Barcelona’s Palau Guell Mansion – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 21st, 2018

Barcelona's Palau Guell Mansion - Keep Calm and Wander

The Palau Guell in Barcelona may look ordinary outside but wait until you step on inside. It’s splendid! Truly magnifique!

Barcelona is love not because of its 24/7 party scenes, but also because it has some of the most architecturally and artistically revered ancient buildings such as the Paul Guell Mansion.

I was in the city only for a few days and boy, there’s so much art around. And there’s no doubt that Gaudi rules above all other artists. In fact, Barcelona is also called “The City of Gaudi.” That’s how famous he is Catalan. His works are visible everywhere. Art was merely an excuse, I wanted to see Palau Guell – I wanted to see how how the wealthy aristocrats of the past resided in their designer mansions and how those very designers managed to create the residence of their dreams.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Toledo, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 18th, 2018

Toledo - Keep Calm and Wander

Just like the rest of the cities of Spain, Toledo also presents a conundrum of Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim architecture, which actually tells the stories of the confluence of these cultures resulting from the respective conquests. The entire day I spent in the city had me gawking at the magnificence of the ancient structures standing tall in the myriads of small buildings along cobblestoned alleys.

Here’s where I managed to take my art-thirsty self.

1. The Alcazar

Alcazar means a fortress. Like other Alcazars in nearly every city of the country, this one, too, speaks (rather cry) of its mixed history. This is the highest point of the city; and therefore, it provides a view that simply stays in the eyes forever.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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A Day in Segovia – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 16th, 2018

Segovia - Keep Calm and Wander

Spain has served as the crux of the Muslim-Christian-Roman skirmishes in the past. It is because of these that nearly every city in the country has Gothic Cathedrals perched on some hill, Romanesque churches built on the remains of a former building, and the usual medieval architecture that dots around the city in the form of numerous buildings.

Segovia is no exception.

How to get there: Take an early train (8:00 AM) from Madrid and you”ll arrive 28 minutes later. It would cost you 16 euros. Once you arrive at Segovia Station, take a bus and ask the driver to drop you off at the intersection that goes to the Aqueduct.

Here are some of the things to do and see when you’re in Segovia.

1. Stand and admire the giant Segovia Aqueduct

Built in approximately 50 AD, the Segovia Aqueduct was a delight to watch. Its arches still stand tall and what intrigued me was the way the whole Roman structure still stands without any cement to hold the granite blocks. It’s really incredible!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Pisa Views from the Leaning Tower – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 14th, 2018

Pisa Views

Yes, it is possible to climb to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. You just don’t pose like you’re saving the leaning tower from falling with your tiny hands but you have to climb and see what’s up there. The views aren’t really impressive but climbing a leaning tower is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You don’t get to experience that anywhere else, right? Perhaps, this might be the only leaning tower you’d ever climbed on.

Before Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa

First, you have to buy a ticket. The ticket booth is on the left side, across the green lawn. When buying, choose a time that’s convenient for you. They limit the number of people going up there for security reasons. When you’ve paid, go to the room next door and leave your things in a locked safe. They won’t allow backpacks or bags. Just bring your camera, phone or valuable things, like your wallet. Be sure to line up 10-15 minutes before your time.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Pieta Rondanini, Michelangelo’s Unfinished Statue – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 9th, 2018

Pieta Rondanini - Keep Calm and WanderPieta Rondanini – Keep Calm and Wander

Pieta Rondanini is Michelangelo’s unfinished marble statue. Since 1952, Milan is a host to the master’s work. Today, you can find it at Museo Pieta Rondanini inside the Castello Sforzesco. When Michelangelo died in 1564, they found the sculpture at the artist’s workshop in Rome. Afterwards, the unfinished statue was missing for more than 200 years and reappeared in 1807 at Palazzo Rondanini.

And that’s how it gained its monicker: Pieta Rondanini.

As you can see, Mary is standing, supporting her son, Jesus, after he was taken down from the cross. The famed Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican has Mary sitting while looking down at his son bathed in blood.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 7th, 2018

Palau de la Musica Catalana - Keep Calm and Wander

A historic concert hall built in 1908, the Palau de la Musica Catalana is a turn-of-the-century piece of modern architecture by Lluis Domenech I Montaner. Its immaculate design, stained glasses, detailed mosaics, and expressive façade are some of the few things that attract tourists from around the world.

The building is serving the role for which it was initially constructed and that is providing a platform for the talented artists to showcase their talent in the most exuberant way possible. Owing to this fact, many famous artists, including Igor Stravinsky, Woody Allen, and Herbert Von Karajan have performed in this “Palace of Music.”

