|This ferret is the cutest and has the softest fur. The owner jokingly told us to pay 5 euros for a photo of her pet.|
|Apparently, Paris isn’t the only city with the Arc de Triomphe! Look at its reddish, bricked twin – Barcelona’s very own Arc de Triomf. Built originally as a main gate for an international world’s fair, held in Barcelona, Spain.|
|La Rambla, a flea market in Barcelona. The whole stretch was buzzing with people, food, art, & countless souvenir shops|
|Street busking in El Rastro, Madrid|
|La Sagrada Familia. The incomplete church, in Barcelona, and a UNESCO world heritage site. Isn’t it astonishing how it’s still under construction since 1909?|
Our apartment in Barcelona was just minutes from La Sagrada Familia’s eponymous metro station. The moment we stepped out from the underground, the towering church loomed right behind us. It was rather strange, and unexpected, to see this iconic landmark just a few meters from our temporary neighbourhood. All this while, I have always thought that prominent landmarks around the world are mainly sequestered at a remote land, far away from any surrounding buildings. I told a friend about this, and she agreed. She groused about how everything in Rome was ‘too accessible’, and how walking to every famous landmark was perfectly possible. The Vatican City isn’t really a city on its own, The Colosseum, perpetually filled with hoards of tourists, isn’t as grand as it looks in pictures, the Leaning Tower of Pisa isn’t very far in the distance. & La Sagrada Familia isn’t all that desolate and standalone.
The stark positioning of architectural beauty, located a stone’s throw away from a row of civilian apartments, comes across as visually jarring. An oxymoron. It remains striking, in its history, and imposing, in its size, but the spark of grandeur is irrevocably lost, upon the discovery of its accessibility.
Are things more beautiful in a distance?
But of course, due to the fact that they are tourist attractions afterall, transportation and accommodation have to be strategically located around the area for convenience.
And perhaps, when reality is incongruous with innocent expectations, when what we finally witness does not parallel with what we’re used to seeing in our imagination, we grapple with the illusion of grandness & isolation we’ve painted in our minds, only to let it slip with the reality of its attainable beauty.