Imagine a place that bends and curves at every angle like the cascading waves of the Mediterranian Sea. A place where the fireplace is carved like a roasting mushroom and the dining-room light looks down on you like an eye devoured in a whirlpool. Imagine a place where vertical vents open and close like a fish’s gills, where the glass gives you the illusion of swimming underwater and where the loft arches like the spine of a beast. A beast that sits atop this magnificent facade with shingled scales and a bulbous spine. This place breathes life as it mimics the not-so-distant sea and the beauty of nature. It is the masterpiece of the brilliant Antoni Gaudí; Casa Batlló.
Casa Batlló took my breath away as it plunged me into the depths of the Mediterranian Sea. The building is distinguishably unique as you coast down the prestige Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona and feast upon the astonishingly colourful glass and ceramic mosaic tiles. These tiles reflect against the sun and give the illusion of a rippling lake scattered with water lilies. In front of the large windows on the main floor, there are several fine bone-like columns that appear like vines are growing out of the building. These columns are paired with balconies that look like fish-skeleton heads and a rich sandstone surface, which alludes to the house’s local name of casa dels ossos (house of bones).
When you dive through the doors of this UNESCO World Heritage modernist building, you will see that there are hardly any straight lines. Gaudí refrained from using any straight lines in his designs to make his buildings look as natural as possible. Every detail within the building is designed to mimic nature and follow the flow of the sea from the wooden winding staircases to the carefully crafted doors. In the centre of the building, there is a lightwell that begins with navy blue titles where the sun shines the most and gradually descends to lighter shades of blue at the bottom of the lightwell where the sun shines the least.
At the top of this aquatic representation, there is an arched roof with tiles that grade from green on the right side, to a deep blue and violet in the centre, to red and pink on the left side. These tiles have a metallic sheen and stimulate the varying scales of the back of a dragon. In front of the dragon, there is a turret with a blooming cross at the top, which has been speculated to represent the spear of Saint George (the patron saint of Catalonia), who plunged his lance into the back of the dragon.
The original building was made in 1877, but Josep Batlló, a textile industrialist who owned a few factories in the city, bought it in 1900 because of its location in the centre of Passeig de Gràcia. Batlló hired Gaudí in 1904 to redesign the building and only two years later, it became the underwater castle we see today.
Casa Batlló is a magnificent work of creativity and imagination that exemplifies Gaudí’s adoration of nature from the colourful tiles to the rolling walls.
After you cross under Arc de Triomf on Passeig de Lluís Companys in Barcelona and stroll down the lively walkway, the gates to Parc de la Ciutadella materialize. For decades following the creation of the park in the mid-19th century, it was Barcelona’s only green space. The park is about 280,000 m2 and includes a zoo, a parliament building, a small lake, museums and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontserè. The fountain is located at the northern corner of the park near the lake. In the centre of the elaborate two-level fountain is a sculpture of Venus standing on an open clam designed by Venanci Vallmitjana. Other interesting statues in the park include a sculpture of “El desconsol” (distress) in the middle of a pond in front of the parliament building and a giant mammoth across the lake. Parc de la Ciutadella is a carefully planned peaceful space in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Barcelona.
Arc de Triomf is a 30-metre arch that towers over Passeig de Lluís Companys street in Barcelona. It was built by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanova as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. This extraordinary arch marks the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella down a walkway of palm trees and pedestrians. The arch features a red brick Moorish-inspired style called neo-Mudejar and stone sculptures from various artists including Josep Reynés, Josep Llimona, Antoni Villanova and Torquat Tassó. The arch features numerous symbolic sculptures that represent agriculture, science, arts, industry and commerce. Among one of the most prominent symbols in the arch are the bats on the two pillars, which was the emblem of King Jaume I, a former king who ruled during a time of prosperity in Barcelona.
Arc de Triomf poses as a civic monument that’s main purpose was to welcome all nations to the Barcelona World Fair. Today the arch serves as an important and beautifully crafted landmark of the city.
As a massive football fan, you cannot travel to Barcelona without enjoying a match with some of the greatest footballers in the world. The experience felt surreal as if I was not actually living the moment and seeing stars like Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique only a few feet in front of me.
On December 2, 2017, FC Barcelona played a home game at Camp Nou against Celta de Vigo. Thanks to the generosity of the art teacher at my school, who is a season ticket holder, I got to see this match live, only a few rows away from the south net.
The game was full of excitement and action with a total of four goals scored, two from Barça and two from Celta. The first goal was a spectacular counter-attack from Iago Aspas who scored off of a rebound. Only two minutes later, the Magic Man, Lionel Messi, blasted the ball to the back of the net.
Shortly after in the first half, Luis Suárez scored a legal goal that was disallowed as an offside.
Barça took the lead in the 62nd minute of the second half when an offensive attack between Messi and Jordi Alba ended with Suárez hitting the back of the net.
With only 20 minutes left of the match Celta’s Maxi Gómez got an equalizer goal after Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti got what looked like a pulled hamstring and had to leave the game.
The game ended with a 2-2 draw and was a brilliant display of attacking, defending, goal scoring and goal keeping.
I am living in this superficial society
Where everyone just wants to be a celebrity.
Let’s see who can get the most likes on Instagram,
The rest, I don’t give a damn.
Failing classes, getting into trouble; all this for fame,
When inside you are amazing and wasting that is a shame.
So many girls just want the hottest guy,
Just look good and keep their brains on standby.
Don’t worry, you will have a luxurious wedding with prince charming,
Lose yourself and your mind –that can’t be so alarming.
Your looks will fade and you will be left with a meaningless life,
Because you did what you saw on TV and only became a wife.
Don’t lose who you are, study hard and follow your dreams,
Looks and clothes and cars are not as fulfilling as it seems.
Stay true to yourself and don’t let anyone change that
Stand up for what you believe in and don’t be anyone’s doormat.
The one who truly loves you will always treat you with care,
You don’t have to change or chase him, for you he will always be there.
So make your life meaningful and do something to make a change;
Don’t worry if everyone thinks you are quite strange.
We are all strange in our own particular way,
But if we all play our part, we will only see better days.
Be strong and make this life worth living,
Be caring, compassionate, generous and forgiving.
Forget about the judgmental society that will just waste your time,
Find the highest mountain; get up and climb!