Sagrada Família

May 2nd, 2013

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, simply put as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral is a large Catholic Cathedral located in Barcelona, Spain. It was designed by a man named Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was a very popular architect in Barcelona and has created many famous hotels, museums, and other buildings located throughout the city. Gaudi took over the project a year after it began in 1883. Gaudi was heavily involved in the church and devoted his last years only to the construction of the church. He died in 1926 a the age of 73 and his body is buried in the crypt of the church. The construction of the church is still going on today and was never entirely finished. There has been many different architects throughout the past century with rapid construction of the church at times but also mixed with delayed development.

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The Cathedral was stunning to see. Supposedly it is one of the biggest churches in Europe today and I could really understand why when I stood in front of it and looked up. Most churches bring out an old historic feel so it was very interesting to see a completely different style of church architecture. The inside was beautiful and as you can tell from the pictures, it was very different from any other church I have seen abroad. We were able to go to the top of the church and in doing so, I was able to see the whole city of Barcelona. It was a little expensive and I was hesitant to go in but it was well worth it and I am very happy I got to see the inside.

FC Barcelona

May 2nd, 2013

FC Barcelona is one of the most famous soccer clubs in the world. They have won the Spanish Cup 18 times, the Kings Cup 24 times, the Spain’s Super Cup six times, the famous UEFA Champions League 2 times and the UEFA Cup 4 times. The club was started in 1899 by a group of young foreigners who were living in Barcelona at the time. FC Barcelona is known for acquiring and then producing some of the best soccer players of all time. Many Americans consider them to be like the New York Yankees of baseball. There is too much history in the Barcelona Football Club to even begin writing about so I’ll just share my experience I had when I was able to tour the stadium.

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Before going to Barcelona, I thought that it was mainly a beach city without a whole lot of tourist attractions. However, I was completely wrong. I spent nine days in Barcelona and easily could have spent 15 and still have things to see everyday. One of the coolest things I got to see though was the FC Barcelona stadium. My friends and I were able to tour the stadium along with the trophy rooms, locker rooms, sit in the owners box seats, news cast room, press room and got to walk right next to the field. The photo below of the stadium “Mes que un club” stands for “More than a club” and is the motto that FC Barcelona stands for. They have been able to create some of the most loyal fans in all of sports today and this motto demonstrates that FC Barcelona stands for more than just a soccer team. It is an icon that the citizens of Barcelona rally behind. This stadium is considered one of the most famous stadiums in Europe and I am so happy I was able to tour every part of it.

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The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

April 14th, 2013

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, also known as the Barcelona Cathedral, was built in Barcelona during the 13th-15th centuries.  The church was dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona and according to Catholic religion, she suffered martyrdom during the Roman times. Her tomb is located in the crypt under the cathedral. It is a Gothic architectural styled cathedral and is absolutely enormous. However, it is only the second largest church in Barcelona.

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This was the first thing that my friends and I saw during our stay in Barcelona. Though it is a gigantic cathedral, it is actually only the second largest in Barcelona. We were able to go inside to look at the structure and the layout of the church. We were also able to circle around the church and was able to see all the beautiful exterior architecture.

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Moulin Rouge

April 14th, 2013

The Moulin Rouge was opened in 1889 and best known for being the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of dancing labeled as “can-can.” The dance was originally used a seductive dance and evolved into a form of entertainment. It has been a site for famous dancers, singers, and actors to visit and perform. Today, it is one of Paris’s main tourists sites but still offers musical dance entertainment for people to come to from all over the world.

I wasn’t too sure about the history of the Moulin Rouge before visiting it one night while we were there. However, according to the girls that I went with, it was one of the things we had to made sure we saw. They related to it more than I did because of the famous singers and actors who they idolized growing up. Either way, it was still cool to see and after researching it more, I was glad we went out of our way to see it.

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The Louvre

April 14th, 2013

The Louvre in Paris, France is one of the largest and most well known museums in the world. It is located in the Louvre Palace which was originally used as a fortress. However, when Louis XVI chose to use the Palace of Versailles as his permanent household, the Louvre was used primarily to display the royal collection. The Louvre was declared a museum during the French Revolution when the National Assembly decided to use it to display the nations masterpieces.

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The Louvre is obviously one of the main places that you must visit when you travel to Paris. The museum houses some of the most famous ancient artifacts and paintings. One of the more famous ones is the Code of Hammurabi which was the first written law code of all time. However, the most famous piece of history located in the museum would probably be the DaVinci painting of the Mona Lisa.

