Architecture of Antonio Gaudi: aka Barcelona’s money making machine. It’s a love hate relationship…

Barcelona- Gaudi, Gaudi – Barcelona. It’s a thing. What is a visit to Barcelona without trailing all the works of Antonio Gaudi, the famous Catalan Architect? So when in Barcelona, do as the tourist do. So we did, a little bit. I was all excited about this. The crazy architecture, ideas and a pioneer in catalan modernism. His works are talked about all over the world for how quirky and weird it is and now I get to see it. So we dedicated a full day to see his work. His Art.

First was Palau Guell. This kind of work was exactly what he was known for. We didn’t get to go inside because we were short on time and I have a feeling we missed out on something important.

DSC_0317
Palau Guell

DSC_0321

Next was his ‘magnum opus’ The Sagrada Familia. We bought tickets online, a day before and still couldn’t get the ticket to go up to the towers as there were only a few a day and obviously there are much more organised and enthusiastic tourist in the business. So we get there a little earlier than the time slot printed on the ticket and had a look around. The whole area was covered with people. The streets, the park in front and the sagrada site. We could see people queued up a long way to get tickets. We saw the basilica and as usual there were a lot of construction going around it. It wasn’t a pretty site from a distance but we were still eager to go pass the gates. When we finally did, we found our selves in the middle of a sea of tourist groups holding flags, talking on to speakers and walking all around us. So getting a good look at this massive structure in front of us was hard. But when we finally managed, it was weird, wacky and wonderful. Religious stories and sculptures adored the facades. No two were alike. It was quite impressive. The towers stood so far from the ground (duh!)they were hardly visible. We were impressed. To think this up without the present computer softwares and technology was somewhat crazy! And then we went inside.

DSC_0368
La Sagrada Familia

DSC_0378DSC_0392DSC_0388DSC_0435DSC_0440

It felt like a totally different place. It was much smaller than I thought. It was just one huge room where as soon as I entered, I could see the exit. Yes it was awfully tall, yes the ceiling had another wacky design on it, yes the columns were not all the same. But it felt empty, totally a different feel to the craziness outside. The columns were smooth finished! (what?) And for me the best thing about it was the amazing stained glass windows that let the sunlight through and lit the whole place like a rainbow. And that was it, we walked out. I was somewhat disappointed. Felt ripped off to to pay a lot of money for this. I am sure the towers and the view from it must have been good but somehow I felt the inside of it didn’t justified the experience he promised from outside.

DSC_0400DSC_0405DSC_0412DSC_0411DSC_0407

However considering the out of this world design, the extremely long time it had taken (still taking) for construction, parts of the basilica, Gaudi’s models and workshops being destroyed by civil war and the painful process of restoring the burnt plans, reconstructing the models and getting a dedicated team of architects and researchers on board to see this nearly impossible project to an end is no easy task. Hats off to everyone involved.

So the next on the list was Park Guell. Another one of Gaudi’s most talked about and most visited attractions in Barcelona. We walked for about 30mins up and down the hills and another up finally got us there. Then there was another line. So Park Guell is a garden with a few buildings and monuments within one big park. Entrance to the park is free but to enter the monumental area, which is the colourful and playful bits you have to pay good money and wait for a time slot. Since he next available one was a little too long a wait we just decided to walk in the garden and go see Gaudi’s house which was also in there. The park was nice, with few structures similar to what termites build scattered around. 😉

DSC_0454
Park Guell

DSC_0529

Short walk later we got to Gaudi’s house. We were quite excited about this. We go in, turned back because you need a separate ticket for this. So we go back, buy it and finally we re in. It was pink outside and relatively small, downstairs there were a few chairs designed by Gaudi on display and upstairs there is a small bathroom and a bedroom ‘supposedly’ the way Gaudi kept it and a prayer room. rest is just empty and in another room there is a video playing of his work. That was 8euros for that 5 minutes of a visit. Disappointed we came out and waked a little bit more, going up in to the park to get a view of Barcelona.

Casa Gaudi

DSC_0483DSC_0492DSC_0493DSC_0487DSC_0489DSC_0501

View of Barcelona from the top of Park Guell

And while walking I was thinking ‘they should have met Geofferey Bawa’ the Sri Lankan architect famous for his amazing work with landscapes. At the end we saw people lining up to go see the monuments. they looked colourful and fun but to me there were pretty much ‘gingerbread houses with icing’! After that we decided we had enough and after walking around the neighbourhood a little bit we headed back to the hotel.

