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(Sagrada Familia dominates Barcelona’s skyline)
Sagrada Familia is a Catholic basilica in Barcelona. Construction began in 1882. In 1883 Antoni Gaudi became involved and made it his life’s passion. It was only one quarter complete when he died in 1926. Construction of the basilica relies solely on donations. It is hoped construction will be complete in 2026 – one hundred years after Gaudi’s death.
Sagrada Familia is unlike any of the churches we have seen on our travels and seems to defy description. Eyes feast on a buffet of sights that soar, colours that shade dark to light as they rise to the heavens, facades that carve Christian messages in their towers. Astonish, amaze, admire – wow!
(Gaudi’s tomb in a crypt beneath Sagrada Familia)
Through our journey we have found there are opportunities for experiences you don’t expect and cannot prepare for. Encounters that leave you marvelling at life. We had two of such occurrences on our longest day of travel. (1) We left Nerja under hazy skies heavy with Mediterranean moisture. Clouds stacked liked cotton balls witnessed our departure. (Natalie Matsui, the sky reminded me of your Popcorn Cloud portrayal in the Alberta Skies project.) Imagine our conversation as we settled ourselves for the impending six hour drive. “Hey look, there’s another greenhouse.” We had seen a few earlier throughout Portugal and Spain. The landscape we were driving through was arid, desert reminding us of Nevada or Arizona. Soon we began to see more greenhouses and thought they must be effective for growing fruits and vegetables in this unforgiving environment. As we saw more greenhouses we joked about someone getting rich by convincing his neighbors to buy plastic for greenhouses. Soon the horizon was completely plastic – WTF! We felt like we had stumbled upon some sort of dystopian science experiment. Google informed us we were viewing the greenhouses of Almeria. Apparently this is one of the most recognizable places on the planet when viewed from a satellite lens. It seemed like a good idea may have gone terribly wrong – or not. I’m sure there are many points of view about this but as we observed a valley without a single square inch of green or rock visible, only the steeple of a church and rooftops of a village rising above the sea of plastic, our conversation faded to silence….
(2)still reeling from what we had inadvertently witnessed, I received an email that made me laugh out loud. I hope I can convey the uncanny events that lead to this outburst. Three couples unknown to each other are travelling in Spain in May of 2017. Couple #1, Janet and Bryan, meet couple #2, Chris and Nonie, in Seville. Several days later couple #1 meets couple #3, John and Mary, in Arcos. Couple #3 meets couple #2 in Tangier and again in Gibraltar. Several days later couple #2 chance upon couple #1 in Granada. They determine that they each met couple #3 and Janet sends Mary an email. I feel like it’s an episode from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “what are the odds?!”
St Michael’s Caves were once used as a war hospital and to house World War 2 supplies for the Allies. Today they hold concerts in the large grottos and have coloured lights and music for tourists.
We didn’t see kite surfers in Tarifa but were delighted to find them at Malaga.
I’m proud to have marched with men and women who stood up globally to unite against hate, to unite for love, who stood up to shout that all lives matter.
shoulder to shoulder
growls to a global roar
Here are the messages from a sampling of signs:
It is time for women to stop being politely angry
Women’s rights are human rights
I march because I refuse to go backwards!
Still we rise
I’m not usually a sign person but Geez!
They call it locker room talk, I call it insecurity
No longer the silent majority
We’re not going away
Our rights are not up for grabs
We are women hear us roar in numbers to big to ignore!
“you might not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves
irrelevant” – rupi kaur