Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Paris, France

I hate to even write about this. This evening was the worst we've had in a lonnnng time. After a long, hot day in Barcelona and a sad goodbye, we hailed a cab. The cab took us to our hotel and waited on us while we grabbed our luggage. We loaded the car and were off to the airport! Unfortunately, our flight was delayed. I crashed on top of my backpack for a much needed nap. We flew into Paris and were excited to see a few landmarks. It took us forever to figure out how to get a ticket to take the train into the city. It took even longer to actually reach the city. Once we were there, we took off walking. Our first stop was Notre Dame Cathedral.
paris - 12
At this point, it was probably around 11pm.
paris - 10
paris - 13
paris - 11
paris - 8
paris - 7
We had a map of the city, but went the wrong way for a little while. The river was a little confusing. We were exhausted, but were trying to save money for our cab ride back to the airport so we opted to walk and walk and walk. We sooo wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. It was in our sights, but didn't seem to be getting any closer. The streets of Paris reeked. They were dark and somewhat creepy. We stayed away from people and charged ahead.
paris - 5
paris - 4
A look back at Notre Dame.
paris - 3
We walked past the Louvre.
paris - 6
The Eiffel Tower was beautiful. We could see the lights as we walked towards it. It semed surreal, a bit magical. We were excited at the idea of standing beneath it. Two hours of walking and we were upon it. The tower started to twinkle and literally, as we rounded the corner to walk up to it, the Eiffel Tower went dark. Completely dark. The area was deserted. No one was there. It was 1am. We'd missed it. We were heartbroken, tired, and hungry all at the same time. There would be no pictures of the Eiffel Tower. There'd be no kiss at the Eiffel Tower. We were completely bummed.
paris - 1
This is all I got and it is pretty much the worse quality ever.
paris - 2
Sad, mad and tired. Our night didn't end here. We caught a taxi that would take us back to the airport. The ride cost us over 60 euros. That's a lot of money when converted to dollars. Just as Daniel predicted, the airport was closed. Hmmmm...there enters a problem. I checked out the cost of a hotel and at the whopping price of 250 euros, we made the decision to sleep.on.the.floor. As I walked through the airline/baggage check of the airport, I noticed that the couchs and chairs were all taken. I noticed homeless persons with shopping carts. Scared, yes I was. This was not the same as camping. At all. We crawled behind a bench and layed down on the floor. I scrunched a plastic bag under my head, wrapped my arms around my backpack (with thousands of dollars of camera gear inside), covered up as best as I could with my little hoodie, and fell asleep without any dinner. Around 5:30am, we awoke to the airport crew creating the lines we'd soon have to stand in. We decided we couldn't sleep through the noise and headed for the security lines. After 6am, security opened and we were searching for a cozy chair to sleep in. We found what we were looking for and crashed, but this time the Paris airport had cranked the AC down as low as it would go and I couldn't feel my extremities. Misery, again. Finally, hours later Daniel and I boarded a jet set for Houston. Ahhhh, Houston. Home. The USA. Yes! On a side note, I vowed not to let Paris ruin the otherwise amazing 10 days I'd spent in Europe. Laugh if you will, but please don't ask me about Paris. I'll have to go back someday in order to erase this terrible memory.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Barcelona, Spain

Since it was freezing in our room, I woke up and flung open the window to help us thaw out. We dressed and packed our bags so that when we returned with the taxi, we could grab them in a hurry. Breakfast in Barcelona was super yummy...the greatest selection we had. After breakfast we toured Barcelona by bus. Thank goodness for air conditioning.
spain - 33
Every evening, Paolo placed our itinerary in the lobby. I absolutely loved his drawings.
spain - 6
This area of Spain is in Catalan.
spain - 27
La Sagrada Familia. This church was built by Antoni Gaudi. Construction began in 1882 and the church STILL isn't completed. It's never been used. They continue building the church from donations. Crazy!
spain - 28
spain - 29
spain - 30
spain - 31
spain - 32
spain - 25
The nativity.
spain - 76
spain - 77
The front of the church is intricate, ornate, detailed...amazing.
spain - 26
Still working!
spain - 79
spain - 74
The back of the church is completely different. It represents death, I think. I didn't like this side nearly as much.
spain - 73
spain - 75
spain - 24
We then drove up to the Park Guell, also by Gaudi.
spain - 20

spain - 21
spain - 22
I LOVE this one!
spain - 23
Love this bench! It was huge and gorgeous and also comfortable.
spain - 17
spain - 4
spain - 72
Love. Love. Love.
spain - 14
spain - 16
spain - 15
spain - 13
Daniel was hot and tired.
We also visited the area where the museums are and the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.
spain - 35
spain - 9
spain - 8
Daniel and Denise.
spain - 7
spain - 1
spain - 2
spain - 3
Vivian, Rick, Rachel, Mike, Tristin, Jakeob and Carly.
spain - 11
spain - 10
spain - 12
spain - 19
spain - 71
spain - 70
Christopher Columbus statue.

Saying goodbye to Spain...we drove around and then got out for lunch. Just Rick, Denise, Daniel and I sat down to eat. First the 13 kiddos from Denver gave us a group hug and screamed goodbyeto us . Tears rolled down my cheeks as I soaked up the last of our newly made friendships. Some of these kids I may never see again and that made me sad. Denise and Rick treated us to Spanish sangria and lunch. They prayed over us and hugged us tightly, whispering I love you's. I didn't make it to the door before I was sobbing. Daniel knew that my heart was heavy. We were walking away from people that we'd fallen in love with in only a matter of days.
We had an amazing time together. Daniel and I needed this time away from home, away from the busyness of our lives. My favorite thing about this trip to Europe was that we met people that changed us, grew us, challenged us to become more of who we are. I can't wait to take that felling home.