Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Time to Make the Cava

Today's conference excurstion was to CodornĂ­u Winery. Below you can see a video I took of the machinery being operated.

Here is another one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

La Sagrada Familia

When I was growing up, the Alan Parsons Project was one of my favorite music groups. I think anybody willing to do concept albums about Edgar Allan Poe or robots appealed to the nascent egghead in me. Their last album was Gaudi, which included songs about Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. One of these songs was "La Sagrada Familia", about the cathedral that Gaudi worked on for over 40 years prior to his death in 1926. The cathedral today is incomplete and still an active construction site.

I got into Barcelona yesterday, and the cathedral was my first stop. The jaded traveler through Europe can experience cathedral fatigue, where one cathedral looks a lot like the previous one. La Sagrada Familia is different. It looks unlike anything else on the planet. One factor is that it is newer than most European cathedrals. In particular, it is part of the Catalan "Modernisme" architecture movement (apparently equivalent to "Art Noveau") rather than the standard Gothic or Neoclassical cathderal. The architecture is much more influenced by the natural world than any other church I've seen.

I got there just in time to take the guided tour in English, which was a fairly interesting overview. The highlight, however was the elevator ride to the top of one of the towers and the subsequent walk down, which gave close-up views of the amazing detail on the cathedral facades. In fact, my only regret is that I didn't end up going up the other tower right after that. I blame jetlag for the error in judgement.

Enjoy the photo album below.

La Sagrada Familia

Places Visited

Now that I've been to Estonia and Spain, it's time to update my map of places visited. Previously, I had only been considering places visited as places where I had spent the night. That seemed a little ridiculous when I had a quite substantial day trip to Estonia. Would it have been more substantial if I had just gone overnight and not done any sightseeing? So I'm revising my criterion to an overnight stay or a significant travel experience. Here's the resulting Europe map:

Map generated by World66.com

Based on my new criterion, I'm counting New Hampshire as a visited state, since Christina and I went skiing there with my cousin Ian. Here's the new US map:

Map generated by World66.com

40 down...10 to go. I think I'll make it to 43 by the end of the summer. At that point I might have to consider trips specifically to fill out the map...

And, just for completeness, here's my world map...

Map generated by World66.com


Greetings from Spain. The previous weekend, I took a day trip from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia. It was a lot of fun...Tallinn is set up very well for such day trips. Enjoy the photo album below; I have integrated my description of the trip as photo captions.

Click here for photo album

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007


Click here to view album

I've been trying to figure out the best way to blog pictures. Flickr, which I used for the previous post, seems to be good for individual pictures. I didn't like the way it worked for sets of pictures, though (especially since free accounts are limited to 3 sets). So I switched to Picasaweb (by Google). If you click on the album above, my comments about yesterday's conference excursion to Naantali are included in the picture album.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Finland Has It All

Christina has observed that every country besides the US offers tuna pizza. Finland is no exception.

I don't like the idea of tuna on pizza, but I did eat at this place yesterday. Turku, for whatever reason, is lousy with kebab/pizza places. It seems like an odd combination to me, but I'm sure there's a reason for it.

I used to observe, while driving around rural America, that there always seemed to be combination video stores and tanning salons. I never knew why until later, when I read an article in the Washington Post. It turns out that several years earlier, at a convention of independent video store owners, someone made a presentation about ways to expand video businesses to include tanning salons. The idea caught on like wildfire.

Perhaps years ago there was a similar event at a Finnish kebab convention...

PS I had the falafel, which was drenched in the kind of red sauce I've come to recognize as the Hallmark of bad food across Europe. Same with my burrito today.