DSC_0525DSC_0538DSC_0539DSC_0534DSC_0532

When we got out of the metro, to our surprise was another Gaudi masterpiece. Casa Batllo. Now this one was gorgeous. It’s street facade was one of the most beautiful faacades I have seen and the colours and shapes all just worked together. Again to go in it was something like 22euros pp so we didn’t even bother. I was happy looking at it from the outsde and didn’t want another disapointment. However worth mentioning is the building next to Casa Battlo, which is to date my most favourite building and the most beautiful one I have seen. It was chic, it had character and it wrapped up what Barcelona is all about.

DSC_0552
Casa Batllo

DSC_0553DSC_0546DSC_0562

And so the Gaudi day came to an end, and as I mentioned before without doubt he was one of the most talked about and brave architects of his time and definitely put Barcelona on the map with his wachy and quirky style. But it’s all a big business now where tourists pay so much money to get a chance of doing all the ‘touristy’ things. But good for Barcelona, you just have to be smart about what to see and what not to see.

Travel tip – If you are an absolute die hard fan of Gaudi by all means spend the money and go see his work. But if you are just reading a list online on what to see in Barcelona and all these buildings come up, know that every one of them cost a lot of money. Pick your favourites by doing research first so you know which ones you should pay and which ones you could enjoy from outside for free. Then buy your tickets online well in advance. The experience matters the most than ticking things off a list.

Advertisements

Cairns: Great Barrier Reef – Tick (part 2)

And the journey continues….

Day 4, we decided to walk around Port Douglas and see what this fuss is about. I found it to be like a resort town that is very touristy and expensive. if you are young or young at heart just do a day trip and tick it off the list. 😉 Every night was like fine dining when all we wanted was a simple burger and a drink. :/ But the town itself was beautiful, full of blue and white.Port douglad esplanade

Port douglas

Port douglas

The marina was especially amazing with white yachts and boats with a frame full of blue water and clear blue sky. Cafes and shops around on timber decks looking onto the marina.

Port douglas marina

Reef cruises

reef cruises

Port douglas station

Then we headed back to Cairns with a little stop over at Palm Cove. Another little tourist town full of activity.

Palm cove

Palm cove pier

Day 6 was our big day. Woke up early morning and walked to the Cairns marina watching the sun rise above us, lined up and got into our ride to the Great Barrier Reef. After some fruits and coffee we were on our way. It was sunny and a lovely day so I was wearing shades and after about half hour of messy hair, flying dresses and splashes of water I took the shades away and looked behind us. The view took my break away!! We were in the middle of the ocean and the COLOUR of the ocean was AMAAAAZING!! it was such a deep blue and was sooooo beautiful.

We were closing up on the reef and the colours were even more amazing. I was so excited. 🙂 We stopped right in the middle of the ocean and it was time to jump in. It was our first time and so we were really nervous. But with life jackets on we jumped in and came face to face with a barracuda! Turn out he was a friendly one that comes everyday when the boat stops. 🙂 But it was still weird staring at each other underwater! 🙂 Unfortunately I didn’t have an underwater camera to show you the size and colours of the fish that swam around us and with us.

Great barrier reef

After a good hour in the water it was lunch time with a buffet of prawns, smoked salmon, chicken, salads and bread. So yum especially in the middle of nowhere. 🙂 And we were off to location number 2. This time it was a sand cay, another part of the reef. We were taken to the cay by a glass bottom boat and we all got to stand in the middle of nowhere and swim slowly into the water where there are corals and fish everywhere. We snorkelled the *&^% out of snorkelling! :)) We saw a nemo, a sting ray and so many fishes and their little caves and homes and all sort of corals. It was amazing and I’d happily spend every day just doing that.

Great Barrier reef

Sand clays in great barrier reef

Face(s) of autumn…

I am sure by now you all have heard enough of me saying how much I love Autumn. 🙂 I love it! I get so distracted while driving every time, it’s absurd! 🙂 and so since I am experimenting with portraits these days I thought this would be a great time to get some images from inside my head and on to a camera. here goes.

Autumn PortraitAutumn outdoor photographyautumn outdoor photographyoutdoor portraitsDSC_7785outdoor photoshoot

Tasmania: the ‘island of inspiration’ is a hop step and a jump away…

One fine day we decided to visit Tasmania. For those of you who don’t know where or what that is, let me brief you a bit. Tasmania is one of the seven states of Australia and is an island. It is located south of the main island and is considered the 26th largest island in the world (thanks Wikipedia). However as it is detached from the main island of Australia it is not highly populated. Picture this. Tasmania is one and a half times bigger than Sri Lanka BUT the population is only 0.4% of the population of Sri Lanka! Now that tells me two things. One, how densely populated Sri Lanka is (my my we have too many people). Two, how calm, peaceful and unpolluted Tasmania is.

