Barcelona’s Basilica Battle

La Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous religious structures in all of the world. Alomost every visitor to Barcelona makes a pilgrimage to this extraordinary church. The last time that I was in the city I went once during the day and once at night. But the stunning basilica is not without controversy.

Construction of La Sagrada Família began in 1882 according to the plans of the initial architect of the project, Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, architect Antoni Gaudí took over the project and changed the design of the structure entirely and dramatically. Gaudí exclusively worked on La Sagrada Família from 1914 until his death in 1926. Many architects have worked on the construction of the church since then, following Gaudí’s detailed drawings.


Last year, two of the towers were finally completed and two more are scheduled to be finished by the end of 2023. The central tower of the basilica, the Tower of Jesus, is expected to be completed in 2026. This will mark the end of the construction of the basilica.

However, now a contentious argument has emerged over the city’s plan to create a new entrance for the basilica. It’d be an enormous staircase that goes over the street in front of the church – and it would require razing the 3,000-resident apartment across the street.

As you might expect, local residents are not pleased, so they’re suing the city to stop the construction. The Barcelona municipal government and the neighborhood residents are embroiled in an originalist argument over whether the architect even intended to have such a grand entrance.

Increasingly desperate residents are hopeful that they can save their homes by arguing that the elaborate Glory facade was not even part of Gaudí’s original plans. Their argument, which has formed the basis for a lawsuit filed against the city council, hinges on the fact that a fire destroyed the architect’s original papers. Gaudí’s intentions have been pieced together and inferred from surviving photos, preliminary sketches and the claims of his assistants, and the Glory facade’s staircase is one of the more contentious elements of this reconstruction.

The website artnet recently took a deep dive into the controversy. if you have been part of the throng of nearly 5 million annual visitors to the church, or if you hope to see it in person someday, the article makes an interesting read. Check it out here.



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How we communicate

Based on analytics, thousands of subscribers to Travel Between The Pages follow the blog in dozens of nations around the globe. It’s all made possible by an ever-growing number of undersea cables that carry digital signals around the world.

Every year the telecommunications company Telegeography produces an updated version of its Submarine Cable map. This map shows all the undersea telecommunication cables which carry data around the globe.The 2023 Submarine Cable Map is now available along with detailed information on the systems and lots of excellent maps.

Subsea cables carry telecommunication signals under the oceans, communicating information between different countries and regions of the world. In the 19th Century the first submarine cables were laid to carry telegraphy traffic. In the 21st Century submarine cables carry digital data. This includes all our telephone and Internet data.


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Spring Break ’23

Spring Break Iceland ’23 is a tongue-in-cheek campaign that invites Spring Breakers to embrace Iceland as the ideal place to do things they may regret later–but in a beautiful setting. The campaign includes an irreverent 60-second spot, print, targeted social, and a billboard in Grand Forks, North Dakota inviting inhabitants from “the coldest town in the contiguous US”* to come warm up in Iceland. On average, Iceland is 4 degrees warmer in March than Grand Forks.

Spring Break Iceland is the deranged brainchild of writers, Sara Becker and Peter Megler, art directors, Quinn Lindgren and Christian Laniosz, with voiceover by writer and voice talent, Alex May. You can see the campaign at


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We ♥ New York City

The original I ❤️NY campaign was launched in 1977 to encourage New York City tourism and to reinvigorate community pride. The iconic logo, which has graced everything from T-shirts to billboards, was created by the iconic graphic designer Milton Glaser. And after more than four decades of serving its initial purpose, the motif has now been revised to “We ❤️NYC”

A significant component of the rebranding involves a civic engagement initiative by the city—dubbed ‘Spread Love NYC’—which aims to spur New Yorkers to take part in bite-sized, one-hour or longer-term volunteer projects that can help uplift communities.

Graham Clifford, the designer and art director behind the new logo, told the New York Times the idea was to “give it more of a modern twist.” This is not the first time the “I ❤️ NY” has been recycled. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Glaser adapted his design into “I ❤️ NY MORE THAN EVER.”



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Amélie the spy

In my humble opinion no film in the last 50 years has done more for Paris tourism than Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s charming Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. Best know in the U.S. as simply Amélie, the 2001 movie stars Audrey Tautou as the eponymous Amélie. Now, more than twenty years after the release of Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Jeunet has followed it up with La véritable histoire d’Amélie Poulain. 

In this hilarious true history, Jeunet has reinvented Amélie as a Soviet agent having been recruited in childhood with the promise of bubblegum and candy. Jeunet supports every detail of Amélie’s double life, and of the story of her re-entry into espionage after the fall of the Berlin Wall, using artfully re-edited scenes and the same characters from Amélie.

“After all this time,” Jeunet says in a brief introduction, “I felt the moment was right to tell you, at long last, the real story of Amélie Poulain.” She turns out, according to his voice-over narration that follows, not to be a simple Montmartre waitress who dedicates herself to surreptitiously enriching the lives of those around her.

NB: If the video fails to open, please click here.



