Thursday, June 27, 2013

Motorcycles and Madonnas: Back from Barcelona!

I'm back: from my Internet holiday and 2 weeks in Barcelona! I'm jet lagged, recovering from a head cold, and surrounded by so many bits and pieces of Barcelona ephemera (ticket stubs, receipts, postcards, museum brochures, postage stamps) that it seems I will be art journaling on the city for the rest of my life. And that's fine with me--I love having a theme that can extend into my pottery, my watercolors, and who knows--maybe even a short story or two.

Our choice of Barcelona started with my husband's wish to see a Moto GP race live, and the Catalunya circuit seemed like a good venue. Put that with my desire of many years to see the Black Madonna of Montserrat, and we thought, hey, let's go!

Our first day was spent settling into our apartment converted from an old palace straight out of a fairy tale. (I still don't know how I got my suitcase up these stairs.)

The view from our living room: 

From the bedroom:

From both rooms:

The original (and very high) ceiling in the bedroom:

Next stop was afternoon coffee:

I loved all the architecture of the city, from Gothic to Art Nouveau, and for some reason became obsessed with this particular building we seemed to pass just about every day. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was so full of carving and plants and romantic stonework . . . I wanted to move in and live there forever.

Old world undies (no, I did not shop here): 

Seeing Montserrat at last was every bit as thrilling and meaningful as I thought it would be--maybe even more so. Ever since reading China Galland's book, Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna I've been intrigued by the history and spirituality connected to the various Black Madonnas throughout the world. Add that to my love for the work of New Mexico artist and writer, Elaine Soto and her own versions of these beautiful icons, there was no way I could go to Barcelona without making the (somewhat scary) ascent up the mountainside to this sacred site.

Montserrat wasn't the only place with a view, however. This picture was taken right from the heart of the city on Montjuic and the steps of the Catalonia art museum: 

After several more days of nonstop museums (Picasso, Roman ruins, the Cathedral . . . ) it was great to get out onto the water with a boat trip:

And visit Gaudi's Sagrada Familia: 

As well as the Maritime Museum (uh-oh, more museums!):

Here's me at the Aquarium. Husband's instructions: "Smile--there's a shark right over your head!"

Before we left Albuquerque, someone asked me if it wasn't a little unusual to mix motorcycles and Madonnas into one trip. But for me, it seemed the most natural combination in the world--two extremes blended into one perfect whole. It's what I aspire to in my writing, my painting, and well, even my life, I guess!

So on that thought, I'll leave you with another shot of the race (as you can see we were smack in the middle of the Rossi fan club. Good thing they were so focused on their guy they couldn't hear us cheering for Pedrosa.). Yay, Barcelona!

Tip of the Day: Where's your dream vacation? Try starting a "vision board" and special art journal to help get you there. Collect pictures, create your own artwork of the place, and write about the sights you want to see. Not only will you have an excellent source of daily writing and drawing prompts, you might even surprise yourself with a plane ticket.


Kath said...

What a wonderful write-up and pics. Just reading it has made me feel like I was on a whistlestop tour with you. You really packed a lot in!

I've already got a vision board for Florence, which I've been to before a couple of times but it's a place I'd ideally like to go and live for a few months, so here's hoping my board helps a plane ticket to materialise!

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you, Kath! It was an experience of a lifetime; glad I could share a little of it with you.

That's wonderful to hear about the vision board--hope you get your villa ASAP!