Posts Tagged ‘weekend trip’

Views From Montserrat

Saturday, on our way up to Miriam’s brother’s house, we stopped by Montserrat to have a look around the monastery on the mountain. The views were great. I only wish we had more time to explore.

The hill Montserrat is on, itself, is actually quite different from the surrounding scenery — it’s much craggier, with rock pillars jutting up like fingers, instead of the smooth ridges found on the nearby mountains.

We also learned that Montserrat is a common Catalonian woman’s name, most often abbreviated as Montse. We’ve met a Montse before, but didn’t make the connection until Miriam told us that it’s also her mother’s name.

Montserrat ViewMontserrat View

Check out more Montserrat photos on Evan’s site.

Barcelona City View: Placa Colon

Placa Colon Barcelona

One of our first Barcelona photos when walking around the city Saturday morning, looking towards Placa Colon (aka Columbus). The first (and only other) time I went to Barcelona, we rode up the elevator in the central column to catch the view from up top, underneath the half-globe. It’s quite a scary, narrow, ride.

Check out more Barcelona photos on Evan’s site.

Barcelona Es Bonita (No Hablo Espanol)

Barcelona Placa RealWe’re back from Barcelona and yet another whirlwind weekend. The quick rundown (um, it didn’t end up being that quick… we did a lot!):

We left Friday night and our otherwise on-time plane was delayed about two hours by a passenger who apparently was too scared to fly. The pilot said he has been flying since 1981 and has never had to let someone off a plane because he was afraid to fly — and that he was scared of what the passenger might do if forced to fly. Apparently he had some sort of “crazy look in his eyes.” We didn’t really notice any commotion, though. It just felt like a lot of waiting.

The delay, subsequent search of the plane and refueling, put us into Barcelona late. We had a light dinner at Bernat and Miriam’s apartment, where we stayed, and rested up for the next day’s activities.

Evan and I started the day by checking out the main cathedral, walking down the the sea, strolling up La Rambla and some other big streets, and checking out some of the many back alleys. We met up with Bernat and Miriam at the Santa Caterina Market, where we saw all sorts of meats and fishes (we got some good photos, coming soon) and Spanish foods. After buying plenty of food, it was time to head out of the city and towards the mountains.

Our first stop was Montserrat, the monastery and church high up in craggy mountains. We walked around a bit, had lunch and checked out the sanctuary. The views were great, though we didn’t stick around too long — we were heading further into the mountains to visit Miriam’s brother.

By the time we got to his house, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it was dark and rainy. We made a big dinner over an indoor fire pit, drank wine, played games and watched movies. I also got to practice my fake — or more like paltry, though never actually learned — Spanish. Evan said was better than his fake French, though, and gave me plenty of help putting together phrases. We forgot how quiet it could be away from the city, and we woke up the next morning to birds chirping outside.

In the morning, we walked around outside and enjoyed stunning views of snow-capped mountains, then took a short walk to a small church. On the way back, we ran into Miriam’s brother, who let us take turns riding one of his horses. I don’t even remember the last time I was on a horse, so it was quite a treat. Late in the afternoon, we had lunch, relaxed, and finally said our goodbyes, smelling of wood smoke.

That night we had dinner, and the next day, Easter, Evan and I headed to Parc Guell, a huge modernist park on a hill with views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean, and plenty of bizarre buildings, sculptures, structures and mosaics to check out. We continued our Barcelona tour with a trip to Casa Batllo, the Gaudi apartments, which looked like a house for a family of mermaids. The tiles, ocean theme and undulating spaces were fun to walk through, and from the roof, we saw plenty more buildings we wanted to check out.

We ended up at the Parc de Ciutadella at sunset, where the sky glowed peach, pink and blue behind the Arc de Triomf, and we took a stroll around the lake and headed back to the apartment to relax before dinner. We went out for drinks, dinner, and drinks again, and left the next morning, flying out over the blue sea and snow-capped mountains, to come back to London.

What an amazing weekend. We couldn’t have asked for better hosts for our trip — we felt like part of the family and saw a side of Barcelona and the Spanish countryside neither of us had ever seen. I can’t wait to go visit again, and I can’t wait to look through all the photos Evan took on his new camera.

Update: Photos are up on Evan’s site.

