The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

Barcelona Day 2, Part 1: Gettin’ Churchy With It (Also, Super Meerkat!) July 16, 2017

I had briefly toyed with the idea of setting an alarm for Saturday morning so Rachel and I could get a (relatively) early start and make the most of the day, but I decided against it— we probably needed to catch up on sleep to feel our best. With the blackout curtains in the hotel room closed, I had no clue as to the time when I awoke. I rolled over and looked at my phone. Holy moly! We had slept eleven hours! Ah, well, maybe with such a good night’s rest, we’d have our jet-lag licked.

Before we headed out for the day, I went to retrieve some of my cash from the room safe, but when I keyed in the code I’d set the previous night, the safe merely beeped at me and did not open. I punched in the code again with the same result. I tried again with a different set of numbers, thinking that I was miss-remembering and had used something other than my usual hotel safe code. More beeping. No opening. I sighed and decided to deal with it later. Someone at the hotel would be able to help…or we’d be forced to stay in Barcelona forever because the safe held our passports. Either way, it wasn’t urgent at that moment.

We left the hotel in search of some breakfast (or at that point, more like lunch), unwittingly embarking on our first of many Google Maps Follies. On Friday, our navigation efforts had been fairly successful, all things considered, and I’d attributed any minor hiccups to our lack of sleep and jet-lag. But that Saturday, we discovered that even Google Maps gets confused by roundabouts, which further supports my position that the damn things really should not exist.

HappyTogether

Slightly lost and hungry but still happy!

After turning around a few times and thoroughly confusing ourselves, we abandoned our attempt to find our Plan A destination and sought a different café as Plan B. We managed to find that one, but it was closed for the holiday. By then, we were rolling with the punches and quickly devised Plan C. This took us back toward the dreaded roundabout. We ignored Google’s directions until we had traversed the circle of peril, then waited for the app to recombobulate. From there, things were somewhat better—only a few times were we told to turn where there were no roads. When we had (according to Google Maps, which I was rapidly losing faith in) almost reached Plan C, we happened by Plan A. Go figure. We took a look at it but decided to continue on to Plan C (since it was so close) and eat at whichever place looked more inviting. Plan C—also known as Cometa—won out. Coffee, ginger orange juice, and delicious sandwiches for the hard-fought win!

Tourism

Erm…my bad.

After eating we walked over the Barcelona Cathedral. Thankfully, navigation was not an issue because all we had to do is look up toward the towers to know we were heading in the right direction.

BarcelonaCathedral

Found it!

We’d read up on the cathedral beforehand and, although we were both wearing sleeveless dresses, we’d come equipped with clothing to cover our shoulders and respect the establishment’s dress code. Indeed, there were guards at the entrance enforcing the  code (as well as people just outside selling scarves for anyone who came unprepared). I donned my wrap and went in. Although I tend to be the first person in any room to feel chilly and the last to get overheated,  it was June in Barcelona, so it was hot. And humid. And it’s amazing how weighty a thin shawl can suddenly feel in such an environment.

Inside_Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

The cathedral was beautiful, but before long, sweltering discomfort began to detract from the experience. Around me, I noticed several people who had bucked the customs and shed whatever garments they had put on before entering. I shot them the stink-eye, felt just a little morally superior, and fanned myself a little harder with the cathedral map. We got a reprieve from the heat when we took the elevator to the top of the building and got to enjoy a nice breeze along with the lovely views.

Panoramic

Panoramic view from atop Barcelona Cathedral

Purportedly, the cathedral is home to a unique unicorn gargoyle, but we couldn’t find it (maybe we should have consulted Google Maps!. After a while, we had to halt our search in favor of seeking out hydration and electrolyte replacement.

gc3a0rgola_unicorn_absis_catedral_barcelona

Unicorn gargoyle we never found–but thankfully, the interwebs has pictures of it!  — By Pere López (Own work (own photo)) (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Sheep

We didn’t find a unicorn, but we did find a sheep!

