Friday, December 20, 2013

Farewell to Leuven

Since it's Friday of the week we returned to the US I thought I would put the extra effort in and end our time in Belgium on this blog. I don't truly think that that will end up being the case since I'm already remembering posts I've had floating around in my head but haven't put into typed words yet...but this will most likely be the end of consistent Monday through Friday posting. Since we arrived Tuesday evening we've bought a car, started moving in to the new apartment (Chris is packing two cars up as I type), went to the East Ave Wegmans (YAY), got to hug most of the family and a few friends, Chris has had five interviews (four of them are happening between 12:00 and 4:30 today) and he also defended his thesis yesterday and is now a graduate with a Masters degree! It's been busy. I have loved every minute.

Today's post it a tiny recap of the city we lived in for 17 months. I spent the last very sunny week walking through town to my favorite places and taking video of it all because as much as pictures tell a story and give an impression, this is a two minute reminder of our once-home with a song that was stuck in my head for much of our time there.

Thank you so much, all my faithful readers. This isn't goodbye to the blog as well, just goodbye to the days of no responsibilities and only trip planning and tv shows to fill my time. Today is the end of time spent editing pictures and running all day long. I'm thankful for those days looking back on it now, but I am also a person who loves to be busy, I think I thrive on it. Which all means that I am thankful to get started on this new bit of my life. Thank you Leuven and goodbye! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Casa Milà

Last post of Barcelona. Ladies and Gentleman, Casa Milà. 

Finally, a video of all things Gaudi and the wonders that he introduced to us through Barcelona. 

Yesterday we got a car! I love how fast things can move in the US. Terrifying thing though? Driving home in a blizzard on a two lane road with said new car. It all turned out fine but YAY driving again! This is the last Barcelona post but I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully) with something else for you. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Casa Batlló

You are about to step through this curvy door to a crazy imaginative world where there are barely any straight lines and no right angles. Natural light finds it's way into every room to bring sun to each corner of the crazy world Gaudi created.

This photo was taken as we stood in the tiny balcony at the very top of the house. You walk into the room it's off of and there is an employee of the house standing there ushering visitors to take their turn on the balcony...which has a camera...and you smile for it like you're on a roller coaster at Disney. Which was kind of okay except that it made me feel like we couldn't be out there for long even though room behind of was void of a line. The picture they took actually came out pretty great. Not 20-euros-to-purchase-great, but still, great. 

We are home!!! Hopefully as you're reading this we are either on our way to get the car, have gotten the car and are driving home or are signing the papers for said car...! YAY AMERICA! I don't really have any words to describe Casa Batlló any more than these pictures already did for me...which is why there are so many of them. So this is all there is to it. A house, beautifully designed, and left for us all to enjoy. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Plane Pictures II

Today's post is a tribute to what we'll be doing for over 10 hours today! These were taken to and from Barcelona. I love seeing the mountains below me when I'm flying. I imagine who's reached the tops of them and if maybe not a single human foot has stepped to the tops of some of them yet. 

Such a cool view of the city before landing.

And finally, the sun rising on our way out of Spain. The sun stayed with us our entire last week and a half in Belgium and for that I am extremely grateful! I'm prepared to head into the snowy, freezing grayness that is Rochester now.

The flight above was taken on our way home from Scotland. At that point we had three trips left, with two flights there and back to Vienna, the same to Barcelona and a final trip to Rochester, NY with two flights in once direction. Landing today in Rochester at we come!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sagrada Familia and our Last Day Ever in Belgium

This was our first glimpse of the Sagrada Familia. During our time in Barcelona we did our first-ever free walking tour with a group called Runner Bean. In a time when I didn't feel like doing much research into our destinations before we got there, this was the perfect solution. I fell in love with Gaudi's madness in Casa Batllo and to hear his history from a local as we walked through the city was so interesting. I wouldn't have learned anything about this church otherwise. 

Each side of this church has a different facade. It's been under construction since Gaudi was alive; construction started under a different architect in March 1882. They have 13 years to finish the rest of Gaudi's design in time to open it completely finished on the 100th anniversary of his death. Now...I'm a little skeptical about that actually coming about and our tour guide was too. He kept showing us the finished design and then using his hand to cover up what still needs to be done (which was like...half) and then uncovering. With the back and forth he was saying "All this was built in the last 133 years. *removes hand* The rest of this is what needs to be built in 13 years. *shifty eyes, shakes his head*"  It passed its construction midpoint in 2010...soooo yeah. 

But still, the inside main worship area is finished and it is incredible. When you walk in and look around it's just jaw-dropping. Honestly, when my neck began to cramp, I took a minute to let it recover looked around at the other visitors. Every single person had their mouth open and their eyes aimed to the sky. Wait for it in one more picture... 

Chris taking his turn at getting a neck cramp.
I loved slowly twirling in this space with my head rested back on my shoulders, just seeing it from different perspectives.

My favorite part about the church's history is that it's a church built and funded by the people of it. There's no overwhelming funding for this grand dedication to God by anyone but us sinners ourselves! I kind of love that. Gaudi put it this way: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." 

1 day left. ... I think this is the perfect last post while we're here in Belgium. I am so unbelievably thankful to my God for this opportunity of living in Europe the past year and a half. It took me a reeeeeally long time to get here, to the thankful spot, but I'm here now. How inconsistent is that of me is that? And how believable is it since I'm saying it on our last day here...? It's true though. I'm obviously also thankful that it's at an end though. Returning to Belgium after Christmas last year was the beginning of the worst three months I spent here. This year the new year will be bringing a new kind of adventure after Christmas that includes our family and friends and living in a city where people speak 98% of the time. Thankful.

p.s. I have a few more Barcelona posts all ready and set to go but I'll probably have to skip tomorrow since we won't have internet here anymore in the apartment starting in a few hours. But I will we'll see! I also have a "goodbye Belgium" post but that will have to wait until we actually leave. Goodbye Belgium! 

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