Slowing the Pace 

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In the past week or so I have been thinking a lot. I’m told that my brain is fluffy since we arrived. I do feel a bit more fluffy since I have arrived, less stressed about most things and I have caught up on my sleep at last. It is good for the soul being here. I am probably letting things wash over me where previously I might have worried about them. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing I have only been worried about him. Lately he has been doing the worrying about everything else which is really bad for him. He is getting about 4 hours sleep a night and his health and brain is suffering doing himself physical damage because he is run down. But he is like a man possessed trying to get things done, as though his time is running out. I hope it is not.

We do not have an endless time here and will have to go back South for many reasons but he does not have to do it all now. There is time and there is no schedule up here. The summer is coming, we will make preparations for our next visit before we leave.

I have been in a fuzz on the full blood pressure tablets lately but really struggled with breathlessness when I have cut back to half, despite becoming fitter due to the hill walking. So although there has been less of the usual stress clearly my body is still letting me know it still needs that different pace and medication is slowing it for me.

I am two cups of coffee into the day before I can function but am sleeping so much. Knowing that Endometriosis can wipe out your energy reserves at the drop of a hat. I am still in pain but trying to work through it on most days, not overdoing anything just trying to do something constructive each day. It doesn’t help that our time clocks are way out of sync. We are getting to bed as it gets light whilst he drops off to sleep on the chair after dinner. I have trouble waking him up to get him to bed and by the time we get there we are hearing the dawn chorus. So half the day is gone by the time I rise. He leaves me to sleep and then resents the time it takes for me to get off the ground.

We are trying to raise funds here by selling off some of our excess items but there are not that many up here since the break in and the hardships that followed. We will do the best that we can in order to stay here as long as possible. We do not wish to return to our lives down South at the moment, they have caused so much misery and heartache in the past 12 months that I would rather have hunger and a very basic life here feeling safe and healthier than I have been in months.

I was walking the dog at 3am this morning. It was a beautiful full moon last night and the Farm track was lit up, bathed in its light with twinkling lights along the coast. It was almost silent, but for the small animals in the hedgerows.  During that short walk, everything seemed totally right with the world. I felt true happiness in an instant. I could have happily walked across the hills for miles. No one around, alone with the dog and my thoughts. Silent from argument and cross words caused by pain and stress, the worries washed away in the moonlight. I loved the outlines of the tress around in the woods that surround us here. The bull in the field that we visit every day, slightly surprised to see us and snoring gently by his barn.

We were totally at peace there in the moment. Whilst I walked along hoping and praying for a small miracle to enable us to stay here and calm our souls some more. It struck me that here in the darkness, I felt totally safe as though it was the most normal thing in the world to wander the hills in the dark at that hour. It was truly invigorating. I noticed that for the first time in months, I do not feel depressed. For someone who has battled with this depression for a few years now, it seems as though being up here has lifted a huge weight from my mind for as long as I am here.  It makes me wonder if a more permanent move would be better for us all instead of the back and forth.

When the weather is warm and we have just enough to get by, then we are extremely happy up here. A little left over would be a godsend. I worry about lack of contingency funds. Since the truck has played both of us up in the past week and we are several miles from shops for supplies.

As he heads off out today, the truck has struggled again to start. There is muck in the fuel lines we think from when it ran out of fuel and it is causing us real problems. The tank is full and there is fuel cleaner in there but it is still threatening to conk out at any moment which is an extra concern we really don’t need. A return from the mechanic and it seems that it might be something more an auto electrical problem, here’s hoping they can get it fixed.

Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya – MNAC

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After my mother’s disappointment had become apparent when we arrived at the Barcelona Pavilion, we looked for something else to do. It took only moments to find from there. Looking up we found the National Museum of Art. High upon the hill with fantastic gardens surrounding it and the most wonderful far reaching views over Barcelona city and the Place d’Espagne.

The gorgeous building has so many wonderful features tucked inside, before you even get to the artwork.

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Although religious artifacts aren’t my thing, although there were some fabulous pieces in that section. I was particularly taken with a statue of St George, slaying his dragon. A mother and her boychild, then as I am a capricorn girl, I couldn’t resist photographing the last panel below.  As we were short on time, I wanted to get to the contemporary art section.

 

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We were lucky to find that there was a contemporary art exhibition on there, with such delights including doors and furniture by Antonio Gaudi and my particular something wonderful there some sculptures and sketches by Miguel Blay whom I had not heard of before, but will definitely look at more closely.


I was thrilled there was a photographic exhibition. I was cheeky enough to get a few pictures showcasing Marianne Breslauer’s career spanning the years 1927-1938 beautiful images of ladies for good measure before closing time, along with a few more monochrome shots from other photographers.

