Thursday, December 2, 2010

barcelona and his holiness

we spent a week in barcelona for our final stop before heading home and it turned out to be one of our favorite cities on the trip.  we were able to see a lot of guadi's work, eat some really good food, see the pope, and managed to get through the whole week without getting our pockets picked once.

this is la pedrera, an apartment building designed by antoni gaudi and was completed in 1912

the interior courtyard of la pedrera

though people still live in the building, the first floor is open to the public and a fully restored apartment serves as a museum.  the entrance fee allows visitors to access the attic as well as the famous rooftop terrace.

the ambitious work is considered by many to be the pinnacle of modernist architecture

the rooftop terrace features several sets of ventilation chimneys sculpted to resemble the helmets of roman centurions

having been on the road for a while and fairly unplugged from any english language news outlets, we had no idea that the pope would be visiting barcelona the same week we were.  it actually took us quite a while to realize what was going on in the streets, at first thinking that france wasn't the only country with riots going on.

there was a huge police presence throughout the city

nuns everywhere

many of the people in the crowd were wearing capes celebrating the popes arrival in catalonia

the sagrada familia is probably the most impressive of gaudi's architectural wonders, though he wasn't even involved in the project until a year after its initial commencement.  gaudi took over the design of the church in 1883, and devoted the last years of his life to the endeavor.  by the time of his accidental death in 1926, the project was only 1/4 completed.  since then, construction has proceeded slowly with several starts and stops dues to wars and funding issues

the nativity facade of the basilica features ornately sculpted animal and nature scenes and is generally considered by experts to be totally off the hook

we stayed in a studio in the borne district for a few days

jenny bought some brazilian shoes in spain

the place was pretty cool but the walls were so thin that it sounded like our neighbors were doing the dishes in bed next to us

 we finally figured out that the pope was in town to consecrate the sagrada familia so we decided that we might as well stick around to catch a glimpse of the spiritual leader of the catholic world

papa bennie (as the spanish call him) had a ton of security around

we decided that the guy in the white suit jacket was probably a vj for mtv spain

mad security


the arc de triomf (not to be confused with the arc de triomphe in paris) was built for the 1888 universal exhibition and stands at the entrance of the parc de la ciutadella in the center of barcelona

the entrance to the sagrada familia by day

the doors to the basilica

the ceiling of the sagrada familia is intended to resemble the canopy of a forest

the main columns suggest the trunks of great trees

as kaleidoscopic as this may appear, this is actually what the ceiling looks like to the naked eye

these carvings were in the rocks lying along the shore

park guell is a garden park set atop a hill incorporating architectural elements designed by antoni gaudi and packed with men trying to sell souvenirs and jewelry

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

collioure, a village by the mediterranean

we took the train to the seaside village of collioure (and have yet to agree on the proper pronunciation).  the village lies along the coast of the mediterranean in the roussillon province of southern france.  in the early 20th century this beautiful village was a meeting place for many of the great fauvist painters, including henri matisse, andre derain.

found a cool english bookstore to replenish our literary stocks 
we climbed the hill and sat beneath a windmill to watch the sunset 

you can see the windmill up on the hill that we watched the sunset from

we saw some ufo's floating above the town.  no big deal.

so many jennys