Off to Europe: Barcelona, End, and Southern France

Dear readers,

Apologies for the delay in writing! Troubles, internet and otherwise, have kept me from posting. On the plus side, I publish two entries today!

Also a note: if you have been keeping up with my last few updates, you will note that they are pretty raw and missing pictures and links. Once I am back in the states, I plan on going over my travel entries and cleaning them up. I’ll announce the clean versions on twitter (@vlad43210). Now, on to the diary!

My last day and a half in barcelona (tuesday and wednesday morning) were mostly hectic. Tuesday was a lot of conference, followed by dinner with some grad students. That night there was a lot of walking around evening barcelona, then a lot of discussing research over beer and tapas. Wednesday was largely taken up by travel logistics, though I was able to see casa mila, a downtown mansion transformed by the.mad architect gaudi into something flowing, liquid looking. The roof has towers and chimneys that look like trees, and both the inside courtyard and the outside walls are covered in smooth waves of stone. it was strange and very cool and made me think it would be great to have a bioshock type game with level design in the style of gaudi. Gaudishock?

Thursday we began vacationing for real, with a trip to two old monasteries, serrabone and saint michel de cuxa.

Serrabone is hidden deep in the hills, and has a really cool gallery with overlapping arches that give the impression of great distance despite being only some forty foot square. it also has a great garden with lots of plants, spice and otherwise. There was mint and lavender, but the overwhelming smell was rich and salty, I couldn’t place it.

Saint michel de cuxa is impressive for being really old. The architecture style is pre romanesque and the arches look like keyholes. There is also an impressively complete crypt with neat hidden passages.

We finished the day with a trip to the city of Perpignan, lovely food and street music. I went to bed relaxed, and thinking about the next stop: more monasteries, and beach!

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