Day 20 of my trip and my first full day in Barcelona. I had a booking at Park Guell for the morning. It was about an hours walk from my accommodation but I chose to walk it anyway so that I could see some more of the city. Once out of the Gothic quarter the city became much like any other large city, with some spectacular architecture and I was impressed with the number of trees, even on the busiest of streets. I love to move out of the tourist part of a city to see how the locals go about their day.
Google maps is great for getting around, even when offline, what it doesn’t do is show inclines… Quite a hike up to the park at the end of the walk.
Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi is Barcelona’s, and one of the world’s, most celebrated architects. He had a very distinct style, whimsical yet genius. He used light and ventilation in innovative ways that seem modern today, even though he died in 1926. His use of curves and color and his eye for beauty mean that his buildings stand out.
The park is glorious, whimsical and delightful. With a little patience, given the large crowds, I managed to get some great photos and spent a lot of time marveling at the brilliance of his designs.
I spent a bit over an hour at Park Guell then walked to my next stop which was another Gaudi, Casa Mila. Past some lovely looking shops.
Casa Mila, or La Pedrera, is a large building, first built as a home and apartments for the Mila family. It is now a world heritage site but also still a functioning office building. There is tourist access to parts of the building. I didn’t bother to pre book this one and in May, the queue was short. It was, of course, also designed by Antoni Gaudi. The design brilliance of the man is very evident in this building. As well his love for quality materials and beauty. Every surface, every doorway, every window, is a work of art and engineering. His understanding of light and air flows and use of them is incredible.
The audio guided tour starts in the central courtyard where the light captures his inspired use of color.
From there you go straight to the roof to take in the spectacular views and his rather unique chimney and venting designs. He didn’t think necessities had to be ugly.
The attic level has a ceiling ribbed by amazing arches.
Many of his furniture designs were also on display. Designs that fit into the natural curves of the body.
There is a large apartment to visit as well. I was taken by the beautiful door surrounds.
The tour finishes where it begins, in the beautiful courtyard.
After Casa Mila I headed in the general direction of my next visit, but first stopped for some lunch, my first pintxos. My love affair with iberico ham continued.
Third stop for the day and third Gaudi. Casa Batllo is a strikingly beautiful building, even more whimsical than Casa Mila. It seems to be where he really let his creativity and genius fly. The use of light, color, ventilation and curves all incredibly smart and innovative. And beautiful. Another I didn’t bother to pre-book and the queue was short.
By mid afternoon I had seen three of the great architect’s masterpieces and I was completely enamoured and a huge fan.
I walked back to my apartment via La Rambla and La Boqueria, the central market and my new spiritual home. Despite a walking food tour soon I still found myself snacking on the local delicacies.
The remainder of my evening was spent on a walking food tour, which I will make a separate post.