Other Grandeur Travelers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Casa Batlló: Getting Lost in Gaudi's Mind (Barcelona Series I)

"Those who look for the laws of nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator" - Antoni Gaudi 

Last time an artist's work spoke to me was during Alexander's Mcqueen's Savage Beauty Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Since then, it has occurred to me that in this world, there are a few gifted people with the kind of passion that can throw their lives into massive success and spiraling chaos (Think: Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Van Gogh). The passion I'm talking about finds a unique path and when you surrender to it, you may find yourself in a world that can border either on euphoria or depression. It's like a bipolar disorder with an on and off switch button.

In Barcelona, I found that Gaudi truly belonged to this group of individuals whose passionate works continued and will continue to resonate and inspire everyone around the world. Antoni Gaudi's love for nature, religion, design and Catalonia led to the creation of unparalleled architectural marvels in Barcelona. The most popular of his creations and the main draw of Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia, a Cathedral that never ceases to astound and shock the senses. Since Sagrada Familia usually steals the spotlight, I'd like to write more about Gaudi's other works that equally deserve attention.

Let me start with the iconic Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi's exceptional masterpieces along Passeig de Gracia. It is part of Manzana de la Discordia (Block/Apple of Discord), a series of renowned buildings in this part of town. Casa Batllo is surreal architecture at its best, displaying elements of modernist Barcelona that will be impossible to find anywhere else in the world. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Truth About Stonehenge

Everyone loves a good mystery. Mystery arouses curiosity and that draws us to the truth, or maybe a bit closer to it. There are some mysteries, however, that effortlessly manage to become a mystery forever. Stonehenge remains one. Somewhere in the Salisbury plain, huge monolithic stones have silently stood for ages, taunting the mind of any person who has seen them. Stonehenge has succeeded in becoming a worldwide enigma and precisely therein lies its magic.

I had seen images of Stonehenge as early as grade school. I believed that aliens built this monument, considering my mind was filled with bizarre images of crop circles and extraterrestrial forms. My ten-year old mind couldn't have known better. Or maybe I did.

The truth is, no one is exactly certain about the real purpose of these prehistoric stones. It is beyond the grasp of human knowledge. Stonehenge has generated many speculations/theories but suffice it to say that not one of them can be right or wrong. Stonehenge has been said to be:

1) Place of Sacrifice/Religious Site. Many researchers arguably believe Stonehenge was a site of religious and worship that time. They were able to find big bones here and they could have been offerings to the gods. No human skulls were in sight. Thank God.