Europe 2010-Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Algarve, Seville.
September 3-25, 2010.
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Our first stop was Amsterdam. What an incredible city! Here’s the view out of our cute little hotel.
First thing to do in Europe: Drink beer in the sun.
Amsterdam is all about bridges and bikes…
This doesn’t happen in the good old U S of A.
Bob arrived in heaven.
Quick trip to Haarlem.
Bikes work better than cars in Amsterdam.
Added a bit of humility to our trip.
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.
Our Madrid hotel was a decent 3 star hotel, apparently HOSTAL in spanish.
Walking through Parque del Retiro.
The name says it all. Amazing!
Museum day: Guernica.
Madrid palace- the interior rivaled or exceeded the opulence of Versailles.
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.
Course 2: Beer, wine, mushrooms.
Course 3: Beer, wine, shrimp.
Course 4: Sangria.
Course 5: Beer and wine.
Course 7: Madrid’s famous ham- next two photos.
Dessert: Churros and chocolate.
Random photo of a hotel we didn’t stay in.
Madrid has a great metro system.
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.
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.
This is the Barcelona Cathedral.
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.
Remnants of the Spanish civil war.
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.
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.
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. 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… After 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.
Along the right bank of the Seine.
Rue de Rivoli, Hotel de Ville, Louvre…
…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.
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.
Of course we had to stop of champagne.
Then we made our way up to Montmartre and to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.
The next day we took the underground tour of the catacombs.
Then we walked through the Jardin du Luxemboug.
And the Cimetiere Montparnasse.
After that, it was time to eat crepes and gelato.
Then we stopped for champagne and wandered around the most beautiful city in the world. Sheesh. Check out the barrel distortion on this 18-200 mm lens. Good riddance!We saw Ashley off at Charles de Gaulle and grabbed a flight for Lisbon, Portugal to meet Mark.
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. Praca da Figueira.
The streetcar took us from Figueira Square up to the Castelo on the hill.
This seat was the perfect size for Mark.
Once up on the hill, we had great views and were greeted by a number of nice restaurants and clubs.
Heidi calls this photo “Cool Kids”.
This is very typical of the tile siding on homes in Lisbon.
An example of housing in the hilly town of Lisbon.
The next day we decided to take a trip up to Sintra to check out the medieval castles.
Time to head for the beaches in the Algarve.
Luggage: Perfect fit.
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.
Mark and I got our golf on…
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.
We stayed in a very fancy hotel in the Santa Cruz district. Seville Cathedral
Thanks so much to Mark and Gina for the great company on the end of this incredible trip!
…to the top!