We then took the metro toward our next destination, La Sagrada Familia. It was truly amazing. I’ve visited my fair share of beautiful churches—Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and St. Paul’s to name a few—and what I can tell you is that La Sagrada Familia is astonishingly beautiful in a totally different way. Somehow its disparate styles blend to harmonize, rather then creating a discordant mess, and the tree-like columns on the inside make you believe you’ve entered an enchanted forest.

LSF

Nativity facade of La Sagrada Familia

LSF_detail

LSF exterior detail

LSF_inside

LSF columns

LSF_inside2

LSF interior

Exit_to_Passion

This sort of sounds like the title of a bad romance novel.

LSFTowers

Two of the towers of LSF

Sacristy

The Western Sacristy

After visiting two churches that day, we decided it was time for just a little bit of debauchery, so we stopped at Marmalade, where I ordered, what else but the porn star martini. It was seriously one of the most delicious cocktails I’ve ever had.

Pornstarmartini

Bom chicka wah wah. I want to drink these all the time now!

Next, we had dinner at Sésamo, which was beautiful and delicious from start to finish.

Sesamo_dino

On the wall at Sésamo

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a supermercat to get a bottle of wine to take  with us. I mention this only because these shops were all over the place, and I simply must share the mental imaged they evoked in me. Every time I saw one of the signs, I thought Super Meerkat and pictured a meerkat with a cape and perhaps a little eye mask. Naturally, her special power is super vision, such that she can see people’s thoughts, even from way across the prairie. You cannot hide the truth from Super Meerkat!

Supermercat

When we returned to the hotel, I called for help regarding the room safe. A man arrived at our room promptly, and I quickly reiterated the problem to him.

“Do you know how the safe works?” he asked.

Considering that I’ve used many a hotel safe and that the instructions are clearly printed (in English) on the front of the safe, I was pretty sure that the problem was not user error. Then again, my mind hadn’t exactly been razor sharp the previous day. “Well, I thought I did,” I said with a smidge (OK, maybe slightly more than a smidge) of defensiveness.

Long story short, the hotel employee got the safe open and walked me through the process of setting the code, after which time it seemed to work properly. I still swear I’d performed the same steps the day before, so I opened my mind to the possibility that hotel staff members (along with those at Google Maps) were messing with Rachel and me, secretly recording our gaffes for entertainment purposes. Anyhow, since the safe was working, we no longer had the can’t-get-to-our-passports excuse for staying in Barcelona indefinitely. Thankfully, we still had several days of vacation left.

 

 

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Luxembourg Day 2: History and Culture (but First, Slides!) January 14, 2017

We began our second full day in Luxembourg City  with a walk through Municipal Park on our way to find somewhere to have breakfast. However, the morning meal fell a few notches on the priority list when we stumbled across a giant playground pirate ship–and just days after Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, the trip was in September, and I’m just now writing it up in January–don’t judge me!). It was a beautiful day, and the playground was empty. Clearly, the universe was telling us that it was time to play!

pirateship

Breakfast can wait!

My father quickly went about climbing the tower on the ship because, as he said, “Someone’s gotta do it!” Well, of course.

dad_tower

Dad is on top of things.

liztower

My turn!

lizship

ARRRRRRR!

slide

About to descend the twisty slide!

As we continued to let our inner children frolic (videos here and here), several passers-by (all of them adults, mind you) came and joined the fun on the ship. Eventually, we gave in to hunger and continued on in search of breakfast…or maybe by that time, brunch. Whatever you want to call it, we ate it at Boulangerie Paul. Take it from a rhubarb enthusiast–their rhubarb tart is delicious.

Next, we explored the Bock Casemates, a series of defense tunnels that were dug out over a period of about 100 years during the 1600s and 1700s. They were seriously cool to see.

brain_ground

Here, the ground reminded me of brains. (Bock Casemates)

mom_cannon

Is this thing loaded?

casemates

Bock Casemates

empire

Here, the ground made me feel like I was in The Empire Strikes Back. (Bock Casemates)

casemate_flower

A view from the Bock Casemates

tower

Tower at the Bock Casemates

vineyard

Vineyard under the Bock Casemates

panorama2

Panoramic view

heart

I  ^  Luxembourg

After a lunch of pizza and beer at Il Punto, we headed to the National Museum of History and Art. Ironically, we managed to get far more lost there than we did while wandering through underground tunnels earlier in the day. We saw some cool stuff, though, including an Edward Steichen exhibit. Plus, the mirrored ceiling in the museum’s elevator made for one of the coolest selfie opportunities ever.

elevator

Looking up!

