Sunday Special – Park Güell, Barcelona


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View of Barcelona and a portion of Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned  Marrovi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 mx (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/mx/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Antoni Gaudi has his stamp on Barcelona. An architect and with a penchant for what is now referred to as Catalan Modernism.  His attention to detail and in his designs extended to use of wrought iron, ceramics, glass and more. One of his popular contributions is Park Güell, located on Carmel Hill. It was built during the years of 1900 – 1914. Its beginnings as a housing development failed and the area was then turned into a park in 1926. In 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (classified as part of the works of Antoni Gaudi). Today people flock to see its buildings, statues, pillars and more. I do know that I will visit this place should I make my way to Barcelona. The curves, vibrant mosaics and bold structures are reminiscent of candies and fairy tales. I expect I will be taken with the wonder of the design.

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Terrace filled with onlookers – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By es:Usuario:Rapomon [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Curved bench at Park Güell – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By deror avi (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – La Mano de Punta del Este (or The Hand of Punta del Este) – Uruguay


Since February 1982, Uruguay’s Punta del Este has been home to this famous sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. Located on Brava Beach, in the popular resort town, stands the concrete and plastic statue of fingers struggling out of its sandy location. Irarrázabal created the iconic artwork during the first International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air. La Mano has become one of the most recognized pieces of beach art and has been photographed by media and tourists alike. In fact, the popularity of La Mano prompted Irarrázabal to create similar works of art in Madrid, The Atacama Dessert (Chile) and Venice.

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La Mano de Punta del Este – Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Rosina Piexoto 

By Rosina Peixoto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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La Mano / The Hand at night – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Marcelo Campi

By Marcelo Campi from MVD, Uruguay (The hand) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Welcome 2017


January 1st. The first day of a brand new year, the passing of the old to welcome the new for another go around the sun. A universal time of celebrating it seems. This time of year often finds many people reflecting on what has come to pass and hopes for the future. Resolutions may be proclaimed. Cleaning out of closets and cupboards, a purging of sorts may be in order many. Still others continue on with the flow of their lives. Each of us giving our own take to the rolling in of a new year.

For myself I think back on 2016 both personally and globally and the word “eventful” is the most accurate descriptor I can think of. Our world saw incredible events, many that came as surprise. Among these I think of the continued war in Syria, bombings in Europe and the Middle East and then earthquakes in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and Japan. Don’t forget the fervor and excitement of the Summer Olympics in Brazil and The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in baseball. The political events of Brexit and the US Presidential election were surprising to say the least, painted with talks of conspiracy and scandal and who knows what else. There was the sadness at the loss of so much talent taken from the world. I am always grateful that I was able to see David Bowie perform live back when I first moved to Vancouver. So much more has happened but these world events are what I think of.

Personally 2016 has some significant events as well. I do have to say the good has overshadowed the bad, something that was welcome in the light of the many impactful events of the world. The saddest parts of 2016 were the deaths of several people in my life. The most shocking was the sudden death of a classmate of mine from college. A woman who was kind and good and giving, I always remember her genuine smile. She even helped me out years ago, filling in for me at work while I went on holidays. My patients and co-workers liked her. Although I had not seen her for years except on social media her it is her demeanour and positive outlook that I always remember. And her smile. I also saw the passing of my godparents. They both had been hospitalized for illness and died within 6 months of each other. On my trips back home I was able to see them for a short while. Although we not close since I grew up and moved I do know that they always thought of me throughout my life as I grew from child to adult. An aunt of mine also became sick rather suddenly and passed shortly after. It makes you think. Nothing is permanent in our lives and it is so valuable to make the most of things, even if that may be easier said than done. So making some small changes to value what is around you and to live life is important.

