Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona welcome

The Birds . . .

Hey, if you love to travel then have some fun while I take you on the start of our recent two-week trip of amazing sightseeing and cruising.

Our first stop was Barcelona, Spain. What a glorious city. It was good to be back. We spent three days there. Everywhere we went, there was beauty and delicious food. Especially the tapas! If you go to Barcelona, you have to eat tapas-style. It’s a fun way to eat with plenty to choose from. We all enjoyed the selection. My hubby, Tom, our son Paul, daughter-in-law, Joanne, and I did a pretty good job of trying many different tapas dishes.

Tapas are on every counter in every café and restaurant. And don’t ask how we got seated, because you can’t get served unless you are sitting down or taking it away. Every tapas place we visited was packed. We always wanted to sit at the counter, those were favored spots because then you could pick from the tapas close up. But it was tough to get those seats. The four of us ate our way through the most popular and delicious tapas. By the end of the three days, we were ‘tapased’ out.

Las Ramblas, the famous street that appealed to tourists and locals is the most popular, busiest street in Barcelona. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretched for less than a mile connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Wikipedia.

Thoughtful memorial

Monument

Tom and I remembered the street performers from our 2010 trip. We wished they were there so we could all see them do their thing, maybe next trip. Flowers dedicated to those who lost their lives a few weeks before we arrived, were spread over the base of the Christopher Columbus Monument, at the entrance of the wide avenue. A beautiful and fit memorial.

Casa Batlló roof

We were surrounded by the designs of Antonio Gaudi,19th century architect who thought out-of-the-box. Nowhere else in the world will you see his designs as in Barcelona. His church, the most famous anywhere, the Sagrada Familia, which began construction in 1882/1883, is still under construction. Really!

If you like dragons, you’ll love the Gaudi apartments and rooftops. On Las Ramblas all streetlights and benches are Gaudi designed. His Art Nouveau creations are all over the city.

Barcelona’s main means of travel

Our accommodations were divine at the AC Marriott on the north side of the city. They had their own restaurant with great food and tapas, of course. Designs were contemporary and sleek in steel, glass and leather. Transportation was easy by taxi, metro or bus and walking. So many walked or motorbiked and sometimes you see manual biking.

Getting around Barcelona is easy on the metro. Clean and sparkling!

I have to tell you about the bathrooms and the subway. Everywhere we went, every one of them were sparkling clean. We can learn a thing or two from these Europeans, don’t you think?

Joanne finding polished glass in the sand, fun to look.

We loved our little jaunt to the beach. Joanne waded in the Mediterranean as we cheered her on, we picked polished glass from the sand, enjoyed the sand castles with fireplaces, and danced in the plaza with all the dancing couples. We didn’t want the dream to end.

 

Sand fireplaces

I forgot to mention the VIP greeting that we received when we arrived in Barcelona. Thank you to son Paul’s client. She took us through the airport and out to taxi service. Imagine VIP status, even temporarily?

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

After our three-day whirlwind stay in Barcelona we boarded the Disney Cruise Ship for a ten-day cruise across the Atlantic. I’ll tell you more about that amazing “boat trip” next week.

 

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

 

 

 

 

 

LAS RAMBLAS

LAS RAMBLAS

Gaudi lamppost and bench

Gaudi lamppost and bench

We spent three days in Barcelona, Spain, mostly touring Architect Antonio Gaudi’s work, Gaudi’s architecture is all over the city, like this lamppost with it’s stone bench. Pretty comfortable too. I think you will agree you have not seen a lamppost like this—ever, unless you have been to Gaudi’s city of Barcelona. His architectural works also dot the perimeter of Las Ramblas, the city’s most interesting street.

Human Statue

Human Statue

Its fame with tourists has affected the character of the boulevard, with charming cafes and souvenir kiosks. Las Ramblas can also be roughly divided into seedy and non-seedy areas. This distinction becomes a lot clearer during the nighttime when the Southern-most end of the Ramblas becomes something of a red light district.

Las Ramblas Artists

Las Ramblas Artists

Even so, you will find dozens of restaurants and beautiful shops along the full length of the Barcelona Las Ramblas, along with artists hawking their wares.

Did you know there is a Miró on Las Ramblas? The famous painter Joan Miró actually created part of the Ramblas. Many thousands of people walk right over the Miró circle on the Ramblas every day and don’t even know it!

