a college student's five month quest to see europe and soak in la vie française

a college student's five month quest to see europe and soak in la vie française

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

barcelona with dad

words cannot describe how wonderful it was to travel through france and spain with my dad. we have always joked (although i, for one, am at least partly serious) about applying for the amazing race together because we both have an adventurous spirit and i'm confident that his sense of direction could compensate for my complete lack thereof. if you catch us on cbs in the near future, you'll know just how serious i am!

my dad hasn't had many opportunities to travel and this was likewise definitely my biggest trip so far so i think it's safe to say it was a week both of us will always remember. with sunny days spent sightseeing and bungee jumping and rainy nights spent searching for vegetarian-friendly tapas and the nearest haagen dazs, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect vacation. it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both of us — but i think i'll let the pictures do the talking!
delicious tapas restaurant, a very lucky find on our first night.
quick photo op on our way out.
wall of windows at sagrada familia — gaudi loved his natural light!
the heart of the cathedral, still under construction.
gorgeous stained glass windows.
i loved the juxtaposition here of the crane and all the steeples.
checking out the view...
as you can see, we were pretty high up!
on one of the balconies.
the ceiling — i think i could spend hours looking at it.
gaudi exhibit at sagrada familia.
rear facade of the cathedral.
windows in the cloisters.
proof of gaudi's genius: he figured out how much weight the foundation of his cathedral could support by creating an inverted system of bags of sand suspended by string.
schoolhouse designed by gaudi.
slanted tourist-taken shot outside sagrada familia.
view from the gaudi-designed parc guell.
this looked a lot closer from where we were standing...
there's dad to give you an idea of the scale.
some gardening a la gaudi in parc guell.
the monastery of montserrat from ground level.
dad's artsy shot of me in the courtyard of the monastery.
a brief interruption for prayer.
almost there!
on top of the world.
at the cross with montserrat behind us.
view from the top!
we were up there!
surveying the spot that we had just hiked to!
waterfall on the hillside leading up to montserrat.
passing another cable car on our descent.
marveling at yet another gaudi creation.
nervous smiles while our male guide, strangely named maria, suits me up.
somehow excited at the thought of a 25-meter jump and strangely confident in maria's ability not to let us die despite our inability to communicate with one another. (the extent of maria's english was this: "one, two, three: jump!"
didn't maria tell us not to look down? actually we wouldn't have known.
unhooking the carabiner and getting ready to jump.
sheer terror jumping backwards off the bridge. so happy that my camera captured this moment!
post-jump! that rush of adrenaline is unlike anything i had ever experienced.
our last picture in barcelona — standing with my beloved orange trees!
back in paris: in front of the arc de triomphe.
could the weather be any worse? note the eiffel tower being completely eclipsed by a rain cloud. i guess that's what we get after three days of spanish sunshine!
a quick stop at the louvre.
ending our vacation in the champs de mars in front of the eiffel tower.

after a tearful good-bye, dad was off to new york and i returned to my host family in tours. i was honestly heartbroken to see him go but, like i said, this is one trip we'll not soon forget.

dad, thank you for planning such an incredible week. you and i both know that these pictures only tell part of the story and that there are a million other details that we'll need to jot down somewhere so we don't forget a single moment. it was one hell of an adventure and i'm going to venture a guess that there aren't many other 52-year-olds who would jump off a 40-meter bridge just to say they did it. i hope i'm still bungee jumping at 52 and, more than that, i hope we will return to barcelona in twenty years to see the completed sagrada familia together. i had an awesome time with you and, given the chance, i wouldn't change a thing. (except, perhaps, the non-english-speaking guide! and even that turned out just fine.)

my heart is full; my cup runneth over. i love you!

Monday, February 15, 2010

valentine's day in paris

my long weekend in paris with michael was the perfect way to start my week-long february break. we made the most of some very chilly weather by making it to most of the major monuments and eating some very yummy food along the way.
the famous berthillon on île st. louis.
doesn't that look good? (it was!)
notre dame.
the famed rose window from the outside...
...and the inside of the cathedral.
the centre pompidou.
dramatic lighting in the exterior stairwells.
the eiffel tower from the centre pompidou at sunset.
roofline of the centre pompidou.
la durée.
take me back!
after descending from the top of the arc de triomphe.
bundled up and back on the ground.
the place de la concorde.
a cloudy day on the champs-elysées.
the sculpture garden at the louvre.
sampling our first macaroon.
contemplating the unique taste.
horsey statue.
general mayhem in the lobby of the louvre.
the only picture where you can tell i have hair.
yummy breakfast at miss manon.
a sunny morning at the invalides.
the musée de l'armée at the invalides.
the eiffel tower from trocadero square.
waiting in line at angelina.
passing the time in line by taking pretty pictures.
finally approaching the entrance.
early evening meal: coffee for me, african hot chocolate for michael, macaroons for everybody.
the eiffel tower sparkling on the hour.
at the top of the eiffel tower on valentine's day. pretty romantic! (michael saw a british guy proposing to his girlfriend. unfortunately i missed the actual down-on-one-knee part, but i saw the ring so i think that counts!)
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