Onto the positive things of 2016. It was the year of creativity for myself. I admire those who are capable of imagination and expressing it especially in art forms. I myself have never been blessed with anything creative with the exception of my dream state when slumbering – there is no way I could conjure up those stories while conscious, LOL. I have shied away from trying anything artistic – music, drama, singing, dance, painting, etc. However this past year I stepped out and tried a few new things on a small scale. I have to say it’s been fun. I attended my first Paint Nite with my bestie. I figured if I consumed enough alcohol that I could think it was a decent painting. Ends up they instruct you on how to do the painting the teacher selects and one does not need as many libations as originally thought. In fact it was fun and I will be attending another one this month. I also enrolled in a writing class – one for those with little to no experience. It was nothing like I thought it would be – it was better. Personal, cathartic and encouraging it has spurred me on to think of words and my story in a different way. Finally I bought myself a new camera. Years and years ago I dabbled in photography but never fully embraced it. Since then I have forgotten everything I learned. Now with a DSLR in hand and and upcoming trip I will stumble through and see if I can express myself in that area. I do think a course in this would be advantageous as well.

2016 also saw me travelling again. In February I visited my parents and tacked on a side trip to my new favourite US city of Chicago. I had the most incredible of times and met some amazing people. So often it is the people that make the trip. In May I sojourned back to my favourite country, Ireland (insert heart emoji here). God I love that place! I also visited Scotland and made it up to Northern Ireland. A much more solitary trip, I did much reflecting as I took it all in and smile as I remember the beauty of all these locales. In the summer I visited BC’s Okanagan to visit a long-time friend who I had not seen in over 5 years. It was great to reconnect (despite my back having seized up the day before) and see her wonderful smiling face. Then it was another visit to my childhood city. I also had a couple weekends away here in BC to Terrace and to Victoria. Though I have to say the best part of this eventful year was a day trip with my friends to Whistler BC for my birthday. If you recall, I decided to go bungee jumping. This was never a bucket list event. I often vacillated on whether I could even comprehend doing something like bungee jumping. However, this year I remembered an event from when I was 19 years old where I had a chance to jump onto a trapeze and then safely be lowered down to the ground. It was something that was paralyzingly fearful to me and I cried throughout the whole event. I had put that out of my mind for years and years. Yet in 2016 it came back to me so often that I made the effort to face that fear and firmly decided to jump off a bridge.  And it was awesome! An incredible moment! I want more like them!

In this post of looking back I certainly cannot forget my friends, something that I have been blessed with. I cherish that immensely. I have several social circles and always have places to go and people to visit with. I am always thankful for my friends but it has been great to make some new and wonderful friendships in 2016. Good people have come into my life. I have had fun and planned events with acquaintances who are now friends.  I have also deepened existing friendships, getting to know them further, understanding even more and sharing times such as birthdays and life events or even seeing them after much time has passed but it felt like it was yesterday. And then there are those whose friendship I have known for so long that life without them would be unimaginable.  I have good people in my life and 2016 has emphasized that.

Yes 2016 has certainly be eventful. I can not nor do I want to make predictions about 2017. I have a few plans and that is as far I will go. I hope I make the best choices for myself and help those I can with sincerity. I hope the world chooses love, not hate and that wisdom, compassion and kindness are what we leave for 2017. Happy New from Wanders The World and happy travels.

Sunday Special – Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India


While in India, D and I were told that we should see the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. When I first heard of it I immediately thought of a flower-related rock garden since that is what is in my mom’s front yard. This rock garden is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a very cool and interesting 10 hectare/25 acre outdoor sculpture museum. The garden and its artwork work was created solely by Nek Chand, a self-taught artist. He began to make sculptures in secret beginning in 1957. He found inspiration in the debris found during the construction of the city of Chandigarh. He utilized objects such as tiles, glass, ceramics, wires and the like. He scoured demolition sites and steadily formed art from all these recyclable items. Since the location he chose for his garden was on a protected conservatory (near Sukhna Lake), what he was doing was illegal. As a result,  he created his art at night for almost 20 years. When local authorities found out about the then 12 acre garden its future was uncertain.  In hopes of saving his art, Nek Chand turned to the public to garner support and it worked. And then in 1986 it was designated a public space. Today it is one of India’s most visited sites and I am very grateful and glad I had a chance to see this unique place. Nek Chand who, sadly passed away in 2015, shows us that art can be make from just about anything.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju/Wanders The World