Sagrada Familia

May 29. 9:00 AM. We’re in line for the tour of Sagrada Familia. We purchased tickets months ahead of time and I did some research to figure out what would be the best time to photograph the project. Photographing the whole building is a challenge. This is a work in progress with construction cranes towering over the structure. In looking at photos in tourist information I can only assume that some effort went into removing the construction cranes and other construction infrastructure in Photoshop.

The Nativity facade faces east, which where we found ourselves for the start of the tour and the best light is morning. The Passion facade faces west, which is best photographed in the afternoon.

Construction of The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família began in 1882 under the guidance of Antoni Gaudí. The goal is to complete the construction by 2026, the one hundredth anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

Security to get into the tour is on par with airport security. No knives, liquids, and such. Backpacks go through an x-ray machine, and you walk through a scanner. My knee brace set off an alert and I was pulled aside. Staff was very courteous.

After picking up our interpretive handsets and putting our day pack in a locker we took the elevator up the tower and climbed back down a never ending spiral of stairs with occasional impressive views of the city below.

Inside the basilica one needs to keep in mind that this is a working Church and some sense of reverence is required. Here the genius of Gaudi’s design becomes apparent. The columns of multicolored stone rise up like trees and branch into smaller supporting limbs. Gaudi referred to this as the forest. Gaudi’s inspiration in the architecture of nature and natural forms and his devotion to his faith become apparent wherever you look. A stunning example of Gaudi’s architecture. And even with the construction there are so many interesting details to photograph that there is no shortage of subject matter for the camera.

Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator. – Anoni Gaudi

Chasing Frank Lloyd Wright: October 11

We arrived at Falling Water this morning for our 8:30 tour. The site is an eight minute drive from our B&B in Ohiopyle. This is small-town rural America by-the-way. Our innkeeper, Conrad has pigs, chickens and guinea hens. A rooster is crowing as I write this and the freight train is rumbling along the river. We stopped at the Ohiopyle Bakery for coffee and muffins on the way to Falling Water. We also got sandwiches for lunch, although the visitor center at Falling Water has a cafe.

We signed up for the in-depth tour which starts at 8:30. Photography is permitted on the in-depth tour but not on the standard tour. Those photos are on my laptop at the moment and I’ll need to find a good WiFi connection before I can share them.

The house was built for the Kaufmanns, of Kaufmann’s Department Store fame. When they selected the site little did they know that they would be living with the waterfall rather than looking at it. Wright’s desire was for the waterfall to become “an integral part” of their everyday lives.

The House, built in 1936, is a marvel of architectural design, with its cantilevered platforms extending out over the water.

Falling Water is owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Open for tours daily except Wednesday.

World Tourism Day

La Cité du Vin. Bordeaux, France.
La Cité du Vin. Bordeaux, France.

Having just returned from France, I thought it would be appropriate to share something from our recent travels for World Tourism Day. One of the locations we visited was La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux. I was struck by the design of the building, with it’s flowing curves and ribs. Evocative of  knotted vines, wine barrels, wine turning in the glass, and the swirls and eddies of the the adjacent Garonne River. The website says “Each and every architectural detail evokes liquid elements and the very soul of wine.” Beyond the design, the museum houses exhibits about wine, covering every aspect of wine that you might imagine.

Meyssac Loop – The Road Less Traveled

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Today marks the first day of our Macs Adventure Walking Tour, an eight mile look from Meyssac, through woods, past farms, and to the village of Collogne-la-Rouge, an ancient town noted for red sandstone buildings. Our adventure had us on a variety of narrow country roads and ancient and well worn foot paths. A warm and sunny day, but we spent the better part of our walk in the woods, we had cool shade and a slight breeze. As we left Meyssac, we passed one farmer standing in front of his house calling his dogs that wanted to let us know who was in charge. Then we followed the postman for a bit up the track as we left town, once out of town though we didn’t see a single person on the trail. Once we arrived at Collogne-la-Rouge we were back among the tourists, although tourist season being over the town seemed more or less deserted, and while the town is very interesting for it’s architecture, the main economy seems to be tourism, and I find looking at tourist trinkets to be rather boring. Much more to share, but the hotel has rather limited bandwidth, so you’ll just have to stay tuned for the next post.