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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 01, 2015

Thursday - cruisin' and cookin'

Thursday was another beautiful day and we decided that we would visit the Palau de la Musica Catalana in the morning.  It is an incredibly beautiful concert hall built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and initially funded by Orfeó Català, a choral society, and by popular subscription.  If I had time, I would Google and get a little information on the idea behind the choral society and this concert hall.  I found the tour guide's talk about it very interesting.  Briefly, she told us that the choral society was formed as a choir for the citizens of Barcelona - laborers, women, children, etc., and was open to everyone to join.  This was during a "renaissance" in Barcelona and it was felt that giving the working class an outlet such as this would not only help them learn to read and write, but would also give them something outside of working to survive.  Since it is still here today, it must have been hugely successful.

The first two pictures are of the front of the building.  It is in very close quarters so I could not get far enough away to do it justice.  And I am again going to just post the rest with a comment here and there.

Here we're looking out onto that terrace in the picture above through a beautiful stained glass window with this gorgeous mosaic pillar making it even more impressive.

In this one and the one below, I went out onto the terrace.  The one below shows just a bit of the ceiling.  Ornamentation to the max but it is beautiful instead of gaudy, perhaps because it is such very find workmanship.

We're in the concert hall with it's tiers of windows letting in light through stained glass and, probably the most famous feature of the hall, the overhead stained glass "ceiling fixture" for want of a better term.  This has to be seen to be believed.  There's a better picture next but I wanted to use this one too because we were allowed in during a rehearsal and it was this pianist and violin accompanies who were hard at work making beautiful music.  Their tininess give a very good idea of the size of the place.

Heather left us after the concert hall and Chris and I walked a short distance through the Gothic district where this very gothic cathedral is located.

We were headed to this house - the family home of Mr. Guell which commissioned Gaudi to build it and make it fantastic.  He did and it is!  It has this double entrance so that the horse-drawn carriages could go in one doorway circle around inside and come out the other.

Inside the carriage arrival area.

The more public rooms all had coffered ceilings - each one a different pattern.  Just magnificent.
And Andersen Windows think they make beautiful windows!

These frosted windows showed up here and there through the rooms.

Not a good picture but I loved the ornamentation around this door so I posted it anyway. :)
Up on the roof...and some roof it is.  Gaudi's famous nature-inspired chimney stacks.

So that was pretty much it.  We got back with just a bit of time to freshen up and then all three of us went off to meet the guy who was going to conduct our cooking class which would be centered around a paella.

He did a great job and was quite interesting.  He moved to Spain from France and has been there a number of years now.   He took us to the market first where he bought all kinds of things - chicken - this was to be a chicken and mushroom and vegetable paella so he also bought some veggies - green & red pepper and a real long pointy eded green pepper that wasn't a hot pepper and mushrooms of about 4 or 5 different varieties, the only one of which I had ever heard of was the porcini.

The class was a nice group of people - there were the three of us, a youngish married couple and a solo woman from Canada.  Once we got a little loosened up, we had quite a pleasant evening.  I took some picture of everyone gathered around the paella grill stirring up a storm, but none turned out.  Chris e-mailed me some but I never got them so you can't see that.  He had a nifty burner base built for a paella pan and gas fired which worked beautifully.  We all chopped and sliced and diced and drank, of course, a fair amount of wine.

So the result of all that was a finished paella as seen here...

And the result of gathering around the table to be is seen here

We didn't leave much for leftovers!

So quite a good day and yummy night.  And that's it for Thursday.  I have Friday's pictures edited but now that I'm at Rosanna's house in Genoa, I'll have a whole new city to marvel at.  She has a wonderful sounding day planned for us tomorrow.  I didn't get to Genoa until fairly late Sunday (9:45 or so) and when we got back to her apartment she had homemade pumpkin soup waiting along with a cheese board, a bowl of olives, a bowl of tomatoes, and delicious bread.

Maybe I'll get caught up on my recording when I'm all by my lonesome self in Florence. :)

Buena Sera!

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