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Barcelona and Paris, June 30-July 8, 2017

The trip was initially a bike trip with our friend Paula, starting and ending out of Barcelona, but unfortunately with about a month's notice, Paula noted she'd be unable to go.  Merle and I already had our time off and plane tickets in and out of Barcelona, so we decided to go, but Merle wanted to see Paris.
Flight left Atlanta 530pm, travels 9.5 hrs to arrive Barcelona at 830am (would be 230am for our biologic clocks.
During the transition, our clocks were cleaned.
Just after take off, the flight attendants announced they would be passing out earbuds and iPads....
Huh?  iPads?
Oh, eye pads.
Merle's friend Edgar, who lives in Barcelona, was nice enough to meet us and show us around!
First, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, and then walked around to do some sight seeing.
We saw the house of famous artist Antoni Gaudi, whose style which is very ornate, is the origin of the word "gaudy."
Note the style of the tiles on the roof.
Gaudi also was very practical.  Although he died in 1926, he thought he might get hungry in the future, so he built his house near a Burger King.
We visited the open market called the Boqueria.
It had a feeling like the Reading Terminal market in Philadelphia, but in Spanish, totally different food, different culture, and different continent, but otherwise exactly the same.
In the market, there were all kinds of foods, including many kinds of cured meats.  
Edgar got some strips of wild boar for us to try, a whole new taste experience!!
And the red hue to the photo is from light shining through all the meat!
We walked along an area they call "Las Ramblas," which to me had the feeling of the Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica (CA) but in Spanish.
They had similar varieties of beggars and street musicians, and stores selling T-shirts with cultural icons like Homer Simpson, and Heisenberg/Walter White from Breaking Bad, and jerseys for the Sixers and LeBron James.
Walking around the various neighborhoods, we came across a Catalunyan festival, with giant mannequins.
Here we visit the Barcelona Cathedral, constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries.  
It was easier to get permits then.  
And, Europe does churches like it's nobody's business.
Pretty amazing inside.
You've heard the song, but now you know the actual location:
Hotel California.
All along, it was in a back alley in Barcelona.
Who knew??
Next stop, La Sagrada Familia, the church designed by Gaudi, and is STILL under construction.
More detail can been seen on the back side...or is this the front side???    :-0
Our next stop was to Parc Guell, an area where Gaudi used to live, but is now a museum, and has many residual elements showing his influence.
This area is on a hill with view of the whole city.
With Edgar.
The arrows show an enlarged view of the tile patterns typical of Gaudi.
Also, not sure if they're escaped from pet shops or zoos, but there were parrots all around in the trees.
(wait...maybe that's where they belong!!!)
There were also columns made of stone which provided a cool place (both temperature-wise and culturally, as demonstrated by the musician).
The undersurface of the columns and arcade made me wonder what would happen if one of those rocks happened to slip out.
Now, THAT would be a headache.
After that, we returned to the hotel, and with the time difference and little rest on the airplane, we had sleep for dinner.
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