Black and White

That one fortress I kept seeing everywhere

Aside from the National Museum of Catalan Art and Tibidabo, the other hilltop structure that I kept seeing all over from the rooftops of Barcelona was the Montjuïc Castle, a military fortress that sits atop of the Montjuïc hill next to a seaside port.

It has a rich Catalan history that spans nearly 400 years. Not a lot of tourists tend to venture on these parts, so lucky me, I almost had the entire place to myself.

Gotta say, it was pretty windy up there.

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The City of Girona

Welcome to the lovely, medieval city of Girona, the capital of the northeastern Catalan province of Girona and a region historically inhabited by Iberians, my ancestors.

Surrounding the old town of the city is an ancient, Roman wall that once protected the area, recently reconstructed in some parts. In another part of the old town is the Girona Cathedral (the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona), restored in 1015 and redesigned around the renaissance era. Next to the Onyar river are houses reconstructed to resemble houses by the Arno river in  Florence, Italy (I like the Italian ones better. More authentic. Peh).

Though it is a very picturesque town with a lot to offer, it is more famous being one of the locations filmed for scenes in Game of Thrones, episode 10 from season 6. Look it up because I won’t. I haven’t seen it. Don’t kill me.

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Inside Barcelona Cathedral

One of the many things I love about gothic cathedrals is that while they’re incredibly extravagant on the outside, on the inside, they tend to be more on the simpler side. Understated, yet still grand and overwhelming in terms of size and structure,  very much unlike the neoclassical/baroque styles of the basilicas and cathedrals in Rome. You know, those crazy ornate ones that uses different colored-marbles and stones along with paintings, mosaics and gold leaf. Just like Notre Dame, this one is all just gray and stone. Simple, quiet, almost peaceful.

Oh, and then they have geese outside in what I can only describe as the “patio” area. I have no idea what they would call patio area in a cathedral, but whatever it is, they got geese. How cool is that?

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La Rambla

Starting off the year with some Throwback Thursdays.

It’s been exactly a year since I took a trip to Barcelona, Spain. Seems like worlds away. The Spain I know now is going through so much with the recent Catalonia crisis, Barcelona being at the center of it. And then the terrorist attack that happened right where these photographs were taken. That broke my heart.

Because out of all the places I’ve visited in Barcelona, this was my favorite. This was where I stayed at, just off to the side in the heart of La Rambla. This was what I greeted me in the morning and what tucked me in at night. It almost seems like a pattern to a lot of places I love.

Ok, enough of that. Now for some quick facts: history of La Rambla dates back to the middle ages when it was formerly just a seasonal stream bed filled with sewage. Nowadays, it’s the central street of Barcelona, filled with ridiculously tall tourists, pickpockets and locals alike.

These shots were taken under the influence of a two-liter sized mojito the very first night I landed in Spain. Seriously, like I just landed I’d say about three and a half hours prior to these pictures being taken. After taking a cab, dropping off my stuff in the hotel room, a very large glass of mojito and plate of paella later, I was off. Right in the middle of the night. There were colorful bars, tapas, souvenir shops and cafes everywhere. Occasionally, I’d run into one of those women-of-the-night, inconspicuously standing by one of those tall tables, alone with a suspicious-looking, empty soda can. I still don’t get that. Was the soda can supposed to signal something?

Anyway, enjoy semi-drunk shots.

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Going backwards – starting with Ireland

It’s been an overwhelming couple of months. I have a huge backlog of photos that I haven’t had the time nor the energy to fix. So with much effort on my part, I’ll start with the latest…

Here’s the Dublin Castle, the former seat of the UK government when all of Ireland was under UK rule. Not a palace for royal living, but a castle used for government purposes. Which means it’s not as glamorous or luxurious as, say, the Palace of Versailles or even the Hampton Court Palace of England. No marbled stone floors, just plain old wood floors. Still, it has its perks.

I switched these to black and white. I thought they looked more spiffy that way.

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