Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Arch de Triomf

I just bet that if I say I saw the Arch de Triumph, you’d immediately think Paris. I was stunned when they said that there was one here in Barcelona. It was built for the Universal Exposition, held in Barcelona in 1888. It is located at the end of a very wide promenade, designed, of course, for the exposition, and was the main gateway and entrance. The arch is decorated with many different stone carvings and ornate motifs, including the Spanish coat of arms.
The Arch is found at the Parc de la Ciutadella – a huge park with some interesting things found all together. There’s a science museum, and a zoo (oops...we skipped this one, odd), the government parliament building (in a park?), as well as probably the most exotic fountain I’ve ever seen. It was huge, had about 4 tiers and seemed to have been made by people from 4 different eras and 10 different countries. It was, of course, built with the assistance of Gaudi. He was but a student at the time, however, his unique perception was apparent even then.
First there is the influence of Rome’s Trevi Fountain with the winged horses taking flight out of the waters. They are taking wing here too, though this time trying to escape the green moss that has taken over the fountain. Above, we have the birth of Venus, though in this rendition she’s clothed with more than just her hair. Strange because I don't think any of the other beauties were clothed. Surrounding the pool are Griffith type animals, spouting water into the pools. Atop the structure is a golden chariot, pulled by several horses – Ben Hur? Standing on the side, Poseidon stands with his trident, keeping an eye on everything…or is he getting ready to enter the fray? Whatever it might be, it is a sight not to be missed – nor forgotten. ­­
We decided afterwards to take a short walk, checking out shops and the beach and whatever else might be along the way. It quickly became apparent that what was on the path was the railroad yards. We were trying to get to the beach but that, of course, was on the far side of the railroad – which meant we needed a bridge. That short walk turned into a much longer one through some interesting vistas before we made it across and down the beach. 
Beaches here are quite interesting, even though it was cooling off and not play in the water weather. The surfers, of course, were out – nothing seems to keep them out of the water. We found sandcastle builders, a few die-hard sun bathers, a nude man roaming around, and the vistas of various, interesting buildings. All of this was really quite close to our apartment…if you skipped the shortcut. 

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