We mused over our favorite paintings in museums, people-watched in cafes, explored hidden corners of the city, and stayed up 'til the wee hours of each morning swapping stories and sharing our artistic endeavors, hopes and fears. On Monday she boarded a plane back to the US while I boarded a plane to Spain. We parted ways filled with lifelong memories. A true friend, she sharpened each experience, and every event deepened our bond.
Today I arrived in Madrid with my traveling companion Nicole, whom I met in Paris.
So far we have visited Barcelona and Granada - two distinctly different but equally beautiful cities. Barcelona is an exotic beauty, but much more 'gritty' than Paris.
I have never seen so many intensely colored and dreamlike gardens and parks.
The architecture was fitting, as Barcelona is home to all of the major works Antonio Gaudi - one of the world's most outlandish and visionary architects. Nicole and I took a guided "Gaudi bike tour" to see the city and to gain deeper insights into Gaudi's works. Organic curvilinear forms reminiscent of coral and sea tides sweep across his structures, along with exuberantly colored tile mosaics that fit the setting of Barcelona's Mediterranean coastline and tropical flora.
In my own work, I hope to emulate the bold and playful rhythms that characterize Gaudi's work.
We took a night train to Granada - home of La Alhambra - a fortress holding the glorious remains of Moorish reign in Spain; a rare and precious historical era of peace between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities.
The palaces of the Nasrid Sultans and the accompanying gardens and fountains have inspired poets, authors, and artists for centuries. I couldn't help but be transported to another place and time amidst the Arabesque botanical forms and Quranic poetry carved onto the pure white marble surfaces alongside intricate tile mosaics.
These palaces are, as intended, an earthly representation of the Heavenly hereafter that awaited the faithful.
As an added bonus, we unknowingly arrived in Granada on the Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi- and just in time for the procession. It was an incredible spectacle to see Andalucian people in all their pride as they enact this ritual parade with its flourish, color and symbolism.
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