Thursday, December 9, 2010


First thing this morning, we rented bikes and went towards Montjuïc, which literally means Jewish Mountain in Catalan. We didn't make it very far though because the hills were not slight but straight up and vertical.

So we ditched that plan and rode along the beach instead. It was gorgeous :) (although riding continuously on cobblestones is not the most pleasant experience). The sun came out for a bit and we rode the length of the city along the water. 

We re-visited some of the sites that we saw on the Fat Tire tour a couple days ago then decided to tour Gaudi's Casa Mila. The architecture was spectacular but only one of the five floors was open to the public :/

↑ Gaudi'a Casa Mila ↓

The view from the terrace was spectacular.

The view of the city was even better.

Well, this might be the last post for this blog. Tomorrow, we fly from Barcelona to Paris Orly (assuming it's open in the weather) then take a bus and train from Orly to Charles De Gaulle, from where we will hopefully return to London!

This trip has truly been amazing and I have learned and seen so much but I have to admit I'm a little bit excited to be home with my family on Saturday :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Feet Hate Me

We began the day by walking to Parc Guell but somewhere along the way, we took a wrong turn and ended up at the top of a hill about 15 minutes from where we wanted to be. After we found a very nice Spanish man who spoke English to give us directions, we climbed a very steep hill to get to the lookout on top.

We had an amazing view of the city and the ocean :)

After, we decided to walk down La Rambla, which is supposed to be one of the coolest streets in town. I don't know if we just didn't make it down to the exciting part or what, but we pretty much only saw flower stalls (which were still gorgeous).

We wandered around in Barri Gotic (the old city) for most of the rest of the afternoon. We finished Christmas shopping and found an adorable little bakery where we had an afternoon snack. Then we took the metro to an area called Gracia and walked through the winding streets and alleys. Although we had absolutely no idea where we were, we luckily ended up back in our area of town eventually. We walked past a couple of Gaudi's buildings on the way back to the hotel.

Late in the afternoon, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit since we walked pretty much all day. We went back out to a little pizza place overlooking Placa de Gracia and all of the Christmas lights.

We were flipping around TV stations just now and it looks like Paris had several inches of snow today...since we're going back to London via Paris on Friday, let's hope it stops snowing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I ♥ Barcelona

The weather is clear, sunny and 60. 

It's perfect.

As yesterday was a random holiday and most other things were closed, we shopped for the afternoon. Luckily, our hotel isn't too far from the main street. 

Our hotel is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Today, we had decided that we would do the Fat Tire Bike Tour. We followed the directions from the website to the plaza (after finally purchasing Metro tickets which is a whole other story) but there was absolutely nothing that said Fat Tire once we arrived. We asked several police men, each of whom sent us to a different bike rental company. After 30 minutes of searching, we found the office down a back alley and were told that a guide would meet us in the plaza in a few minutes. 

The guide that met us in the plaza ended up not being the one to take us on the tour. 
Our guide's name was Meringue (or something close to that). He was a character.

We all learned a lot about his personal life. I'll leave it at that. In our group were an Australian couple, an older couple from California, two American students who were studying in Milan, and a professor from some small college in Philly. 

It was awesome to ride around in the sunny weather all day and hear everyone's travel stories from all over the world.  

We ended the tour in a tapas bar. We had something they called "summer wine" which was almost like Sangria but not quite. The tapas were interesting, considering that we couldn't read what most of them were. I don't think I want to know what most of them were, but some were very delicious!

We shopped down the main street on the way back to the hotel. In one super cute store, called Friday's Project, they were playing some very interesting music. If you're in for some culture shock, look up a song called Bilingual. We decided that they didn't really know what the song was saying since it was in English.

Now, we're off to a football match.... FC Barcelona vs. Rubin Kazan!

Monday, December 6, 2010

La Prochaine Arrêt

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip...thanks Janis for playing photographer!

Yesterday was quite eventful. We ate breakfast at a petit boulangerie in the 5th. Haley- you would have died! We got our croissants and sat on the patio. The man at the table behind me was feeding the birds and they were swarming everywhere...the wing of one even hit my ear because it was flying so close!
After breakfast, we tried to go to the Marche aux Fleurs (flower market) that was by my old apartment but being a Sunday morning, it wasn't open yet. Since the weather was nice (and by nice, I mean no precipitation), we took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. We took lots of pictures from Place de Trocodero.