New York in a New York Minute

MoMA Gallery SpaceI’m sure I’ll be posting a bit more, with photos and better descriptions, but Evan and I got back from our New York weekend today.

We left from Gatwick airport Friday morning and had a 2-hour delay off the bat since our plane didn’t arrive on time. After an uneventful flight — Evan slept and I finished reading Youth in Revolt (very funny) — we got to Newark, took the train to our hotel (the W, very nice) and got ready to go out to dinner.

We had Greek food (yum), went to see Towards Darkness (unfortunately the theater wasn’t very full, though it was well-received by the friends and family who came), and went out for drinks at the Thirsty Scholar (fun!).

Saturday we went to MoMA (very cool, check out the photo), walked through Central Park (always lovely), had Mexican food in DUMBO (quite an adventure to get to, though the food was delicious), and went out with friends at B Bar.

Sunday, we had brunch (I miss American-style brunch), Evan bought a camera, we had drinks with a friend, then spent a long time in Newark airport waiting for our flight (we were early). The flight was bumpy. Evan slept; I didn’t. I did, however, completely conk out on the train in from Gatwick. I also managed to take an accidental 6-hour nap this afternoon (oops) while Evan was at work.

More about the weekend soon.

Also, check out my latest Hitched article, “Online Tools to Keep You Organized.”

More Paris Lights: Champs Elysees at Night

Since I only posted a small photo of this earlier and it was really pretty, here’s another photo of the Champs Elysees at night, line with blue-lit trees, facing the Louvre (and the ferris wheel, which you can see at the end of the street).

Champs Elysees

Climbing the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Snow on the Eiffel TowerAfter our lovely long walk to our hotel, we dropped off our bags and headed to the Eiffel tower, which was only a few blocks away. We had to wait in line for a while, and decided to take the stairs up to the second floor then the elevator up to the top, since the line was shorter to do it that way.

It was a bit cold and windy, but once we started our climb, we got warm quite quickly. We stopped on the first floor to take a look at the vistas and check out the touristy attractions up there. The biggest surprise was that the outer ring of the observation deck was covered in snow and people were snowshoeing for some sort of special exhibit. We didn’t put on snowshoes, but we did walk through the snow almost the whole way around.

Getting up to the second floor seemed to take even longer. And I just found out that in total, we climbed 1,652 stairs. And we took them back down again, too. By the time we reached the second level, it was dusk and the city’s lights were starting to come on.

Eiffel TowerThe views were even better than from the first floor, though the smaller area was more crowded, and we spent a lot of time taking photos.

From there, we took the elevator up to the top of the tower, which was a bit of a scary ride, though the views were wonderful. We were squished like sardines in a little elevator, and Evan and I managed to be against the windowed walls, so we had some quite breathtaking views. It was quite a sizable ride.

Once up top, it was fully dark and the tower’s strobe lights were turned on, which were really dizzying when we were on the outdoor observation deck. We took even more photos — of us, the views, the lights… you can see them all on Evan’s photo site.

We took the elevator back down to the second floor and walked down the 1,652 steps we came up, stopping along the way to take even more photos. And on our way back to the hotel, we stopped in the Champs de Mars park to take even more photos.

We found that you also have an amazing view from across the Seine at the Trocadero, and stopped later on for even more photos, and had a midnight drink outside on the heated patio of a cafe behind the Trocadero which had wonderful views, too.

Eiffel Tower

A Walk Through the Tuileries and the Champs Elysees

Eiffel Tower

After checking out the Louvre, we walked through the Tuileries, down the wide main boulevard through the park, taking some time to look at all the statues and fountains. I can’t wait to go back during the spring and see it all in bloom. At the end of the garden, there is a ferris wheel, an obelisk (a real one from Egypt!) and a neat view of the Eiffel tower, which looked kind of gloomy the first day we saw it. There were also some neat fountains and a view of the Arc de Triomphe.

Sunday, we went back and walked the other way down the Champs Elysees, and we stopped into a really interesting Toyota concept store/design gallery that had concept cars and other interesting design objects relating to technology and communications.

We also got to see the street at night. It was lined with trees with blue lights on them and they also had these long light tubes that light would fall down in that gave the impression of snow falling through the trees.

TuileriesChamps Elysees