 

Lots of other photographs caught my eye, including a rather lovely picture of a starlet from a golden era.

There was a beautiful stained glass panel which I just have to share with you here, unfortunately I do not know who created it. But I must admit that glass is another of my weaknesses.

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As we left the gallery, we were met by the most beautiful sky and sunset. Like most of the other people who were leaving, we took photographs not of ourselves, just the scenery around us, it was exquisite.


The Daily Post – Exquisite

Dali v Gaudi

I do feel the need to explain. For those die hard art fans out there, it is simply my own opinion and fighting my own inner thoughts why I had no desire to go and see Salvador Dali’s work whilst I was in Barcelona. You see, I have never felt entirely comfortable with what little of his work that I have seen.  My mother said it quite succinctly “Well, he was totally mad!” and thankfully she didn’t want to go either. I know there are lots of “mad” people out there who are great artists, however I have always felt more than slightly uncomfortable with his work. Yes, he was probably a genius.  But very little of what I have seen makes me want to see more.

The same could certainly not be said for Antoni Gaudi.
Although I only recently came across his work, I have an absolute thirst to find more of it, he was brilliant in his architecture.  I don’t know what it is about it, but I am in awe of the colours, textures and patterns and the skills that were used.  It was a later arrival to my Barcelona wishlist, once I knew that I was going there and I certainly did not want to leave without visiting at least one of his projects.

Casa Batllo, on the Passieg de Gracia was the place we settled upon visiting whilst we were there.  Well it had to be once I saw the front window alone. It’s curves and frontage pleading me to venture there and see what else it would show me, I was little prepared for it and as it turned out we were in for one of the biggest surprises of our trip.  I walked around the place in absolute awe, listening to the pre-recorded tour, eyes wide from what I was seeing and was totally besotted with the house. Mr Josep Batllo was a very lucky man to live and work there and commissioned Antoni Gaudi in 1904 as architect to create a fine home for his family.  In 1906 it was completed and over 100 years later, it is a celebrated Unesco world heritage site, which is privately owned and the upkeep and restorations now financed by the admission fees.

I can quite honestly say that I have never experienced anything like it before.  My eyes were drawn to the colours, the shapes and wondering how on earth they managed to do it all.

I probably took about 300 photographs whilst I was in that building, possibly even more.  I could easily split them into monochrome and colour sections but I will not, I think there will be some stills and also a slideshow for here.  There was so much to see, a glorious assault upon the senses, which left me dizzy and eager to see what was around the next corner, or in the next room.  I adore the place and have happily dreamed of living in a building like that, if only I were lucky enough to do so.

The sitting room holds the most beautiful windows I have ever seen. Being very keen on architecture this is quite an achievement and deservedly so. The large bay windows are cavernous and have stained glass sections in multiple shades all around the top, as have the doors within this section of the house. It is simply breathtaking to see it for the first time and my photographs do not do it justice.


We walked around the house loving the design, it was a touchy feely building, your hands are drawn to the curves everywhere and the warmth created by the honeyed tones of the wooden fittings I think that this place brings a whole new meaning to the term “love handles” here are just a few of them here and they were exquisite.


The handrails of the stairs strong yet smooth where possibly millions of people have done the very same thing grabbbed the rail in eagerness to see what is next.

This is a place to reawaken your creativity. It is exciting, both in it’s form and humour. Likened to a dragon, it is a great beast of a building, fascinating and makes wonderful use of my favourite colour throughout.

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The light well is central to the building and which houses the entrances to the various apartments, the staircase and elevator is something to behold and the colour blue deepens the higher you climb, being the darkest at the roof. It occurred to me that it must hold every shade of the spectrum in that one building.

If you like ceramics or glass in any form then you will probably love this place after all, What’s not to love? 

As the tour continued upwards throughout the building, I felt that the clever architect brought a new feeling of calm as I walked through the rooms.

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The staircases, the curves in attic bedrooms of the servants quarters were welcoming and I think at the end of a long day, I would feel safe and secure being looked after within it’s walls. Everywhere we went, the light was wonderful and so cleverly used throughout. There was no dark cramped attic rooms in here, they were white and bright and yet had such softness, it must have been the curves and the clever touches throughout for storage. Not as flamboyant or colourful as the main quarters but just as lovely.

The sunny terraces were at the rear of the building and up on the roof.  I remarked upon the similarities to the enamelled ceramic colourful plaques in the rear garden and the artwork that my mother had produced years earlier in art college. She said that at the time, she had no idea as to what was possible and this had opened her eyes to it. I have quietly hankered after one day owning a particular piece of her pottery from that era. The rooftop also housed the highly decorated chimneys and the amazing roof which curled around the front of the building like a sleeping dragon its multicoloured scales at the front.