Janis wasn't a fan of me walking on ledges (above). We decided to skip actually going up the tower because there were several hundred people waiting to do the same thing. 

So, we got back on the Metro and went to the Arc de Triomphe. Then, we tried to walk to my favorite crepe man, in my old neighborhood from my first trip to Paris. Sadly, he was no longer there and had been replaced by a gelateria. We briefly took in the Champs Elysee but were interrupted by rain. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Musee D'Orsay, which happened to be having free admission which was a nice suprise!

We finished off the day in Montmartre. We went by Moulin Rouge then headed up the hill. 

We ate dinner in a little piano bar that I had eaten in several years ago. This place is unique because visitors post mementos on the walls. I looked around for a bit and found my note from the last time I was there :)

And we left our own piece of Waco behind:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

     Wow, snow knows how to fall here. We woke up this morning to the swirling, wet kind of snow that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot protect yourself from. But aside from being wet and cold, the snow was gorgeous :) 
     Because the internet at our hotel is working at dial-up speed, I'm not going to attempt to upload any pictures for now. We walked from our hotel this morning over to the area where I went to school in Paris. We got breakfast at a boulangerie and I successfully ordered in French. Usually, when French people can tell you're American, they respond to your French in English (because a majority of them can speak it), so to accomplish this was pretty exciting! Then, we walked down Boulevard Saint Michel and did some shopping that ended at Shakespeare & Co. We found some treasures, but my favorite find was a children's book called the ABC's of Rock. Look it up. It featured a different classic rock band for every letter of the was pretty sweet.
     After that, we walked to Notre Dame then took the Metro to the Louvre. When getting on the train, Janis got stuck in the door. Out of all the times I've ridden the Metro, first time I've seen that happen! Because of the weather and it being Saturday, it was crazy crowded so we didn't end up staying for long. Once we had had our share of the crowds, we went to Angelina. I have been dying to go to this place since I first studied in Paris three years ago. For those of you that don't know, Angelina supposedly has the best chocolate chaud (hot chocolate) in the world. Well, we found out after waiting for 30 minutes just to get in the door, that the rumors are true. It was undescribably delicious (and the regular food was amazing as well). In Europe, they tend to not sweeten their hot chocolate. It was almost like drinking a melted semi-sweet chocolate bar. And they don't just bring a mug of it...they bring an entire mini-pitcher.
     Once we had eaten so much that we could barely walk, we decided that it was cold enough we should spend the rest of the day indoors. We took the metro to Les Halles, which is a huge American-type mall and did some shopping for the rest of the afternoon. On the way home, we stopped by my favorite crêpe place in all of Paris to get paninis for dinner. We're exhausted but it was a great day :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Packing Up!

We're packing up, getting ready to head to Paris tomorrow (hopefully the airports will be open)! 
Last night, we ate dinner at Texas Embassy. For those of you that don't know, it's one of the best Mexican food establishments in London. We signed the wall:

and I found this :)

 After dinner, we saw Phantom....amazing!

Despite inches of snow last night, school was not cancelled today :( To keep any limbs from freezing off on the way to school, I took pictures to keep my mind occupied.

I don't know what the internet situation will be in Paris/Barcelona but I'll try to update as soon as I can!

P.S. Glen- I went to King's Cross Station to take pictures for you yesterday, but it was all under construction so the special platform 9 ¾ display was covered in scaffolding...sorry!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

OMG, it's -1°! (Dublin part 2)

Sunday we awoke to a fresh layer of snow and ice. We spent the majority of the day trying not to loose fingers and toes. There were no words to describe how cold we were.

We waited an hour for the bus by our hotel in the middle of nowhere (thank you Nikky, our lovely travel agent). Then, we got sidetracked on the way to the train depot and ended up back at Trinity College where we found this :


West Coast Coffee saved our lives (and our toes :)

We finally made it on the train and headed out to a town called Howth (pronounced who-th). It was about 20 minutes north of Dublin on the coast.

It was a very picturesque fishing village.

We found a lovely spot to take pictures. Unfortunately, these ladies didn't care :(

So we had to find a new one...

After we had taken a good look around Howth, we scampered back to the train station to get to Malahide Castle before dark.

Sadly, we had to wait 30 minutes in the cold to catch the connecting train. To distract ourselves from our frozen feet, we had a photoshoot to pass the time. Here are a few of my favorites...

We ended the day at Malahide Castle. We had to basically run a mile in the snow to get there, but it was so worth it :)

The group at the castle: