Friday, December 31, 2010

Dos Abuelitas en Barceona!

Hola amigos!
Barcelona - the recap begins! I can't begin to talk about Barcelona without talking about Isabel, half of the Abuelitas (the little grandmothers), who graciously welcomed me into her home and into her life. My trip was made because of Isabel and her fantastic family, Muchos Gracias!

Isn't Isa lovely?

Barcelona is a city that likes to have a good time! Where Rome reveled in the the formality of tradition and history, Barcelona liked to try new things and take chances. It was no where more apparent than in the unique and eccentric architecture which spotted the city. Gaudi's magnum opus, the Sagrada Familia ("Holy Family") is a whimsical take on a Gothic cathedral which was begun in 1882, and still has a solid 25-30 years before it is completed.  It's breath-taking, and a little alarming - massive sculptures are molded into the outer facade of the building. But is is truly a work of creative genius. It is the work of a deeply religious and immeasurably gifted man.

they're still working on it...

this rendering of the Crucifixion welcomes you at the entrance

The inside of the Cathedral is just as magical as the outside. The ceiling is lighted and seems to soar into the heavens. A ultra unorthodox crucifix, which Jesus suspended under what looks like a canopy (representing the Father) and encircled by what look to be a vine of grapes (the Holy Spirit) adorns a non-traditional altar.

Be inspired!

Gaudi took inspiration from all kinds of things, including the natural world. He was fascinated by the geometric shapes created in nature. He designed a new kind of column for the Cathedral interior which reflected a more complex ribbing based upon the way crystals formed. Amazing! And he incorporated food structures into his towers and spires.

Underneath the crosses, you can see Gaudi's uses of nature-inspired geometric patterns

I could spend the rest of this post talking about how much I adore Gaudi! He really is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. And, he incorporated the city's patron saint - San Jordi y el Dragon - into his design too!

do you see the teeth?

Barcelona has other arts as well - the Picasso museum (which was a little bit of a let down because all of his famous stuff is in other galleries, BUT it does have a whole room of his Las Minjas paintings), a Dali gallery, the beautiful marina and sea side (and if you have money, you can go sailing - I didn't because I'm a poor grad student), and some very fine shops. Also - there's a chocolate museum. RAD!

This is a close-up of the log I talked about in the video. I'm still not sure if I get the point of this little fellow, but it was a really fun tradition to witness. According to Isabel, this is a Catalonian tradition and wouldn't be found in other parts of Spain. How cool is that?!

I had an incredible time in Barcelona. Isabel and her family were peaches! The city is a vibrant, enthralling place. It's the kind of place I can imagine running away to, if I ever decided to try and make it as a writer. So now you know where to look for me if I disappear with my lap-top. :)

New Year is tomorrow - it always amazes me how time flies! Be safe all of you! 

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