Hello Dublin!

Travel and Other Adventures

Yesterday I woke up in Barcelona and fell asleep in Dublin. We are staying with Friends and they took us on a quick tour around the place that they live. We saw two castles, we walked to the top of a vista at Howth, and I had my first real Guinness in a pub. In short: it was a fantastic day! 

Day 11 -Dali or bust!

Travel and Other Adventures

Today our plan was to visit the Dali museum in Figueres, a town about 2 hours away from Barcelona by train. However, Raf came down with a fever yesterday evening and was quite sick with some kind of stomach bug. He rested in the morning and I was pretty set on not going but he was determined so we set off, very slowly. 

The train ride was actually really relaxing and gave him a chance to rest, so that’s good. 

Once we got to Figueres and the museum it was kind of chaotic. We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes and once inside it was a mob scene. The museum is actually Dali’s home and, frankly, it’s not conducive to large crowds. It was cramped and we felt like we constantly needed to be moving, so we didn’t get a chance to ponder the art (which is something I love to do). Add to that the fact that Raf was sick. We didn’t really stay long.

Last night we saw a fantastic exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona by Andrea Fraser. She is an American artist (from Billings Montana!) who focuses on the question, “what do we want from art?” I thought her work, and the question she asks, brilliant. And I especially feel that way today, having witnessed the mob at the Dali museum. What is the point of that kind of chaos? 

 Figueres was nice though! I enjoyed walking around there. 

Tomorrow we are off on the 2nd leg of our journey: Dublin, Ireland. Our time in Barcelona has come to an end. I had such an amazing time and I’m sad to be leaving this fantastic city. I hope I can come back someday!

Day 10 – an epiphany at Montserrat 

Travel and Other Adventures

Today we went on a little journey to Montserrat, a Catholic monestary at the top of a mountain an hour’s train ride from Barcelona. We decided to take the “cable car” aka the gondola, so we could see the views. I was terrified as I waited to board. 

But the ride went very quickly and, oddly, I wasn’t afraid at all. Maybe I’m losing my fear of heights? 

The view was spectacular.

The church was equally as breathtaking.

As we walked out of the church we saw a long line and wondered what it was for and if it was worth the trouble of standing in it. We realized it was the line to look at the sculpture of the black Madonna. We decided to check it out since we were there. 

Now I’m not Catholic at all so this held no spiritual significance for me. But as I climbed the stairs to the black Madonna I did have a kind of epiphany. The several people in front of me took photos of the statues as they passed by. Some of them selfies, some of the relatives standing next to it. I was kind of tempted to also take a photo, being caught up in the crowd mentality. However, something inside of me said, “Monica, put your camera away and be in this moment.” And indeed, I felt a bit repulsed by all of the snapshots. 

So I walked up to the black Madonna and looked at her and touched her foot. And you know what? I don’t need a photo to remember that moment. It was a good moment, sans photo. 

It was a moment that is making me question the way we humans constantly take ourselves out of the moment so we can create a tangible thing that will help us remember “a moment.”what exactly are we trying to remember when we do this? Why not just experience the moment?

These were my thoughts as I touched the black madonna’s foot. 

I will leave you with another amazing view from the top.

So that was my day. It was a good day. 🙂

Day 9 – Park Guell 

Travel and Other Adventures

Another full day of touristing! We went to Park Guell, which was quite a long walk from our hotel. We did some shopping on the way. Park Guell is another Gaudi project. 

Afterwards we went to went to the  Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. They have an exhibit up called “making Africa.” It was very good. 

Day 8 – Palau de la Musica Catalana

Travel and Other Adventures

Today was a pretty solid day of touristing! We managed to sleep in and also visit to points of interest. The first was the Palau de la Musica Catalana. We walked by it yesterday but I wanted to see inside. It’s very beautiful, in a very different way from Sagrada Familia. 

When we finished the tour we decided to check out a photography show by Hiroshi Sugimoto.  I was completely blown away and so inspired by his work. 

Later this evening we walked to dinner and I snapped some photos on the way.