Friday, July 11, 2014

Sun, Sea and Sky

I have no words to describe the beauty I observed yesterday on Montjuic. From the citadel, we saw the unfathomable density of Barcelona city, on one side, and the splendor of the Mediterranean on the other:

Do yourself a favour and enlarge this panoramic shot. Alas, it does no justice to the real thing...
In the pantheon of my anxieties, heights is second only to bugs, so the fact that I look cucumber-cool in this shot (when actually I thought I would throw up), is really a testimony to the propensity of photographs to lie:

Yeah, there I am, gripping that seat for dear life. I know it seems like I'm saying: Oh, look at the Sagrada Familia in the distance! Really, I'm berating Scott for having lured me into the capsule of death (as I refer to those cable cars).

We did more "touristy" things yesterday than ever I have before (seriously) - the Olympic park, Placa Espanya, Miro museum, cable ride, Citadel - and every bit of it was spectacular because, when the weather is 25C with no humidity and you can see the world's most stunning views from every vantage point, what's not to love.

But one thing I will say, I loathe artsplainin'. I may have made that term up, just sub out "man" and insert "art", but nothing is more absurd, to my mind, than justifying surrealist symbolism with a kooky narrative. (And I did my degree in English Lit with a minor in Semiotic Studies?!)

Who the fuck cares if the butterfly is a symbol for erotic intent and arrows are like birds in flight?! It undermines an entire work of art to try and decode it because, really, at a certain point every fucking Miro looks the same. (In truth, I do love his sketches and early works, before the surrealist insanity kicked in.) I'm the first to admit that my knowledge of art history and theory is limited to what I've seen on PBS documentaries - and I like to visit art galleries and read articles. Point is, I'm not exactly learned on the topic. But I know enough to know that art is a subject of the heart. I'm never getting the headphones at a gallery again.


  1. Too funny! I'm rather a fan of the and I love this word you've made up! Paul actually got us the French headset in the Miro last year, so we could practice our French (it's so beautifully clear in those programs) while learning more about Miro. (we've been to 3 different exhibitions of his stuff over the last few years -- and it's amazing the range and the changes within). Had an amusing convo with the young man who staffed the headset desk over us and of the thousands of visitors, he remembered us on our returning them, quizzed Paul a bit on what he'd learned, in French (Europeans switch languages so damn easily)! Isn't Montjuic amazing? Did you notice the fabulous stone/tile work underfoot? We climbed rather than did the cable car -- I'd have been just like you, I'm such a chicken with height.
    So glad to see what a fabulous, fabulous holiday you're having. And that you're sharing the joy!

    1. Y'all are hardcore with your French learning. You put me to shame. And LOVED Montjuic. The stone was gorgeous. I'd rather have climbed. On the plus side, after you've walked up the cliff that is Mont Royal, Montjuic seems kind of gentle - but LONG!

  2. I'm with you on gallery narratives. They can be more than a tad irritating. The view, on the other hand, is worth it, even if you have to duct tape yourself to the seat to calm the nerves.

    1. I know! And that view was worth it - with more than a week of retrospect, mind you.