G has WOW galore


This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.

Today is an overseas-only excursion because there are WOWs galore to be had.

GAUDI

Visiting Barcelona inevitably means seeing works by Gaudi. To be honest I tended to think he must have been high as a kite given some of his designs. Well, his designs may be eccentric but they sure are eye-catching. We dutifully wound our way to view the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi and Barcelona’s iconic basilica, entered the door…and WOW! We were blown away by the magic that Signor Gaudi had imagined and begun creating before his death. You are bathed in coloured light as you walk through the door and it mesmerises every moment you’re inside. Your eyes dance before this light show and you discover the beautiful elements of the architecture. It is truly an experience to behold! When you drag yourself outside there are so many tiny whimsical touches on the walls and doors.

Isn’t it sad when you have to eat your words? Well, not too sad when you have an experience like this one.

GIVERNY

Monet’s garden had long been on our bucket list but not usually compatible with our off-season travel. Finally in 2014 we were able to make a day trip from Paris to see Giverny, and wasn’t it amazing.?! Not a jaw-dropping, stop-in-your-tracks wow moment, more like an escape to a wonderland of warm hugs. The colours and varieties of flowers, featured before his photogenic home, the easily recognised lake with its Japanese bridge, waterlilies, and drooping willows. Sigh! Bliss in a garden and gardens are among our favourite places wherever they are.

GLENDALOUGH

Glendalough

On my very first trip to Ireland in 1989 with family members, we made our first stop outside Dublin at the monastery site of Glendalough. It was a chilly late November morning, so I suppose having frost on the ground and the trees wasn’t such a surprise, but as we walked on site to behold the ancient monuments and the awe-inspiring round tower our breath was literally taken away, and not just by the cold. I’ve taken other family there on subsequent trips, but the silence and magic of that first visit hasn’t quite been recaptured.

GRAND CANYON

In 1992, we had achieved our goal of reaching our long service leave entitlement. We planned our biggest trip to date travelling via the USA to the UK and Europe and back via the US. Our goal was to see New England’s famed Autumn/Fall colours in November. In a reverse Wow, family events conspired to ensure we missed the peak: one daughter with a badly damaged elbow thanks to falling off a bull (work-related), one with a severe tropical illness, and the fur-child on valium from licking herself fur-less. Youngest daughter was okay but we threatened to pack her in cotton wool so she couldn’t get in on the act!

Luckily, things went to plan after that and so en route home we found ourselves at Grand Canyon about a week from Christmas. We were supposed to go on a sunrise tour the first morning but we hadnt allowed for the time zone change from the east coast. Oops. Next morning, we up and ready to go in our hire car. it was amusing when we tried to pour water from the water bottle in the car over the windscreen. Shame it was frozen though 😉 When we finally arrived at the canyon edge we stood in absolute awe to see its grandeur. What an astounding sight it is to see! Even better, being off-season, there were hardly any vehicles there. The sheer scale is sobering as well as awe-inspiring. it was so pretty with different features looking like cupcakes iced with snow. Definitely an experience of our lifetime!

Do you have stand-out WOW memories at home or abroad?


12 thoughts on “G has WOW galore

    1. Giverny is just gorgeous isn’t it?! I could happily visit again, perhaps in a different season. Definitely add Gaudi and the Grand Canyon to your bucket travel list….when travel becomes easier.

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  1. Some seriously WOW moments, Pauleen.
    The swirling colours and soaring spirals in the interior of Gaudi’s cathedral are almost too much to comprehend. On a much tinier scale the intricacies of the decorations on the exteriors of the doors – leaves, flowers, beetles – were clever and demanded concentration to pick them out. But much easier on the brain! (PS: as you know, I read labels in museums and art galleries. 🙂 )
    While the colours of the massed garden beds spilling down the slope in front of the house at Giverny were beautiful, I loved the cool shady greens of the water garden, and the rustling and rippling of the tree leaves in the breeze. And, being at the time from Darwin, the opportunity to think “Lovely water lilies! But call that a billabong? Bloke never got to Kakadu!”
    And the Grand Canyon was snowy, chilly, peaceful and just Grand.

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    1. Flying over the Grand Canyon would indeed be spectacular. Not sure how I’d cope with their new glass walkway. The Cliffs of Moher are stunning aren’t they? If only you didn’t feel like the wind might blow you over 😉

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  2. I find photos of the Grand Canyon just don’t seem to do it justice – I think the colours are much more vivid in real life. I have been twice, once to the North Rim and once to the south? – at that time I didn’t realise there was more than one option so I am not sure now but I think it was the South. I know it wasn’t where you can walk out on the clear platform. It is an amazing place. I love your description of cupcakes iced with snow.

    I have had several Wow! moments and it’s hard to pick one over the other. It’s why I love travelling. My first overseas Wow! was in the minibus driving into Yosemite in February very early in the morning. As we drove in to the valley there was snow on the pine trees and on the rounded rocks in the stream. It was the first time I had seen snow and it was like driving in to a Xmas card. As we drove past a clearing there was a coyote standing at the edge listening to a mouse under the snow. I kept watching and he/she leapt in the air and came down with all four paws together to pounce on the mouse. I still smile thinking about the wonder of it all.

    I’ve not seen Gaudi’s cathedral – maybe one day.:)

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    1. The Grand Canyon is just awe-some…so much to take in. Thanks for sharing your wow moment in Yosemite – snow really stirs up the magic for we southern hemisphere folks. Loved the image of the coyote waiting for the mouse then pouncing. Life in the wild.

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  3. The Grand Canyon was definitely a wow moment for me. You really have to stand at the edge and look out to understand how amazing it is. I was disappointed when in Spain not to be able to get to Barcelona. Along with Monet’s garden, Barcelona is on the bucket list for next time..

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  4. It looks like we’re all on the same page with the Grand Canyon! Definitely worth seeing Barcelona and Gaudi’s work and seeing Giverny as well. Bring on the overseas travel.

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