Travel Writing Contest
The following itinerary is written by a finalist of our writing contest, Jenny.
Off we go with my usual travel Khakis – my spouse, brother and Sister-in-law to Barcelona, Spain on June 19th 2016.
We were very excited to visit one of Europe’s top attractions.
Indeed, we were mesmerised by the city’s modernista and avant-garde architecture, and the works of Antoni Gaudí, in particular, the UNESCO-listed church and his masterpiece – the still unfinished Sagrada Familia.
We were attracted by the Nativity facade of Sagrada Familia which shows the birth of Jesus Christ and symbolizes life and creation.
We could see intricate details with animals, tools and the Tree of Life.
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The facade also has three entries representing the 3 virtues: Hope, Faith and Charity.
How meaningful we find all this! We heard from the guide that this is the only facade that was built to almost completion while Gaudí was alive.
Behold the ornamented interior, with its columns like towering tree trunks, beautiful stained glass windows and the five aisles shaped like a Latin cross!
Being of the Christian faith, we could understand and appreciate that the interior has a great religious significance, based on the Gospels and the book of the Apocalypse.
Gaudi’s beautiful works were influenced largely by his passions in life: architecture, nature and religion. We could see religious images in many of his works – this artistic genius certainly deserved his nickname – “God’s Architect“.
Just walking around the city near our hotel in Barcelona, we came across another of Gaudí’s gorgeous work – Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, a private residence with undulating stone façade and twisting ornamental iron balconies.
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It’s so unique and stunning that it’s no wonder that it is also another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How I wish houses in Singapore are built this way and I can stay in one!
Camp Nou Stadium
We also enjoyed visiting the Barcelona’s revered football club and toured the impressive home grounds of FC Barcelona since 1957 – Camp Nou stadium and its interesting museum. We had the golden chance to walk into the pitch and be awed by 360-degree views of the largest stadium in Europe.
On 22 June, we left for the city of Granada for our next highlight – Alhambra or “Red Palace” in Arabic, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the name suggests, red clay was mixed into the stones used to build the majestic palace giving it a beautiful red colour.
We were given a specific time to tour the Nasrid Palaces with our entry tickets and had to wait to queue to wait for our turns but the beauty behind those walls was worth the wait!
We were led to the Court of the Myrtles, an open-air courtyard with water flowing from two fountains at either end into the pool. When the sunlight hits it at the right place, it has a beautiful warm glow.
Next, we were treated to a breath-taking view of the ornamental walls and ceilings of the Salón de los Embajadores, a large enclosed room in the Alhambra.
In this room we were told, Christopher Columbus was given the go-ahead to discover the new world. We left the room reluctantly in view of the limited time we had to continue to our next highlight.
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We went through a short passage to the Patio de los Leones or Court of the Lions. This is a peaceful place with bubbling fountains and incredibly intricate and beautiful archways and pillars.
Again after having to reluctantly leave the Court of the Lions, we came to our next highlight – the Sala de las dos Hermanas, what is indeed most impressive with the ceiling intricately carved from what looks like a single piece of stone.
We were amazed at the skills of the artisans centuries ago and wished we could take a piece back with us.
As we took in the architecture of the palace – the columns, floors, fine wood-crafted ceilings, walls with carvings and complex archways, we were really awestruck. It was absolutely out-of-the-world to see it in person!
The Alhambra gardens are also amazing with beautiful water features and colours everywhere. We strolled through the Generalife which along with the Alhambra palace and gardens, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada.
The Generalife Gardens include the Patio de la Acequia (Water-Garden Courtyard), which has a long pool with fountains and pavilions and lots of flowers, and the Jardín de la Sultana (Courtyard of the Cypress).
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We saw fruit trees like figs, oranges, pomegranates, walnuts, etc, flower beds everywhere and also a vegetable garden. Even the walkways are so beautiful – decorated with lovely rocks which we loved to walk on.
We felt so blessed to see all these wonders that these memories stay with us till today and are the ones that we will not ever forget of our week-long trip.
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