 

I think that my hardest task was to capture photographs without people walking across them. But I have to say the other visitors were very accommodating and would wait if you were poised for a shot. All these photographs I took on the iPhone I will ensure that next time I travel I will take a battery bank or two as my only complaint was that it ran out on me too early in the day. I decided to purchase a book, it was not hugely expensive and the photography was lovely. It also gave a potted history of the house which I could show my partner upon returning home.

We walked out late afternoon elated from the experience, so pleased that we had been able to see it on our last day, the sunlight on the building casting yet more glorious shadows upon its curvaceous form. I felt that if God took me now, then I would die with a smile on my face feeling as though I’d lived and grateful for the experience.

The Daily Post – Interior

I knew it…Someday I’d get there

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So, how would I feel when it finally happened and was it different to how I expected it to be? 

Yes, totally.  I clearly did not know what to expect when I arrived at the place which I had longed to see.  It was my reason for wanting to visit Barcelona in the first place. To visit and pay homage to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

For those of you who do not know, it was the German Pavilion first built in 1928-29 for the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain it was demolished in 1930 and later on, they figured that that was a bad idea. It was an important building and pivotal in the architects career.  So the foundation set about reconstructing the building on the original site, in 1983 and in 1986 work was completed.  It is now open to the public and can also be hired for private events.

At this news, I thought what a wonderful place to have your wedding photographs taken. I felt that the clean lines, beautiful chrome and glass and exquisite stonework, would only enhance the photographs from the best day of a woman’s life.

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We had tried to find it for three of the five days which we had planned for Barcelona and yet, it was not easy to find at all.  We went past the signs for it on the bus, but still couldn’t find it. I had seen photographs of the place, but I didn’t know what surrounded it, something to look out for and three different maps didn’t show us.

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Once we were inside, you could see the iconic Barcelona chairs displayed. I somehow thought that there would be more furniture inside it. My mother was distinctly unimpressed with the whole place and within a short time was clearly bored.  We had taken a while to get there and were both tired. She agreed that the building construction was very good, but that was it for her.

I wanted a little bit more from the experience, I had thought that I would have a little time to relax there for a while and meditate, but my legs were aching from the walking and I could not get comfortable or shut out the sights and sounds around me. For a moment I stood next to the statue within the place.  It was not quiet enough, but would have to do.

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Dawn by Georg Kolbe

Just Wonderfully simple.

The Daily Post – Someday

Well Here We Are….

So we flew in last night for a few days a little visit to Barcelona for my Birthday. Something else to tick off the bucket list. I am looking forward to getting out and about and us seeing some of the sights. Especially the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies Van der Roe.

I must admit that on looking out of the window last night and being met by beautiful twinkly lights on a balcony opposite I thought, this looks nice and this morning I have apartment envy as there is a huge rooftop terrace which is rather lovely. One lucky man is wandering about on it with his coffee this morning.


Today we will get our bearings and tickets for travel and might save the Pavilion for tomorrow. We are tired today, the hotel is on a very busy city corner, so we were wide awake till 3am and didn’t sleep much after that either. I haven’t slept in a city for a few years now, it takes some getting used to. But I find that the first 24 hours we are always adjusting. It feels strange not being able to speak the language. My partner would be fine he used to live in Spain.

So as we wandered about for almost 8 hours of yesterday. We basked in Sunshine and blue skies on this fine January day, were serenaded by beautiful green parrots surrounded by fabulous architecture and surprises around almost every corner. My Birthday was wonderful. 

We are staying in the Gothic Quarter and it is a short walk to Port Vell which had some fantastic yachts in the harbour and a pirate ship!


It was the perfect day to wander along the quayside. 


My weakness is for the architecture and it doesn’t disappoint at all. Art Deco and Nouveau at every corner and beauty that jumps out at you. 

It was quite warm and the horses looked hot, we decided not to make them walk anywhere on our behalf. 

I had to photograph this Lion it reminded me so much of my Roki at home having a stretch.
In the late afternoon we were tired so stopped for some good food. After which we wandered around replenished and as we turned a corner of a side street were met with a beautiful sound. A man playing the violin in a square directly in front of the Cathedral all lit up and a full moon overhead. My phone had run flat earlier and I had switched it off and at that moment prayed for a photograph of what stood before me. I was blessed and got this one then listened to the music and went on my merry way. 


Although I had the grand idea of us dressing up for our meal out we were just too tired after walking all day so had coffee and cake late evening and went to bed.