Snapshot Challenge Saturday

At the beginning of the year, I set out to challenge myself each and every Saturday for the following fifty-two weeks. I wanted myself to take the time to find something beautiful, and as I did, I wanted to capture that particular moment which I was enjoying. Throughout the year, I have been following through with my Snapshot Challenge Saturday, and surprisingly enough, I haven’t missed a single week.

What I enjoyed most about this challenge is that it helped me remember to stop and appreciate my surroundings. Whether it was a beautiful tree in the backyard that I had never yet noticed, a breathtaking view from where I was standing, a stunning sunset, or an adorable moment between two animals, I have seen so many beautiful sights these past fifty-two weeks, and I am so glad to have ventured out on this worthwhile experience.

I will most definitely continue with this challenge throughout 2016 because in an age of technology and cell-phones, it is so easy to miss out on incredible moments taking place around us. I would rather immerse myself in the beauty around me as opposed to regretting not having done so at a later point in time.

And so, with this last Snapshot Challenge of 2015, there are many beautiful pictures which I could have chosen from to conclude the year. However, this challenge has helped me realize that the most precious moments are those spent with loved ones closest to us. I am beyond thankful and appreciative to have such incredible people in my life, and I cannot think of anything more beautiful.

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Barcelona, Spain: Casa Battló

After lunch, my sister and I reserved a time slot to visit Casa Battló—another incredible building designed by Antoni Gaudí, which is located near the center of Barcelona.

Between 1904 and 1906, Gaudí designed and built Casa Battló for a wealthy man by the name of Josep Batlló. Battló lived in the bottom two floors with his family, and rented out the remaining floors, which were used as apartments. As you can tell by looking at the pictures, Gaudí used colors that can be found in nature, but more specifically, marine life.

The outside of the building is designed to look like it is made from skulls (which are the balconies) and bones (which are the supporting pillars for the building). The roof is designed to look like a dragon, and as you walk around the exterior and see the different angles of the house, you’ll notice different colored tiles on the roof. These are meant to represent the scales of the dragon’s spine.

As you walk inside the house, the shapes and colors of the rooms and features are constantly changing. There is something to be seen everywhere you turn. The railing for the staircase is meant to fit the palm of your hand, as are all the door knobs inside the house. The banister itself represents another spine of a large animal. With incredibly large ceilings, Gaudí shaped each skylight like the shell of a tortoise, and made sure that there is an even distribution of light throughout the entire house.

This can be noted in one of the pictures below where the tiles from the bottom floor going up start off as a light blue. As you continue walking upstairs, the tiles become increasingly darker. There is also a glass casing on each floor by the staircase that provides a special effect. So, when you look at the blue tiles through the glass, it seems as though you are underwater, and the different shades of blue really accentuate this. And as if the inside of the house wasn’t beautiful enough, the various views of the city that can be seen from the rooftop are also stunning.

Below, you’ll find a video provided by Casa Batlló that shows the house come to life, as Gaudí originally imagined. It is truly a spectacular piece of art, and besides being a historic and fascinating staple for Barcelona, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

http://vimeo.com/81086090

Day 2 In Antigua, Guatemala Continued

To pick up from my last blog post, after lunch, we continued to walk around Antigua to see some of the more well known sites. We happened to have eaten lunch right next to the Arco de Santa Catalina, which was built in the 17th century as a passageway for the Santa Catalina covenant and an adjoining school. Its purpose was for the nuns to pass from from one building to the next without having to go out into the street. This arch is the only remnant of the covenant, and is considered by many to be a “must-see” in Antigua.

From there, we continued to walk along the street and pass through a local market shop with traditional trinkets and goods. We then came across Convento Santa Clara which like so many other buildings had been destroyed by various earthquakes since the 1700s. Following our time at Convento Santa Clara, we found La Merced Cathedral which was built in 1548 and rebuilt in the 1700s since it had been destroyed twice by earthquakes. The Cathedral was beautiful and had a stunning view outside of both the scenery and of locals picnicking and enjoying the sunset.

We made our way back to the hotel (and passed the Arco de Santa Catalina once more) to get cleaned up before going out for dinner. We had to get a good night sleep though because we had a big day ahead of us the following morning.