Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Barcelona, Spain

Next stop, about 3 hours south of Sete, beautiful Barcelona.  It is so easy to travel between countries in Europe, it's just like going from one state to another.  

Barcelona, Spain is an amazing city in the fact that it has parks everywhere.  I have never seen a city that had so many parks for children to play on.  Here is the beach close to the downtown area that we enjoyed right when we rolled into town.

Barcelona had a wonderful science museum that had signs in Spanish and English.  Max was feeling like his science cup was not running over, so this provided a great opportunity to stretch the brain.

Maggie with the lighting ball.

The museum had a great Amazon section that had a rainforest that they had built with Amazonian fish and animals.  We were able to see live capybara, anaconda, and whatever this fish is called.  Uncle Morgan, who served in Brazil, assures us that this fish is delicious.

A dinosaur exhibit to satisfy some of our younger minds.

The entrance with wax statues of Einstein, and the Gallileo.

One of the parks near our apartment.  In an area about the size of our yard back home there were probably five giant apartment buildings and eight playgrounds.  Needless to say, the kids liked Barcelona.
Believe it or not, this was the inside of the local LDS church in Barcelona.  It was quite impressive, and we learned is the largest LDS church building in Europe.  Of course, right by it are a couple of parks.

The spanish people were a lot of fun, but it was very apparent that Spain does not prosper as much as other European countries.  This sure kept the prices down on certain items.  We were fortunate to find an outdoor clothing market that just popped up one morning where we were able to find some clothes for Maggie for a great deal!

This is Maggie giving Eli a lesson on how to hang laundry inside of the apartment, Kari has developed a deep appreciation for her American laundry dryer.

Maggie noticed that rabbit was for sale in all of the butcher shops.  We hadn't seen that before so she decided to buy and prepare one for the family.  It really does taste like chicken!

Carcassonne, France

A short day trip from Sete was the mid evil jewel of Carcassonne.  

Who wouldn't love a chance to see a mid evil city that has been completely rebuilt to the specifications that it had in its prime?  That is what Carcassonne, France has done.  This castle was used as a strategic point since the Roman Empire, and over the years has had a amazing castle built on it that has been restored beautifully by the French.
The mid evil city had over a kilometer of outside wall fortification around it, and when you walk inside of the city, it is full of shops, apartments that people still live in, museums, a gothic church, armories, and restaurants.  We were so used to seeing Roman ruins that to see something that has actually been rebuilt like it was in olden times was a real treasure.

Our children's favorite part seemed to be the school house museum that was set up like an 18th century school house, complete with hopscotch, wooden desks, ink wells, dunce caps, and old photographs and posters from the time period.

We couldn't drag our children away from the quill pens that they were able to write with.  They spent a lot of time scratching our letters and notes with ink wells and quill in old wooden desks.  I had never seen them so excited to be in school!

Here is a picture of Eli in one of the city streets.  Everything is cobblestone, but it has all  been so well preserved you really feel like you are in mid evil times except for the car in the background.

The gothic church was beautiful with its stained glass and other artwork.  It was very large, very cold and built completely in stone.

Here is the actual castle that was inside of the city.  It has a "mote" area around the castle so that it can defend itself in case of an attack.  You can see murder holes and other openings in the stone to launch weapons from.

The walls of the castle had a walkway all around the castle walls with the opportunity to look into the courtyard from above.

These kids can play a game where ever they are.  It is cute to see.

Sete, France

From Lyon we headed down towards the southwest corner of France's Mediterranean coast.  We stayed in a little town called Sete.  The town is a popular vacation spot in the summer, and is quite expensive, but we were there in February and it was quite and cheap.  It was the smallest apartment that we stayed in on our trip yet.  Consisting of two very small bedrooms and a very small living area.  The kitchen was a one person kitchen at most.  Luckily we were able to spend most of our time outside while the sun was shining.  The beach was beautiful and we enjoyed running around on the beach and playing for hours.  It was good to feel sand between the toes.

We introduced the children to the game "Smear the Queer".  It was tons of fun until people got hurt, but it got some energy released.

Running this way

Running that way

Jonah is having a blast with the kite that Kari brought from the USA.  By the time we are done, this kite will have flown in countries all over the world.

Being a seaside village, there was a fun museum to look at.  It had displays of popular clothing wore by seafarers of the past.

Our most amazing discovery was the sport of water jousting.  Sete holds a celebration and festival every year where they have large boats that have one jouster on the back and the boats charge toward each other as the jousters try to keep from being pushed in the canal.  There was lots of video footage of the event and it looked like a lot of fun.  Possibly something we can do when we get back to our house in Washington.

We decided to splurge for crepes and waffles while in France since they are available on every corner.  By the time we were done we decided that Kari makes a better waffle and crepe and it is a fraction of the cost.  At least now we know.