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Gaudí's Barcelona

Posted by Alban in Barcelona + Places on 10/Oct/2006
To really enjoy Barcelona - without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe - you will be better off steering clear of tourist traps and high-traffic areas. Some landmarks, however, are a "must see"...

Sagrada Familia Façade: Kiss For one, you must definitely go and see La Sagrada Familia cathedral designed by Antonio Gaudí. You'll get filled with respect and admiration for this man whom you never knew but who conceived, almost a century ago, a project as surrealistic as this.

Although the cathedral is still under construction (financed by donors just like you!) and I believe, will remain so for another 50 years (at least), you can already see the outline of the magnificent four-sided façade. It has so many details that you will probably end up taking at least 1,000 pictures if not spending the entire day looking at it and putting all the pieces together in your mind, like some sort of gigantic puzzle, trying to grasp the magnitude of the edifice.

Casa Batlló But this is not the only building Gaudí bequeathed Barcelona by. Casa Batlló, which is my favorite building in the city, looks like it was inspired by the form of a dragon. It is several stories of pure Art Nouveau and once you're in (after 18 Euros and possibly a line), you'll probably feel the way Alice must have felt upon her arrival in Wonderland.

The construction doesn't have corners - everything flows and undulates gently, letting you admire, in silence, the cute fireplace, the ventilation system that looks like gills, the chandelier that must have been owned by a sorcerer and the most beautifully designed laundry room you'll ever see. The only annoying thing is other visitors who get so immersed in listening to their phone-guides telling them how beautiful the building is that they forget that it's better to simply look around leaving history readings for later, rather than stand there obstructing everybody's view. Those evil earpieces seem to control them by whispering in their ears: "Step into the space he's trying to photograph - yes! good! now, stay there!"

Some other masterpieces of Gaudí are Casa Mila (La Pedrera) with its extraterrestrial-looking roof, the dragon gate at Finca Güell (where we never entered for the mysterious lady-guide didn't let us in when she was supposed to) and Parc Güell, among others. Parc Güell, also one of Gaudí's most recognized works, started out as a housing project and ended up as a unique park. It's situated on Montaña Pelada, so to get there you could either take a tourist bus or a cab. We actually walked and it was a nice walk but I must admit that it takes a good hour, most of it uphill.Upon entering the park, you will meet the funny colorful lizard (assuming you've already met a living statue portraying it at the gate), which will guide you through a curvy landscape of colored mosaic tiles and brown rocks. The shapes blend with the natural surroundings and the mosaic tiles notwithstanding, almost look as though they had formed that way all by themselves.

Gaudí's house is also in the park, but I wouldn't particularly recommend it as there's not much to see inside besides a bunch of Gaudí-built furniture collected from various other houses he designed (Gaudí never used them, he only created them) and a few pictures of the great master. The only remotely Gaudí-an thing is his single bed in a sparse room, for once telling you something about his life rather than about his work (or are these two things one and the same?).

Some Links

A map of Gaudí's works in Barcelona:

Casa Batlló

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