Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving all! If the last posting was semi-cryptic, then maybe it'll be easier to explain in this post. We ARE PREGNANT with a cute little baby girl due in March of 08'! I want to take this Thanksgiving moment to reflect a little on how blessed we are to have a little one coming along, with the ups and downs of our life a few years ago all but a bad memory, the event of a little addition to our family is something that we are truly thankful for!

We spent Thanksgiving night at the Plaza, with dinner at Figlio's for $20 each. A bargain in comparison to the other places that were offering $50+ prices per head! (Gotta use the savings for someone else now!). After a full dinner, we timed it just right to catch the Plaza lighting ceremony with fireworks. Basically, same deal as last year, except we had to find an open bathroom to use cos our little one got excited after the fireworks and decided to use Yeesin's bladder as a trampoline.... Starbucks was kind enough to allow everyone to use their bathrooms that night, and luckily too, cos the Plaza people forgot to order ANY porta potties! Go figure right? 20K+ people in one place, and no porta-potties in sight?

Anyways... Happy Thanksgiving all!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Spain - Parte Tres - Barcelona

The final part of our Spanish adventure ends here in the great seaside city of Barcelona! After a 4.5 hour AVE ride from Madrid with no incident, we dropped our bags off at our hotel, and set off to see Sagrada Familia, or "The Holy Family" in Catalan. Its a awesomely huge church designed by Antoni Gaudi that has been under construction since 1882. So, close to 125+ years later, you can still see huge cranes working on the exterior, while masons are busy working on the insides. This place has been 100% funded by public donations via the entrance fee as Gaudi did not want any of local taxpayers money to be used for religious purposes, which explains the slow pace of work. Hopefully in our lifetime, we get to see it completed one day! More on the Sagrada Familia here.

Walking around the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gothic), one of the original parts of early Barcelona, we stumbled across this gem of a store... Not the kind of pills you have in mind! This place had a huge assortment of all kinds of candies, lined up from the front door to the back of the store. The name sure is an effective way to get people to take a look! Yeesin got a sugar high just standing outside the place!

Gaudilicious! A few afternoons later, we spent a rainy afternoon outside at Parc Guell, another one of Gaudi's creations. Built at the stop of a hill in Barcelona, it took 2 Bus rides to get there, but the view from the top was awesome, despite the cloudy skies. The picture on the right is a good sample of some of the architecture seen at the Parc. More on Parc Guell here.

Interestingly enough, the word "Gaudy" which usually means tasteless or vulgar, really comes from from the Latin word "gaudium" which means enjoyment! I just think poor Gaudi sometimes gets a bad name for being slightly more unconventional than most people! The pic on the left is from the top of Gaudi's old house (Casa Mila). Still a functioning apartment complex, this whole building was designed by Gaudi to be both functional and Gaudy looking! From the roof top, the clusters of the 5 figures with helmets are really chimneys, and the huge marble looking statue on the right really hides a water tower... like i said - Gaudilicious!

What would a trip to Barcelona be without a visit to its hometown genius' - Picasso! Probably one of the best art museums that we have visited! Its not has huge and imposing as the Lourve in Paris, but not too small that you're done in 15 minutes either. This place painstakingly shows you in chronological order Picasso's works from his youth, his journey through experimenting with other different styles (like impresionism), and finally to his abstract phase in life!

I will sign off the conclusion of our trip with a bad habit I've picked up over there! Cortados, which is equivalent to a double-shot espresso with foamed milk on top was my fav drink over there. Where Cafe con Leche (coffee with Milk) is the most common drink for breakfast, Cortados are perfect picker-uppers anytime after lunch! Hmmm... Yummy..... :) Adios!