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

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

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!


  1. What a beautiful tribute to an incredible vacation! Dad has not stopped smiling since I picked him up on Sunday night! Thank you for sharing these incredible images and for the lovely story lines that accompany each. Job well done! Love, Beth

  2. How fun! Everybody should go to Europe, or any other country from the one they were born in, at least once.

  3. you actually blow my mind. your pictures are INCREDIBLE - i had no idea what a phenomenal photographer you are. your writing is exquisite, your descriptions perfect, your technique flawless. i love you, i miss you.


  4. Looks like you had a divine time! x

  5. i got teary eyed just reading your note for your dad. i lost my dad when i was 10 and never then imagined and dream walking the isle without him. glad you have him and enjoy every moment and always say the 'i love you' every time you have the chance. again, lovely photos..


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