Monday, June 18, 2012


We took a one week hop over to Portugal for a quick look around.  Turns out, we liked Spain much better, but there was a lot of beautiful stuff to see in Portugal too.  So here we go.

The Main Square in Lisbon

Ahhh!! The cafe life.

The royal square where the ships of discovery arrived, and where the last king was assassinated in the early 20th century.

The spot where the discovery ships left from and to which they returned.

The pretty little town of Obidos.

Inside of the gothic Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcabaca in the town of Alcabaca.

One of the "lovers's tombs in the Monastery of Alcabaca.  It's a long story.

The Monastery of Batalha.
Inside the monastery at Batalha. 

The church at Fatima.

The little chapel where the tree was supposed to have been in which the three children saw the Virgin of Fatima.  Note the lady crawling around it on her knees inside of the white wall.

The red rooftops of Lisbon from the St. George's Castle above the city.

St. George's Castle

Some of the royal barges in the collection at the maritime museum in Lisbon. 

Colorful fishing boats at the maritime museum.

Inside  the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, Lisbon.

Tomb of Vasco de Gama in the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, Lisbon.

The royal carriage museum in Lisbon.

That's gold, baby!

The beautiful mountain town of Sentra, a retreat of the royals.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mediterranian Beach Towns

We took a couple of day trips out of Barcelona, one north and one south.  We visited a few beach towns and little walled medieval villages.  Here are a few pictures.

We went into lots of churches and cathedrals on our trip.  Most are full of gold and silver and lots of carvings and paintings.  My two favorites were a medieval monastery in Barcelona that had no decorations in its chapel, and a small church in one of the towns on these tours which also had almost no decoration.  But, that little church did have this vending machine where one could by a candle to light.  We have never seen anything like this!!

Medieval toilet in the wall surrounding one of the little medieval towns we visited.

Roman aqueduct

On our tour to the southern coast, this lovely lady was in our van of 4 people.  Turns out, she was Gil's next door neighbor in San Francisco for 13 years.  He hadn't seen her for probably 15 years.  Sure is a small world!

This part of Spain was really beautiful, at least while we were there.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and it was tempting to think it would be a nice place to live.  But, there is the summer to think about.  HOT!!  HOT!! HOT!!!  Nice place to visit, but Cuenca is better year round.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Barcelona is known for it's creative architecture.  Gaudi is it's most famous architect, but there are a lot of interesting buildings in Barcelona in addition to the one's designed by Gaudi.  Below is just a sampling of some of Barcelona's interesting buildings.  I'm not saying they're all beautiful, but they are unique.  I've identified some of them.  Others are, well, just buildings.

La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi)

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Hospital St. Pau by Lluis Domenech i Montenar in the Modernist style

Close up of Hospital St. Pau

La Casa Mila by Gaudi

These two structures are buildings.  The tall thin one does look larger from another side.

The bull ring.  All of the bull rings are really pretty and very decorated.

The serpentine wall in Gaudi's Parque Guell

One of the gate houses at Parque Guell

The Catalona Music Palace by Lluis Domenech i Montenar

More of the Music Palace

Inside of the Music Palace