Saturday, September 29, 2018

Park Guell, Barcelona quirky and creative solace

      Nested in the hilltop amidst of nature, in the city of movers and shakers, Park Guell is Antoni Gaudio's whimsical creation and iconic muse. A captivating and at the same time quirky yet creative Park Guel is one of the most unique parks I have ever come across. A burst of rainbow colors in the mosaic bask in Barcelona sun, a stroll or walk will give you Gaudi's sheer artistic vision. Initiated and planned as a posh housing community in the 19 hundreds inspired as a in garden city movement by Antonio Gaudi and entrepreneur Eusebi Güell, this unsuccessful business venture turned into a park.

Must see

1. Salamander, popularly known as "el drac" (the dragon), at the main entrance. The side walls of the entrance stairs are filled with mosiac art work on tile. Every piece of the square-shaped tile is encrypted with a own design.

2. Hypostyle Room, the main floor which has the roof embedded with mosaic artwork supported on big round pillars

3. Austria Garden, a collection of Austrian plants and trees

4. The terrace with serpent style benches which has every square in unique mosaic tile work and from where you see the breathtaking view of Barcelona

5. The two pavilions, one has a picture and video collections from Gaudi's life and the other is a souvenir shop
6. Passeig de las Palmeras, a unique pedestrian walk flanked with stone columns in the shape of palm trees
7. El viaducto dels enamorats, an unique architectural delight

8. Gaudi house, get an insight into Gaudi's life in up close and personal

A few facts

1. Park Guell is very crowded and only 400 people are allowed in one visit. Try to visit as early as possible to avoid the crowd
2. Tickets are easily sold out. Buying in advance surely sets you for a stress-free outing and avoid the stress of not able to get into the park if tickets get sold out.
3. The park has a cafeteria but it would be better if you could pack your own food.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Indian festival look #1

Those hot mornings are now softly turning into misty dewy mornings. Moist morning transport me back to home, Assam India. Indian festival season just started there. Festivity unfolds food, flavor and fashion. I reminisce about those beautiful days of school holidays, relishing festive food, buying and feeling the touch of crisp new clothes.

   Well, the last couple of years my friend initiated celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. She meticulously plans and creates festivity with so much care and creativity. It is a 11 days affair. Even though I want to visit every day, my kids and work just occupy me and I could only manage to visit a few days. During the visits, I enjoy dressing up for the festivity.

     This year I see how linen became vogue in summer. I chose this linen white saree with a blue border and a pink achal (the top end) which played a pinch of pop of color which you need for a festival look.  I team it up with Assamese thuria and blue potli bag and a thick traditional Assamese Bengals called gam kharu. The saree almost felt like second skin to me, feathery and soft. Some people might find it little shuttle for Indian festive affair. Everything (accessories) has a gold tint to it. Initially I thought of silver tint then later decided on the gold, as it will add up some unexpected flair to it. Hope you like this look. Have a great weekend guys and enjoy the festive season.

Indian festival look #2
Indian festival look #3

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Seville Soak up in the Spanish sun

      Blooming bougainvillea, sweet scent of tangerines, adorned ornate buildings, closed gates when opens it feels like a home, wide and warm as every square here awaits to tell you the history of the artistic and esthetics of human curation. Seville, as if the leisurely ornate city enchants you with the quintessential splendid  Spanish holiday.  Eclectic, the capital of Andalucia and the 4th largest Spanish city has a Roman and Morish past.

Main attraction

THE PLAZA DE ESPAÑA: If you want to experience something spectacular and get awestruck by mesmerizing beauty and grandeur, the Plaza de Espana with 500,000 square meters of rose gold building beautified with blue tiles, canals, bridges, and fountains, it is nothing short of a beautiful canvas. You might have to remind yourself, this is not a dream but reality. Every tile and railing of the bridges are work of immaculate craftsmanship and seating areas are enclosed with each region's painted map. A picturesque backdrop with horse driven carts and boats rowing in the canals, its a whisper of the presence of the past.

THE REAL ALCÁZAR: If you imagine how beautiful can be the Moorish with a bit of Gothic architecture, then the imagination that takes shape in your mind probably is not too much different if I say it's the Real Alcazar. Corridor to the courtyard garden to the entrance, it is all about royalty and luxury. One of the impressive landmarks synonymous with Seville.

