Category Archives: Spain

Featured Photo: Trail View on Montserrat

Featured Photo: Trail View on Montserrat (Barcelona, Spain)


As we hiked up the “saw-toothed mountain” Montserrat near Barcelona, Spain, a backward glance revealed this view. The significance of this small building wasn’t immediately clear, but the trail eventually took us through cliff hugging hermitages (rock cavities that served as homes for solitary monks) and up a steep climb to a spectacular mountaintop view. Home to a Benedictine monastery founded in 1025, Montserrat was an easy one-hour train ride from the city and a highlight of our trip to Barcelona.

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River of Clouds

 

The swift mass of cloud took us by surprise as we drove from Marbella to Ronda, Spain along A397. High in the Sierra de las Nievas, the sudden swirl of white prompted us to park at the side of the road and grab our cameras.

 

 

We weren’t the first to arrive upon the enchanting scene, however. One of my sweetest memories from our trip to Spain is of the white-haired couple we spied enjoying breakfast as they luxuriated in their lawn chairs watching the fog roll by.

 

The flight path of the clouds was obviously anticipated and well known to them—cheap, yet priceless entertainment. And as the shroud of ivory poured through like a silent river engulfing all the mountains below, they watched as quiet companions, sipping orange juice beneath a Spanish fir.

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An Excellent Fail: Parc Güell

Defies description? Perhaps. But I’ll try.

 

Parc Güell is an oasis of green above the city of Barcelona. It is also the most unusual municipal park I’ve ever roamed.

 

Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical touch transformed this rocky hill (originally “Bare Mountain”) into a blending of art, architecture and gardens. A place to both wander and wonder. A space filled with artistic revelations and superb surprises.

Intended to be a commercial housing development back when it was conceived in the early 1900′s, the project failed for lack of buyers.

But it was ultimately a splendid success. The property was converted into a city park filled with Gaudi’s nature-inspired architecture and art. Exploring Parc Güell was like walking into a fantasy world of twisting, melted and yet ordered geography. Part of it reminded me of the worlds I’d imagined as a girl in the far-off mountains and cliffs beyond my back seat car window. Only now they were real.

 

Forests of columns formed tunnels or provided support for overhead bridges. Gaps became windows that previewed the next discovery. Overall, it was about the unexpected around each corner. About following trails and tunnels that could lead anywhere. About anticipation. And beauty. And finding footing for imaginings that were no longer merely imaginary.

Artistic merit often lies in eluding the obvious. Gaudi defied it.

Antoni Gaudi’s fanciful works including the massive Sagrada Familia (begun in 1882 and with estimated completion to be around 2026) are scattered throughout Barcelona.  

 

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