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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


GUEST BLOGBy NASA Earth Observatory--This detailed astronaut photograph, above, captures several notable features of the Barcelona urban landscape. Barcelona, Spain, occupies a low plateau along the Mediterranean coastal plain. The city is the second largest in Spain (after the capital, Madrid), and it hosts the country’s largest seaport, portions of which are visible in the lower right of the image.

The architectural design of the Eixample district (image center) displays a grid pattern distinctive for Barcelona. Built during the 19th and 20th centuries, the district was built with octagonal city blocks—rectangular blocks with the corners cut off. (At the level of detail of this photograph, the blocks appear to be squares.) The original intention was for buildings to occupy only two or three sides of the octagonal blocks, surrounding gardens and open space.

While the original street grid pattern remains, today many of the octagonal blocks are completely built up.

The adjacent Cuitat Vella, or “old city,” presents a much denser building pattern, which dates from Roman times. Also visible at image lower right is the 173-meter-high Montjuïc mountain—historically, the location of fortresses due to its strategic position overlooking the city’s harbor. Light tan and orange structures visible at the crest of the mountain include the stadium and other buildings used in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.  The famed boulevard La Rambla is the dark line directly beneath Ciutat Vella on the NASA Earth Observatory image.

The following photographs were taken by Phyllis Shess/Pillar to Post Blog on a recent visit.

Mercat St. Josep is a bustling indoor marketplace just off [boulevard] La Rambla
Mirador de Colom at the foot of La Rambla.  Columbus is atop the edifice pointing to the new world.
Psst, Chris you're pointing in the wrong direction, but don't tell the natives.

Medieval fortress Castell de Montjuic
On this Sunday,  a Chilean dance troupe was performing inside Castell de Monjuic.  All four dancers are so in sync that you'll notice in the photograph each boot heel is the same distance off the stage.  Kudos to the dancers and the photographer.
Street scene along La Rambla showing Escriba, a wonderful cafe/pastry shop.  What is it about Spanish caffe con leche that can't be duplicated anywhere else?

Everywhere you wander in the old part of town (Cuitat Vella) you have an excellent chance of finding a classic restaurant like the one above just off the Plaza Reial

Barcs along the Embarcadero
Hotel Ramblas (with flags)

View of La Rambla and the city from the 6th floor of
the hotel at the right.

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