Hola from Barcelona! The first week of our vacation has been such a whirlwind I haven't had time to blog or upload photos. But we are taking a slower pace in Barcelona.
I love Barcelona. It is a beautiful city, very spacious feeling, and the people are really nice and laid back. We drove all day yesterday, from Mende, France, to here. It was a gorgeous drive through the French countryside. We circled a couple towns on the map we drove through that we'd like to visit in the future - Millau and Le Perthus. We set the GPS to avoid toll roads, after paying a 20 Euro toll from Paris to Orleans and not particularly scenic. We saw fields upon fields of grapevines, and smaller fields of other crops - corn, wheat and sunflowers.
Early in the day (after a 10 a.m. start), we stopped at a fantastic rest stop/truck stop (called an "aire") and bought sandwiches and apricots for a picnic. There were tons of people there - Europeans enjoying their own vacations on a July Saturday. Picnicking seems to be the choice for most travelers, which I love (saves money!). Our table at the rest stop had a view of a pretty old chateau up on the hill. We took several pictures. Chad has been doing an amazing job of photographing our trip.
Last night when we arrived in Barcelona, many roads were blocked for a huge political demonstration regarding greater self-governance for Catalunya (which Barcelona is part of) following a court decision this week limiting their rights. We spoke to a couple of protesters who told us the Spanish government is "cutting their throats." We looked on the BBC website this morning and it said that a million people were there.
Tonight we'll be watching the World Cup final from Placa Espanya in the streets on the big screen. We are very excited. We haven't done much today beyond get some groceries and relax in our room, to recover from our travels. I'm hoping we have time to get in one Gaudi sight before heading off to watch the match.
We're also currently uploading photos to Flickr. I'll see if I can get them into albums on this site, otherwise I'll provide a Flickr link. Adios, amigos!