While Barcelona is not without it’s share of architectural wonders, one that is worth a visit is the Palau de la Música Catalana, the Palace of Catalan Music. We visited the Palau on May 29, our first day in Barcelona.
We bought our tickets online well before arriving in Barcelona. Best to buy tickets ahead of time since this is a poplular tour.
This structure is basically a jewel box for musical performances. The main concert hall is surrounded by stained glass windows with a spectacular stained glass ceiling over the middle of the hall. The hall was intended to be a garden for musical performances.
Built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner, the Palau de la Música Catalana is an example of Catalona modernist architecture.
Adjacent to the concert hall is the Lluís Millet Hall with a large balcony with columns symbolizing flowers of every kind, in a tribute to nature. I only wish that we had had time to hear a concert here.
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
If you are interested in architecture or you are looking for something to do in downtown San Jose, then a visit to Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph is the thing to do. The cathedral is listed as a California Historical Landmark and as well as the National Register of Historic Places.
I arrived on a Thursday afternoon and found very few visitors, which made it easy to capture photos of the architecture with out people.
The first church on this location was called San Jose de Guadalupe built in 1803. Earthquakes and fires took their toll of the original and several successive buildings. The existing structure was consecrated in 1877. In 1985 following a major renovation it was elevated to the status of cathedral and made a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1997. The church is open to the public with no fee, although you may want to pay attention to the events happening at the church since it is an operating church with worship services and other events.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas. We are camped in the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierra with what appears to be an annual ritual. We were here last year. This year we represent three generations of Johnsons, the the newest addition, Annabelle, being five months old. We arrived the afternoon of Christmas Eve, set up camp, got the camp fire going along with the coals for the Dutch Oven. Dinner was Chicken Cordon Bleu, with wine to wash it down.
We were surprised by a rain storm passing through in the middle of the night, but we were snug in our beds when the sound of rain on the roof woke us. We woke to find that water that had collected in the camp chairs had frozen solid. Even so we took our time getting the campfire and Dutch Oven coals going, being torn between the photo opportunities of the early morning light and the anticipation of breakfast. Breakfast was quiche cooked in the Dutch Oven. After breakfast we poked around the hills and rocks, A cold wind was starting to find it’s way through our jackets, so we broke camp and headed back to Big Pine.
The Alabama Hills are located in the Eastern Sierra, just west of the town of Lone Pine. The Alabama Hills is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as the BLM Alabama Hills Recreation Area. There is no fee for camping and there are also not much available for services. No picnic tables, no outhouses, no water. It is also dog friendly; our two dogs were happy to wander around camp off leash. I’m always surprised to see how many people camp here over the Christmas holiday, but that said there is no shortage of spaces to camp. Last year we picked a spot that was exposed and had had a view of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain peak in the lower 48 states. This year, with the prediction of wind we found a more protected spot with an outcrop of rocks to block the north wind.
This is a popular spot for photographers who wish to photograph the classic morning light on Mount Whitney, Lone Pine Peak and the adjacent Sierra Nevada Mountains. The granite outcroppings also provide endless opportunities for photography. This is also a popular filming location, especially Westerns. Since the 1920s, 150 movies and a dozen or so television shows have been filmed here. There are also dozens of natural arches, with one of the more popular arches being Mobius Arch. The location is also noted it’s dark skies which makes it poplular for astronomy and astro-photography. Not far the North on Highway 395 is the Manzanar National Historic Site, another location worth a visit.
Today marks the end of our two week trip through the mid-west chasing Frank Lloyd Wright. Our travels have taken us from the Oak Park region of Chicago to Pittsburgh driving through parts of four states: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This afternoon we board the plane for our return flight to San Francisco. For the past few days we’ve been wandering the small towns of the Laurel Heights region of Southwest Pennsylvania, including the towns of Dunbar, Connellsville and Dawson. There is so much to discover in small town America. More on some of those adventures in up-coming posts. Yesterday our adventures took us to the Cathedral of Knowledge on the University of Pittsburgh campus and to the top of Mt. Washington by way of the incline. The view from the top is probably the best view of the city and the three rivers. The temple of knowledge has a number of rooms decorated to represent different countries of the world. We spent a good two hours exploring some of the rooms, which are open to the public on certain days. Being Sunday classes were not in session. At the visitor information station on the first floor you can obtain a key and an audio tour to visit many of the rooms.
