Archive for December, 2015

Dinosaur Tracks and Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2015. Filed under: American Southwest, Philosophy | Tags: , , , |


It boggles the mind that a creature could have trod so long ago on this very spot!  Something with 3 toes!  The American southwest is full of delightful surprises like this.  It makes me feel small and insignificant in the vast scheme of time.  But Christmas reminds me that I am a child of the King of kings.  I was important enough for God Himself to step down from His throne to become a human baby; to come to all of us to save us all from our self-made miserable little lives.   Merry Christmas and thank you, thank you to my heavenly Father for the best gift of all, Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us!

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Barcelona’s Sagrada Família

Posted on December 20, 2015. Filed under: Spain, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , |

Our first approach through a little park was not a surprise as we were eagerly looking for the façade to come into view…


But the magnificence was already apparent.  Begun in 1882, and designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), the building is still under construction.  Cranes are busy all over the place.  And when we got closer we could see the line that stretched all around the entire city block on which the building sits.

In my view, it is foolish to stand in that line, wasting a whole day of your vacation!  We learned our lesson at Park Güell from 2 days prior.  After that bad experience of waiting too long to get in, I came back to our apartment to research buying tickets online.  I was glad I did because the wait was 2 days for online tickets!  It did make me a little nervous because I had never done this before and I had no way to print out the tickets I bought.  I found out this is unnecessary as they will scan your phone at the entrance and you are on your way.  We did have to find the proper entrance for this, but it wasn’t too hard to do that and we had arrived plenty early for our entry time slot so we weren’t too bothered.  We bought tickets for entry and for the elevator up the towers.  So, visiting this cathedral went off without a hitch for us.


I am putting a lot of photos in this post, but I have to just accept that they are so inadequate.  I have been in a lot of European cathedrals, all magnificent in their own way, but this place actually took my breath away when I entered.  It seemed otherworldly to me, and so special, yes, I would say holy.  Holy means set apart and completely unique.  These are perfect descriptions of this space.



The rainbow windows and soaring, plant-like pillars created these otherworldly effects.

Don’t miss the museum in the basement showing how the building was designed.  You can look into the workshop where they are still carving stone too.


After this, the bus back home for fresh fish from the market for dinner.  What a great day!

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Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Posted on December 8, 2015. Filed under: Spain, Travel | Tags: , , , , |


We passed by on the bus in the morning.  The line outside snaked around and wasn’t moving at all.  I made a mental note to check on it when we passed on our return because, of course, we had to see  Casa Batlló, one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece apartment buildings from 1904.

This is another time to buy tickets online, but, happily we discovered that late in the afternoon the line disappears and you can waltz right in (at least in November.)  So we squeezed an audio tour in at the end of our day.  Of course this place is more magnificent in person than any pictures I’d ever seen of it.


Whenever we tour historic homes I love to imagine living there.  This apartment was so unusual it was a little hard to do.  It would have been quite an oddball in its day.


And yet, the attention to things like light and airflow would have made it more comfortable than most dwellings.


And the beautiful lines, colors and details are everywhere.  Door handles are molded from human hands and even the servants’ quarters and roof are part of the design.

This was a great way to close out our long day of Antoni Gaudí’s work.



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Barcelona’s Park Güell

Posted on December 5, 2015. Filed under: Spain, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , |

DSC07438We did some things right and some things wrong.  Isn’t that always the case when you are traveling by your own wits?  It’s also part of the adventure.  Our first full day in Barcelona I was itching to get to the famous Park Güell, designed by  Antoni Gaudí, the famous modernist architect in 1900 to serve a small community of well-off society.  It had grown larger than life in my imagination and I wanted to sit on those undulating, mosaicked benches!

We proudly hopped on a city bus to take us to the north into very residential areas.  This is always fun.  You get to see how people actually live in a place, not just the busy tourist areas.  Also, the number of tourists on these buses are usually low and those that are there are like us, and we often meet interesting, adventurous people!  Also, it’s a bit nerve-wracking because, “Yikes!  How will we know where to get off!  And how does one indicate to the driver to stop?  And how do you get the door to open!?”  All these things get figured out in a snap, sometimes with and sometimes without help of local passengers.

When you unload you are a bit rattled from the experience, but also gratified that, indeed, you used the bus to arrive!  Ok, so we got to the entrance and found out that we made a big mistake.  Here is my proclamation for you if you are going to Barcelona (even in the supposed low season, which I don’t think really exists):  Use your smartphone to make reservations at all Gaudí sites unless you go very, very late in the day except for the cathedral for which you absolutely should have reservations in advance.


We had to wait in line for an hour in the hot sun to get a ticket which gave us an entrance time 2 hours later.  So we killed 3 hours of our first day in Barcelona waiting around at the entrance to the park.  If I had just gotten the tickets on my telephone we could have waltzed right in.  It is very easy to go on the websites of these sites and purchase tickets.  Then you just show your phone and they scan it.  Boom, done.

Ok, so I can learn!  But for this day we were stuck.  There was nowhere to go, really, and the vendors at the entrance knew they had us.  Sky high prices for ice cream, water, and soda.  And, although it was October, it was hot in the sun, so we did spring for some water.  When we finally got in it was worth it, of course, there is no place like this anywhere in the world!  I felt as though I was inside a piece of art.


In spite of the tickets and specific entrance times, it was quite crowded.  We had to wait in a line of sorts to get that photo of us with the lizard fountain.  The good part, though, is how all the various tourists from literally everywhere help each other out taking pictures for each other.  This simple act always warms my heart.

That morning I had thoughts of seeing the park in the morning and the cathedral in the afternoon.  Ha!  I knew that wasn’t happening, but we did pass Casa Batlló on the way to the park.  The line for that stretched very, very far.  But now, later in the day, I wondered what that line would look like.  Next time I’ll tell you about Casa Batlló!


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Sisters in a Slot Canyon

Posted on December 4, 2015. Filed under: American Southwest, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , , , , , |


Traveling with a sister
What joy to slip
Between the slot canyon walls!
Pictures snapping all around
The colors, the lines, the space
So sinuous.
We are amazed.

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Quiet Place at Arches National Park

Posted on December 2, 2015. Filed under: American Southwest, Poetry, Travel | Tags: , , , , , |

DSC00103 (more…)

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