La Sagrada Familia

Today’s step result ended at 22 000 steps. I have been hoping to get at least 20 000 per day, but that is a lot! My feet are flat after almost 55 000 steps in just three days time. Even with my memory foam sneakers. And we haven’t even been to Park Güell or Park Montjuïc.

Today’s focus was the number one attraction in Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia. We had booked tickets in advance but I didn’t think the lines were that long outside, but better to be prepared.

We started with the tower of passion. Just walked through the church and its amazingness without really soaking it in, we had a time slot for the tower. Elevator up 65m. It honestly felt like much more. We timed our visit well with the special bell ringing too. Crazy loud and special. Got a good view of the whole city from small openings in the tower on different sides. We walked along spiral staricases downstairs and it was good that there were photospots along the way, otherwise we would have been super dizzy. Although we did become super dizzy at the end of the staircase where it was super narrow and scary.

Down in the church, we picked up our audio guides listened to the guide talking about the exterior and interior. I have nothing else to say other than WOW times a million! I love churches, I have seen many, but let’s be honest, most of them are rather similar. Not this one. I promise you have never seen anything like it. I most certainly have not!

First of all, this is a basilica under construction, it is at the end and about to be finished (in hopefullt 8 years when Gaudi, the architect of the thing, has his 100th anniversery of his death). The construction started in 1882 and I think Gaudi had it all planned out from the beginning. I think he must have had some type of obsession disorder or something. Because he thought of everything! He loved nature and the whole church was inspired by it. From the outside that can be seen from the big cyrprus tree over the current entrance (it won’t be the main entrance when it is finished). The inside is supposed to look like a forest and you definitely get that feeling when you are inside. The arches of the basilica are very high up and in order for the biggest tower (which isn’t built yet) to hold, the pillars are made from different stones to hold better, but they are also divided at the top to take more weight. Resembling branches of trees. It is so beautiful!

The windows are different colored depending on which point of the compass it faces. I can’t remember if it had warm colors facing the morning sun or something like that. Really pretty though!

The style is one of a kind and it is hard to describe. Definitely gothic, but kind of fairytale and fantasy as well. I totally recommend it! And I plan to go back when it is done. Everyone is so confused as to why it takes so long to build, but all big churches has taken several hundred years to build. Why wouldn’t a modern church take almost the same mount of time? I get it. And I am very happy that I will be able to see it finished (hopefully).

 

Our next stop was La Pedrera which was kinda close by to La Sagrada Familia. The same architect: Antoni Gaudi. He designed an apartment building but it cost 20 Euro to get inside so we just watched the facade. It was still cool, but it probably would have been cooler on the inside and definitely on the roof. Well well.

Then we took the metro to La Rambla where we found a place to eat and then we walked through the Gothic Quarter (Old Town I guess) to the museum of chocolate, Museu de la Xocolata. 6 Euro entrance (5 for me since I am a student), and the ticket was a chocolate bar. There were some information about how it became to be what it is today, how it is produced and all of that. As well as lots of chocolate sculptures, many ones from Game of Thrones actually. There was also one from Lego Gotham City, but it bothered me since Spiderman, Ironman and Captain America were standing next to Batman facing the Joker…

Helena went home after that and mom and I went to Parc de la Ciutadella agin and watched the pretty Cascada fountain again. I really like that one.

On our way back to the apartment, we had one goal, to find a place where we could eat crepes. I have had cravings since we got here. According to Google we found one just north of Sagrada Familia and we walked toward it, not too much of a detour to the apartment. But the place we ate at yesterday had crepes, we saw as we walked by, just two blocks away from the restaurant. We sat down, ordered crepes, but they were out so we had churros with chocolate instead. I guess we have to eat crepes another day then.

My feet are starting to feel round again and I am ready for another day tomorrow. I think both mom and Helena are getting really tired and I haev a feeling that I will feel even more restless tomorrow. Walking that slow hurts more than walking fast. But we do see a lot of stuff, but maybe I will walk a little by myself the coming days? Or perhaps I will find some people at the beach tomorrow to play beach volleyball with and get rid of some energy? I don’t know where it comes from?

As with the last two posts, no pictures, sorry. But they will be here, hopefully sooner than later. Now, time for bed and my new book: Artemis Fowl, the Opal Deception. I finished A Court of Frost and Starlight last night. Really good book/novella! Goodnight!

Advertisements

Review of “A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 272
Published: 2018, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 snowflakes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

MY REVIEW

I have missed Feyre and co. Since the first chapter of this series, I knew I would love it, the colorful world, the deep descriptions, the realistic characters. Even if this story was “just” an in-between-story, it was long and had development, almost as much as a whole Skulduggery Pleasant book or Artemis Fowl (which are approximately the same length, if perhaps a little bit longer).

