Barcelona Cathedral

templo-expiatorio-de-la-sagrada-familiaThe Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família; Spanish: Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia; English: Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). I visited here in January, 2016.

Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral, which must be the seat of a bishop.

Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar with Gaudí becoming involved in 1883 after Francisco resigned as the head architect. Taking over the project, Gaudí transformed it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Sagrada Familia’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona: over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona’s cathedral, over Gaudí’s design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí’s death disregarded his design, and the 2007 proposal to build an underground tunnel of Spain’s high-speed rail link to France which could disturb its stability. Describing Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said, “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”[12] and Paul Goldberger describes it as, “The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.”

Location: 25-A2barcelona-cathedral-picbarcelona-cathedral

Bicycling

chain-wheelCycling was a passion for me for many years until I developed muscular dystrophy and, well, that’s it. I really got into the sport when I lived in Houston. I had friends there who shared the enthusiasm. I was a member of the League of American Wheelmen (now named League of American Bicyclists). I did a ride of 200 miles in less than 24 hours. I did many long tours, including one from Montreal to North Adams, MA. I had a full tool kit, and rode on sew-ups. Well, that’s all past. This pin is a chain-wheel from a bicycle and is a perfect symbol of my past enthusiasm.

Location: 21-B1

Valencia (2)

valencia-crestThis is a second pin from Valencia. It has the proper Spanish colors for the stripes. It also has the bat crest. Shopping in Valencia is amazing—especially the food markets. Below is a picture of a booth in a market, handling only hams!

 

valencia-ham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 20-F2

Barcelona, Spain

barcelona-spainI got this pin in Barcelona, Spain in January 2016. I enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich at the Hard Rock Cafe there. Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in the Kingdom of Spain, as well as the country’s second most populous municipality, with a population of 1.6 million within city limits. I was surprised to learn that it is illegal to post signs in Spanish. The permitted language is Caltalon.

Barcelona’s urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 4.7 million people, being the sixth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Madrid, the Ruhr area and Milan. It is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 meters (1,680 ft) high.

Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as an economic and administrative center of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural center and a major tourist destination. Particularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí (more on that later) and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean is located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and also many international sport tournaments.

Barcelona is one of the world’s leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centers, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world’s major global cities. It is a major cultural and economic center in southwestern Europe, 24th in the world (before Zürich, after Frankfurt) and a financial center. In 2008 it was the fourth most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with GDP amounting to €177 billion. In 2012 Barcelona had a GDP of $170 billion; it is leading Spain in both employment rate and GDP per capita change. In 2009 the city was ranked Europe’s third and one of the world’s most successful as a city brand. In the same year the city was ranked Europe’s fourth best city for business and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year, but it has since been in a full recession with declines in both employment and GDP per capita, with some recent signs of the beginning of an economic recovery. Since 2011 Barcelona is a leading smart city in Europe. Barcelona is a transport hub with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe’s principal seaports and busiest European passenger port, an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles above 40 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network and a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe.

Location: 25-A1

Viking Boat Museum

kon-tiki-museumI got this pin in Oslo, Norway in May 2015 at the Viking Boat Museum. By this time walking for me had become very difficult. I suspect this was the last time I will actually be able to take a good tour of a city or even a museum. Alas.

The museum is exceptional regarding the Kon-Tiki. Regardless of what it may or may not have proven, the voyage of Heyerdahl’s raft was remarkable.

 

kon-tiki-at-sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 25-A3

Viking Boat 3

viking-boat-3This is another pin from the Viking Boat Museum in Oslo, Norway. I visited there in May 2015.

Location: 20-G4

Kon-Tiki 1947

kontiki-1947I got this pin in May, 2015 at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.

On August 7, 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.

Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians. While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia. Heyerdahl, born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914, believed that Polynesia’s earliest inhabitants had come from South America, a theory that conflicted with popular scholarly opinion that the original settlers arrived from Asia. Even after his successful voyage, anthropologists and historians continued to discredit Heyerdahl’s belief. However, his journey captivated the public and he wrote a book about the experience that became an international bestseller and was translated into 65 languages. Heyerdahl also produced a documentary about the trip that won an Academy Award in 1951.

Heyerdahl made his first expedition to Polynesia in 1937. He and his first wife lived primitively on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands for a year and studied plant and animal life. The experience led him to believe that humans had first come to the islands aboard primitive vessels drifting on ocean currents from the east.