We passed most of the rest of the day wandering about, eating gelato, drinking wine, and taking lots more pictures.

flag_tree

umbrellas_and_wine

Danger! Umbrellas and wine?

 

gargoyle

Gargoyle

fingerprint_ground

Here, the ground reminded me of fingerprints.

lux_evening

Evening falls on Luxembourg City.

Save

 

Julaiku 2, Day 30 July 30, 2016

Filed under: culture,Poetry — lizardesque @ 8:20 pm
Tags: , ,

And happy clouds that just hang out and have fun all day…

July 30, 2016

Happy little trees

Every one needs a friend

Wisdom of Bob Ross

 

Julaiku 2, Day 28 July 28, 2016

Filed under: culture,Poetry — lizardesque @ 7:56 am
Tags: , ,

I wish I’d gotten a picture

July 28, 2016

Big stuffed Pikachu
Strapped atop an SUV
That Pokémon goes!

 

Julaiku 2, Day 14 July 14, 2016

Filed under: culture,Music,Poetry — lizardesque @ 11:16 am
Tags: , , , ,

But in a good way…

July 14, 2016

Found on Spotify:
One hundred twenty minutes
playlist. Angst flashback!

 

Julaiku 2, Day 8 July 8, 2016

Filed under: culture,Poetry — lizardesque @ 12:26 pm
Tags: ,

Disconnected

July 8, 2016

Phone off a short while
Then, twenty-nine texts await
It’s a new record

 

The Draper Caper (TIPSHRMETID) May 8, 2015

Filed under: culture,Life tales — lizardesque @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , ,

It’s time for another edition of Things I Probably Should Have Realized Much Earlier Than I Did, or TIPSHRMETID for lovers of long, difficult-to-pronounce acronyms.

As some of you may know if you have read previous posts, I began watching Mad Men pretty late in the game. After finally getting Netflix streaming, I started with season 1 last summer and gradually worked my way through the series, finishing up season 6 late this winter. I knew there was only one season left. With Netflix and the like, I can hardly be bothered to pay attention to real-time television schedules, so I just figured I’d see the last season when I saw it. Netflix would let me know when new episodes became available. Sure, I’d be behind the rest of the world in that respect, but that’s really nothing new.

Before long, I started hearing buzz about the final seven episodes and hype about the series finale, which was to air on May 17. Imagine my surprise when, around that time, Netflix informed me that Mad Men season 7 was available for viewing! It did strike me as extremely odd that these episodes were being made available before they even aired on regular TV, but I didn’t think too much about it. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and heck, for once, I might be ahead of the Mad Men curve. So, I watched those final seven episodes and puzzled over the quirky, anticlimactic end, where SC&P is poised to become a subsidiary of McCann and Don Draper hallucinates the late Bert Cooper dancing and singing “The Best Things In Life Are Free.” Huh.

Meanwhile, I’m still hearing, and largely ignoring, buzz about the upcoming finale. I know not everyone in the world has Netflix streaming, but I was surprised there was still so much hubub about something that had been available on at least one platform for several weeks. Again, huh.

Then I started to catch stills and snippets of scenes from recently aired episodes. I blew it off at first, thinking, “I don’t remember that shot, but I might have been playing Candy Crush at the same time (multitasking, you know!), so that may be why I missed it.” I went about my life, half wondering if Netflix had made some weird error and I was the only one who knew about it. Whatever.

Then I saw a picture of Roger Sterling with a mustache. Huh?? No amount of electronic confection could have let that slip by me. Something was amiss.

About ten seconds and one Google search later, I learned that, in what seems to be a growing trend among non-big-three network programs, season 7 of Mad Men was split into two parts. I had simply watched the first seven episodes of the final season. The last seven were what everyone was still buzzing about.

*facepalm*

Don't you judge me!

Don’t you judge me!

Never mind me. I’ll just take my place in line behind the rest of the world. Ah well, now I have something to look forward to.