Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Four Perfecto Days in Barcelona 

Ok, Ok, LG knows, nothing is perfect, even four days in Barcelona. But this is social media, where everything IS perfect. Everyone is beautiful, fashionable, young and scores 100% on all quizzes no matter what their porn name might be. 

So when LG, The Wife and two friends took a mini-vacation to Barcelona earlier this month, it all was perfect. And LG has the photos, and snarky captions, to prove it. 


What's a vacation without taking the obligatory out-the-airplane-window photo that screams to your fellow passengers, "This baby is going on social media!" Mission accomplished. Oh, and those are the Pyrenees, the mountain chain separating Spain from France. But you already knew that since you score 100% on all social media trivia quizzes. It's hard to believe how smart you are at such a seemingly (from your photos anyway) young age.   


The Barcelona beachfront was man-made (must be true, the tour guide told us...) in advance of the 1992 Summer Olympics. That small sand peninsula sticking out on the left was meant to symbolize Michael Jordan's tongue as he went up for a Dream Team dunk. Ok, that part is BS, but the first part is (supposedly) true.  



You don't want to miss the main food market in Barcelona (St. Josep La Boqueria for those of you who can't read Spanish.) Actually, the co-official language of Catalonia, the region of Spain of which Barcelona is the capital, is Catalan [Click Here for More on Catalan]. It's very similar to Spanish, but different enough to be annoying to those who only know high school Spanish. LG, of course, is fluent in Spanish and 32 other languages (see, e.g. his Facebook trivia quiz results). 


The market contains a veritable orgy of foods, everything from fish and meats to fruits and desserts. In a nod to food porn, LG will take a break from commentary while you feast your hungry eyes on the chow depicted below:   













There was much more, including restaurants and snack bars, both ringing the market and interspersed among the food stalls, but LG's 110 Instamatic camera ran out of film. For those of you with squeamish stomachs, don't look too closely at the squab (fancy name for pigeons), rabbits, chicken and other formerly-cute, 6th-grade-class-pet-type animals hanging from the racks above.  


Barcelona's anti-smoking campaign includes large "no smoking" symbols floating on hot-air balloons throughout the region. Oh, wait, sorry, that's just a sticker on the bus window. This is a mundane photo of an unsightly industrial plant. Hey, they call can't be winners. It's a nice break from beautiful vacation scenery, no? 

This is the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, a monastery located on the mountain of Montserrat (translates as "serrated mountain"), about 30 kilometers (look it up if you want the mileage translation Einstein) west of Barcelona. It was founded in the 11th century (when Bernie Sanders was still in high school) and rebuilt in the 1600s (not wired for cable at the time.) There are about 70 Benedictine monks in residence in this mini-city with its own hotels, stores, restaurants and police department. More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_de_Montserrat_Abbey



A view through an arch at Montserrat. Legend has it that you shouldn't get into a disagreement with your traveling companion here or they'll become...wait for it.....your arch enemy. 

The inside of the main church at Montserrat. It's hard to discern from this photo, but in the lighted area above and to the right of the crucifix (in the center of the photo) tourists are in a hallway viewing a Black Madonna (Click Here for More Info) which they visit to make requests for blessings, such as to appear on an internationally-prestigious blog like The LG Report. Miracle granted people!  


Another 30 minutes west of Montserrat, LG, The Wife and traveling companions (The LG Report didn't secure rights to reveal names or provide photos of said traveling companions) took a tour of a local winery. This is a long-distance view of the serrated mountains from a balcony at the winery. The small-batch wine is not available in the United States, so don't ask.  


The French are widely-renowned for having the best culinary skillz in Europe, if not the world, but Spain can certainly hold its own with high-end establishments such as this! 

For those who get tired of eating great food and lugging around a lot of extra cash, there's this restaurant, Alta Marea. It bills itself as having the "best views" of Barcelona. That's probably true, but the food was mediocre at best and the prices were Manhattan-On-Steroids. Not fine dining, but fine viewing. The LG Report suggests you stay away. Pro Tip: If you could bring a bucket of the Colonel and a six pack up here, it would be perfect! You can also partially offset the high cost of the food by stealing small items from the restaurant. Not that LG did this, of course... 


