Monday, July 5, 2010

What's to Love about Barcelona? Part 1

There are so many things to love about Barcelona. The Magic Fountain in the Parc Montjuic is one. Every night at dusk the fountains are turned on and they play through a series of different spray streams and colors.  Like fireworks made of water.  Tourists and locals, young and old couples a like come out to sit and watch the show. One one of my jogs in the parc, serendipitously, I was in the right place at the right time to enjoy the show.

Believe it or not, chocolate is the next thing to love about Barcelona. At first I wasn't really interested in the Museum of Chocolate, thinking what could make me enjoy chocolate any more than I already do.  But the chocolate scultpures there, like Ben Hur, alerted me to the sculptural and artistic qualities of the material which I never ever considered for a moment.  There was even a Wall of Fame with photographs of chocolatiers who had pushed choco-sculpture to new heights with dazzling innovations in technique and ability.

Chocolate, or the wealth created from Spanish colonization of Brazil and cocoa plantations there, is also responsible for the next thing to love about Barcelona. Antoni Gaudi's architectural creations. Like a balloon under pressure, where you have colonization moving wealth in one direction, the newly wealthy provide patronage and a sustainable artistic class is created from penury. It's an odd connection of dots.

Casa Amatller, while not architected by Gaudi, was so funded by choco-wealth, that they still sell Casa Amatller branded chocolate in the gift shop.  The dragon lamp to the right at the Casa exhibits a dramatic sense of the surreal world created by choco-wealth.

So, water fireworks, chocolate and architecture - the first 3 of  many things to love about Barcelona!

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