We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD was determined to help me put Antoni Gaudi in perspective and to appreciate his work. That was her goal for our visit to Barcelona (my goal was some good tapas). She pretty much succeeded in hers, as did I in mine.
Her point is that Gaudi was very much in a Spanish tradition, and especially in a Spanish/Moorish Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau tradition. Just exaggerated in what I term a hallucinogenic manner. Barcelona has tons of unusual and exotic-looking architecture. My arm was twisted to take the tour of Gaudi's Casa Batllo (below) - but just check out the oddness of the townhouse next door which pre-existed the Gaudi house:
I guess Gaudi was a sort of half-crazy genius. He certainly got his math and engineering right. His Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) church, far from completion, is already - and rightly - one of the wonders of the world in its material evocation of the grandeur of God:
We did our exploring of Barcelona by buying a bus pass and a map. We probably walked 5 miles, which is fine with me. Love walking around places. Mrs. BD temperamentally doesn't mind getting lost at all, and we did. It's fun for her. I hate it. I have been lost in the Maine woods and other woods too, and it just does not agree with me. It's just one more of my numerous weaknesses.
More of my photos of Barcelona architecture, etc., below the fold -
Gaudi's Casa Mila, right across the street from the more famous Casa Batllo. Yes, those are American Sycamore trees:
Random street scene. Looks like Paris:
Some of the unusual architecture - it's all over the place -
Living room of Casa Batllo. Senor Batllo wanted something interesting. The Gaudi-designed woodwork in the place is wonderful:
Couple of shots of the church. I call it Sangria Familia:
The Futbal stadium. My Scots pal from the boat said to me in his whiskey- and tobacco-destroyed voice: "I just want to get off the boot to see the femoos football stadioom, then git bock to the boot for my trinks. Hahaha." He meant it. Never heard of Gaudi, did not care much for Spanish people, and did not give a damn.
I gave his son the Cuban cigars that I didn't have time to smoke, since I did not want to get caught smuggling. Well, I gave some of them to my Aussie pal too. When wives nap, guys tend to head to the outdoor pub for a drink and some smokes.
Just another random street corner, as we tried to navigate on foot from from Cass Batllo to Sangria Familia. They commonly cut off the corners of buildings in Bacelona, to make for more open intersections:
Another shot of Sagreda Familia. I have heard that LSD can create that dripping effect on any building:
Odd fruits on peaks of Sagreda Familia:
If you wander around a city with Mrs. BD, every large flower shop must be investigated:
I think having had Gaudi has given Barcelona a much more adventurous architecture than most other European cities, but some of the more recent modern stuff you find there is really just a decorative facade on a Miesian block building. I was much more impressed with the structural engineering of the Gaudi building than with the appearance, and extremely impressed that his apartments were so open and light-filled even though they weremade up of many small rooms. I would love to live in a Gaudi apartment, even though there is nothing we think of as "Gaudi" in their appearance on the inside of the private space.
BD ... lovely photographs of one of my favorite architects' work. His designs have always seemed to me like meltingly tender Art Nouveau. Have always been an architecture junkie -- not surprising since I grew up in the Midwest, home of Frank Lloyd Wright and his great teacher and mentor, Louis Sullivan. who gave shabby, fire-scarred Chicago a new and beautiful lease on life. If you ever venture into the Midwest, Wright designed a series of bank buildings in small towns throughout the Midwest, and my first husband and I visited some of them on our wedding trip back to Princeton. They're most interesting, with some visually massive elements combined with special ornamentation, all contained in small, two story buildings. Very satisfying in a unique way.