It was noticeably a short story in one way though, that it was rather uneventful in comparison to A Court of Wings and Ruin where there was a big fight and stuff happening all the time. But it was a cozy story, a nice look into the now “everyday” life inbetween the big war in Wings and Ruin and what I can only guess will happen in the next installment in this series.

I also really enjoyed the Acknowledgements section at the end. It was very beautiful.

The book/novella gets a 5 out of 5.

La Rambla

The summer feeling from Gothenburg has arrived in Barcelona today. Kind of. It was sunny today, some clouds, and around 21C. I’ve been walking around with a tank top, actually gotten some color on my chest. But I always had my long-sleeved close by.

I prefer to walk when going someplace new. You see everything that way. But it is also very interesting to use the transit system so I wasn’t too bummed when we decided to take the Metro to La Rambla. Before we got there however, I learned about what I have been told about pickpocket thiefs. We were on the Metro and it was not very crowded but one guy came ridiculously close to me when a lady wanted to get off. I felt his jacket slid over my purse and when I reached my hand down, his hand was in my purse! He looked confused like he had no idea what was going on. I almost started screaming at him, but in Swedish. I have learned from Jesper that if anything happens, the bst thing to do is get attention by yelling. I hadn’t even been here 24 hours before someone tried to steal from me. So everyone planning to go to Barcelona, be careful and aware! Nothing was stolen by the way.

La Rambla anyway is a big avenue with lots of shopping and tourists stuff. Lots of plants and seeds. I bought cat grass since Cleo loves that. There was a really big palm tree that thrives in my warm apartment but I don’t think I could take it on the plane home…

I had been told to go to the metal shed which contained the food market and we found it as we walked along La Rambla. Mercat de la Boqueria. It was huge, and there was so much food! And so much of it looked so delicious. There were fruits, smoothies, meats, small bars, a big fish section. It was hard to decide what to eat. I decided eventually, to eat a pizza pierogi, a mango/coconut smoothie and strawberries and mangos. Unfortunately, the strawberries weren’t that good and the mango wasn’t ripe. But the smoothie was amazing and the pizza pierogi was very good as well!

We then went to Catedral de Barcelona, a basilica built in the 13th century. I love churches! They are so beautiful and majestic. I took a 360 picture inside, it can be found on Google Maps. We decided not to go up to the roof since we are going up in one of the spires on Sagrada Familia tomorrow.

Helena wasn’t feeling too well after that so she took the Metro back to the apartment while mom and I walked along. We went all the way down to the water along La Rambla. Out onto a pier where there was a rather big shopping mall, Maremagnum. We just walked around inside, looking at it. Then another walk to the park north of it called Parc de la CiutadellaParc de la Ciutadella. A very pretty park! With an extraordinary fountain in the north end. Cascada Monumental, a fountain that somehow reminded me of Fontana di Trevi on Rome. Except this was full of growth and green. There were also some baby ducks swimming in the fountain. Absolutely adorable!

Our next stop was the Arc de Triomf. It is not a memorable city in Europe if it doesn’t have an Arch of Triumph. It was built in 1888 for a World Fair (like the Eiffel Tower was the year after, 1889).

We sat down at La Foga, a restaurant north of the arch and had a great dinner together. I had the chicken tacos and mom a nacho plate. Really good!

2km was all that was left between us and the apartment, so we walked back. And when we walked through the door it was already after 9pm. How did that happen? I feel satisfied with 20 000 steps today and more than 6 hours of active time (WSP challenge counts minutes, not steps and 6 hours equals 360 minutes and as many points, not too bad).

Later in the evening the cucumber building (also known as Torre Glòries) started its light show. It’s crazy how they do that on an office building. And why build an office building shaped like a dingdong? It’s funny, but it feels a little bit like a ripoff to the one in London. Just saying.

 

Like I wrote yesterday, there won’t be any pictures just yet. But be patient, they might show up sooner than you think!

Barcelona: From warm summer to cold spring

Vacation is great, but going away after leaving an autoreply at work saying “with sunny regards” was cocky. Gothenburg has for the past week had the most amazing weather ever. It has been warmer than it usually is in the summer. Crazy and absolutely wonderful! I had hoped that it would be as nice once we arrived in Barcelona today. But I’ve been walking around in my jacket and was actually freezing at the end of the day. If my nails hadn’t been painted white, they most definitely would have been blue. Now I make it sound like it is almost winter. It is not. But it has been cloudy and a type of raw cold. Even if my phone said it was around 17C.

 

Me, my mom and her colleague (and the most important proofreader of my book) Helena arrived here this afternoon after a three hour flight. I slept most of it, super nice.

