After landing from our overnight flight from NYC we rushed into that relentless Paris sunlight otherwise we may have slept the day away. Even with our baby missing half a nights sleep we saw a lot of Central Paris:
We learned about the Alhambra in Architectural History and we’ve been really looking forward to getting over there since then. Problem was, I didn’t realize how many other people felt the same way. It was probably the most crowded architectural site I’ve ever been to. (more than the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, Statue of Liberty…) So actually touring the site wasn’t as enjoyable as I hoped, but it was beautiful. And HUGE. It’s a walled city on a hill with multiple palaces and gardens.
beach, Barcelona Pavillon, Contemporary Art Museum
lots of cab rides
We did so much in our short 36 hours in Barcelona, mostly by hopping in and out of cabs which were really easy and cheap. Probably the best part of the day was Paella on the beach. I don’t take photos of food but I’m kind of regretting that decision this time. Our big plate of rice, muscles, scallops, shrimp, rabbit, and sausage… perfectly yellow with saffron. And a glass of white wine to wash it down with.
This hospital was not designed by Gaudi, but it shares its whimsy and time period with many of Gaudi’s work. Also, Gaudi died here after getting hit by a tram. The Hospital de la Santa Creu is another example of Catalan civil-Gothic architecture
Casa Mila was designed by Gaudi in 1906 and was full of textures, colors, curves. Loved it. Just wish we could live in an apartment where someone cared to design everything down to the window hardware.
The stank of Fez Tanneries is worth enduring for a glimpse at the leather making process of Morocco. We were harassed by a few different guys trying to get money out of us just to see the tannery, but it was pretty amazing seeing the vats of dye, fresh hides, and over worked donkeys.
I could gush about Istanbul for hours. It’s possibly my favorite city I’ve ever been to… truly vibrant and layered. And of course the old cliche “where east meets west” could not be more correct. My one regret was shortening our trip because of the fear of terrorism and political unrest. We felt safe and comfortable on our short whirlwind tour of the city. Take notice of the number and size of Turkish flags. I’m curious the appearance of the city before the coup attempt.
Galata felt similar to Williamsburg, complete with a Shake Shack. I couldn’t believe it. Specialty boutiques and sidewalk cafes lined windy cobblestone streets. Women in full burkas next to hipsters in tiny cut-off shorts.
Not pictured: going to a traditional Turkish Hammam (Cagaloglu Hammam) and awkwardly bathing ourselves alone in a massive stone hall with natural light streaming in from the dome above.
Next site seeing stop was Topkapi Palace, located with a view of the Bosphorus and the skyline of Istanbul. The ornament was varied but always vibrant and elaborate. Hand painted tiles and gold everywhere. We especially loved wandering the Harem where the royals immediate family and servants lived.