Hobart

Our trip was short and the weather was bad. We hardly covered the untouched wilderness of the beautiful Tasmania but however we packed as much as we can for the one day of sunshine we had. We landed in Hobart (Capital & the most populous city in Tasmania) on a cold misty morning and the much awaited drive up Mount wellington was almost ruined by the rain, mist and wind. But we decided to go to the top anyway even though we couldn’t see the beautiful view everyone talked about. It was freezing and we were not prepared for that. 🙂 The rest of the day was spent walking in Hobart in the rain, enjoying some good food and taking in the Tasmania style of life. (Very laid back to what we get in Melbourne)

top of mount wellingtontasman peninsulamarinachurch hobartstained glassfooddessert

Day two forecast was the same with cloudy skies and rain but we woke up to sunshine and clear skies! Someone was definitely looking out for us! 😉 We were out on the streets in a heartbeat and decided to drive to the Tasman peninsula. What a breathtaking and amazing experience it was!! Everywhere you look its trees and water and an endless supply of clear blue skies and it was all ours to enjoy! 🙂

lewishamflower fieldsflower fields

We made a detour as we were feeling adventurous and ended up in a place called Lewisham. It has to be one of the most beautiful places I have seen. Clear blue water, blue sky and no one around.

lewishamlewishamposing

There, we met a friend too. I have a massive love affair with horses and this one didn’t disappoint. He saw us and even though there was a fence, he came to us when we called. It was the cutest moment ever! 🙂

handsome horsehandsome horsehandsome horse

Then we set off towards Port Arthur stopping to see the famous Tessellated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck and finally the Port Arthur Historic Site.

Tessellated PavementTesselated Pavementport arthur historic sites

Another detour and this time we ended up at a white sand beach! 🙂

off the beaten trackDSC_7198white sand beach

Then we decided to find our way in to the Tasman National park and the ‘Remarkable Cave’ which was said to be the shape of Tasmania and what do you know, it was!!. 🙂 The vastness was breathtaking and it was just us and the sorroundings. It was surely one of the most memorable visits.

Tasman Nationa ParkTasman national ParkTasman national ParkTasman national ParkRemarkable caveRemarkable cave

We decided to end the day by going to Richmond and seeing the oldest bridge in Australia. It was one full day of adventure and was simply amazing!!

oldest bridge in australia

On our last day we went to the Salamanca Market. It is on every Saturday and consists of close to 300 stalls of amazing goodies and is a wonderful experience to walk through.

salamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market

 

 

The magical autumn charm at its best…

Autumn is my favourite season and I love everything about it. The colour, how can anyone not like the colour? Beautiful yellows, burnt oranges and dark reds make it the most charming, happy time of the year. The weather, not too hot not too cold, just the way I like it. Yes it will get colder towards the end but we are not talking about that. 🙂

DSC_0778

Last autumn we decided to go to Mornington Peninsula. A beautiful region in Victoria, short drive from Melbourne or a lovely ferry ride from Geelong. It’s the wine country or so I like to think. Gorgeous beaches overlooking Port Philip Bay, acres and acres of wineries and good food AND the hot springs! Yup that’s where we headed on a slightly chilled autumn morning. Steaming hot natural springs, you can just immerse yourself in the water and fall asleep.

DSC_0358DSC_0494

Next day on our way home we decided to stop at The Enchanted Maze Garden and enchanted we were. It turned out to be the most beautiful, breathtaking place I have been to and with my love for autumn I didn’t want to leave. It felt like we just walked in to a fairy tale, massive orange coloured tree line with orange and red leaves EVERYWHERE like a carpet, black wrought iron tables and chairs covered with colourful leaves, a massive green maze with a Japanese water feature, random sculptures and little games, a charming cafe with homemade fudge (YUM) and sweets and shelves and shelves of candy in jars, colourful lollies and kids running everywhere. It was just amazing.

Here are a few photos to make you jealous (if you too like autumn) 🙂 and in a few weeks it will be autumn again and hopefully will be as beautiful as the last.

p.s – I am sorry I haven’t been able to read your posts lately as I have moved houses and still without internet. At my friends place it took me more than 3 hours to get this post up as it is sloooooow.

DSC_0562DSC_0628aDSC_0683DSC_0573DSC_0579mazeDSC_0650

1 42

DSC_0674DSC_0724DSC_0783DSC_0797

Someone teach me how to live life…..

wandering crab

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning” J. B. Priestly

So another New Year is here and everyone seems excited about it and their New Year’s resolutions. I never was excited about the New Year or never really made resolutions. For me New Year is just another day. But to keep myself and everyone else positive I thought I’ll put a few words out there………

Turns out I don’t have any words of wisdom, so here are my ramblings while gulping down meloncello straight from the bottle. 🙂  (I am not drunk, it’s just so hot out here)

Ok so I love my life… sometimes…. but then again that’s how everyone rolls isn’t it? 🙂

I have so many things in queue and they are very fair and small goals just to get my life back on track. I am not lost or anything, I know what I want and what I want to be doing, I just don’t know how to get there. And I have had enough of running up and down and not get where I want to exactly. So I am hoping to change a few things this time around.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

I need someone to tell me how to get things done. Don’t we all you say? Everybody’s lives would have been so much better and so much easier if there was a little gene in bottle or an angel on your shoulder, but the problem is there are no such things. It’s you and only you can figure your way in and out of things you want.