The apartment is on the top floor with two terraces. We can see the cucumber house really well on one side and the top of Sagrada Familia on the other. I love that all of SCA’s apartments are located in such good places. In Paris we could see the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. My mom works at SCA and they can rent apartments all over Europe and some in the US for a very reasonable price. A very sweet deal.

We haven’t planned too much this week, but I did plan to hang out at the beach for a couple of days. But that is not going to happen. Sad face!! I guess I will work on winning the step challenge at work instead.

 

After we got to the apartment we left pretty much straight away. We walked in the direction of the church and had lunch close by. We then walked around it, watched it until the cold wasn’t making it fun anymore, walked by a Mercadona grocery store and back to the apartment. It is 8pm and I am kinda ready for bed I think.

 

I apologize for not posting any pictures, and most likely won’t during this trip. But WordPress changed from being able to buy only storage upgrades to having to buy a Premium plan for way too much money. I can deal with $20 per year for an extra 10GB, but not $100. So I have moved all the blog posts and pictures from my two years in California to two archive blogs but that was not enough. I still have 1.3GB too much space used and until I have moved more blog posts and pictures I can’t upload a single picture. I will work on it. I will post them eventually.

Review of “The Faceless Ones” by Derek Landy

Title: The Faceless Ones
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 395
Published: 2009, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4.5 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The third bone-breaking, belly-busting adventure in the series that puts the “funny” back in, um, funny series. That didn’t really work, did it?

If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are — and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

MY REVIEW

I think this description from Goodreads is very good. And is totally what I feel. Writing reviews on books in a series is harder than writing a review on a stand-alone novel. I think I am fairly good at not writing any spoilers, at least I try really hard not to do it.

The only thing I can really say about it, is that it feels like Landy is getting more into this world he has built and his writing style. It feels like he has landed and found something that works. I also see kind of a pattern now after three books. The endings are true cliffhangers with something going terribly in the wrong direction right after a small victory. At first I thought that they always saved the day at the end, but not really. And I like that. The books float together and is just spiraling downwards. How will it end? I get more and more hooked after each book. I wouldn’t be surprised if I finished them all before 2019.

It was slightly sharper than the first two, therefore it gets a 4.5.

Review of “The Eternity Code” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Eternity Code
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Published: 2003, Viking Press
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Artemis Fowl has constructed a supercomputer from stolen fairy technology. In the wrong hands it could be fatal for humans and fairies alike. But Artemis has a plan. He’s not going to use the computer – he’s just going to show it to an American businessman with Mafia connections. What could possibly go wrong?

MY REVIEW

I can’t remember why I didn’t finish this series exactly three years ago. Oh my, it has been three years since I read the first two?! No wonder I can’t remember them. But I am glad that I decided to continue.

Artemis Fowl has always been a child series to me. But just because the main character is a kid, doesn’t mean the book does not suit grown-ups (or young adults as I still see myself as a 27-year old).

It was not hard to pick this series up again after three years. Most authors are great at doing a short recap at the beginning of a new book in the series. Which can sometimes be annoying when you read them back to back, but in this case it was perfect. There are still some questions though, but a quick search on google cleared that up.

The language is very well-written. Easy, but sophisticated. It must be hard to manage to grown-upify a story about high technological fairies and dwarves and a kid who is overly smart. What really made me realize this was when Mulch, the dwarf was going to rearange a CCTV camera with a very concentrated fart. How is it even possible to write that without making it sound ridiculous? Colfer does it.

The Eternity Code (I can’t remember if it was the same with the first two) circulated around basically one event. And it doesn’t make it boring or less interesting because of it. First an introduction to the plot, then the master plan, Artemis then getting “caught” but it then turns out that that was planned all along. I think the other two were similarly built. It works brilliantly and never gets boring or dragged out. It is full of details and humour hidden behind the well-written language.

It’s definitely a 4.

Review of “Playing with Fire” by Derek Landy

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 389
Published: 2008, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series was very similar to the first one except that it didn’t need the whole introduction to the world. The action came right away because the characters were already known.

I think the level of sarcasm was a little bit lower than the first? It felt more serious. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the thing that sold me to this story, was the sarcasm and witty dialogue. So that was a small bummer.

On the upside though, the story is very much alive and I was extra surprised in the second half when I actually realized that Landy doesn’t write about details. Like for instance, Valkyrie wears a dress, but there is not a single descriptive word about it. Yet, he totally makes it realistic and visible somehow. Very good job, Landy!

This sums up to a grade of 4.

There was also this short story Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon. Refreshing short story of 26 pages with lots of funny dialogue. I guess it is easier to make a short story incredible with 85% sarcasm. In a whole novel, it shoulnd’t take over. What good would a book be if it was only great because it was funny? There has to be a great story to be told as well. But in a short story, it wors perfectly.