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.
If you like to walk, the hills of Berkeley offer some interesting opportunities. Winding road and paths meander all over the hills. The Berkeley Paths website lists 137 paths. Plenty to explore if you just have a few hours or a few years. We’ve been here over 30 years and we’re still finding places to explore. Our adventure this day, July 25, took us to Remillard Park where we had a picnic dinner to celebrate Joann’s birthday.
We ended up playing tourist in our own back yard deciding to walk some of the paths close to Remillard Park. Some of the paths seem like hidden get-aways, meandering up and down the hills between houses.
Irene’s Birthday Wall
As we were walking down one path I wondered out loud who maintained the paths. It wasn’t long before we ran into “Joe Cool” with his broom, taking care of business.
I found myself pulling my camera out every few steps being amazed at the gardens, architecture and interesting details, for example the sign that read “Beware of Dog … And Two Giant Cats.”
Where else can you open the refrigerator and step into a whole new world. Or bang on the ribs of a mastodon to make music. The Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe New Mexico is a bit like going down a rabbit hole.
Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe
Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe
Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe
Meow Wolf Museum in Santa Fe
We made a visit to the museum on June 27. We were staying near Santa Fe for a few days, and with the hot weather and the closure of hiking trails due to a high fire hazard we opted to visit the Meow Wolf museum.
The website bills the museum as an immersive, interactive experiences to transport audiences into fantastic realms; the product of a cooperative of over 200 artists encompassing disciplines of architecture, sculpture, painting, photography and video production, virtual and augmented reality, music and audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming and performance.
Like no other museum experience. We got in for the senior price of $23. Regular admission is $25.
We’re spending the night at Diamond Campground, near Springville, Utah. Our destination is Santa Fe. We have a week to get there. So we’ll be wandering the southwest for the next few days. No WiFi here so I’m writing a short post on my iPhone. More to follow when I can sit still long enough to edit photos on the laptop. Our travels so far have brought us over the Sierra Nevada Mountains via highway 120 through Yosemite and down the east side of the Sierra to Big Pine, where our son and daughter-in-law are expecting in July. Our first grandchild. From there it was on to Great Basin National Park, and then on to Salt Lake City where we celebrated the anticipated birth of our second grandchild, due in August.
Earlier this week I was driving down a street in my home town, Marin Avenue in Albany, California. It’s only been a few days since our return from Tanzania. There is a orderly stream of cars moving along. The street is lined with neat single-family homes. There are no people on the sidewalks, no bikes on the bike path, just an orderly stream of traffic, each car with a single occupant. Each of us in isolation. I’m struck by the the contrast to our experiences in Tanzania. Where are the people, the humanity, the motorbikes, the thousands of small shops, the roadside vendors and the people going about business? My own neighborhood seems stark and sterile compared with vibrant throngs of people on the streets in Arusha. A stark contrast in cultures. I feel like a fish, having just returned to my fishbowl, and having a whole new perspective about water. I see my own culture as one where people are isolated, insular, each in our own carefully constructed realities, where fear, suspicion and anxiety are prevalent. I wouldn’t even notice this if it weren’t for the opportunity to step into another culture. Even a brief visit gives insights about my own insecurities and biases. As we visited with the people in Africa, I began to appreciate a people that seem less anxious, less fearful, and free to express themselves. One morning as we toured the market place in Moshi, I wanted to photograph some of the people. I had been informed to be cautious about photographing people; many people do not want to be photographed. As I worked with our guide, Sophie, I found, that while some people clearly did not want to be photographed, others were more than willing, and became quite expressive. As we passed one little butcher shop the butcher invited Joann into his shop to pose for a photo, nearly grabbing her off the sidewalk. His enthusiasm and joie de vivre were infectious and something that seemed to create a bond of friendship, transcending our cultures. I doubt that such and interaction would happen on the streets of Berkeley. I doubt that my idea of “normal” will ever be the same having spent time in Africa. Or if life does start to look normal, that will be my cue to plan anther trip.