The modernist era was a movement more than a time period. It completely changed the very fabric of the architectural styles in Barcelona. The form of the palace or the hall speaks volumes of the craftsmanship of Lluis Domenech I Montaner. It is fluid, vibrant, and descriptive of the themes that the place is built on.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

One Day in Avila, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 5th, 2018

Avila, Spain - Keep Calm and Wander

Avila is one of the historical jewels of the crown of Spain. Cities around the world are witnesses of many past events and Avila is no exception. It has seen the Moorish as well as the Christian rule, and both of these eras have left their footprints on the city in form of monasteries, Romanesque churches, convents, and forts. The city is walled and therefore, all of these landmarks are guarded well, and because of their antique nature, the whole city is listed by UNESCO.

In Spain, nearly every city has an Alcazar – a fortification of Moorish origin or of the Christian origin.

The Avila can very much be called a fort in itself. This is because this city is bound by walls that were built for fending off any invasions. There are nine gates in the Alcazar de Avila with the Gate of St. Vincent and Gate of the Fortress (Puerta del Alcazar) flanked by two towers of 20-meter height.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Amazing Views of Barcelona From Montjuic Castle – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 2nd, 2018

Amazing Views of Barcelona From Montjuic Castle - Keep Calm and Wander

The views of Barcelona from Montjuic Castle is stunningly marvelous. Situated on the top of the Montjuic hill overlooking Barcelona, Castle Montjuic is an epitome of the resilience of Barcelona against the oppressions and invasions. Yet, it is also a monument of the victory of Spain over Catalan some 350 years ago. The victory is in the walls of the castle, in its spacious verandas, and its fortifications. You can see it everywhere and it augments as you overlook the city sprawling right in front of it. The castle indeed has witnessed not only many years of civil war and unrest in the 20th century, but also the growth of the city.

Well, that was just a brief history of this place. If you are an avid traveler and you have stepped on the soil of Barcelona, you’ve got to visit Castle Montjuic for the following reasons:

1. To see it speak its history

Running for about hour and a half, the guided tours of the castle are a great way to get to know about how it stood multiple invasions and warded off all the oppressors at the same time incarcerating prisoners itself. Aside from the history, the tours will also carry you through all the architectural significances of the castle, its built, the stones used, and the amalgam used to bind them. If you have no time for tours, you can, of course, wander around by yourself.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

The Oculus in New York City – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 29th, 2018

The Oculus in New York City - Keep Calm and Wander

The Oculus in New York City (or the World Trade Center) serves as a terminal station that is, in turn, served by the Newark WTC and the Hoboken WTC, where the latter serves only on weekends.

The station, which is located in the WTC of the Financial District, Manhattan, itself was opened for public on March 3, 2016, after replacing the temporary station that had been placed after the gruesome attacks of 9/11.

Although there have been many controversies attached to the station, savor the facts below that only a few people know. These facts are meant to present a separate image of the station.

1. The Steel Used is Unique

Since the projects of the architect Santiago Calatrava are known for their unique curves, only a special type of steel can withstand them. The Oculus is made with the same special steel that is manufactured by only four companies in the world. The Italian and the Spanish companies out of these four were capable to deliver the kind of steel required for Oculus.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Queer Colombo, Sri Lanka – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 23rd, 2018

Queer Colombo, Sri Lanka - Keep Calm and Wander

Colombo is an organized chaos. It’s the largest and the capital city of the island country, Sri Lanka. The best way to get around it is by tuktuk – if you don’t mind the heat and the dust. If you do, hiring an Uber is cheap so, your $10 can really go a looooong way there.

These are some of the places where I left my footprints in queer Colombo.

Sri Lanka: Top 9 Things to do and see in Colombo

1. Wander off at the National Museum

Large and sublime, the 19th-century building of National Museum holds the past of Sri Lanka from as far as 1877 to the colonial era and beyond. My favorites in this place were the room 5, which contains the throne of King Wimaladharmasuriya II, and room 2, which has the Bodhisattva Sandals made of bronze. There’s a nice café in the museum also.

2. Take a respite at the Dutch Hospital

Built in the 1600s, a hospital in the past and a busy shopping precinct in the present, the Dutch Hospital houses some of the most premium cafes that are located in the vibrant complex of the Fort. Taking a pause and having a cold drink here made me feel as if I was in some Buddhist monetary in a Hollywood movie.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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