Love Letter to Barcelona

This post is adapted from one of my writings on the course at Bournville College. The task was to write about the structure of an interesting building. I remembered my first visit to Casa Milà in Barcelona, in December 2003 ::

“Undulating” is the word most used to describe the roof of the Casa Milà, along with the staircase at Casa Batlló and the beautiful balcony at Parc Guëll. Use it too many times and it becomes boring, Gaudí wouldn’t like that. Standing on that roof, undulating it is not. The bones are on the outside, grey under the clouded sky, and Casa Milà towers over Passeig de Gràcia, not ready to give up his secret. Climbing the stairs, don’t stop to take in the mahogany doors and green-tiled floors on the headphones, it’s not important, it’s not a feeling, keep going, the roof is the prize.

Out in that crisp Barcelonín Winter, they look at first glance like luxurious swirls of ice cream, dancing in the sun, but the chimneys don’t welcome you, with menacing faces and soldier-like regiment softening with every step you take. Touch everything. Lose yourself in the maze of the patterns and the sunshine and the cold and the golden city. The yellow is misleading, it looks warm but the soldiers on the roof say otherwise, staring down at these invading tourists, like the guards of the Milà family tomb, tolerant until they are alone again.

mila2a

This was the first piece that I actually got positive comments on, before this I was told I write angrily – but my love-letter to a building showed a sense of belonging there rather than here. How can a building make you feel?

Advertisements

A Search for Views

One of the things I always look for in city guidebooks is high places to see views. City, seaside, mountains, moorland, anything. From the church tower to a rooftop restaurant to that-hill-over-there. I live on the 4th floor too, and OK the view’s not spectacular, just looking out onto other flats in the suburbs of the city, but in Summer the sky comes alive with so many colours and textures of the clouds. I like having people round in the Summer to see the sunset. That’s also probably why I like the new library so much, you can see all over the city from the two beautiful gardens.

One of my favourite places to be in this world is actually on the roof of Casa Milà, or La Pedrera in Barcelona. The picture below is my third visit and I love it every time. I could just look at the city all day long…

height

Boscastle UK, Teotihuacan Mexico, Barcelona Spain, Montepulciano Italy

Written for Written for Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme : Height

Superbowl vs Champion’s League Final

Jo Flacco vs Schweinsteiger, Colin Kaepernick vs Lewandowski – who wins in the ultimate competition? Admittedly, I am a tiny bit borrachita writing this post. Which is better?

Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers – NFL Superbowl 4th February 2013

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich – UEFA Champion’s League Final 24th May 2013

wpid-2013-05-25-19-55-11.jpgLet’s start with the much more reasonable timing, they are playing at Wembley, London – “The Cathedral of Football” according to Daniel. It’s 20h30 here, it’s 20h30 at the match itself. Instantly better, no?

  • Saturday night + beer + lie in = great game
  • Sunday night + crisps + 6am start = not so great

Let’s also go for the teams, OK so this year not so good it’s an all German final, but teams from all over Europe compete, so come on you can have Barcelona vs Man U, Milan vs Ajax, Porto vs Monaco – they don’t even speak the same language, that’s how lovely and diverse Europe is. What about the Superbowl? Oh, it’s Denver vs Falcons, Ravens vs 49ers, Green Bay Packers vs the stupid Patriots, all Americans… Where’s the competition? As Adrian Chiles just said : “Two great teams, playing great football in a great venue”

What next? Advert breaks! It’s currently half time, and we are at an ad break, we’ve just had 45 minutes of uninterrupted play. No way?! Yes güey, Tsss… Another winner for for Champions League. Do you know what? In a minute they’re going to cut to the studio, talk about the game (I bet it’s Gareth Southgate), then another one ad break and yes – back to the game for another 45 minutes!

The commentators :

  • Adrain Chiles – oh my god he’s proper grey now!
  • Roy Keane – from Ireland, because he’s had a lot of international experience
  • Some Random – we don’t know who he is, he used to be in Match of the Day on BBC
  • Gareth Southgate – Ex-Aston Villa defender, famous for missing a penalty against Germany at Euro ’96. Germany, seriously if there’s one team we hate the most it’s Germany (and France)…

Another advert break singing “the Chaaaaaaampiooooooons”. Yes.  Some discussion about the new X-Box…

Playing again now, and the diet coke is sobering me up. Daniel doesn’t want to play the Champion’s League Final Drinking Game, despite there being two Hoegaarden in the fridge. We actually saw two Dortmund fans at the train station today, clearly waiting for the train down, because the Chiltern does stop at Wembley. Boooo Angela Merkel. She doesn’t really look that interested there.

It’s Germany, why are they falling over like stupid Ronaldo? And Drogba (even worse)? I bet even Jo Flacco doesn’t even fall over on purpose and the tiniest touch, Superbowl wins this one.

Dortmund 0 – 1 Bayern. Bastards, we want Dortmund to win. They last won in Europe in 1997, Munich won in 2001. Maybe it’s that couple I saw earlier, or that Dortmund play in yellow, or that they are a true community club that love their supporters, I would just rather Dortmund won.

How many names can you laugh at in the Superbowl? Here we have Bender (no explanation necessary), Schweinsteiger (shouted in a proper 1940s German voice), Piszczech (piss check), Mueller (yoghurts) and of course, Subotic – pronounced Sugar Tits.

The book I can’t put down

Not a lot of people read books for study and fall in love with them. Like, I’m reading it because I have to. But this one really spoke to me. La Plaça del Diamant by Mercé Rodoreda. Ok, I’ve read it cover to cover twice, but that’s saying something, I had to read it the first time as part of my Catalan course at uni, but the second time was also for study – but by choice.

The novel follows a woman at three stages in her life, reflecting events in Spain at the time. Before the war, Natlàlia is young and naïve, marrying Quimet because – well why not! They have children and  struggle, but life remains quite calm until the Doves arrive in the house. Quimet buys one or two, which after he goes to war turns into a flock that takes over Colometa’s life. She sinks into a depression so low that she takes steps to end it all, until a grocer is nice to her. I can’t remember how she gets rid of the doves, but as the war ends, Quimet having died in battle, life gets brighter. She marries the grocer, and calls herself Senyora Natàlia again. She finds herself despite all that struggle.

An amazing summary and review of it lies here at Kinna Reads, please have a look : http://kinnareads.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/the-time-of-the-doves-merce-rodoreda/

We went to Barcelona for my 30th Birthday, I wanted to go to La Plaça del Diamant – this is how much I love this book!

Si se acabe el mundo – 2012

So, at 11h00 the world is supposed to end. While searching for anything NFL / 2012 related, all I could really find is this, broadcast by Chevrolet during the Super Bowl in February this year :

chev

So in January 2012 I was in Mexico, we went to Chichen Itzá, and Tulum, and generally a lot of Mayan ruins. Like when I went to Barcelona, I was a bit Gaudí’d-out…  Well, really it reminds me of my New Years day last year, we’d had the grapes, speeches, salsa dancing, and wall-to-wall American football! Oh we were watching for about nine hours, three games, one after another, Cowboys then 49ers, then Broncos… I haven’t got many photos, because all we did was watch TV and go on a little bike ride.

Well, at 11h00 this morning I will be in the hairdressers, so as my Mexican Danielote told me this morning “at least you’ll go out in fashion!”.

no te preocupe se acabe el mundo
vente conmigo, que me voy pa` Mérida

Rafael Mérida Cruz-Lascano