“No one saves us but our selves, no one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path” – Lord Buddha

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

So for a little inspiration, a little guidance I turned to Google. (C’mon it’s what we all do, isn’t it?) 🙂 I rammed through pages of inspirational quotes by people wiser than I am and it helped. It really did. Not just reading through but actually believing in them. So I wanted to share some that inspired me and I hope I remember these through the coming year of ups and downs. Like they say;

”It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up that matters.”– Vince Lombardi

On a different matter I now understand why they say ‘youth is wasted on the young’ so true. I am still young (considerably) 😉 and still I feel like by the time we finish school, go through university, get a job and earn something to be able to live independently you have spent the best times of your lives and don’t even know it. Oh well that should be another post all together. However, this is what I live by now. I always keep reminding myself this and is my golden rule at the moment.

“If you want to do something, you will find a way, if not you will find an excuse” – Anonymous

So this is my plan number one for the foreseeable future.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius 🙂

This new year I hope all of you will have enough motivation and guidance to carry out the things you need to do, I hope along the way you get inspired because life without inspiration is no fun life, I hope all of you get at least a bit spoilt by someone who loves you, I hope everyone will have a job regardless of you like it or not, I hope this year you will remember to smile and I hope you all will have a good 2013. 🙂

”Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.” Roy Goodman

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light ” – Aristotle Onassis

Pompeii: Ruins from a previous life….

This post comes out of one of my most memorable moments of visiting the once lost ancient city of Pompeii.

I couldn’t wait to put this post up to show you guys simply because it is POMPEII. Yes yes I get this excited about Pompeii and you will see why. Pompeii is something I have had on the itinerary from the very beginning because it has always intrigued me.

According to history Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

Weather forecast was not the best that day and the whole sky was cloudy and gloomy. Unlucky? Not so much because it provided the most dramatic backdrop for our journey through the ancient ruins of a city.

From the moment you enter into the historical site, it totally transforms in to a different world. Ruin after ruin after ruin of rubbles, bricks and roofless structures leaves you amazed at how it is still standing and make you feel nostalgic. It has the vibe of a sacred place and I felt like I need to keep my voice low and show some respect. When you walk through the once upon houses, basilicas and theatres and  see plaster casts of people sleeping or sitting like they did moments before they were covered in steaming hot lava, it sends chills through your body. Absolute devastation.

I hope I did justice through the pictures, because it truly was an amazing experience. 

pompei (3)pompei (9)pompei (11)pompei (44) pompei (30)  pompei (29) pompei (54)pompei (16)

pompei (24)pompei (19)pompei (20)pompei (22)pompei (28)pompei (27)pompei (35)pompei (34)pompei (33)pompei (37)pompei (48)pompei (52)pompei (57)IMG_0650pompei (64)

Geelong : The Beginning

In a way it all began here. Moving from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Geelong, Australia was not easy and sometimes even scary. Geelong was calm and quiet. From Colombo, where there are people on the streets chatting or eating food from road side cafe’s at midnight to Geelong, where roads are deserted and no place to get food after 8pm was sometimes too quiet. But one thing that took my breath away from the first time I saw to today, after four years, was the waterfront. It is where people come on weekends, where boats sway in the wind, where there are some beautiful pieces of architecture and urban landscape and of course some delicious food. To me, this is where Geelong lives…

 

Hello world!

Welcome to my humble little photo blog. This is all about my passion(s) in life. It took me awhile to realise them, but so far I have four. Travel, something I always wanted to do but never had the money. But I am getting there, one country at a time. Food, I love to eat, I can watch cooking shows all day but the actual cooking part by myself is not the most exciting thing. Don’t get me wrong I like cooking and I have tried many dishes but like most people I like it better if it’s done for me. 🙂 Architecture, my love at first sight after flipping through an interior magazine had cost me (and my parents 🙂 ) a lot of money and almost 8 years of education. And finally Photography, I always had a ‘thing’ for photography but never did anything about it until few years ago I was given my first DSLR. It changed a lot of things. So now I am a graduate architect who loves to travel the world with my camera in hand and try ‘most’ things that taste good. And this, is where I share…..

Hope you like it & thank you for your time.