Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dinner Time

This is usually an event that doesn't come soon enough. It is a time to refuel after a day of walking and climbing. It is also the time where kids swap stories about their adventures from the day. Who got the best deal from a street vendor, who's chaperone led them to the wrong subway (not mentioning names), and do on.

On our first stop this tour, we have found ourselves enjoying our Barcelona hotel's dinner buffet more than a couple of times. Having this much selection is almost never been part of the plan, so we are encouraging the kids to eat up. A couple of years ago, we ate goulash almost every night, so the choices have been pretty good for the kids.

In my experience, the meals are mostly uneventful with a few exceptions. It is usually benign enough for most any teen palate. The hotel at least features one here daily a pan of french fries so no one starves.

Each meal also comes with a beverage and that beverage is water. Kids learn very quickly to pace themselves in order to stretch those bottles on the table through the meal. Everyone is having a great attitude about the water...even our most die hard Pepsi fans (I'm not mentioning any names).

Sadly this bounty cannot last. Our first morning on the ferry was a testimony to that, but that is another story.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Going Gaudí

We have spent the last two days perusing the winding roads that decorate Barcelona.  One of the things that I did not expect to experience is the impact that the famous architect, Gaudi, has had on this city.

On our guided tour yesterday morning, our first stop featured the architect/artist's work in Park Güell.  It really does take a little effort to look past the whimsy of  his work to see just how incredible it is.  He was hired by so many to produce his magic for them.

Our bus driver, Kim, and our guide, Tony, led us to Gaudi's most famous, yet incomplete work, the Familia Sagrada.  We walked around the entire church in awe of its graduer.  We have saved the trip inside for Saturday morning.  While it is no longer possible to climb the towers, I hear that we can take the elevator up.  Not ideal, but we'll take it!

Today, we added a little more Gaudi to our trip with a stop at two of his famous houses, Battló House & Casa Mila.  It really must have been awesome to live in these houses.  Now, both are open to visitors and budding photographers.

I love it when students get a taste of different art forms from around the world.  The get to see how that art impacts the culture, design, and feel of a city.  I can't wait for them to celebrate our next city's famous artist, Michelangelo.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Greetings from Barcelona!

We arrived into Barcelona El Prat Airport this morning at 8:30am after a couple uneventful flights from the California. Many of the kids had a chance to catch up on missing sleep but a few fell victim to the temptations of free viewings of the Hunger Games on the 9 hour flight from Atlanta..

Upon arrival in Spain, we were greeted by EF Tour Guide, Lindsey. A few kids were treated to a little ATM drama while the rest of us waiting for our other 4 tourmates from New Jersey to arrive. They are a great girls and are already starting to fit right into our group.

Hotel Catalonia Park Putxet, our hotel for the next 4 nights, rests on the hill on the east side of town.  Even better than the fact that we could check into our room at 10am, was the wifi code Lindsey handed out in the lobby.  That wifi speed here bogged down to a crawl after a few seconds with everyone immediately accessing Facebook & Instagram.  Nice!

After a quick re-fresh in our rooms, we ran down to the nearest subway and rode it into the center of town. It was fun showing some of the kids how to ride the subway for the first time.

In just a few minutes, we arrived at the famous Placa de Catalunya where we wandered down a maze of streets taking the time to check out the views. We even ran into members of the USA Olympic Basketball Team. There are so many amazing sites to see here and the kids, in spite of their lack of sleep, have maintained a great attitude for travel.

We returned to the hotel around 7pm and were treated to a buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant. It had to be one of the better meals that I have seen on tour. After dinner, kids sluggishly slid out of the restaurant and up to their rooms. Not sure they need to be reminded about a curfew tonight. I am positive the kids will be asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Return of the Traveler's Blog!

In just three short days, 29 students and 5 adults will board a bus for the official start of our 4 country, 18 day trip to Europe. To see where we are headed, check out our site at Ziessler Educational Tours.

To get ready, we have dusted off our blog, plugged in our twitter account, and fired up the Youtube channel.

Stay tuned here for brief updates about our travels, videos and pictures. We hope that you enjoy our hearing about our travels.

First stop is Barcelona!

Luggage Photo