Tag Archives: travel

Barcelona – Gaudi’s Practicality of Beauty

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Perhaps the only thing more amazing then the striking architecture of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló is the fact that it was for all purposes just that – a casa! Josep Batlló and his family commissioned Gaudi to build a house – a distinctive house granted – but a house nonetheless. It was a house they lived in until their deaths and remained in the family for nearly twenty years afterwards. It’s an impressive example of how art can be both breathtaking and have a pragmatic purpose. It also exemplifies Gaudi’s genius, the fact that he was capable of producing a perfect marriage of spectacle and home.

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Bucharest – Tragic Tyranny in The House of the People

 

House of People 4I went to the Romanian Parliament – known in Romanian as The House of The People – with my Romanian girlfriend and her mother recently and I’ve never been struck by more of a sense of pathetic irony in my life. Its name suggests a place where people are free and the ownership of the building is in the hands of the people. This however, has never been the case. Since its construction in 1984 to the present day, this palace has never been a house of the people. It is a place where tyranny rules, preposterous opulence reigns and freedom is ground to dust.

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Athena’s Acropolis – A Spectacular Idea Yet Desecrated Reality

 

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A stunning symbol of the birth of European democracy, philosophy and science; a culture and society which was so ahead of it’s time, society seemed to collapse in on itself after it’s fall – this is what one thinks of when one thinks of the Acropolis. It was a marvel at its zenith. Centuries of looting and destruction later – and two centuries of archeological annihilation and reconstruction – and its difficult to even comprehend what is left. It has become a great wonder of the world, and as such, archeologists feel the need to ‘renovate’ it.

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Athens – Rebellion Without a Point

 

Graffiti can be a fantastic resource for those who – by circumstance of choice – are isolated from mainstream artistic expression. People can make virtually any (legally or not) public space the canvas of their message or expression. Equally its target of criticism can be the very building, which a graffiti artist uses to display their message. However, all too often, it can be merely a manifestation of nothing except somebody’s attempt at immortality or being noticed. I’m referring to the mindboggling concept of tagging one’s own name. Athens is no exception to this phenomenon and in many ways it’s an exemplar of this inane form of self-expression.

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Athens – A Bustling Necropolis

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Arriving in Athens has left me startled due to its derelict appearance. I don’t use the word Necropolis here in a conventional sense of death. I instead wish to use it to describe the atmosphere of ruined buildings and dilapidated shop fronts, which are tagged with the names of any disenfranchised person armed with spray-paint and nothing worthwhile to say! It’s staggeringly bleak and dammingly deprived, a meager twenty-minute walk from the Acropolis…and yet, there is a tragic beauty in it all!

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Ponderings On The Term Expat

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I recently came across an opinion piece in The Guardian on the term ‘expat’ that really piqued my interest. It asserted that the term was an inherently racist one that elevated European migrants to the status of ‘expat’ above their migrant peers from other parts of the world. For me, the term has an altogether different – less flattering – meaning based on the people who I have encountered use it and those that I have seen it used to describe.

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Muzungu: Intitial thoughts on Uganda

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Poverty. Chaos. Laughter. And happiness. These are probably the best four words to sum up my first week in Uganda. I came to help with teacher training services for some community initiatives here and have found a new place in my heart[1].

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