Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Studio Art, La Pedrerer, from my metro stairs, Parc Guell

After taking studio art pics yesterday, I took the Metro to see La Pedrera. It's a Gaudi architectural wonder. More on that further down this Post.

Today I closed my studio, packed my Fomentara carry-on for Thursday's flight to Ibiza (then a ferry to Fomentara). I'll check my suitcase with El Al, April 4 to Tel Aviv. Art supplies weigh down the suitcase. It weighs 49 pounds, just under the 50 limit.

Parc Guell is a short walk (and six escalators and many stairs) from my Carrer Verdi apartment. After freeing myself with overweight baggage concerns, I sought a Gaudi orchestrated space for quiet contemplation. Amid his labyrinthian Parc Guell where parrots, pigeons, and people cavort, I found a perfect bench to listen to pigeons cooing, watch the evening sun fade, and journal write. Excerpts follow:

Yesterday, at Gaudi's Pedrera, also labyrinthian with disorienting angles of pathways on its famous roof, and again a spiral dizzying down staircase, a diminutive reminder of his great cathedral's inner spiral that I climbed in 1998 and vowed never again. The Pedrera staircase deposited me into a period apartment. The vistas are stunning (as you will see) from every window, every angle, yet it felt invasive to be walking through this kept-intact time-warp, an intimate apartment of a long-dead family.

Not so with Parc Guell. It continues as a vibrant space attracting young and old. There are joggers, and many school children of all ages, chattering groups that love to enter and be photographed in the crevices of his arched and rough rocked world.

At the Pedrera, I was happy to take the elevator down from the apartment and escape. It fed my need to again walk the paths of Gaudi's magical and mysterious Parc Guell, and to contemplate those vistas, not only of the park, but also the panoramic city of Barcelona. It surely was a mere fragment in his time. Would he have imagined it would grow to its present proportions? At its founding it must have been in the midst of forested hills. Now almost all the hills are inhabited by buildings that he might abhor. Yet, because of the hills, it is still magnificent.

He staged nature for us in ways that comfort and enhance. Not to say the grotesque is forgotten. It is not, and can be found in the variety, almost wild "diversity" of his roughhewn rocky byways and arches that  carry you to the heights of the park.

There is peace here, like the uncanny peace I felt in the "House of Eight Mezuzahs'" in the Girona Jewish Quarter. Is this the Spanish experience that led medeival Sephardic Jews to hang on even after persecutions ran wild? Was it the same in Germany? Is it strange to say that I felt comfort in Koln even while making 29 masks on the theme of the  Holocaust in 1983. How else could I have done it?

Do pigeons coo to comfort each other? It's a sound one hears on waking in the morning (in India, and St. Petersburg, FL, here, and many elsewheres), or after an afternoon nap, and now at 7PM with the Barcelona sun now low on the horizon.  Quiet times awaken our ears. Have I come to bench sitting instead of exploring what still its in front of me in Barcelona? Another trip to the Ramblas? This evening is best used to consider all that has come before, my trekking about demanding a life lived to the fullest. Now, I enjoy watching the young travel about together, and alone. Some are nervous, others confident, others just being here now.

I've become attuned to the daily movement of the weather these two weeks in Barcelona. Chilly in the morning, getting ever warmer until 3PM, then slowly cooling until near 7PM, as now,  a chill begins again to take hold. I'll wrap my turquoise shawl over my russet sweater.

Time to walk back to my apartment. So many stairs here and hilly inclines, and just one more Barcelona evening before heading out of the city. Making ready for change is centering once the path is strewn with done deeds. I had the barest plan for my time here. It's worked out with the art making, visiting with friends, making new friends, and the magic gift of the unexpected. Truth to tell that the unexpected is not always so grand. As it happens, on March 29, the day of my flight to Ibiza, a General Strike has been called by the unions. Many things will stand still, especially transportation. My flight was cancelled. I spent hours yesterday trying to contact Vueling Airline to get another flight. Finally, finally with Jose and Carlota's help, it's happened and all is well again. As Carlota says, "That's what happens when you travel, you never know."

Now to retrace my steps to my little apartment on Carrer Verdi.

Here are the pics:


  1. such rich and beautiful prose observations! i love the evocative, almost wistful language, and the yummy images (some of the buildings look like confections!). i feel as though i've traveled great distances, here on my couch in ridgefield, connecticut, my laptop on my lap, reading your words. thank you, suzanne. xo nanc

  2. Thanks so much Nanc
    Let's get together when I'm back in our town!

  3. Such wonderful pictures that now I want Barcelona to be my next destination. Your descriptions of your journeys are always so exciting, full of color and adventure. Good to hear from you. Hope to see you soon. Maybe at the May memoir group.