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Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 17 - Last Night In Europe - Barcelona - Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia
Renaissance Barcelona

It is our last night on the road. Saturday by midnight - we will be back home. Lulu booked a nice room in Barcelona for us to get a good rest before we flew home on Delta. We leave here Saturday at 1 PM our time - we get home at midnight Tallahassee time. We go through Amsterdam and Atlanta. 

You can't go to Barcelona without seeing this wonderful cathedral - Sagrada Familia. It was started by Antonio Gaudi almost 150 years ago. They are still building it at the cost of about $22 million a year. It has been funded completely by private funds. 

It is hard to explain how big it is and how different it is. It is not something I would build. I tend to like simple lines - and elementary motifs. I am happy with just a few repeating patterns. I am also not a church attender - as a kid I was "suffer the children to come onto me" - I did a little too much suffering :-)  Although I am not a  church goer - I like people that do go. I enjoy people that have found their rut in life - and are happy on that track. 

There is a mystery to me as to why the Christian faith has endured all these years. The religious art is fascinating - and how it has survived 2000 years. Although I have tried to go along with the story that Jersus was born and 33 years later his father decided to let him die for our sins - then he brought him back to life in 3 days. Again - I am not putting down a religion - especially a religion that is based on the Golden Rule and the 10 Commandments. But to me - too many people have been killed in the name of religion. 

I love traveling all over Europe and seeing these old buildings - old statues - and old paintings. I love seeing relics - pieces of saint's bodies - etc. It would be fun doing some DNA testing on these things. Having had my share of perfect attendance pins at Bethany Church - and also staying the extra hour to sing in the junior choir - I remember the stories. 

This Cathedral - Sagrada Familia - is a wonder of the world. It does amaze me that the logistics could go on 150 years. 

Lulu decided to get a really nice hotel for the last night. The Barcelona Renaissance is very different - like the cathedral. The windows are shaped like palm fronds. The elevators are all glass - on all 4 sides - and they move like rockets - the fastest I have ever seen. You enter your room by laying your card next to the door and just pushing - the door opens. The room is all white - white walls - white furniture - no pictures - the only thing on the wall is the TV. There are no lamps - the whole side table lights up. The bathroom and shower has glass walls. When you take a shower - you are the entertainment. The window shades are electric and white. The only private spot is a tiny toilet closet - again all in white. The floor is light wood. The bathrooms are white marble.

It all makes me feel like at home :-)   Saturday at midnight - we will be there - unless we get bumped.


Our hotel room window.
Barcelona from our room.
126 euros a night - beautiful.
The metro to the cathedral - 2 euros

Clean - modern - fast - subway. 
Sunset at Sagrada Familia









Lulu touching cathedral

Note the beautiful detailed work

Lizard


Serpent




more statues





Cathedral has its own subway stop

Natural side - looks like  nuclear melt







Lulu and Max's soccer ball





Some heroes at a souvenir stand


Barcelona soccer team is hot right now.




model of cathedral



Gaudi is worshipped here



Day 17 - Cruise Complete - Back in Barcelona - Flying Home Tomorrow



Our one week cruise of the Mediterranean Sea is over. It was a very nice. We are at the Rennaisance Hotel in Barcelona for a rest between the cruise and our flights home. We have a spectacular room on the 18th floor overlooking the city.

The best part is being back to really fast free Internet. Also our iPhones work on the Spain Vodafone system. You really miss those services on the ship.

So far on our trip we have visited these cities - Atlanta - New York - Barcelona - Palma (Majorca) - Valencia - Barcelona - Marseilles - Savona - Genoa - Naples - Palermo (Italy) - Vattelli (Malta) - and back again to Barcelona. We fly home through - Amsterdam and Atlanta on Delta. We hope for a bump.

It is hard to pick a favorite place. Each one had wonderful highlights. I am guessing we might return to Malta for a longer stay. First - we like its old world charm and history. Second - the British influence and the English Language. Third - the weather. Fourth - a good jumping off to other places with cheap flights.