Seville Cathedral: Your Seville trip won't be complete without paying a visit to this Spectacular landmark. World's 3rd largest cathedral with the triumph of Gothic architecture grandeur and here the home of Christopher Columbus.

The Metropol parasol:  If you think Seville is the only gateway to the past than Metropol parasol changes your notion. Recently
finished construction in 2011, this enormous and fluid architecture is modern day prosperity of Seville.  Its architecture is inspired by the vaults of the Cathedral of Seville and is created in the form of giant mushrooms. Its terrace is home to a good restaurant with panoramic views of the city center. A museum at the lower level preserves the Roman and Moorish remains discovered during the construction of the site.

 A few facts
1. You need to wait in the queue get into the Real Alcazar and Seville Cathedral. If you book the ticket ahead, you don't need to take the trouble of waiting.
2. No doubt Plaza de Espana is the substance of beauty. But if you want to capture the true essence, early in the day or evening is always better than during the afternoon or late mornings.
3. Whether real alcazar or Plaza de Espana you require walking a lot. Be ready to walk to get the true essence of Seville.

How many days you need
We Started from Toledo  in the afternoon and reached Seville by the evening. We got two nights and a full day. I still feel that we were little constrained for time. I believe three full days would have been perfect.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

5 must try food when you are in Spain

      Being sick and lying in the bed is no fun. But imagining about good things especially memories is a solace while if you're sick. One of these beautiful memories transports me to my recent trip to Spain and it's most unique and iconic dishes.

1. Paella: Most iconic and celebrated Spanish rice-based dish originated in  Valencia and typically seafood based. If you don't prefer seafood you can choose chicken paella or if you are a vegetarian, it has the option for vegetarian too. There is almost no Spanish restaurant who does not offer paella.

 2. Patatas Bravas: An ubiquitous tapas in Spain. Fried potatoes almost taste like french fried topped with tomato sauce and vary from region to region. Enticing of course.

3. Churros:   Every nook and corner proudly present Spain's most delicious delight. Decadent fried sugary dough topped with chocolate...Ah heaven!

4.  Pimientos de Padron:  Tantalize your taste bud. Don't get overwhelmed as it is fried chilies and topped with sea salt. It is not as spicy as it sounds. Succulent.

5. Pan tumaca: Spanish bread topped with fresh tomato sauce, garlic and olive oil. Light crispy outside and soft inside. A treat for your taste bud.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Toledo not just a tale of yesteryears

      Small cities and towns have always intrigued me. Small cities and towns have a wonder of its own, whether it flavor, food, flares, festive, culture or craft. You will find something significant and unique about it. When we were traveling Spain, Toledo was my top pick. Announced as a world heritage site, Toledo is a seamless blend of three culture Roman, Jewish, and Moorish.

      Cobblestone streets, historic little square mountain and wrapped in Tagus River, Toledo is a postcard-perfect city and solace for traveling soul

How to get there and how much time you should spend
      Less than an hour for Madrid by car or train, it is perfect for a day trip or if you want to witness the city at night staying over for a day or two could be a perfect option. We drove from Madrid to Toledo for a day trip but after visiting I regret that we should have spent a day or two to get the essence of the whole city.

What are the main attractions

1. Mirador Del Valle:   If you want to get a glimpse of the gorgeous view of the city here you are.

2. Catedral Primada:  Toledo's treasure with ornate interior and acute outer architecture.

3. Synagogues: Established in 1180 by Moorish architects,  now preserved by the Catholic Church these Jewish worship places are a true witness to diversity in a multicultural setting.

4. Alcazar: Sparkled from Mirador del Valle, a gem located at the highest part of Toledo, it was once used as a Roman place in the 3rd century and then later as a fortification during the Spanish Civil war.

5. Puerta de Bisagra: Greets you in the grandeur, the gate built in 1559 by Alonso de Covarrubias, you can't miss it once you enter the city.

Cool things to do

      Walk the nostalgia of  Jewish quarters:   An escape from the hustle and bustle, almost felt like a time machine, it takes you to another time. Walking on the Tiny alleys of sublime cobblestone streets, sense the Jewish heritage.

Not just shop: Shopping is fun but when you can witness the muse of what you buy, that priceless. Stop by the shops and artisans who are not just selling things but creating art, especially jewelry.

      The melting pot of multi-culture, Toledo is not just a tale of yesteryear but the past that reminisces in present and future.

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