Welcome to part two of our European tour! After leaving Paris we traveled to Barcelona, Spain by high speed train. It took us about 6 1/2 hours to travel the 500+ miles. We enjoyed first class accommodations and wonderful views of the countryside as we rode along the tracks.
Our purpose for visiting Spain was my Yoga Trapeze training at the Yogabody Studios in Barcelona. We arrived Monday evening at our flat in the Gracia region of the city; a wonderful neighborhood filled with tradition. There was a lovely little square nearby, and a bakery, on the corner, with delicious empanadas.
I was not able to see as much of Barcelona as Dave was since I was in training most of the time we were there. We did a LOT of walking though. Each morning I left the flat a bit before 7:00 am to get to the studio before class began at 7:30 am. Dave usually walked with me, then he’d walk back to Gracia. Then he’d walk back to the studio to meet me for our break, and this went on 3 times each day. The training schedule was 2 hours of training, 2 hour break, 2 hours of training, 2 hour break, 2 hours of training, 1 1/2 hour break, 1 1/2 hour lecture. Whew. . .we finished about 8:00 each night.
There are 3 Yogabody studios in Barcelona, but nearly all of our training was at Yogabody 3:
During the walk to the studios in the morning one of the landmarks was this cathedral:
It was lovely lit in reds. There is a square just in front of it with a fountain, though you can’t see that in this shot.
We did have one day of touring the city together, which we spent at La Sagrada Familia. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, the project began in 1883 and he labored on it for 43 years. When he died in 1926 the church was about 20% complete. The work was stopped during the Spanish Civil War and began again in the 1950s.
Today, the work continues, funded exclusively by private donation and entry fees. It is anticipated that the church will be finished in 2026, for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. The detail is amazing both inside and out.
We climbed one of the towers for this amazing view of the city:
Recently watching an episode of Blindspot, which was filmed in Barcelona, I noticed several familiar places, including La Sagrada Familia.
Visiting in early December allowed us to enjoy the festive lights on display at night.
One local landmark that I didn’t find particularly appealing, but couldn’t really go unnoticed was La Torre Agbar-
For those interested in learning more about this structure, click this link.
As the week went on we began to appreciate the opportunities to walk around the city enjoying the sights.
Again, we will need to return because there is still so much we didn’t get to visit, including the Picasso museum, the Gaudi homes, the Cathedral of Barcelona, the many quaint neighborhoods, and of course, the Mediterranean.
In our time there we saw little sign of the Catalan Independence Movement, except for the occasional flag draped over a balcony.
After our 6 nights in Barcelona we began the trek to Monte Carlo, Monaco. This train adventure proved to be long and exhausting, but so worth the journey.
Adeu per ara!
Many of you may know that Dave and I traveled to Europe recently. The idea for this trip began when I registered for a Yoga Trapeze training in Barcelona. Eventually, we realized that going to Europe for a few days and being busy with the training the entire time made no sense, so we expanded the trip to two weeks and elected to visit several other places. Ultimately we elected to start our trip in Paris and end it in Rome. I’ve decided to share our trip with you one city at a time. Let’s begin at the beginning – Paris.
We flew Delta into Charles de Gaulle airport. As a night flight we left Boston at 7:00 PM and arrived Paris at 8:30 AM. Paris is 6 hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time, so the flight was actually only 7.5 hours, non-stop. At 8:30 in the morning the last thing we wanted to do was stand in a long line, but that’s exactly what we had to do at customs. It took us over two hours to get through since they only had two customs officers working and the line must have had over 200 people in it. Once we managed to get through that ordeal we began to find our bearings, which meant finding the train that would take us to the neighborhood where our airbnb rental was. We had great directions from our host and made it to Montreuil where we had a flat for the next two days. It was raining and windy when we arrived, but we managed to find our place which was small, but very comfortable, and in a sweet little neighborhood. It took us about 3 hours to get to our flat from the time our plane landed.
Montreuil is the equivalent of a suburb and had a farmer’s market in the center of town. On Saturday one of the streets was lined with vendors selling local products and demonstrating local crafts. We bought some local cheese and fresh breads for our dinner.
On our second day we took the metro into Paris and began our adventure at Notre Dame Cathedral.
I think the pictures speak for themselves. Inside, the cathedral reminded me very much of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. We were there on Sunday morning so did have the opportunity to see part of a service.
Next we ventured to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomphe)
We strolled down the most famous of Paris streets and enjoyed a lovely late lunch there.
We then continued all the way to the end of the street toward the Louvre. It was too late in the day to go into the museum, so now we have an excuse to go back.
Finally, we headed to Le Tour Eiffel, which we wanted to see at night.
It was quite impressive, though I have to say I enjoyed the views of the tower much more from a distance. Up close it loses some of iconic appeal. We did not venture to the top because 1. it was getting late, 2. there was a long line,(Le Tour Eiffel is the most visited paid monument in the world) and 3. it was too cold to stand outside in that long line. (Yet another reason to return to Paris.)
Upon our return to Montreuil we had a late, by our standards, dinner at a local restaurant. The next day we took the high-speed train from Paris to Barcelona. It was very enjoyable and I took the following pictures from the train.
Stay tuned for Barcelona next week, to be followed by Monte Carlo and Rome!
NO, I haven’t forgotten to put together a Sweetwater Lane 2018 calendar! I have been working on it ferociously between my day job, my coursework, my yoga classes, my granddaughter, and family! WHEW, there’s a lot going on, and I love it. Life is such a great adventure.
So, here it comes – 2018! I’ve included the photographs you can expect to see in the new calendar below. Leave a comment here, or connect with me on Facebook or via email if you would like to order one, or two, or three. They do make great gifts for anyone who is passionate about the beauty of the Northeast Kingdom. This year’s price is the same – $20.00 each/$5.00 shipping and handling.