Following the Kon-Tiki expedition, Heyerdahl made archeological trips to such places as the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and Peru and continued to test his theories about how travel across the seas played a major role in the migration patterns of ancient cultures. In 1970, he sailed across the Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados in a reed boat named Ra II (after Ra, the Egyptian sun god) to prove that Egyptians could have connected with pre-Columbian Americans. In 1977, he sailed the Indian Ocean in a primitive reed ship built in Iraq to learn how prehistoric civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Egypt might have connected.

While Heyerdahl’s work was never embraced by most scholars, he remained a popular public figure and was voted “Norwegian of the Century” in his homeland. He died at age 87 on April 18, 2002, in Italy. The raft from his famous 1947 expedition is housed at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.

NOTE: Recently DNA evidence has proven that Polynesia was NOT settled by people from South America. It would have been possible, as proven by Heyerdahl, IF people had actually been in S. America. However, DNA shows it want the other way.

Location: 20-G3

Army Vietnam Vet

army-vietnam-vetI have two of these pins (one in my jewelry box)—showing the flag colors, VET superimposed and part of the E shows the Vietnam Service Medal. These belong to me.

I can say nothing about Vietnam, except not everyone who died from the Vietnam War died in Vietnam. Some are still dying.

 

 

Location: 01-G5 (and jewelry box)

Kon-Tiki Logo (2)

kon-tiki-representationI got this pin at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo in May, 2015. It features the Kon-Tiki logo. The logo is from a Polynesian inspired mask.

The History of Tiki Masks

If you trace back the lines of history long enough, you will soon discover the actual origin of the Tiki mask. Although one can see the history of these masks at almost any Hawaiian or tropical restaurant, cafe, or music venue as a form of decoration and entertainment, the mask is rooted in an ancient and historical civilization. Furthermore, the mask is a depiction of ancient Polynesian culture that is used by this culture today to signify remembrance, worship and celebration.

These masks are significant because they pay homage to an ancient Polynesian god, Tiki, who was considered by many as the first man. Moreover, the symbolic nature of wearing these masks or erecting Tiki poles is designed to capture the power of Tiki. Tiki statues are designed to protect or secure the boundaries of a tribe and these masks were designed to capture the power of the ancient Polynesian god Tiki.

Modern Use

However, today many cafes, restaurants and clubs use these masks and other Polynesian signs and symbols for mere aesthetic decoration. Club and restaurant owners alike, use these masks and statues to create a vibe or ambience in their establishment. To be sure, this application of the masks and statues does not have the same laws and meaning attached to it as the Polynesian people do. Unfortunately, the Polynesian culture has been appropriated for capitalist and entertainment value, which is not unlike many Asian and foreign cultures when seen in a Western setting.

The Design

There are many different formations and characteristics of these masks. Unlike, the cross in Christianity, for example, this mask comes in many different forms, colors, sizes and shapes. Further, some hold meanings or interpretations for different events or times of worship. In addition, there are masks for women, men and children and some for holiday times and others for funeral processions and child birth ceremonies.

The history of Tiki masks has a rich history with many different meanings applied to each mask. Furthermore, each mask holds a sacred type of significance determined by the creator of the mask. You can see these types of sacred masks across the hundreds of museums in the world. There are many different spiritual beliefs attached to the Tiki mask, which holds a greater power than as a mere decorative item which is used on Halloween, for example in Western culture. To conclude, the history of the Tiki mask is a rich and complex one that has influenced and shaped the culture of Polynesian history.

Location: 20-G2

Norway Souvenir

norway-viking-boatObtained this in Norway, May, 2015, It shows a Viking sailing boat.

Viking ships were marine vessels of unique design, built by the Vikings during the Viking Age. The boat-types were quite varied, depending on what the ship was intended for, but they were generally characterized as being slender and flexible boats, with symmetrical ends with true keel. They were clinker built, which is the overlapping of planks riveted together. Some might have had a dragon’s head or other circular object protruding from the bow and stern, for design, although this is only inferred from historical sources.

In the literature, Viking ships are usually seen divided into two broad categories: merchant ships and warships. These categories are overlapping; however, some kinds of merchant ships, built for transporting cargo specifically, were also regularly deployed as warships. The majority of Viking ships were designed for sailing rivers, fjords and coastal waters, while a few types, such as the knarr, could navigate the open sea and even the ocean. The Viking ships ranged from the Baltic Sea to far from the Scandinavian homelands, to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Newfoundland, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and Africa.

Location:              20-G1