Eye feast

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.” John Ruskin

Pictures

I think I will let the colours of the garden and John Ruskin speak for themselves today. Sometimes words are not enough…

After the holiday…

Gentle accompaniment of rhythmic churning,
Smooth spinning gradually subsiding
Steady slowing to a stop.

Then
High pitched bleep
Pierces consciousness
With insistent demand
Empty me
Now

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After a few days away unwinding and stopping on holiday it is always a bit of an adjustment to come back to the demands of everyday chores! But all part of the rhythm and ongoing journey of life.

Under blue skies

Our last morning in Barcelona was spent exploring another of Gaudi’s famous buildings, La Pedrera or Casa Mila. The famous curving facade is currently shrouded in plastic as it is being renovated, but the roof terrace was wonderful. My first impression was to laugh. The chimneys and ventilation shafts are quirky, bizarre, almost absurd. But as I adjusted to the fantastic, I could begin to see the natural form and thoughtful design which does make sense. Image

The shapes and spaces of the attics were beautiful and housed a very good exhibition of Gaudi’s work and thinking.

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Afterwards we wandered through the El Ravel neighbourhood, a mixture of narrow streets of high tenement buildings, balconies draped with washing and open squares with skateboarding children and sweet smelling orange trees. We ate a long lunch sitting under shady palms catching glimpses of lime green parakeets in the branches and watching the world go by. 
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Then it was off to the airport and the flight back to drizzly Britain, arriving home  just before midnight and distinctly aware of the change in temperature!

Full colour

As the bus wound its way up the zig zag hill to Parc Guell the sun emerged from the clouds. Blue sky formed the back cloth to the colours of the park. The famous snaking bench was crowded with little children, giggling at the wiggles. Grown ups too smiling at the glorious randomness playfully arranged in tilting pillars, curvy roofs, tiled towers, and mosaic patterns. And of course the lizard on the steps kept smiling for thousands of photos!

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We lingered, enjoying the exuberance of the artist and the people in the sunshine.
Later in the day we took another bus along the winding route up Mont Juic. Great views of the city, and we managed a quick tour of the Museum of National Art of Catalonia before it closed. The wonderful collection of Romanesque painted murals rescued from 12th century Catalan churches is a great reminder that Gaudi was not the only lover of colour on walls. Then with thousands of others we sat in the evening sun to watch the Magic Fountain with sounds of Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe singing “Barcelona”

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Not so sunny Spain!

Today dawned dull, but we set off early to visit the monumental Sagrada Familia. I was feeling frustrated by my camera as the zoom suddenly stopped working and the pictures were just blank. Thank you dear patient husband who came to my rescue and allowed me to use his camera.
Sagrada Familia is almost too enormous, it is overwhelming. Not just the spectacle of the building, the vibrant colours, the soaring shapes; but also the crowds of people, and the noise of the building site (which is what it still is). It took us a while to adjust and then we began to tune into to the wonder of it. I cannot hope to capture it, but here are a few photos.

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Stone sculpted into harsh stark figures, flowing like water, solid as rock, and as delicate as icing or embroidery.

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As we came back to earth over lunch the heavens opened in a deluge of rain. It damped the rest of the day, although we did manage to see the outside of the Palau de Musica Catalana and some beautiful inlaid furniture and glass in the Museu del Modernisme

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Menu del dia

If yesterday was the taster (or tapas) today was definitely the full menu. We picked up our Barcelona Card, and set off to explore the old part of the city. After sampling the extraordinary colours and smells in the indoor market we visited the gothic cathedral, including the geese who live in the cloisters.

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Our card gave us free entrance to the fascinating Museum in the Placa del Rei where an underground route took us through amazing archaeological remains of Roman Barcino, (Gaudi was not the first mosaic maker!) through medieval times to the present. Above ground again we wandered through the maze of streets looking for a menu del dia, three courses plus drink, 11euros, good value.

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Just off La Rambla we found Palau Guell, an early house designed by Gaudi. Stunning is a cliche but it was stunning. And the quirky chimneys were a delight.

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A refreshing beer and cappuccino at Cafe L’Opera was called for, before we set off for our last stop of the day, Casa Batllo, a later house of Gaudi’s, which we had seen last night from the outside. Gorgeous inside, a feast of curvaceous designs, with coloured glass and ceramics, and equally quirky roof decoration.

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Traditional tapas rounded off a very full day before we returned to our hotel with aching feet!

Tasters

A change of scene for April, at least for a few days. We arrived this evening in Barcelona, and are already enjoying this beautiful and stylish city. A short stroll and a few tasters of some of the amazing sights…
A Gaudi door…

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A Gaudi window…

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A fairy tale?

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Looking forward to more sights tomorrow.