City Visit: Getting into Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain

This is the second part of our time in Barcelona, Spain. For the first part, please see Exploring Barrio La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain Our efforts today were to see many of the architecture sights created and inspired by Gaudi.


This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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City Visit: Getting into Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain

 Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish architect known as the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s archetectural works have a highly individualized, one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his likely most famous work, the church of the Sagrada Família. Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. He considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry.

Gaudi’s architectural works included la Sagrada Familia, a church that has been under construction for 100 years with an anticipated completion date into 2020 and beyond. His works in Barcelona also included

Stepping into the unfinished Sagrada Familia Church:

Our first stop today was the Sagrada Familia. The church has been under construction for over one hundred years. Antoni Gaudi only lived to see twenty five percent of it completed. His final resting place is within the church itself. It was fabulous piece of work and the photos here can not do it justice. 

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
The towers of Sagrana Familia, Barcelona, Spain
The church looks like nothing else on earth

Getting in close to this giant allows you to see some of the more intricate detail in the exterior of the church. It has sclutpte.

Guardians of the front doors of Sagrada Familia
The rear of the towers at Sagrada Familia
Construction cranes temper the skyline next to this yet unfinished project

Inside the church, the design is just as eccentric with lots of flowing lines and a variety of colors and open spaces. Most European Churches that I’ve visited never looked like this.

We climbed up to the top observation platform for some urban views of Barcelona. While the sky line isn’t all too impressive, it did demonstrate what a sprawling metropolis Barcelona is.

Views from the top of the Sagrada Familia

It’s pretty urban view any way that you look at it.

Calling on Casa Mila:

On our walk into Casa Batillo, we passed by the Casa Mila which is another one of Gaudi’s works. It is known as “the stone quarry”, which is reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance. It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1912.

The building was commissioned in 1906 by Pere Milà. At the time, it was controversial because of its undulating stone facade, twisting wrought iron balconies and designed by Josep Maria Jujol. Several structural innovations include a self-supporting stone façade, and a free-plan floor, underground garage and the spectacular terrace on the roof. In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Although an unusual looking building in its state, it didn’t leave as much as of as impression as some of the other works done by Gaudi.

Gaudi’s Casa Milà House

Inspecting Casa Batillo:

The Casa Batillo House was a private apartment house that Gaudi designed. The Casa Batillo was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and is considered one of his masterpieces. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times after that. Gaudí’s assistants Domènec Sugrañes i Gras, Josep Canaleta and Joan Rubió also contributed to the renovation project. Needless to say, it was quite over the top without many straight lines. Well ahead of its time when it was built. A must see for anyone interested in architecture. 

Casa Batillo House

The house is completely oddly designed.

It is one of the attractions that actually gets more interesting after you spend more time looking at it, and discovering all of its little nuances.

Surreal Stairwells
Mushroom Fireplace Seated Cove
Ornate Front Glass Windows

Wandering through the house was a pretty bizarre and unique experience. The designs certainly had a lot more charm than the similar designs in London of the same era. Some of the interiors were slightly seventies which is amazing considering that the house was designed in and around 1906.

Modernistic designs
The loft has 60 arches

Although the museum and tour was self guided, I felt that I would have gotten a bit more out of our tour if I had done a little advance research on the property in order to understand all it’s hidden features. At the time of our visit, aside from a few small informational plaques and a brochure with a map, there wasn’t much history listed about the place or information placards describing the features. Add in a quite a number of tourists trying to navigate through the narrow hallways, and it becomes an area that doesn’t lead itself to a lot of loitering.

Taking in the splendour of Park Güell:

After visiting Casa Batillo, we headed up to see another popular tourist attraction in Barcelona, the famous Park Güell.

The Park Güell is a public park composed of gardens and architectural elements located on Carmel Hill, in Barcelona, Spain. Park Güell is located in La Salut, a neighborhood in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. With urbanization in mind, Eusebi Güell assigned the design of the park to our famous friend Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. The park was built from 1900 to 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO also declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.

Entry to Park Güell
Flowing sculptures

The park itself has many flowing sculptures and Guadi designed elements, which add up to an interesting space. The focal point of the park is the main terrace, surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere. Gaudí incorporated many motifs of Catalan nationalism, and elements from religious mysticism and ancient poetry, into the Park.

Attractive tiles make for a colourful mosaic space
Flowing Lines – Not including model

Towards the top, we encountered some of the more famous views of Park Güell.

Views from Park Güell
Park Güell Views
Gaudi’s work in fantasy houses

The Park Güell is an interesting space for anyone interested in modern contemporary architecture. Given that the designs are over one hundred and twenty years old, the spaces still appear fresh and relevant today.

The Beaches of Barcelona:

Closing out the day, we called in at the beaches of Barcelona. We ended up taking the Metro over there and walked the rest of the distance. It was a short walk under warm temperatures.

Water Sculptures on the Streets of Barcelona

We eventually got to the beach. The beaches in Barcelona are almost immediately in the city centre and are an easy afternoon get away from a a day of regular sight seeing.

Barcelona Beaches
Barcelona Beach Promenade
Beach Volleyball

Our time at the beach We ended up at the beach over by the old Olympic grounds. It was a warm, sunny day and somehow, the beach was filled with topless 20 year old students. I don’t mean men either!! 

Overall:

We had a great day sightseeing through many of Gaudi’s inspired treasures. There is enough here in Barcelona to keep you entertained and interested in some of the contemporary works around the city. The vibe of the city compliments its historic architecture and old world charm. Although Barcelona is different than it’s more serious sister city Madrid, they compliment each other nicely with Barcelona having more of what a tourist would typically expect in visiting Spain.


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