Tag Archive for tourism

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

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I don’t often let my photos speak entirely for themselves on this blog, but other than for a few tourist tips, I’m going to let them do just that. Why? Because I can’t describe how beautiful it was to spend the day at La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece basilica of Antonin Gaudi’s design that is still under construction today. If you are visiting Barcelona, you simply have to set aside a day for exploring it. Plan it into your agendas now. I’ll wait.

So here are the basics:

Location: In the Example, 401 Carrer de Mallorca. Buy tickets on the Passion side and enter on the Nativity side.

Tour Prices: Varies depending on if you want a guide or not and if you want to visit the towers or not. We did not get a guide, but we did do the towers, which was 19.50 Euros. WORTH IT. Do the towers unless you are not physically able to climb stairs, go through narrow passages, or get afraid of heights. Note: The price is for only one of the two sets of towers, and it’s the luck of the draw which you get. Both have great views, though, and the experience is supposedly similar in each.

Time: We spent around four hours at la Sagrada Familia, which gave us time for the towers, the museum beneath the church’s main floor, and exploring the inside and outside at our leisure. But neither of us stops and ponders for long, so you may need more. Plus, if you want to see the colors change, stick around for a while.

Wait Time: You can buy tickets online and save yourself the wait for tickets at the church itself. We didn’t, however, and it only took about 20 minutes to get in—but the line was only wrapped around one street corner. I believe it gets a lot worse in summer. We were there in December.

Decorum: This is an operational church. Quiet reverence is the best way to behave on your visit there.

And now, enjoy my favorite photos from La Sagrada Familia.

The interior:

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For more pictures of the interior, click here.

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Sutro Baths and Land’s End

Click twice for the panorama.

Click twice for the panorama.

On the western tip of San Francisco lies the abandoned Sutro Baths. It’s a popular—but not always populous—tourist destination that draws photographers from far and wide for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Coast. Along with nearby Land’s End, the Sutro Baths are part of the larger National Golden Gate Recreation Area.

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The Land’s End Lookout visitors’ center and parking lot is located right above the ruins at 680 Point Lobos Avenue. When I went in early summer, I found a spot right away, but it was close to full.  The visitors’ center is worth a look for its exhibits on the area’s history and its gift shop. Access to the whole area is free.

This cutie's right out front of the visitors' center.

This cutie’s right out front of the visitors’ center.

Once you’ve had your fill of information, it’s time to pick a path to climb down toward the ruins.

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Chances are you already took a moment to gape at the view by the retaining wall.

 

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Oak Farm Vineyards Winery Expansion!

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The fishing lake at Oak Farm Vineyard. Click twice for the full view.

Oak Farm Vineyards Winery (23627 Devries Road) is on its way to becoming the first of its kind in the Lodi, CA, appellation: a family-owned estate that offers the full experience of a large-scale destination winery, minus the glitzy hotel and pretension. I took part in a media preview of their new expansion, which will help them achieve that goal. The Wine and Hospitality Facility is scheduled for a public grand opening on October 25 and 26 of this year, and if you’re a local wine lover, it’s an event you shouldn’t miss.

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That beautiful wood-covered tasting room is the centerpiece of the expansion. By now, the landscaping is likely all filled in along the terraced stone wall. Inside, the tasting room is covered in more gorgeous wood and decorated with an inviting modern aesthetic.

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That geode picture is really for my sister, who collects them.

That geode picture is really for my sister, who collects them.

Attached to the tasting room is a bonus room that is intended for the use of Oak Farm Vineyards wine club members. Dorothy Panella, mother of Managing Partner Dan Panella and Business Manager Nicole Panella, is officially in charge “of stuff,” which included decorating the room before us bloggers rolled in with our cameras. She assured us that the final version of the room would look much better, but frankly, I think she did a great job with the stuff.

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