Winter 2017

Getting close to the end

I am almost done with my Barcelona shots! And dang, did I go crazy with taking pictures over there. I thought it was never going to end…

These don’t really have a theme to them. They were just random urban shots in color. I liked them, so yay.

1T2A5860 copy1T2A6083 copy1T2A7150 copy1T2A7885 copy1T2A8380 copy1T2A8640

Advertisements

“Parc Güell = Zoo Para Turistas”

In the midst of all the touristy shots I have taken of Barcelona, I had also shot a few street photographs of inconspicuous spots within the city. Usually places deemed ordinary by Spaniards and tourists alike.  I’m no street photographer, but finding spots like these are great for practice.

Some are just normal streets or roadways around the residential areas.

1T2A6720 copy1T2A6739 copy

Others are quiet spaces seen from the loud, commercialized tourist hot spots, like this messy neighborhood from the rooftops of Palau Güell…

1T2A7405 copy

Or this seemingly pissy graffiti a quarter mile down from Park Güell.

1T2A8391 copy

There’s also this workshop around Poble Espanyol…

1T2A9044 copy1T2A9047

The tram heading to Tibidabo…

1T2A8666 copy

And the view of the shipping port from the top of Montjuic Castle.

1T2A8779 copy

When I tell some people that I would love to someday move to Barcelona, that this is one city I can see myself living in, the response had always been the same: that I have only seen the touristy parts of the city and that I haven’t seen the actual, real side of Barcelona. In a way, they are correct. One week in Barcelona is not enough to see everything. But what they fail to realize is that I am a very observant person. And I love to explore. When I travel, I see so many things that people don’t often pay attention to, whether I’m in a tourist spot or I purposely ventured outside of those tourist spots. And from what I’ve seen of Barcelona so far, I likes.

So yeah… one of these days.

La Pedrera

Casa Milà, aka La Pedrera, is one of the most popular hot spots in Barcelona. Too bad it was closed for the entire, freakin’ week I was there.

Anyway…

Built in 1906 and completed in 1912, this century-old structure was Gaudí’s most controversial one. Not because of any particular drama. People just didn’t like it. Disapproving citizens ridiculed it, calling it “La Pedrera” or “the stone quarry,” in reference to its weird design.

I don’t know what they were complaining about. To me, it looked just like Casa Batlló, except fatter and less colorful. My only complaint was that they wouldn’t let me inside. I was only able to take a picture through the front doors.

Hmph…

1T2A78901T2A7899 copy1T2A7902 copy1T2A7921 copy1T2A7953 copy1T2A7975 copy

That one fortress I kept seeing everywhere

Aside from the National Museum of Catalan Art and Tibidabo, the other hilltop structure that I kept seeing all over from the rooftops of Barcelona was the Montjuïc Castle, a military fortress that sits atop of the Montjuïc hill next to a seaside port.

It has a rich Catalan history that spans nearly 400 years. Not a lot of tourists tend to venture on these parts, so lucky me, I almost had the entire place to myself.

Gotta say, it was pretty windy up there.

1T2A8713 copy1T2A8728 copy1T2A8755 copy1T2A8849 copy1T2A8886 copy1T2A8893 copy

Arc de Triomf: The Barcelona Version of Arc de Triomphe

This was more of an accidental stumble. We had a choice of either taking the metro to Sagrada Familia from La Rambla, which would’ve taken about 10 minutes or less, or take a 45 minute walk around Barcelona.

We, being the overly curious tourists that we were, of course, chose the latter.

So aside from seeing the quiet, non-touristy parts of Barcelona and tried some of their local diners and cafes where I had another one of their amazing, fudgy hot chocolate, we came across this: the Arc de Triomf of Barcelona. In case this you didn’t know (like me for the longest of time) triumphal arches are a common monument in most major cities, Paris being the most famous one. Even North Korea has one (bigger than the Paris one, according to North Korea).

It’s a neat stop. Took a buncha pictures. It’s one of those times when I’m glad I didn’t take the shortcut.

1T2A6642 copy1T2A6646 copy1T2A6657 copy1T2A6670 copy1T2A6699 copy1T2A6705 copy

1T2A6635 copy.jpg

The City of Girona

Welcome to the lovely, medieval city of Girona, the capital of the northeastern Catalan province of Girona and a region historically inhabited by Iberians, my ancestors.

Surrounding the old town of the city is an ancient, Roman wall that once protected the area, recently reconstructed in some parts. In another part of the old town is the Girona Cathedral (the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona), restored in 1015 and redesigned around the renaissance era. Next to the Onyar river are houses reconstructed to resemble houses by the Arno river in  Florence, Italy (I like the Italian ones better. More authentic. Peh).

