My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Park Güell ~ Barcelona

Dec. 25, 2014

We had wanted to visit the park and headed out on Christmas morning knowing that we had tickets for 12:30 to tour Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. We rode the subway to the closet metro Lemmen, and as we offloaded the subway a nice young woman was standing there helping tourists explaining that it was necessary to take the bus to the park because it was a long walk. She shared with us that you take bus number 24 to the park. We also learned it was an 8 euro entry. At that point we decided to hold off and go to the park in the afternoon AFTER our other tour, because she said you buy tickets to enter at a specific time on the 1/2 hour you can stay as long as you want but once you leave you can not return.

The park was inspired by the craze in England to have garden parks, hence the name “Parc”. This park was requested by Count Eusebi Güell, where of course it got its name. The site very high on the hills of Barcelona was a rocky with little growth of anything but a few trees. At the time very few people wanted to go up there because it was difficult to get to, no easy way up the hill.

Eusebi Güell asked Antoni Gaudí, at the time an up and coming a architect to design the park. It took 14 years to complete from 1900-14, and became an official city park in 1926. The park was listed World Heritage Site in 1984 because it highlighted Gaudi’s work.

We found the visit to be enjoyable and again to be overloaded with Gaudi’s work. He was of course influenced greatly by nature as you notice throughout.










infamous art work at the entry to the park


amazing art work made from broken tiles.


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Flamenco dancers; Casa Patas, Madrid

Dec. 21, 2014

Thanks to our sweet hostess Blanca we had front row seat tickets to see the Flamenco dancers. Flamenco is a traditional folk dance in Spain. It originated in the southern region of Spain, in Andalusia.

The show we attended contained all the traditional components, “cante” (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps). It was very strong and powerful. Reminded us of the strength of Alaska Native traditional dance. This form of dance is related to the Romani people of Spain and dates back to the late 1700’s.

Our tickets were for the Casa Patas show. They were all the traditional guitar player, violin player, percussion player, and 2 main vocals, as well as three main dancers. We left there feeling as if we’ve had a very powerful cultural experience. My only disappointment was that the vision I’d had in my of head of many women in beautiful dresses was not in this show. Only one female dancer with no flowery flowing dress.

However the two male dancers were powerful and we enjoyed it very much.

If you want to go get tickets in advance and reserve a front row seat, the dancers are in your lap and you even get some sweat tossed on you 😕http://www.flamencotickets.com/casa-patas-madrid




Andorra; the smallest state in Europe

Dec. 26, 2014

Glad we got an early start as we headed north out of Barcelona to Andorra. We had no trouble getting out of the city as it was the day after Christmas and seem to be no one was working today. We headed north and hit a lot of fog to start with however it cleared and the views became beautiful. Once we reached Andorra we thought we had to possibly clear customs or something, but we simply just crossed the border into a new country, guess that’s the European Nations way!

We stopped in the first little town center St Julia, for some breakfast and coffee and enjoy just walking around town for a bit. The town of Andorra is very reminiscent of an Aspen or Vail, a typical resort/ ski town. Andorra is in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains, sandwiched between France and Spain. It is only 180 square miles and a majority of that is forests, lakes, rivers and mountains only 8% is urbanized. Just over 75,000 people live in the country and Today tourism is it’s leading economy however agriculture was its traditional economy.

We learned that Andorra did not even become a country enjoying the UN until 1993. No wonder many are unaware it is a country.

Our visit was only about an hour and a half however on our way out of the country line to enter had extended to at least a mile to a mile and a half, Spaniards were heading to Andorra for a winter weekend getaway. We lucked out!

We had debated whether to take the highway through the mountains or the straight highway below! We decided start on a mountain route ~ for about 1 mile, until we discovered while driving a stick shift on those curvy, curvy, curvy, slow roads I’d probably kill myself or Harry before the trip was done. Backtracked the miler so and headed out on the highway we were still blessed with amazing views of the scenery around Northern Spain and the Pyrenees mountains.

Another town we stopped in was Jaca, as we noticed a beautiful fort surrounding a hillside. Upon inspection we discovered it was Castillo de San Pedro.

But I do have to say that the highlight of the day after being on the road for about 10 hours was pulling into our sweet little town up in the mountains called Sos del Rey Catoilico. The sun was setting as we drove towards it which made it even more magical. We easily found her hotel and we’re delighted when we walked in and saw the beauty of this quaint little town. The family that owns the hotel and mentioned to us that there was a concert starting at 7 PM in the church down the way. We opted to go be one with the community and enjoy the show tremendously.

No pictures of the community to add to the blog yet but I’ll try to add some tomorrow. All the other shots from today are either from Andorra for the road trip.