Miro circle

Miro circle

Entertainment is prevalent with street performers, acrobats, impersonators, and musicians. Costumed actors were the most fascinating with expert disguises as human statues.

Human statue

Human statue

barcelona-las-ramblas-eating-outPeople watching is a must while you sit on the Ramblas with a jug of sangria, it’s an absolute must!

If you abide by the conservative fashions,, it will be harder for those pickpockets to find you. Hint, hint, shorts scream tourist, tourist, tourist, making it easy for the seedy. Are you up for the challenge?

Thanks for the images go to Barcelona-touristguide.com.

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

Antonio Gaudi, unappreciated in his brief life as an architect. His genius gave life to an edifice in Barcelona, never before done . . . anywhere. We were witness to his genius in 2010.

Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Spires of the church.

Spires of the church.

Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.On 19 April 2011, an arsonist started a small fire in the sacristy which forced the evacuation of tourists and construction workers; the sacristy was damaged, and the fire took 45 minutes to contain.

Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows

The stained glass windows were placed perfectly to permit sunlight penetration, spreading colors from the stained glass onto the massive columns.

La Sagrada is an architectural wonder, however, yet unfinished. Worth a trip to Barcelona. Then you can see other works of Gaudi’s architectural ingenuity.

You can purchase your ticket on-line the day before to avoid the long lines and make sure you include a trip up to the top of one of the towers for an amazing view!

For those of you who have been and seen, what details were your favorite?

 

FRENCH FURNITURE FLORALIZED

FRENCH FURNITURE FLORALIZED

Typical chair of the Art Nouveau style

Last week we talked about Antonio Gaudi, Victor Horta  and others. We discussed the  designs they used and implemented based on the twines, florals and curves of nature. The double bench

Gaudi's Art Nouveau double bench

in the blog, and seen here below, was typical of the “Art Nouveau” style and is still being produced today. I mentioned that I sat in the bench in the lobby of the Barcelona Marriott. The seat is ample and comfortable. The back and arms have that parabolic curve that gives the Art Nouveau style its simplicity. There is a simplicity about the style. In this bench, the legs are, however, typically a colonial style, a popular shape, even today, perhaps mimicking the figure of a woman, that is, with some imagination. There is some kind of comfort in things that have soft curves and furniture is not exempt. It was not unusual to combine different styles in one piece of furniture in the 19th century.

The Art Nouveau style was born out of a love for beauty. The curves of the plant were seen in chair legs and chair backs. The flowing line, called the Belgian curve, which is the flat segment of an ellipse, was used for wall openings, furniture supports and furniture forms. After 1900 and the Paris Exposition, the parabolic curve took the place of the ellipse. The curve was used in woodwork, mirror frames, and furniture. The curve is specific to the style, so if you like parabolic curves, you will like this furniture. Although the lines are clean, even with some ornamentation, it has a definite line direction to the style. Unlike Victoriana that had many different lines and ornamentation on one piece of furniture.

Victoriana armchair

I always have fun making comparisons to Victoriana because the style is so pathetically massive and invasive and all made with the machine. Some of my earlier blogs addressed Victoriana. If you were rich, your “stuff” was made by machine, and the more ornamentation it had on one piece, then the richer you appeared. Victoriana tried to copy the Louis XV style, a French classic. But they missed, and instead produced this strange looking furniture.

This is how it goes through the history of furniture, the history of architecture, the history of all things. The pendulum swings back and forth. We try new, then we go back to the old, and end up with the classics.

So, if you compare the Victoriana chair above to the Art Nouveau style, which would you prefer?

Art Nouveau table

FLOWERS, SALAMANDERS & ART NOUVEAU

FLOWERS, SALAMANDERS & ART NOUVEAU

The style of Art Nouveau and the flower forms of the plant live on. But not

Gaudi double bench Casa Batilo

necessarily in styles of furniture. The linear floral ornamentation lives on in architecture. Specifically, the architecture of Antonio Gaudi. Last week we discussed the brilliance of this architect who built structures

Gaudi's forms on the Casa Batilo rooftop

in Barcelona that attract millions of visitors each year. His work was a major source in the use of the linear floral forms in all aspects of design. Have a look at last week’s blog on Gaudi.