This, my friends, is Sagrada Familia, a humongous, unfinished basilica in Barcelona that is probably the city's #1 tourist attraction. It was mobbed on a weekday in mid-February, so one can only imagine the crowds during tourist season. Construction was begun in 1882 and is slated to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of the death of the main architect, Antoni Gaudi. He was hit and killed by a self-driving Tesla while looking at his Palm Pilot. It's an architectural wonder. Most tourists will need to purchase tickets in advance. For an additional price, you can take an elevator up about 55 stories to the top of one of the towers. Here's another of the many differences between Europe and America: In the elevator on the way to the top of the tower (no BS), the elevator operator tells you -- for the first time (there are no warning signs) -- that you will have to walk down to the ground floor. And the spiral stairway is exceedingly narrow, not for the faint of heart. If someone stops along the way, everyone behind that person must stop, there's no room to pass someone.  In the United States, you'd see six written warnings before you get in line for the elevator and you'd be forced to sign three waivers before walking down the 55 flights. Not in Spain though, surprise! For more info on Sagrada Familia, click Here.  



 One of the towers with its ornate top. The building abounds with symbolism, none of which The LG Report cares to explain. You're welcome. 

Not sure why LG took this shot but here you have it. 

Impressed? You should be. 


The photo doesn't do it justice. 


The beachfront in Barcelona stretches for miles and boasts a wide variety of restaurants, hotels, stores, marinas and more. Plus some graffiti. The Spanish built this wall to keep immigrants from swimming ashore and accessing the city (just in case Donald Trump is reading this.) 


A W Hotel is on the Barcelona beachfront. The building resembles a ship's sail, LG assumes that's intentional. If not, it's quite a coincidence. For those of you who don't speak Spanish, "W" translates into English as "W." A while back there was a massive earthquake and this was the "M" Hotel temporarily. 

Some ne'er do-wells strolling the beach midday and midweek. Probably plotting to pickpocket some tourists (speaking of which, pickpocketing is a common crime in European cities, beware American tourists!) The two males on the right of the photo are merely shadows of their former selves. 

The Wife procured one of these yoga rugs, displayed on the beach by enterprising businessmen, for 12 Euros. We saw same exact rugs later in a store in the Barcelona shopping district for 5 Euros. But that was of no concern to The Wife since LG paid the 12 Euros, not her! Pro Tip: Get someone else to pay and all souvenirs are reasonably priced.  


LG rented a sailboat and, while representing the New York Yacht Club, won the 2019 Barcelona Sailing Cup in 2:04:28.  Ok, not really, LG took this picture from the beachfront and had to come up with an interesting caption. If you believed that first sentence, please slap yourself in the head while holding a heavy metal object. Thank you. 


 Another view of the beachfront. But you knew that. 

This is a building in Park Guell, the most famous park in Barcelona. It's built on the side of a small mountain. Comfortable walking shoes and a CPR kit are recommended. "Park Guell" translates into "grueling park that will make you sweat even in February." 

Ditto. 

A shot of Sagrada Familia from a distance. Another difference between Europe and America: Construction continues, with cranes lifting heavy loads, as tourists scurry around below. A personal injury lawyer's idea of Heaven! 


LG's friends had the presence of mind to purchase, in advance, tickets to an FC Barcelona soccer game. It was an amazing experience. The stadium, Camp Nou, seats just under 99,000 people and it appeared to be sold out for a run-of-the-mill game against a much lesser opponent, Valladolid.   

LG captured a photo of the only goal of the game (yes, honestly), scored by none other than Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona's international star from Argentina. Messi is considered to be to soccer what LG is to blogging, i.e. one of the best ever (proof can be found by clicking Here).  

This is a picture of a particularly rowdy fan section behind the FC Barcelona goal. Surprisingly (although sensibly), no alcohol is sold at the games, yet fans sing loudly and wave flags and banners non-stop throughout the game. Something tells LG that most fans pre-game, as they say.  


Seen in one of Barcelona's shopping districts. Looks like Melania's handwriting. 

