Park Güell

Antonin Gaudí also designed Park Güell, Palau Güell, and Casa Mila in Barcelona. Park Güell was high on my list of places to visit.

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There are so many whimsical shapes covered with mosaics!!!

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I didn’t love the lion’s head (below), but it’s the only thing I didn’t love.

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There are two levels to the park. The part with the undulating bench is on top, in the sun.

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The bench marks the perimeter of the space. I especially liked seeing the transitions between different tile colors and styles on the bench. And I liked that the drainage holes were well designed and obviously work.

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The plain circles that crop up like dots are really fun!

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You can see the more formal garden in the background in the photos above and below.

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The views of Barcelona were lovely.

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A colonnade holds up the ‘top’ of the park. It is massive, and the columns angle to provide maximum support.

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Stone and tile… everywhere you look! And beautiful ironwork…

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The non-formal part of the park is more organic. Rock work, no tile.

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The whole park feels happy and very alive!

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It was hot summer so the flowers were not as plentiful as they would be in the spring but those that were there, were lovely.

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We arrived at the park early and missed a lot of the crowds and heat. If you go, do that :-).

 

More from the Sagrada Familia

You take an elevator most of the way up and then there are narrow passage ways and stone stairs with the occasional place to stop and look out. Barcelona is beautiful from above!

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This is also where you get to see the mosaics and other building details up close.

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You walk a stone spiral staircase back to ground level.

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You can’t see them, but there were a lot of people up there with us. There was not a lot of time to linger. That made taking this photo more interesting/challenging. Do it too fast and vertigo sets in.

Steve and I hope to go back to visit the Sagrada Familia when it is finished.

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Inside the Sagrada Familia

You have to buy tickets to go inside the Sagrada Familia. Entries are timed to control the crowd. I am Catholic so I did wonder if, or how often, mass is said. Pretty often as it turns out.

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The space is massive and filled with colored light. You find yourself looking up, a lot.

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This space is about light and color. The shapes feel organic and alive, and amazingly modern.

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We also went up into one of the spires. That’s for tomorrow.

The Sagrada Familia

Ever since I learned about the Sagrada Familia in a history of architecture class in college, I have wanted to see it with my own eyes. It really is a spectacular place.

Click here to go to the official site: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/. There is more information there than I can possibly include in a post. And here is a link to the apartment where we stayed. This is the view from our window:

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This is not a subtle building. There is something going on everywhere you look. However, the more you look, the more you can feel the rhythm of the place.

This is the newer side of the church that depicts the Passion of Christ. The long columns simulate Christ’s tendons, the shorter white columns above that simulate ribs. The cross and figures at the top of the ‘ribs’ were installed just before we arrived. Workmen were taking down the scaffolding as we left Barcelona.

The statues on this side are more severe and I found them to be very moving.

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The opposite side of the basilica is happier, and more worn. There are depictions of the nativity and of Christ’s early life. The style of the statues is different, less angular.

 

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Catherine, this one is for you :-):

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This is the back of the basilica.

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If I remember correctly there are 5 more spires to be added to the top, plus the ones that will be built on the front. The front side (on the right in the photo below) is the least finished side:

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The scale model shows more spires and a bank of stairs that might go into the street, and maybe into the apartment building across the street. I’m not sure how that’s going to work and, thankfully, it isn’t my problem.

There is a planned finish date, perhaps by 2026. Until then, the work will continue. (Look for the workmen, on the tallest spire.)

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A day trip to Montserrat

Celia planned a day trip for us to the Montserrat mountain and monastery that inspired Antonin Gaudi. It was fantastic!

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The mountain is conglomerate rock, really interesting up close. It’s used in all (or most) of the buildings.

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There are many new buildings. This is the facade of the old church.

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We lit candles for mom and my sister, Christy.

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The inside of the church is wonderfully ornate. It was filled with tourists—we were four of them. A cantor came out while we were there and began to sing. It was wonderful and odd at the same time, to be in a sacred space filled with tourists.

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We took the funicular up the mountain. It is easier see the larger Montserrat complex of building from above.

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From there, we hiked up a ways to the small St. Joan’s Chapel. There were many pictures taken along the way.

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It really is easy to see how Gaudi was inspired by this place.

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It was a lovely excursion, followed by a cava (the Spanish equivalent of champagne) at the Codorniu Vineyard. Many thanks, again, to Celia for all of her work planning this amazing trip!

Last stop: Sydney!

Catherine and I spent 2 days in Sydney. We had had a great view from our room:

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We walked and shopped (of course)…

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I was tempted to buy Han Solo in carbonite for my son, Chris, but thankfully he was not for sale. (Lorna, aren’t you glad this isn’t coming home to your house?!)

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We walked in the gardens… that’s a fig tree!

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We went to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where we got to view the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. There are 6 of them, each similar to each other, but different.

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The 2018 Archibald paintings were also on exhibit but we chose not to pay to go, mostly because I had a sinus headache that was trying to kill me. Not really ‘kill’ me, but it definitely slowed me down. Darn, right?!

Vivid Sydney is happening now. Once it gets dark, the city around the harbor is filled with light and music. It was lovely! We saw it from the water one night. Last night we walked the streets. So, this is the Opera House by day:

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And the same Opera House, lit during Vivid. The projected images changed, morphing from one thing to another…

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There were random displays…

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Catherine loved this one, that was all about microbes…

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And now it’s time to go home. I’m going to miss Catherine! We had such a good time together. It’s going to feel lonely for a while. I’m glad that we can FaceTime until the next time we can get together in the real world.

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Newcastle sites…

Catherine lives across the street from the Newcastle Museum — how cool is that! There is a famous/photogenic camel outside and I had to take a photo. (Honestly, the camel is best when seen from afar. He’s kind of scary up close.)

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The children’s area was way more fun than I expected. There were several good interactive exhibits involving magnets, and one where you could lift a real (small) car with a lever and ropes. Physics in action.

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The coal industry is huge in Newcastle and it was a big steel producer. The steel industry shut down but there is a big part of the museum dedicated to it. This is 1 ton of coal. It makes you wonder who looked at that rock and had the idea to burn it. That would not be my first thought.

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We hiked up the 136 stairs to the Newcastle Memorial Walk. It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in 1915 and the commencement of steel making in Newcastle.

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The names of soldiers are inscribed on the metal figures.

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The views are amazing. Catherine says they are more amazing when it’s sunny but I appreciated them nonetheless.

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Beach from Anzac Walk

A small memorial just outside the fence was peaceful, even with the chain link.

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The rain moved in and we went shopping. I really, really hope everything fits in my suitcase :-).