antibes, france

On my trip to the South last month, Antibes was my final day trip. A thirty minute train ride along the coast from Nice, Antibes is a relaxed beach town that was originally discovered by the Greeks around the same time as Nice. Today, the town is a relaxed, family-friendly answer to the more hectic Nice and more glitzy Cannes. The town has become a haven for Australians and Kiwis both – and I caught a few of their distinct accents floating above me on rooftop terraces as I wandered the street labyrinth below.

Before the Grimaldi family moved on the bigger, better pieces of real estate, they lived in a mini-palace by the sea. Today, the home is a Picasso Museum. Picasso, who lived in Antibes for some time, left the city a large collection of his paintings in thanks of the inspiration the town had given him. It’s easy to understand, once you’ve stood on the balcony of the Grimaldi home watching the deep blue water wave as the Alps stand at a distance and the ancient city sprawls out inbetween what must have stirred the artist. Once you’ve seen this place, you won’t easily forget it.


senor gaudi

Antoni Gaudi is considered the grand master of Catalan modernism and he spent his life creating art and architecture for the city of Barcelona. Incorporating his various skilled crafts like ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork and carpentry into his work, his works make kooky imprints on the city, that in my mind, make him kind of like the Mad Hatter of Barcelona. Refusing to see the world as everyone else does, love or hate his work, you can’t deny that Gaudi had a point and stuck to it. I’m guessing he didn’t care too much to listen to critics or those that pointed out that his architecture wasn’t how things are ‘normally’ done. The man has a vision and kept with it.

Casa Batillo:

Casa Mila:

Begun in 1915, Gaudi devoted himself to Sagrada Familia until his death. The church has continued to be build since then and has plans to include 18 steeples that are to be finished in 2022.

Park Guell is chaotic with both crowds and visuals. The park sprawls up, allowing for a few of the city and sea beyond if you’re willing to climb. Sprinkled throughout the space are musicians singing, playing the guitar and even square dancing – yes, I kid you not. I’m sure an act as a bizarre as a mass square dancing ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ in Barcelona, Spain in the type of oddity Gaudi might have smiled at. To me, it’s proof that no matter how far from home you go, home has a way of finding you.

barcelona [part 3]

 

street sign / typical architecture / outside bull fighting arena / inside bull fighting arena / snack time / beach time / harbor at sunset

barcelona [part 2]

 

Christopher Columbus points the way / churros and hot chocolate / Barcelona building / beautiful door #1 / sign on the street / beautiful door #2 / sail boating at the beach

barcelona [part 1]

Last week I soujourned to Spain for the first time. Meeting a friend in Barcelona we spent our days at the wandering the city, shopping, eating tappas and taking in Gaudi’s work. For my fellow Texans, the city felt a lot like a European version of Austin – cultural yet relaxed.

 

La Boqueria market / Rainbow display of fruit juice at La Boqueria / Sagrada Familia / Wide, meandering paths / Colorful mosaics / Narrow streets full of life

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