Barcelona Travel Journal, Part 1Sep 19 2017 · 1 comment · Artists, Personal, Travel ·1
Another one of my travel dreams came true recently when I visited Barcelona in August. A trip to Barcelona has been on my bucket list for years and making the five day trip with friends was wonderful. We saw and experienced so many aspects of this beautiful city and culture, what an inspiring trip!
On our arrival day, we gathered for a late lunch at Can Majo. Scouted out by one of my travel companions, Can Majo is beautifully situated on the waterfront. Here I had my first taste of clam and shrimp paella ~ divine!
My friends shared a salted fish ~ such a dramatic presentation!
Another first: PINK bread! This bread is a specialty, topped with tomatoes and so tasty.
For dessert we split the most delicious light pastry wrap filled with ice cream and a gourmet chocolate sauce. Such a treat.
The next day we took a tour through the city to get our bearings.
We started at Montjuic Castle, which is an old military fort dating back to 1640. Currently it is used as a municipal facility.
I took these photos of the ornate streets as a throwback to my BlogTour days!
Situated on the top of Montjuic Hill, the grounds were quite splendid with formal gardens and a breathtaking city view.
Our next stop was Park Guell. Park Guell is a public park system that combines architecture and art. Commissioned by Eusebi Guell, the park was designed by Anton Gaudi, renowned architect. There are many surprises to be found here.
Opened as a public park in 1926, Park Guell was originally part of a housing development. There is a dreamlike magic to the slanted columns, whimsical homes and the mosaics that are visible throughout.
The mosaic work on the renowned Serpentine Bench is incredible
Seeing the magnificence of Gaudi’s work, including his unusual materials and extreme mosaics was one of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip. Park Guell was the beginning of my “Gaudi experience” and it was love at first sight!
We continued our tour of Gaudi’s work at our next stop: Sagrada Familia. Be still my heart!
Gaudi spent over 40 years designing the Temple of the Sagrada Familia (1883-1926). Construction continues to this day.
There is so much to see here. We first stopped at the The Passion Façade. This depicts the sadness of pain and suffering. The massive view took me a moment to truly focus on the cubist sculptures on the façade.
The sculptural depiction of the passion of Christ is devoid of ornamentation.
“It could be that some will find this façade too extravagant, but I wanted it to frighten, and on trying to do so I won’t hold back on the chiaroscuro…” ~Gaudi
Within this massive basilica, Gaudi incorporated a wide variety of the symbolic elements of Christianity. All of the spires and their heights represent the apostles, Mary etc. If you look closely at these photos you can see the agony and sadness on the faces of apostles.
When you enter the church the ceiling is so high and vaulted that you almost have to balance yourself as you gaze towards heaven. Tree trunks and tree tops appear to encircle the sanctuary. The columns branch out in order to provide support to hyperbolic vaults. This imaginative structure allows light to filter through, realizing Gaudi’s vision of creating a religious space with a spiritual illumination.
“Nothing is art if it does not come from nature.” ~Gaudi
When we toured the church the sun was just hitting the stained glass windows and the reflection was a sight to see. The sun’s rays drenched the interior with color. These windows are in the Gothic style by Joan Vila-Grau
After a long time simply gazing at this extraordinary work of art and saying a few prayers, we exited to behold the Nativity Façade. Wow, this design is the exact opposite from the side we entered! It was filled with sculptural designs and over the top carvings.
The Nativity Façade joyfully and tenderly depicts Jesus Christ’s childhood and adolescence.
In one of the vaulted niches it shows the Crowning of Mary for her love of God.
On this façade, Gaudi captures in stone nature and works in mystical symbols such as the Tree of Life. If you look closely at this niche you will see an angel with a harp as well at a trumpeting angel. Gaudi used 3 soldiers as models…
As we toured the Sagrada Familia, I truly felt I was in the presence of God and Gaudi, an artistic genius.
“The straigtht line belongs to men, the curved one to God” ~Gaudi
Have you been to Barcelona? Were you as enthralled by the works of Gaudi as I was?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Travel Diary of Barcelona, next week (hopefully)!