Certain business names in Spain would not translate well in America. Although maybe two former U.S. presidents would disagree. 

On a 50-degree day in February, two naked men were speaking on their cell phones on the beach. LG attempted to restore order by yelling out, "Hey, buddy, this isn't a JUNK yard!" but to no avail. Our thanks to LG Report intern Anne S. for blocking out the Sagrada Familia Jewels with her Photoshopping skillz. 



A final photo as the sun sets over Catalonia and this LG Report blog post comes to a close. We hope you enjoyed this brief overview of Barcelona, a wonderful city with a lot to offer!* 
______________________________
*And no, we won't send you the unedited photo of the guy on the beach. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Just the Fax - Halifax, Nova Scotia That Is...

LG and The Wife went to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada's eastern coast for a long weekend recently, eh? We chose mid-October because it's an ideal time to go if you like avoiding crowds of tourists and high prices, eh? We also avoided warm weather and many restaurants and attractions which close down in September, eh. You can't have it both ways hoseheads!  

Anyway, here's a photographic of LG's Halifax holiday (play your own soundtrack of Canadian musician/singers Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Justin Bieber, Drake, Celine Dion, Anne Murray, Rush or Gordon Lightfoot, et al. in the background as you look at the pictures. Eh?)   




This is the lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, a town of 35 year-round residents about a 40-minute drive from Halifax on winding country roads. The town is very picturesque and chocked full of souvenir and arts/craft shops, eh?  Is my repeated use of the Canadian "eh?"  annoying you yet, eh?  

 This is a church in Peggy's Cove. It can hold up to 200 collection-plate contributing tourists. 



 This is a memorial to the people on SwissAir Flight #111 who died when their plane went down off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1998. It's about a mile from Peggy's Cove.  A major part of the recovery operations after the flight went down were run out of Halifax. There were no survivors. 

 This is the town of Lunenberg, about an hour's drive from Hailfax. Quaint and charming little burg with the usual line-up of tourist traps and faux artsy fartsy venues. 



Speaking of "fartsy," every cultured individual knows what a "Dutch oven" is [in case you don't: It's when you pull the covers over a bed mates head and let loose with flatulence.] Who knew that you could actually cook in that hot space? Another life hack! This gives a new meaning to the phrase "rump roast." 

Another photo of Lunenberg, eh? 



Nova Scotia, being just north of Maine, is home to a lot of delicious seafood, including the fabled flying lobster fish. This one is just about to swoop in on some Japanese tourists to steal their cameras.  


Canada is relatively advanced technologically, but still behind the times at the pump, where locals still buy their gas for their Model T's from Esso. Hey, without a full tank how are you going to drive to the Blockbuster Video store?  



This is Merlin, the resident macaw at the Maritime Museum in Halifax. Macaws can live to be 90 years old when Colonel Sanders isn't around.  



Many of the 700 or so survivors of the Titanic's 1912 sinking were brought to Halifax, as were the dead bodies and some of the wreckage. This is one of the few remaining deck chairs from the Titanic. LG tried to rearrange it in accordance with that old saying about trying to repair failing enterprises ("It's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic") but the museum's security would have none of it. Not pictured: Celine Dion. 


LG won't insult you by telling you that this is the entrance to Halfax's Public Gardens. Oops, too late...eh? 


LG was pleased to run into another American at the Halifax Public Gardens. He appears to be an expatriate with American roots, although we are unaware of the family tree. 



Oow, aaaah. Go ahead, say it, eh? 


Two model boats on the pond in the Public Gardens are pictured shortly before LG re-enacted Pearl Harbor on them. 




LG had a really witty caption for this one but he can't remember it now. Somebody pass the Fritos. 



They have some unusual comic books in Canada. No offense intended to Jimmy's offspring. 


In case you forget where you are after consuming some of the now-legal local cannabis, it always helps to look at a local flagpole, eh? We're told that flag is made of hemp.  



And, finally, a symbolic photo showing man's struggle for solitude in an increasingly crowded world, adrift in a sea of confusion. At least that's one interpretation of this picture but, hey, whatever floats your boat. 

Until next time kidz, this is The LG Report signing off...