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We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask

NB: If the video fails to launch please click here.

We wear the mask that grins and lies.
It shades our cheeks and hides our eyes.
This debt we pay to human guile
With torn and bleeding hearts…
We smile and mouth the myriad subtleties.
Why should the world think otherwise
In counting all our tears and sighs.
Nay let them only see us while
We wear the mask.
We smile but oh my God
Our tears to thee from tortured souls arise
And we sing Oh Baby doll, now we sing…
The clay is vile beneath our feet
And long the mile
But let the world think otherwise.
We wear the mask.
When I think about myself
I almost laugh myself to death.
My life has been one great big joke!
A dance that’s walked a song that’s spoke.
I laugh so hard HA! HA! I almos’ choke
When I think about myself.
Seventy years in these folks’ world
The child I works for calls me girl
I say “HA! HA! HA! Yes ma’am!”
For workin’s sake
I’m too proud to bend and
Too poor to break
So…I laugh! Until my stomach ache
When I think about myself.
My folks can make me split my side
I laugh so hard, HA! HA! I nearly died
The tales they tell sound just like lying
They grow the fruit but eat the rind.
Hmm huh! I laugh uhuh huh huh…
Until I start to cry when I think about myself
And my folks and the children.
My fathers sit on benches,
Their flesh count every plank,
The slats leave dents of darkness
Deep in their withered flank.
And they gnarled like broken candles,
All waxed and burned profound.
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.
There in those pleated faces
I see the auction block
The chains and slavery’s coffles
The whip and lash and stock.
My fathers speak in voices
That shred my fact and sound
They say, but sugar, it was our submission
that made your world go round.
They laugh to conceal their crying,
They shuffle through their dreams
They stepped ’n fetched a country
And wrote the blues in screams.
I understand their meaning,
It could an did derive
From living on the edge of death
They kept my race alive
By wearing the mask! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!


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The Writing Life

The Writing Life is a wonderful short video essay about the demands and rewards that come with the pursuit of writing as a vocation. The video is told through the films of Wes Anderson featuring clips from Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The French Dispatch.

nb: if the video fails to launch, please click here.


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Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day

Film studio “Animācijas Brigāde” is a stop motion puppet animation film studio, producing puppet films and commercials. Working in classic stop motion technique, the Riga-based studio was founded in 1966 by a puppet film and theater director Arnolds Burovs and since then studio has produced 140 puppet animation films, made by different film directors. Safety on the Railway is no laughing matter (yes it is) in this wonderful short film below:

“…after centuries of imbibing alcoholic beverages as their main source of potable water, European’s new fondness for boiled drinks—coupled with the psychoactive properties of caffeine—swapped societal tipsiness with a mindstate primed for the Enlightenment’s intoxication with reason.” Hunter Dukes on A Treatise Concerning the Properties and Effects of Coffee (1792) by Benjamin Moseley.

Why Toblerone Is Dropping a Famous Swiss Mountain From Its Packaging

The chocolate maker must drop an image of the Matterhorn from its packaging to comply with Swiss laws as it moves some production abroad.

“Fiction builds empathy.

Fiction is something you build up from twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world, and people it and look out through other eyes.

You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.” Neil Gaiman

Commemorating Philip Roth means confronting his limitations head on. This month marks the 90th anniversary of the author’s birth. Roth readers may find this article illuminating.

Thought to have been created around 1300 CE, the Hereford Mappa Mundi is the largest surviving complete map of the medieval world. Named for Hereford Cathedral where the map is housed today, the extraordinary document offers insight into the minds of Christian Europeans in the Middle Ages, revealing the extent to which their understanding of the world was shaped by stories from the Bible and the Classics. In this video essay, the US graphic designer and video producer Jeremy Shuback explores the map’s structure and the breadth of its illustrations, detailing how this imaginative piece of medieval cartography binds history, geography, mythology and religion to form an invaluable sketch of the Middle Ages.

NB: If any of the videos fail to launch, please visit our Homepage .


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Joy Williams

from 99 Stories of God

The child wanted to name the rabbit Actually, and could not be dissuaded from this.

It was the first time one of our pets was named after an adverb.

It made us uncomfortable. We thought it to be bad luck.

But no ill befell any of us nor did any ill befall the people who visited our home.

Everything proceeded beautifully, in fact, until Actually died.


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“Mourir auprès de toi”

Directed by the inimitable Spike Jonze the short film “Mourir auprès de toi” (“To Die by Your Side”), which takes its title from one of the emotionally wrenching Smiths’ song, is a love story for booklovers, set in Paris’ beloved Shakespeare and Company bookstore. The  film features animated book covers made from embroidered felt cutouts created by the designer Olympia Le-Tan.

Jonze and Le-Tan, together with French director Simon Cahn, spent six months writing a script, then animating 3,000 pieces of felt cut by Le-Tan herself. The resulting stop-motion animation features a skeleton, his lover, and some famous book covers that spring to life.

nb: if the video fails to launch, please click here.


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