The forms were promoted by Victor Horta in his van Eetvelde House (1895) in Belgium. There was a whole group of architects and designers who were responsible for developing Art Nouveau as a new style that had nothing to do with the past. It was a style that advocated art for art’s sake.

Victor Horta van Eetvelde House staircase

The design premise was based on the asymmetrical flowing lines of plant forms. Floral forms in iron are the essence of interior ornamentation. Typical use are rail designs, floor patterns, window divisions and column ornamentation in architecture and furniture. In all the forms, look for the pervasive S form. The style was used pervasively in the late 19th century to early 20th century. The style was decorative, it did not lend anything to structure. So it can be easily dispensed with. Besides, designs with moving forms can be tiring. They have vibrations and make quiet noise like bright colors. We seem to go back to the simplistic styles.

In Barcelona, the style is everywhere in keeping with Gaudi’s strong influence. The double bench above was in our Marriott Hotel.

Gaudi salamander Parc Guell's rooftop

Although the bench was not the original, still it was an excellent reproduction. It was thrilling to actually sit in one of Gaudi’s creations. And walk on his rooftops to see his humorous creations. Check out this salamander. Look for the S forms. Take another look at plants, flowers, mermaids. Where else does nature provide the S forms?

Gaudi Interior Casa Vicens

This interior has moorish influence. See if you can find the S forms? Can you visualize the colors?

MAGIC OF CHANGE

MAGIC OF CHANGE

Architect Mies van de Rohe Barcelona Chair 1929, leather & stainless steel

Nothing exists in a vacuum. There is no future without the past.  But truth is truth. So much for cliche’s. I would never run out of the endless parade of chairs, I could go on and on and on. How did we get all those differences in the mere chair? The past here is about a school in Germany that changed the future of chairs, architecture and design forever.

The early twentieth century was the beginning of a new era envisioning how we live, work and play. A few who influenced our design decisions from the early centuries to now were the innovative, the thinkers, modern men of the day.  We lived through, and in this order, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Palladio, Downing, Gaudi, Mackintosh, Gropius, van de Rohe, Graves and Gehry. Are you bored yet? Plug any of those names into your Google and read about their magic. The magic of change. The magic of changing lives. We love magic. But do we love change?

Bauhaus Signage

The talented architect, Walter Gropius developed the idea of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1919, a school to teach design differently, to create change. Finally settling in a new building in Dessau in1926, the Bauhaus is one of the world’s most fascinating schools. It changed how we view and philosophize design. Design in art, furnishings, buildings, even fabric for fashion.

The Barcelona chair, above left, was designed during the Bauhaus era.

I suppose a few weeks might be worthwhile to spend on this history of change of the world. But today, I want to give you some more chair fun.

Take a look at this one. Robert Cohen’s bentwood rocker. This is Robert’s design of a chair made from one single piece of wood. Robert, a modern man who is an innovative thinker, is my architect and friend. He designed a fabulous new studio for me with twelve feet of north light windows. Perfect light, especially for an artist who paints. I paint soft realism. www.gailingis.com

Architect Robert Cohen, AIA, Bentwood Rocker 1986

After he saw last week’s blog with the chair from the book “397 Chairs” he sent me an email. He wrote that a chair he designed was in the book. “Really? It is a small world after all.” I exclaimed. I looked in my book and there it was, #258. So, at a business meeting recently this was the conversation between me and Robert.

Gail: “What inspired you to design this chair?”

Robert: “Well, I actually designed it for a chair competition to be exhibited in “The Chair Fair, Furniture of the 20th Century” at the lntemational Design Center in Long Island City.” While investigating the design idea, I noticed chairs were made with several parts that had to be assembled. I thought it would be interesting to design a chair out of one piece of wood. We used hard maple that could be stained in ebony, cherry, or natural. It also could have been made with Dupont Corian.”

Gail: “Congratulations on your design being chosen for the exhibition. Was the chair ever manufactured?”

Robert: “We made a prototype. And we added an optional loose cushion. But I discovered shipping a chair in one piece would be quite costly and inconvenient. Beyond the prototype, it was not offered for sale, but I still have the rocker.”

Gail: “Thanks Robert. I appreciate your skills and innovative spirit.” www.robertcohenarcitect.com.

Come back next week for more surprises………………

What do you think about changes? In your life what changes have you experienced making a difference in the way you live, work or play? Do you love change? Or only magic?

 

Pin It on Pinterest