A pilgrimage to Barcelona
Throughout my school years I loved art.
I had loads of art and design books on my bedroom bookshelf and one in particular was a book showcasing the work of Antoni Gaudi. His architecture… the colours, materials. textures, undulating curves and unique eccentricity jumped from the pages so powerfully. It was my favourite book. There was one creation in particular that always caught my attention as I flicked through the pages… the curving mosaic clad benches at Park Guell, Barcelona. I remembering so well telling my dad that I would visit one day and sit on the benches.
Over the years I often thought back to that book and those pictures. I finished school, I graduated uni with a first class honours degree interior design, I embarked on a career in architecture, I continued to create artworks in my spare time… but still I had not visited Guell Park and Barcelona- the home of Antoni Gaudi.
Fastrack more than 15 years since those school days of dreaming. I was sitting on my bed one morning exactly two week ago today. The weather outside was overcast and my motivation and passion had lulled. On a whim I decided take a trip to Barcelona. To find and truly experience Gaudi.
Less than 48 hours later I was on the plane. In stepping into ‘experiences’ this year, this was embracing spontaneity it’s finest. This was my heart speaking.
I spent a week in the sunshine in Barcelona splitting my time between the bustle of the city and the solitude of mountains in Les Planes just outside, where I volunteered in the creation of a live in art gallery being built by two artist friends, set amongst the mountains and lush forest backdrop.
It felt something of a pilgrimage as I trekked miles across the city of Barcelona to take in all the sites. Feeling like a proper tourist yet also a deeper sense of closure, of fulfilling a dream beneath the surface and beyond that which anyone else could see. I visited his house (now a small museum), saw the bed which he’d laid, the little stool on which he sat to meditate each morning, listened to documentaries on his life and his deep spiritual practice and his choice to follow a strict vegetarian diet (wohoo, this just made me love him even more, ha!)
On my last day in the city centre I spent the afternoon and evening as the sun set in beautiful Park Guell. The climb to reach it was incredibly steep… a true pilgrimage! But I found those undulating benches with mosaic tiles full of colour sparkling in the sunlight. A timeless creation. They were everything I’d hoped and more, as they marked the roofline of the building below, a mastery of multifunctional design and the elegant play with levels of the steep topography that I hadn't previous appreciated. Set in a huge circle creating an arena for performances in years gone by.
I sat quietly on the bench, set back from the crowds milling around the centre of the space, reflecting on the trip and the spontaneous decision that had brought me there and the quiet passion that had lived in my heart for so many years.
There I found Gaudi. I felt his life’s passion and it rekindled mine.
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