Equestrian Monument Perspectives … Barcelona, Spain

When travelling I keep a mental bucket list of must-sees/dos to check off wherever we go.

In particular, in the old cities of Europe I keep an eye open for cathedrals and stained glass, opera houses, speciality chocolate shops, jewellery shops so I can find a piece of my treasured labradorite (I collect wherever I travel … love it … a story for another day), and equestrian monuments, just to name a few.

There are a couple of monuments at Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona that caught might eye.

The first of these was the Triumphal Arch designed in 1888 by architect Josep Fontsere who was assisted by the then unknown Antoni Gaudi, a young student at the time. The arch was completed as part of a massive park project to replace the original citadel built for Felipe V between 1715 and 1720 which, in the 19th-century, became the much-loathed symbol of centralized power.

What follows are a few perspectives of the Arch taken, as you can see, with the brilliant blue sky as a back drop. The golden monument itself was almost blinding.

The Arch complete with pond, fountain, dragons and a couple of tourists (it was the winter) …

Did I mention the monument was blinding? Actually, almost a shock against the azure sky …

Switched digitally to black and white I really like the perspective of the horses seemingly rising from behind the tree’s winter branches. Also, they have the patina of gold without the shock of it …

This last perspective, taken through winter’s skeletal branches, gives the illusion of a mosaic, which I really like.

The second monument, smaller in stature but also impressive, is that of General Prim — the man responsible for the demolition of the citadel and the land being given to the city as a park.

As you can see, the seagulls also have an eye for a good thing and love to leave their mark.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

On my Bucket List … Bled, Slovenia

In an earlier blog post I mentioned a trip we’d taken to Slovenia last fall. One of our stops was the beautiful resort town of Bled which is set in the Julian Alps about a one hour drive north of the country’s capital, Ljubljana.

Bled is nestled on the shores of glacial Lake Bled, a remarkable body of water when you consider it has no large tributaries and is fed only by a few natural springs. It reminds me of the glacial lakes I’ve seen in the Canadian Rockies — calm, peaceful, tranquil — notwithstanding its characterization as a spa resort.

The waters on the lake are pristine and still. No motor boats are allowed so the tranquility of the setting cannot be disturbed. The lake is Slovenia’s rowing centre and has hosted many regattas and championships.

During our morning in this picturesque medieval town we enjoyed a 20-minute ride in a “pletna” (a boat seating about 20 people and rowed by one person … see adjacent photo) across the lake to a tiny island which is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. It’s from this island the first image was taken.

Perched on the rocky outcrop overlooking the lake is Bled Castle, a fixture in the area in various guises since the 11th century. A complete history can be found here.

The view from the castle to the lake is spectacular, looking for miles into the horizon and, of course, down toward the lake and Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. It’s certainly easy to imagine why a stronghold would be positioned in such a location. You can see for miles …

Our short visit only gave us a taste of this beautiful area and didn’t really allow us to benefit from its relaxed ambiance.

Should we ever have a chance to return to Slovenia, Bled will be on our bucket list of places to stay … I’m thinking at least four days.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012