Walk-about in Barcelona
While in Barcelona, we stayed at the Eurostars Cristal Palace. We chose that hotel for it’s central location, it’s modern elegance and because we were able to use timeshare points for our two nights there. Since we paid cash for the cruise, we had a lot of unused points and not much vacation time left, and although the exchange was pretty hefty, it was nice that we didn’t have to dole out another couple hundred dollars for our stay while in Barcelona. Looking back we should have stayed three nights, but you just have to draw the line somewhere, right? Unfortunately. Barcelona is definitely another place I would love to return to. Some day.
We had purchased our Barcelona Cards online, before we left and were thrilled that we would be such savvy travelers on our first trip abroad. Truth be told, we had a rough time with the bus system and ended up walking a LOT in order to see what we wanted to see. We were able to figure out how to get to Park Güell, but that was with the help of a woman who’s sister lived just a ways from there. I’m afraid living in the burbs all these years and driving everywhere we go, and using google maps, we haven’t had much occasion to use public transportation. Shame on us, I know.
We both decided it was a good thing we brought good sturdy shoes and we set off on our walk-about in Barcelona. The buildings were beautiful and the city seemed very clean and safe, although we had been warned that pick-pockets are prevalent in Barcelona. We had no issues and although I was a little paranoid in the beginning, I lightened up and really had a blast in this fabulous city.
The “Block of Discord” refers to a city block of houses in Barcelona where four very famous and fabulous Modernista architects created wild and dissimilar designs for new or existing homes. Those homes sat amongst the “regular” houses, causing a mishmash of designs, upsetting neighbors because they didn’t “fit in”. In my opinion, fitting in is overrated. They are fabulous!
The two photos above are of buildings located right next to each other – Casa Amatller (left) and Casa Batlló (right). Casa Lleó Morera is pictured below in the two photos and is absolutely beautiful with its pink columns and grand turret hanging over the sidewalk. We didn’t photograph the fourth building – Casa Mulleras, but click on any of the links for photos and more information about each one. We didn’t go inside any of the houses with our limited timeframe, but would love to on our next trip.
As we continue our walk, beautiful buildings are all around us. Above left is the Suites Avenue Hotel.
“The façade consists of waving aluminum sheets, sprayed with a metallic paint containing a pink pearlescent tint. The façade acts like a sculptural mask hiding the real black elevation of the building, and allows the interior spaces be completely open to the outside looking to La Pedrera and at the same time, preserving their privacy.” – For some more fabulous pictures of this hotel and several other wonderful buildings in the area, click HERE.
And then on to LaPedrera. What a fabulous place!!
“Known as La Pedrera (the stone quarry) because of its rough outer appearance, reminiscent of an open quarry, Casa Milà was commissioned by the industrialist Pere Milà i Camps… from Antoni Gaudí in 1906…
Casa Milà was built as two apartment blocks with independent entrances linked by two large inner courtyards and a sinuous common façade that conveys the rhythm of the interior. The structure of the house is made of pillars and contains an open plan floor with large openings on the façade. The building marked a break with the architectural language of Gaudí’s work in terms of innovation in both the functional aspects and the constructive and ornamental ones.
Gaudí planned Casa Milà (1906–1912) at the age of fifty-three, when he was at the height of his powers and had found a style of his own independent of any established ones. It turned out to be his last civil work and one of the most innovatory in its functional, constructive and ornamental aspects. Indeed, thanks to his artistic and technical ideas, it has always been considered a breakthrough work, outside the concepts of the time, a rara avis in Modernisme itself and, especially, a work that anticipated the architecture of the 20th century.
Casa Milà is the fourth and final work Gaudí did on Passeig de Gràcia, the main avenue of the city at the time.” – READ MORE
We come into the courtyard (pictured above) and make our way up four more floors, where the tour starts on the rooftop terrace. This by far was my favorite part of the tour with great views of Barcelona and some pretty fabulous (and slightly strange) sculptures and decorations.
Next floor down was The Espai Gaudí, in the attic, which gave an overview of Gaudî’s work, showing “the most basic traits of his clearly visual and empirical way of understanding architecture through models, audiovisuals and objects.” The room was truly stunning and the information was fantastic.
Next floors were the Pedrera Apartment, which recreates the home and life of a Barcelona bourgeois family of the first thirty years of the twentieth century. We were not able to see the private homes and offices that remain in the building, but what we did see was fascinating.
We ended in the gift shop after a great tour, very excited about having discovered Antoni Gaudí here in Barcelona. There was still one more stupendous place to see in Barcelona, where we would be even MORE impressed by this brilliant and extremely religious man and architect!