out how to get to our hotel so we hired a taxi to show us the way. It was worth every penny!

  
        

  
         

I love old cobbled streets!


Sean’s Barcelona jersey has people wanting to talk soccer with him. When we told Akmed, the person checking us in, Sean rowed instead, he told us it was called remar. El rema y esquia. Akmed was excited to hear Sean rowed because his best friend married a rower and the two moved to San Diego so he could row. “Do you know Bernard Stomporowski,” he asked. No, we do not.

  
 Sean had his favorite dish on the trip so far, a potato dish with sauce. While eating potatoes, soccer was on. We learned that if Girona wins 2 more games they will move up to Division 1. There are three divisions and they are fluid as to which teams are in it. Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville are always in the top because they are so good. There are 6 teams in each division. (I hope that is correct.) Our memory is sketchy on that detail. The other slots in Division 1 are very competitive. Both Bilbao and Barcelona are in the Catalan area. It was a great year for soccer in Catalan. Sean loves graffiti.


We met a group of Venezualans at the Harlem Club. The next day we saw one of them, Maximillano Fugues, with his wife, Lia del Sol, and mother-in-law in Girona. “Did you know the Game of Thrones is going to be filmed in Girona next season,” Maximillano asked. We did not. I looked it up and it is. When you visit here you will understand why they would use this location. http://www.thelocal.es/20150527/game-of-thrones-to-shoot-in-spain-again

  
     There are many expats from Venezuala in Spain. We were told many of them are here because they feel Venezuala has become a dictatorship, and all the educated young people who can leave do. Jim asked what was going to happen to Venezuala after all the smart young people left. Jim was told, “Tell the last one to turn out the lights.”

We also learned the Spanish love Cuba. I cannot wait to visit there!