Monday, 26 December 2011

Monday 26th December

Did lots today but the 2 highlights were:

Barcelona FC Football Ground (The Nou Camp)

Here is aged ancestor of the female persuasion waiting to come on as a substitute. She says "I would rather be a forward".

And this is me in the post match interview area..."well, you know, it was a game to two halves and at the end of the day, it was a matter of getting the ball into the net..."

The club's history is fascinating. In the 1930's, FC Barcelona was committed to social, political and cultural reform, initiated by the Republican Catalan government.

And Barca (Barcelona FC) now has a motto that it is "more than a club". An example is that the club signed a collaboration agreement with UNICEF (United National International Children's Emergency Fund) in 2006.

For me, there is something spiritual that goes on with football. The singing, the group identity, the collaboration, the striving to be better at something, the minutes silences at the start of some games...and more. OK, there are differences too. But there is a lot in common.

Matthew Fox wrote about this in his book 'The Hidden Spirituality of Men'. That men have been hunters for thousands of years and football is an expression of the hunting instinct. A group of 11 men (similar in size to hunting groups) with a common 'goal'. The hunting instinct is still strong and it needs its natural expression in society so that people (men particularly) can become fully themselves (I would say this is a spiritual quality).

End of rant.

Flameco Dancing

In the evening we went to see some Flameco dancing...

The main idea seemed to be to stomp your feet, have a strained expression on your face and sing like a cat that is being electrocuted.

I do those things all of the time. All I have to do is put my arms above my head and I reakon that I am a fully fledged flameco dancer/singer...

Actually, I did enjoy the passion of the performance and I wondered whether there was Arab influence through the Moors in the music/singing.

Final Note
I am very impressed with Barcelona. A world class football team. Gaudi architecture - particularly the Sagrada Familia. Picasso settled there. Salvador DalĂ­. The city hosted an Olympics even though it is not a capital city. And more. It seems to me there is breadth and depth to the Catalan culture. I would love to know more about its roots and history and why it has achieved so much in such diverse areas.

Tomorrow is the journey home and so the end of this blog.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Sunday 25th December

Dear Comrades in Alms,

We speak to you from the mediterranean shores of Eastern Spain where we are plotting a world revolution.

The plotting started with a cathedral visit to see what the locals do on this day...

And then continued with a walk down some medieval streets...

We considered the overthrow of various govenments and pseudo democracies over a tasty Catalonian style lunch...(whilst semi-successfully negotiating 'coelicus' for Mum's food)...

And then the final pieces of world transformation were put together during a walk by the sea...

Our conclusions for world revolution and peace?...

* more ice cream in the evening
* fairer re-distribution of wealth
* why can't some people (not us of course) stop being annoying?
* more football on BBC 1
* one extra day in the weekend between Saturday and Sunday
* everyone to be eco-friendly and peaceful immediately. No exceptions from anyone.

My highlight was when we passed by a five star hotel and aged ancestor of the female persuasion said (and this is absolutely true):

"Why don't we go into the hotel and throw around the furniture and see what happens?..."

Excellent! World revolution is yet possible with this Rock and Roll Granny.

Meanwhile, the revolution is being put on hold temporarily whilst we go back to the apartment and digest our food and drink and have a nap.

Happy Christmas One and All.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Saturday 24th December

Today I have been looking for some cultural symbol of Catalonia. Something to express the outlook and ideology of the local people.

At last I found the 'Catalan Caganer' which is normally added to the nativity scene (although not near the Virgin Mary I am told).

Why? Well there are lots of reasons given. One of them is about giving fertility to the soil. Another is to remind us of our emodied mortal state amongst the nativity myths.

Click here for more information and more reasons why the Catalan Caganer is part of the Catalan nativity scene.

I did try to buy this as a souvenir but no luck as yet.

Today we went to Montserrat - about an hour bus ride from Barcelona.

Went to the Basilica...blah blah...

Stood by an arch built in 1025...blah blah...

Aged ancestor of the female persuasion stood on a spot that was supposed to give you energy supernaturally...blah blah...

Saw great views...blah blah...

But, I ask myself, what about the symbolic meaning of this place? How can we interpret what we see into creative and meaningful ideas to find our place in today's world?

Well, I went to an art gallery at Montserrat and saw paintings by an artist who was inspired by the place and the rock formations. comment.

After getting near home I sat down ... wondering what they had put in the local food.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Friday 23rd December

So, I have landed in Barcelona along with aged ancestor of the female persuasion.

I've already made a friend...

...even though it did cost me 0.20 of the local scooby doo currency...

I have taken to walking at a tilt of 20 degrees...

....this is because when I was in Australia I took to standing on my head to correct for the fact that I was upside down compared to England. So, as I am now in Barcelona which is, I guess, about 20 degrees 'tilt' from England, I need to walk around at a 20 degrees tilt to make good the difference.

Not a lot of other English people seem to be doing this - I can't think why....

The highlight was the Sagrada Familia - a cathedral built by Gaudi. Awesome is an understatement. It is the first piece of architecture that really took my breath away.

Photos don't do the size and grandeur justice but here is aged ancestor of the female persuasion giving a bit of perspective...

The el-brilliant bit was Gaudi's incorporation of nature into his architecture. Here is one of the notices about it:

And here is the ceiling with organic shapes on the roof and tree trunk columns supporting the ceiling:

It was wonderful to see this architecture of the Christian Church embrace nature symbolism so effortlessly. Whilst the origional cathedrals of the middle ages resonated with trees in the forest (the columns and arches), after the middle ages the western church left nature behind with its condemnation of paganism and its patriarchal stance.

This refreshing architecture of Gaudi's brings nature's symbolism into a western Christian setting. So important for our time when our collective challenges are such things as globalisation, environmental destruction (eg climate change), global economics and more. We need to integrate symbolism that transcends cultural and religious divides - which nature does - so that we can, as a whole human race, face the issues of our time.

I could rant for ages on this but perhaps this is enough for now. We got up at 3:30am this morning so sleep beckons.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ian's Trip to Barcelona

This blog will have news and info about my trip to Barcelona from Friday 23rd December to Monday 26th December.