Though it is a very picturesque town with a lot to offer, it is more famous being one of the locations filmed for scenes in Game of Thrones, episode 10 from season 6. Look it up because I won’t. I haven’t seen it. Don’t kill me.

1T2A76711T2A7794 copy1T2A7792 copy1T2A7780 copy1T2A7778 copy1T2A7754 copy1T2A7744 copy1T2A7736 copy1T2A7730 copy1T2A7711 copy1T2A7707 copy1T2A7704 copy1T2A7693 copy1T2A7787 copy1T2A7768 copy1T2A7795

El Salvador Dalí

Just an hour and half outside of Barcelona is the town of Figueres, birthplace of Salvador Dalí. And since someone was a huge fan of Dalí, of course we had to veer a little off of Barcelona and visit the town.

There in middle of the town, is an old theater, once destroyed by the Spanish Civil War and rebuilt in the 60’s as the Dalí Theatre and Museum. Considering how theatrical and dramatic Dalí can be, a theater is quite a fitting venue to display his works. I’ve been to the Van Gogh museum and I’ve been to the Picasso museum, but dang, I’ve never seen a museum as kooky as this. Unlike Picasso and Van Gogh’s museums, this guy turned practically every the structure within the museum into a work of art. From the doorways and entrances to windows and corners. It’s bizarre, just the way he liked it.

Anyway, if you live under a rock and have never heard of Dalí or just need a quick pointer, he’s the Persistence of Memory guy. Now, hanging suspended and upside down at the courtyard of the museum is a boat called “Gala’s Boat” with water drops (made of, what I didn’t know then, condoms. He’s a surrealist, go figure), symbolizing tears. Below that is a car filled with water, supposedly underwater beneath “Gala’s Boat,” called the “Car-Naval.” Get it? It’s in a theater or carnival, but it’s also a car underwater so it’s also called “Car-Naval?” Yeah, it’s Dalí . Leave me alone.

Surrounding that courtyard area are golden statuettes, modeled after the Oscar awards. He was a fan of movies and film. From what I’ve learned in this theater, he did dabble into film several times and had even collaborated with a longtime fan of his, Walt Disney. Creation of their short film “Destino” began in 1945, but wasn’t released until 2003.

One of Dalí ‘s iconic images that was often reflected in his work (besides the melted clock, the long-limbed elephant, the ants, the eyeballs, etc.) are the drawers attached to the human body. This supposedly symbolized the unconscious and the secrets that are filed within every person. It’s Freudian stuff… and stuff. Once these drawers were pointed out to me, I couldn’t stop keeping an eye for it. Another one of his iconic images was his wife and muse, Gala Dalí. If you ever see a portrait or a painting by Dalí of a woman with double pointy, half-way up hair, that’s her. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

From what I’ve gathered from the museum, Dalí was an eccentric and vain narcissist and damn well proud of it. I mean, his body is buried at the front stage of the theater, just underneath a huge painting of Narcissus, fer cryin’ out loud. That’s a pretty big hint. Aside from loving the limelight, he was also extremely talented in so many ways, not just in paintings, but also in sculpture, jewelry design, photography and writing.

Now, going into Barcelona, I knew I will be seeing a s*load of modern art, which I confess, I wasn’t a fan of coming in. Coming from California where often times I ran into contemporary works by young, so-called artists, I’ve grown accustomed to really bizarre artworks created by people with very minimal (if not nonexistent) artistic skills, but with a lot to say, most of which are either very obvious or just so completely out there that methinks I am an extremely shallow person who just don’t get it or they have no idea how to reach their audience. But after coming across the early works of Picasso and now seeing the quality of Dalí’s hyperrealism, I saw how developed their talents were before they delved into cubism, surrealism or whatever form of modern art they chose. They got their mad skills down, no longer needing to prove that to anyone, and decided to venture off into a more cultural, layered level. They wanted to escape from the real word, the wars and all the crazy crap that was going on in their time so they dove right into their art. That concept gave an appreciation for the strange world of modern art. Now if only their contemporaries would follow suit…

1T2A7630

1T2A7653 copy1T2A7649 copy1T2A7644 copy1T2A7640 copy1T2A7627 copy1T2A7611 copy1T2A7605 copy1T2A7600 copy1T2A7580 copy1T2A7570 copy1T2A7562 copy1T2A7548 copy1T2A7542 copy1T2A7538 copy1T2A7533 copy1T2A7531 copy1T2A7526