Wednesday Wander – El Peix, Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona twice, and both times I visited the beach. Yet, before I visited, I’d never thought of Barcelona as a ‘beach’ city. To me it was a place of dance and food and architecture, home to Gaudi, one of my favourite architects. I knew it was on the coast, but Barceloneta beach was an unexpected delight.

On my second visit we spent half a day or so there, hubby and the gorgeous girl in and out of the water as we looked for shells and soaked up the sunshine, eating fresh paella at one of the many seafront cafes before returning to our hotel sandy and happy. We also took a walk along the wooden boardwalk, heading towards an unusual structure we could see gleaming golden  in the distance.

It turned out to be El Peix, a golden fish sculpture created by renowned Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry for the 1992 Olympics. Built as a canopy to link a hotel, casino and restaurants, it’s now one of Barcelona’s most well-known landmarks.

It’s not the only Gehry we’ve seen – in Seattle we spent a wonderful day at the EMP, marvelling at the colours and curves of the extraordinary building. It seemed fitting to see another piece of his work in Barcelona – Gehry, like Gaudi a century earlier, twists shape and form to challenge what can be done architecturally, creating structures like no other. We’re heading to Bilbao this summer and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Guggenheim there, another of his famous works.

But for now I’ll leave you with Barcelona beach palms against a brilliant blue sky, a memory of a golden day. Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!

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Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 17: Calm


I’ve missed a few of Hugh’s Photo Challenges these past few weeks, simply because I didn’t feel I had the right shot. However, this week I hope I meet the challenge – the theme is ‘Calm’ and here is my image.

It’s a shot of the beach near to where I used to live – our house was only a few minutes walk away and I could hear the ocean at night, humming in the darkness. The waves can get quite wild, rocks battered and sculpted into twisting shapes, the moving sands throwing up curling breakers when the wind and tides were right.

So this beach was more wild than calm , though it was often deserted, families preferring the safety of the bay. The ocean on this side brought treasures, carried on the waves coming up from the frozen South. I remember one day when the sand was covered with sea urchin shells, left in undulating lines where they had come ashore, victims of some undersea cataclysm. Glass and shells made perfect mermaid jewellery when the gorgeous girl was tiny, soft rubbed green and blue shards glimmering in the sunshine, heaped into a ‘treasure’ pile as we searched for more.

The reason this image speaks to me of calm is because this is the place where I found calm again. After a few years of stress and sorrow and losing my way a little, this is where I was able to get back on the path. To take a moment and just… breathe.

I feel very fortunate to have lived in such a place, and carry a little piece of calm with me wherever I go, treasure from the sea.