Europe 2010

Europe 2010-Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Algarve, Seville.

September 3-25, 2010.


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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Our first stop was Amsterdam.  What an incredible city!  Here’s the view out of our cute little hotel.Back Camera

First thing to do in Europe:  Drink beer in the sun.Back Camera

Amsterdam is all about bridges and bikes…Europe 2010 AMS10 Europe 2010 AMS01

This doesn’t happen in the good old U S of A.Europe 2010 AMS07

Bob arrived in heaven.Europe 2010 AMS09Europe 2010 AMS08

 

Quick trip to Haarlem.  Europe 2010 AMS11

 

Bikes work better than cars in Amsterdam.

Bikes:Europe 2010 AMS05

Cars:Europe 2010 AMS06

Added a bit of humility to our trip.Europe 2010 AMS02

A huge cold front rolled in the next day and luckily we were off to Madrid!  Rain and wind were replaced by sun and heat.

Madrid, Spain

Our Madrid hotel was a decent 3 star hotel, apparently HOSTAL in spanish.Europe2010MAD01

Walking through Parque del Retiro.Europe2010MAD16Europe2010MAD15

The name says it all.  Amazing!Europe2010MAD07

Museum day:  Guernica.Back Camera

Madrid palace- the interior rivaled or exceeded the opulence of Versailles.Europe2010MAD13

 

The next series of photos was one of the reasons Spain moved near the top of our list:  Food.  Tapas.  Wine.  Sangria.  Beer.

Course 1.  Beer, sangria, olives.Back Camera

Course 2:  Beer, wine, mushrooms.Back Camera

Course 3:  Beer, wine, shrimp.Back Camera

Course 4:  Sangria.Back Camera

 

Course 5:  Beer and wine.Front Camera

 

Course 7:  Madrid’s famous ham- next two photos.Europe2010MAD05Europe2010MAD03

Dessert:  Churros and chocolate.Back Camera

Random photo of a hotel we didn’t stay in.Europe2010MAD06

Madrid has a great metro system.Europe2010MAD02

 

Barcelona, Spain

Our third flight of the trip took us to this amazing city.  Maybe Heidi’s favorite in Europe?  We stayed in a part of town called Cuitat Vela.  It was close enough to La Rambla (famous tourist street) to walk there in a couple of minutes, but far enough away to avoid all the negative factors which come with that whole business.Back Camera Europe2010BAR4

We were very fortunate to hook up with two of our friends who at one time resided in Seattle.  I worked with Donna at KC at one time- now she and John currently live in Turkey with their new little guy Conrad and their old guy Raoul.  We had a couple of great dinners in the Barri Gotic portion of town.Back Camera

This is the Barcelona Cathedral.  Europe2010BAR2

Heidi and I did our usual 20 mile walk which included part of this miles long beach near the olympic village.  The strong wind had the wind surfers out in force.Europe2010BAR5

Remnants of the Spanish civil war.Europe2010BAR3

One day we decided to take a subway out to La Sagrada Familia.  The Gaudi designed church was started in the 1880s and will not be completed for another decade or more.Europe2010BAR8Europe2010BAR7Europe2010BAR9

Our last night in Barcelona concluded with a great meal and drinks with our friends.  It was great spending time with them and we hope to cross paths again soon.Front Camera

 

Paris, France.

Flight #4.  This was exciting.  We were meeting Gina and Ashley at an apartment in Paris.  The only word for the next few days:  FUN!  The days consisted of getting up late, eating pastries for breakfast, sightseeing (walking for miles), drinking champagne, eating awesome Parisian snacks for lunch, more champagne and beer, the girls shopping at the local boutiques, incredible dinners, more champagne and beer and then crashing like a bunch of teenagers in a room with 5 beds.  Europe2010PAR01 Here’s a picture of our room.  It was a VRBO in the Saint Paul area and was excellent for the four of us.  Small kitchen, laundry, one bathroom.  Okay, one bathroom was not enough for the three of them…Europe2010PAR24 Europe2010PAR10After relaxing for an hour and catching up, we wandered around the area surrounding Saint Paul/Bastille/Place des Vosges and randomly went to dinner at a small restaurant.  It just happened to be one of the best meals of my life.  We all agreed it was an unbelievably good find.

