Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On the road again: Spain, day 5

Today was Gaudi day, with many worthwhile hours spent wandering La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. The best part of being on this trip is getting to spend so much time with Scott. The second best part has been seeing so much of Gaudi's work.

From the pictures I had seen before, I was tempted to think of some of the work as too much, or too emotional, or too something. To some degree, that's still a temptation, because his work is so over the top so often--and yet, having seen it in person, I cannot help but feel that I was in the presence of a soaring genius, of the kind of divine madness that let him see the whole and every detail all at once, that caused him to always mimic the natural while simultaneously perfecting the mathematical. Moving and silly, grand and playful, local and universal, organic and mathematical--his work, particularly La Sagrada Familia, constantly embodies opposites. That cathedral today joined my short list of favorite buildings in the world.

Interestingly, yesterday as we tip-toed around a service in progress in a lower chamber, we also got to experience the acoustics, the moments of prayer and song characteristic of so many ceremonies, and the space proved highly functional as well as amazing to see.

I can imagine many people hating the place for its strangeness and its many unusual choices and interwoven styles. I, however, fell for it completely. The Park Guell also charmed me, as did the house where Gaudi lived and worked for over two decades. His intentionally rough stonework throughout much of the park was a commercial disaster at the time, but now its genius is evident.

I owe Scott a lot for choosing this city and for having an interest in Gaudi.

In more mundane news, we've discovered a local ice cream chain that we quite love, and every day we eat Jamon Iberico at least once. Damn, but I will miss the view of the Mediterranean, the amazing Spanish ham, and getting to be with my son so much. I am a lucky man.

Tonight, as we left the restaurant laughing after a dinner of beef and Jamon Iberico appetizer--we were in a meat mood--the hostess said, "You are father and son, si?" We nodded. She motioned toward first Scott's face and then mine. "Like photocopy, si?" She smiled. We smiled. Scott and I are different people, each his own person, but it's nice to be so obviously his father.

As I said, I am a lucky man.


Michelle said...

Considering his great gift of beauty to Barcelona, his tragic death is even sadder. How fitting his remains are at La Sagrada Família. I am quite envious of your trip.

And, why am I not surprised that you found an ice cream shop in Barcelona?

Mark said...

Not just an ice cream shop: a local chain with shops all over the place. Yum!


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