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It was fascinating to walk around and see the different parts of history which are amazingly well preserved. I read the DaVinci code in high school and found it awesome to see the different things that were labeled in the book. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how large the museum was and didn’t get to see every inch of the museum. I was able to see the most important things though and was in awe for every minute of it.

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Arch de Triomphe

April 6th, 2013

Along with the Eiffel Tower, the Arch de Triomphe is one of the most famous icons in Paris. The arch stands for the men who died in battle during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of the generals and all the French victories are sketched on the outside of the arch. Below is a picture of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which lies directly underneath the arch. The fire burns at the top of the grave burns for the men who were never identified in battle.

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It was designed by an architect named Jean Chalgrin. He began constructing the arch in 1806. Unfortunately he died during the construction and it was later finished by Jean-Nicolas Huyot in 1836.

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Seeing the arch was pretty special. My parents took me here when I was no older than two years old. Obviously, I don’t remember seeing it at all but it was still really fascinating to take a picture in the exact same spot as I was when I was a baby. We were fortunate to get good weather when visiting the arch and even had the opportunity to go to the top.

paris 217 paris 212Being at the top, I had a view over the entire city. I was unable to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower due to the weather so I made sure I went to the top of the arch. Besides some of the arrogant people in Paris, this was my favorite trip thus far.

Notre Dame

April 6th, 2013

Notre Dame is a historical cathedral in Paris, France and is considered by many as the finest example of Gothic architecture in Europe and even throughout the world. The cathedral was finished in 1345 and parts of the church were colored in exuberant colors. As time as gone by, the colors have worn off and the church is almost fully covered in a grey color. Statues and gargoyles surround the outside of the church along with chimeras which allow for water to run off the sides. Towards the top is one of Notre Dame’s most famous bells, the great bourden bell. This is one of five bells that lies in the cathedral and is rung throughout the day on many different occasions. It is rung before all the other bells.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral was my favorite part of my visit to Paris. Growing up, my favorite Disney movie was the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and it was awesome being able to see the similarities that the cathedral brought during the movie and in person. As well as the Eiffel Tower, I went on a rainy day. I believe it was almost more interesting to see during the dreary weather. The cathedral is known for its Gothic architecture and its dark and gloomy appearance. I think seeing it in such terrible weather only intensified the reputation it has. Seeing the inside was brilliant and I was truly in awe every minute I was there.

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Eiffel Tower

April 6th, 2013

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 and is the tallest structure in Paris. It is also the most visited paid monument in the world. It was built for the World’s Fair and celebrated the French Revolution. The monument was finished in two years and was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel who founded the company that built the tower. Throughout the past century, many important and famous people have visited and signed the guest book for the Eiffel Tower. It has become one of the most recognized structures in the world today and the main culture icon for France today.

I visited the Eiffel Tower three times while I was in Paris. The first day we arrived in Paris my friends and I went for a short trip. Though it rained the entire day, the Eiffel Tower was still beautiful and I understood why people raved about how magnificent it was. I also had the chance to go at night when the tower was lit up and the day after when the weather was beautiful.

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Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti

March 10th, 2013

The “Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti” or in English, the Spanish Steps, are steps in Rome that lead up to a church named Trinita dei Monti. The Scalinata is the widest staircase in all of Europe and is a major attraction for tourists and even local Romans who want to enjoy the weather and relax gazing out over Rome. There are 135 steps that link Bourbon Spanish Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti.

At the top of the stairs, there is an amazing view of the piazza below along with distant views of the domes of San Carlo al Corso and St. Peters square. Again, my roommates and I went later in the day and the sun was also about to set which created an unforgivable view.

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Fontana dei Trevi

March 10th, 2013

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The Fontana dei Trevi, or simply the Trevi Fountain, begain being built in 1732 and was completed in 1762. The location of the source of water is located at the center of three roads. In the late B.C. era, Romans used this aqueduct to supply water to people throughout the city. It served Rome for more than 400 years.

This was my favorite part of Rome. My roommates and I found the Trevi Fountain as the sun was setting and I have never witnessed a sight more beautiful. People stood all around the fountain tossing coins and taking pictures. The fountain is very romantic for couples especially as the sun is setting or even later at night when the fountain is lit up with lights. There is a myth that if you toss a coin into the fountain, then you are ensured that you will return to Rome some day in the future. I threw a coin when I was a baby and sure enough, I returned to Rome when I was 21.

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