Tag Archives: Spain

Sagrada Familia

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sagrada Familia is a cathedral that’s still under construction in Barcelona. It’s the unfinished masterwork of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, whose work adorns the city and who is one of my favorite architects of all time. His work is different and original, and there’s no better reflection of that than this cathedral, which resembles no other cathedral in the known universe. Pope Benedict was just in Barcelona not too long ago, in 2010, to consecrate the cathedral, now that most of the interior work is completed.

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia1

The Sagrada Familia

It’s difficult to describe how profoundly different and magnificent I find the Gaudi work I’ve seen. That said, although the Sagrada Familia was in many ways his life’s work and his passion, it does not fully represent his design. Partially, that’s because his design was never finished; instead it evolved and he modified it as work progressed. Secondly, it’s because Spanish (anti-Catholic) anarchists destroyed some of his models and plans in those turbulent times after Gaudi’s death in 1926, and while some of these plans have been reconstructed, some damage remains. And partly it’s because other artists have, by necessity, had to step in in the years since his death to continue the work on the cathedral, which now also represents their work and their interpretations of his intent. The passion facade, in particular, is controversial, because some argue that its haunting figures and angular representations are profoundly unlike Gaudi’s work, which is more natural and flowing in its design.

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia2

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia3

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia4

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia5

The Sagrada Familia

The beauty of the interior is difficult to describe, or fully capture with the photos I’m capable of taking. The stained-glass windows in particular look about a thousand times more gorgeous in person than they do in the photos I took. It’s worth noting as well that most of the windows lack stained glass, which is still being made and added to the building as we speak.

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Glass1

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Glass2

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Glass3

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Glass4

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Glass5

The Sagrada Familia

For the rest of the interior, I think I’m just going to share the photos I took and then offer a few brief thoughts.

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior1

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior2

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior3

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior4

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior5

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior6

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior7

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior8

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior9

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior10

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior11

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia-Interior12

The Sagrada Familia

Other cathedrals that are close to my heart – Lisbon’s Sé comes to mind – have an austerity and severity that I love. One way of interpreting the architecture and design is as a representation of the divine, and sometimes, the interpretation that I take away is one of God the Destroyer; the Shiva-like incarnation. It’s a religion-is-serious-business impression; repent-while-you-can. The design of most cathedrals evokes some measure of majesty and awe; it’s an on-your-knees, God-is-great impression, and that’s common. But to me, Sagrada Familia is unique in its capacity to evoke an impression of God the Creator: its wild spray of light, color and shape seems to me to express delight, a delight in the divine; joy; fun. I felt joyous being there, and while I also felt joyous in the Sé (which I loved) and most other cathedrals I’ve visited, the Sagrada Familia is something very special.

Two last, anticlimactic parting shots:

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia6

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona-SagradaFamilia7

The Sagrada Familia

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Marrakech

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Need plants? You can buy them in the main square in Marrakech. Getting them through international customs is your own responsibility, though:

Marrakech-Streets3

You always need plants.

A minute portion of the souks:

Marrakech-Streets2

The souks.

The main square in the heat of the day:

Marrakech-Square

The photo isn’t that hot, though.

The minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is one of the landmarks of Marrakech – and it was a useful landmark for me more than once.

Marrakech-Koutoubia1

Koutoubia

Marrakech-Koutoubia2

Koutoubia

All the olives you could want!

Marrakech-Streets4

The source of delicious harissa.

Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Streets & Shrines

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Another shot of a windy Barcelona street:

Barcelona-Street5

Gorgeous

And a street-side shrine:

Barcelona-Shrine

A shrine

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Spanish

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Learn Spanish in only 30 hours and for only 150 euros. What a deal! Call it the “Matrix treatment.”

Barcelona-Spanish

A bit like the Matrix.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ferry

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A few shots from the ferry ride over.

I had no car, but there was space if I did:

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry1

For cars, like so many things.

The passenger area:

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry2

People passengering.

And immigration control, where you had your passport stamped for entry into Morocco. This is near the end of the trip, at the beginning the line was much longer.

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry3

Immigration: on the ferry!

Goodbye Europe…

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry4

Sad wave.

…Hi, tanker…

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry5

Oh hi

…Hello, Africa!

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry6

Happy wave!

The gates come down!

Tarifa-Tangier-Ferry7

On our way.

Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarifa

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Tarifa has some historical sights, but is mostly known for its excellent kitesurfing/windsurfing conditions. In fact it’s one of the best places in the world to surf or skirt above the waves with the help of a big kite and a lot of wind, and there are places that will teach you how to do so, for a pretty fee, over the course of three days. There are also whale-watching expeditions that depart from Tarifa, and what are supposed to be some spectacular beaches. But I was only passing through.

My original intent was to drop off the bulk of my luggage somewhere in Tarifa and reclaim it when I pass through on the return. But there are no left luggage lockers in either the bus station or the port. But I figured I could approach the local hostel, or a hotel, and ask them to hold my luggage for a few days. They’d get paid something, and they’d still have all their rooms available for rent. Seemed to me like a sweet deal for both parties concerned, but the first place I approached was emphatic in their declination. In fact they seemed angry, like I was trying to cheat them out of the normal fee for the bed I wouldn’t be sleeping in. And here I thought I’d be doing them a favor. Not so.

To heck with that, I thought, I might as well just bring my bags with me to Morocco. Makes a lot more sense than paying for my accommodation twice over.

A few shots of Tarifa on the way down to the port:

Tarifa1

Tarifa

Tarifa2

Tarifa

Tarifa3

Tarifa

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

After

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

After Malaga, there was some question about what to do next. I could go straight to Granada, and still intend to when I return to Spain. But the other option – the option I took – was to go to Tarifa, the southern-most city in Europe, and from there take the ferry to Tangier, in Morocco. So this is the bus ride from Malaga to Tarifa, looking out at Africa, and the Atlas Mountains.

Malaga-Tarifa-Bus1

Looking at Africa.

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dinner

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Dinner at a fish restaurant in Malaga, accompanied by some sweet Malaga wine.

Malaga-Dinner3

I ate this.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Direct Dialoguing

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Direct Dialoguing is a citizen engagement strategy that resembles canvassing, but without the going house-to-house. Instead, you go person-to-person in a place where there are a lot of people, like a crowded street, and try to engage them in your issue. Mostly, this engagement takes the form of donations, and direct dialoguing has evolved over the last 10 years in mainstream public service organizations as a fundraising strategy, but it can also be used to generate citizen pressure on lawmakers or simply to raise awareness about an issue. In any case, in many large cities now, it is ubiquitous. Here, several direct dialoguers attempted to generate donations for the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

Malaga-DirectDialoguers

Difficult work.

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tapas

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A subterranean tapas bar:

Malaga-Tapas

Tapas!

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment