The saint of Assisi, Italy

After our experiences in Florence, the crew started it’s way to Assisi. At the time, I never really thought much about this city; however, it would be an unique experience.

Arriving to the city was actually exciting because we were very hungry. The crew thought it was best we did not stop to eat and just drive straight there to save time. Well of course, we got stuck in traffic. So we feed on light snacks. Once we got to Assisi, we ate like Kings and Queens.

So this city is actually the place where Saint Francis is from. My home town San Francisco was named after this Saint. It was a weird experience that is truly hard to put into words. I could see the similarities in the city and the Saint. Saint Francis to the Catholic Church is the saint of animals. San Francisco has a lot of vegans and animal rights activists. I found that to be very interesting.

Assisi itself is just a normal sized city. The buildings were nice. The narrow alleyways reminds you are in an european town; yet, the mountains in the background, reminded me of the mountains on the Californian countryside.

The city was so beautiful in a classic European way. No big skyscrapers, just beautiful Italian scenery.

The shops had everything in them. From assassin’s Creed gear to soap. It was weird to see soaps being sold right next to coats with hidden blades. There’s a joke hidden in there but I’m not going to touch it (pun intended).

As we explored more of the city, we were shown where Saint Francis was locked up by his dad. His dad was a very rich man and was angry that Francis wanted to become a priest. So he locked him in a small room similar to a dungeon. Eventually, Francis became a clergyman and later, one of the most well known saints.

(All photos were taken by Hugo Morel)

Thank you for reading, enjoy your weekend. Next time, we will finally go to Rome!!

In the Catalonia Region of Spain: Barcelona, Part 1

After spending a few days in Madrid, I headed to Northern Spain. North Eastern Spain is very interesting. It contains its own autonomous community known as the Catalonia Region. The Catalonia Region consists of fours provinces including Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Barcelona. Barcelona is the largest of all the provinces and is also the second largest populated municipality in Spain after Madrid.

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Catalonian Flag; Courtesy of Google. 

As soon as I arrived, I noticed the diversity of this city. The official language is Catalan but people speak other languages including Spanish, Aranese, French, and English. Catalan is so interesting because it is a mix of French and Spanish. That makes so much sense because Barcelona borders France! I met a Cuban immigrant whom showed me around several places in Barcelona. There were so many beautiful beaches. I felt like I was in the California of Spain. All beach lovers should visit Barcelona!

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Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona; Photo Courtesy of www.renfe-sncf.com

One of the main highlights of Barcelona is the Basilica Temple of  Sagrada Familia. This is a Roman Catholic church that started to be built in March 19, 1882. It still remains incomplete. It is also worth mentioning that because of its Basilica status, the temple receives certain privileges from the Pope. It a wonderful marvel and when I was there I noticed that they were adding modern figures to the building. I spotted an astronaut figure sculptured into the main entrance. It is expected to have 18 towers once completed. These towers are to represent the apostles, the evangelists, Virgin Mary and even, Jesus Christ. It one of the world’s most famous temples and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was mainly designed by a Catalan architect named Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí specialized in Catalan Modernism and used his own highly-unique architectural designs. Therefore, the Basilica Temple of  Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most visited tourist attraction with over 3,000,000 visitors each year.

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The Basilica Temple of Sagrada Familia; Photo Courtesy of Tony Polanco.