We traveled with one carry-on suitcase and one backpack. We had more than enough. I could have left maybe 5 clothing items home. Even Lulu - with all her fancy conference clothes - had enough room to buy a pair of Italian shoes.

We did not spend a lot of money. On ship we paid for a few mixed drinks - a little casino work - and a Facebook connection. Off ship - we bought some meals - rental car - taxis - some gifts - trinkets - and Lulu's shoes.

Since we were already in Spain for a conference - it was a cheap way to see several cities and countries - with a nice moving hotel and restaurant. Our next cruise will probably be in Baltic Sea during the middle of the summer season. There are cruises that cover Germany - Norway - Sweden - Finland - Denmark - Russia - Latvia - etc. If we are over to Europe on a mission to England or Germany - it would be a nice side trip.

Lulu's Program Ranked Number One in the Nation

"FSU grad program in school library media remains at No. 1

Several programs rank high on U.S. News list

BYRON DOBSON

DEMOCRAT SENIOR WRITER

Several Florida State University graduate programs had strong showings in U.S. News & World Report's 2018 edition of "Best Graduate Schools" released Tuesday.

For the fifth year in a row, FSU's school library media program ranked No. 1. Its services for children and youth program ranked seventh nationally."

Excerpt From: 03/16/2017. "Tallahassee Democrat." Tallahassee Democrat, 2017-03-16. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 15 - Malta

We are in the absolute center of the Old World - Malta - in the center of the Med Sea. From here the boat head back to Barcelona - then the plane to Tallahassee.

Lulu and I love the British influence on this old colony. You see school kids in British outfit - full British breakfasts - statues of Churchill.

The town is high up on cliffs. You can see the elevator to get there in the picture. We only have 5 hours here - enough to. Say you were here and think you are an expert.

We are in Velletti. Their parliament is here. They also have a bunch of old ceremonial canons overlooking the harbor.

A McDonald's provide me free wifi.

The Maltese Cross - a favorite of the Nazis is all over here. The Maltese Cross is also the dominate item in Duke Eberhard's coat of arms.

We cruise 2 days to Barcelona and spend a night there. Then we fly home - hoping to get bumped in Amsterdam.

We got a message from home that FSU's school library program was once again picked by US News and World Report as the top program in the country.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 13 - Palermo Sicily

We are on a hop on hop off bus in Palermo. We have the front seat on the upper deck. It is wide open. Sunny. Temp 62. 

The bus is 15 euros a day. It has headphones in English. It also has wifi. I am posting as we roll. We just had Sicilian pizza. 

Lots of Vespa and Honda scooters. Gas is $6.40 a gallon here. Diesel is $5.60. 

Lulu just bought a pair of Italian shoes for 30 euros. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 12 - Naples

It is noon Monday - we land in Naples Italy at 2 pm. We only have 6 hours here - our shortest stop. Naples is the home of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. 

Vesuvius is considered a ticking time bomb. When it erupts - the energy makes atomic bombs look puny. We were here last year and hiked to the top. It was smoking - you could smell the sulfur from hell. 

Our ship offers social media on the internet for 5 euros a day. You can read and post messages and pictures. So if I can't get you my regular web page- go to Facebook and search for "harry Everhart"

The trip has been great. Our room fantastic. Food great. Ship smooth. Entertainment good. No crowds. 

I took this picture of Vesuvius now but we have 2 hours until embarking. We will have a big lunch on board - grab some fruit - and head out. 

Our captain just did a beautiful parallel parking job. He backed in about a mile spun the wheel - and pulled right up to the dock. Lots of harbor cops were watching. 

It is bright sunny and 60. The hotel we stayed at when here last March is a block or so away. It is on the other side of this castle we did not tour last time. I have a feeling we will get sun burn here. 

The Isle of Capri is just off our balcony. Maybe 5 miles. 

We are downtown Naples now. We just toured Nivea Castle - from 1279 AD. We had the castle to ourselves. 

We are at a cafe with wifi. We leave Naples at 8 pm