The next morning, we got up late, ate pastries and started off on an epic walk.Europe2010PAR08

Along the right bank of the Seine.Europe2010PAR04Europe2010PAR03Europe2010PAR20

Rue de Rivoli, Hotel de Ville, Louvre…Europe2010PAR05

…and then what the girls had been aiming for:  Cafe Angelina.  If you are interested, I can tell you my favorite quote of all time from that experience.  It was a magnificent lunch.Europe2010PAR23Europe2010PAR06

That day we continued walking through the Jardin des Tuleries, up the Champs Elysees, through the Arc de Triomphe, over to the Jardins du Trocadero to view the Eiffel Tower and finally rode the metro back to Saint Paul.  Ashley’s feet were a bloody mess, but she toughed out the excursion.

The next day we walked through the Ile Saint-Louis and across to Notre Dame.Europe2010PAR22Europe2010PAR21

Of course we had to stop of champagne.Europe2010PAR19

Then we made our way up to Montmartre and to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.Europe2010PAR18Europe2010PAR17Back Camera

The next day we took the underground tour of the catacombs.  Europe2010PAR11

Then we walked through the Jardin du Luxemboug.Europe2010PAR12

And the Cimetiere Montparnasse.Europe2010PAR13

After that, it was time to eat crepes and gelato.Europe2010PAR14Europe2010PAR15Europe2010PAR09

Then we stopped for champagne and wandered around the most beautiful city in the world.Europe2010PAR07 Sheesh.  Check out the barrel distortion on this 18-200 mm lens.  Good riddance!Europe2010PAR02We saw Ashley off at Charles de Gaulle and grabbed a flight for Lisbon, Portugal to meet Mark.

Portugal

Yay!  We found Mark.  Actually, we picked him up at the airport and took a cab to downtown Lisbon.  But here he is looking pretty happy about being a long way from home.Europe2010Port01  Praca da Figueira.Europe2010Port13

The streetcar took us from Figueira Square up to the Castelo on the hill.  Europe2010Port06

This seat was the perfect size for Mark.Europe2010Port04

Once up on the hill, we had great views and were greeted by a number of nice restaurants and clubs.Europe2010Port07Europe2010Port03Europe2010Port09Europe2010Port11Europe2010Port10

Heidi calls this photo “Cool Kids”.Europe2010Port12

This is very typical of the tile siding on homes in Lisbon.Europe2010Port05

An example of housing in the hilly town of Lisbon.Europe2010Port08

The next day we decided to take a trip up to Sintra to check out the medieval castles.Europe2010Port15 Europe2010Port16 Europe2010Port18 Europe2010Port17 Europe2010Port21 Europe2010Port19 Europe2010Port20 Europe2010Port22 Europe2010Port23 Europe2010Port24

Time to head for the beaches in the Algarve.Back Camera

Luggage:  Perfect fit.Back Camera

Salema is very close to the south eastern most tip of continental Europe.  It is a small, casual beach town with great restaurants, beautiful beaches and a few naked Germans.Back Camera Europe2010Port27 Europe2010Port30Europe2010Port31Europe2010Port32

Mark and I got our golf on…Back CameraEurope2010Port33 Europe2010Port34

 

Seville, Spain

We took the three hour drive to Seville and enjoyed a couple days of sun and one day of pure downpour.  It was our second rainy day of the entire trip, but we still had a great time.

Southeastern Spain- typical landscape.Back Camera

We stayed in a very fancy hotel in the Santa Cruz district.Europe2010Seville05 Europe2010Seville04 Back Camera Seville CathedralEurope2010Seville06 Europe2010Seville07 Europe2010Seville09 Europe2010Seville08 Europe2010Seville10

Thanks so much to Mark and Gina for the great company on the end of this incredible trip!Europe2010Seville03
…to the top!