We had a fantastic time this weekend. We were only there for one day but it was packed. We hit the Sunday Market, got some great deals at a few thrift shops, blew some quarters at an old fashioned arcade, made a film at the Oregon Film Museum, Drank lots of beer, and saw a beautiful sunset. I tried to visit Lightbox but, alas, they were closed. Someday I will get to see the inside of that place!
I realized I forgot to post a blog last night so I will have to post two today to make up for it! I will start the adventure by telling you about the Commodore Hotel – which is where we are staying.
It’s a really neat old building right in Downtown Astoria. I love Astoria and was looking forward to staying right downtown. It’s not a big city by any stretch of the imagination but it’s quaint and historic and there are a lot of great breweries, restaurants, and shops.
We walked into the small, hip lobby and checked in.
I noticed the record collection and, indeed, we could check out a portable turntable to take to our room. I’ve been chuckling about this all weekend but it kind of came in handy when I bought an old record at a thrift store yesterday!
Apparently it was happy hour when we checked in so the front desk clerk drew us a beer from the tap on the counter (!). It was delicious. A seasonal from Fort George brewery across the street.
Our room is very small and we have to share a bathroom down the hall. It also doesn’t have air conditioning. Which completely sucks because it was in the 90s. However, in addition to turntables they also check out portable fans.
Not bad. It’s kind of fun for a couple night stay.
Park Guell is another creation of Gaudi. I believe the original intent was for it to be a kind of housing development for wealthy people, but it didn’t work out so it ended up being a public park.
They day we went we walked all the way to the top of it and it was quite a climb. Totally worth the effort though. I took a pinhole photo of the view but it ended up being a portrait of the kid who decided to sit in front of my camera while I was exposing the shot. Here, instead are two photos of the houses at the front entrance.
These were both shot with a Terrapin Bijou and Ektar film.
I found this place hard to photograph with my pinhole camera. There was a lot going on. This was the one time I wished I had my full-sized tripod with me instead of my small travel tripod.
I can honestly say that Montserrat is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And this is saying a lot because I am often impressed by the beauty of a place. But this place was utterly stunning in so many ways. It is the kind of place that has to be experienced to understand.
I mentioned my small epiphany while I was there standing before the Black Madonna. The oddest thing about that. I didn’t mention in my original post that I did, indeed, try to snap a picture of her as I was walking up toward it. I was caught up in the mob mentality. The moment I snapped it was the moment I realized my folly. I decided to instead be in the moment, rather than an observer of that moment through the lens of a camera. When I went back later to look at the photos the photo I snapped of the Black Madonna was blurry! My husband’s photos of it were as well. The Black Madonna wasn’t having any of our touristy photo snapping.
When we were there it was cold and we didn’t dress for the weather. Rafael was also coming down with what would later be a really awful stomach thing. So we didn’t spend as much time there as we would have liked. As we were traveling up the mountain we noticed several paths that would have been interesting to walk. Someday I will return to walk them. And I will dress for the weather.
The second day we were in Barcelona we wandered around in a haze of exhaustion and jetlag (and maybe also sangria). At one point we ended up at the head of La Rambla. I sat and rested for a bit while Raf wandered to see where exactly we were. As I sat people watching, I noticed a very ornate fountain. At first I thought it was a street urinal. I really did. I mean, I don’t know. They had these things in Amsterdam and men just pee in the street in Paris, so why not have a fancy urinal in the middle of La Rambla? As this thought was going through my head, imagine my surprise (horror?) when I saw someone walk up to it and drink from it. At this point, in my exhausted state, I didn’t know what to think. So I just put the whole thing in the back of my mind and suspended my disbelief.
The next day saw us back on La Rambla, this time with a Rick Steves tour book in hand. This is when I learned that this ornate “urinal” is actually a very famous fountain. This is the Font de Canaletes. Everything started to make sense. The fountain dates back to the 19th century and legend has it that people who drink from it will come back to Barcelona. Indeed. I did this very thing. I hope the legend is true.