Barcelona has so much to see we just couldn’t get around in one day, so we decided to dedicate a couple of days.
We spent day one mainly visiting ‘Antoni Gaudi’s’ buildings. Yes we could have whistled stopped them to say we had seen them but we wouldn’t have had the chance to admire this genius architects/engineers work.
We bought a 48 hour travel card which cost 15 euros each and meant that we could use the metro and the buses around the city. Even though we took full advantage of our travel cards we still managed to walk in excess of 20,000 steps!
There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Barcelona and we only managed to see 4 of them.
Sagrada Família- Colin visited in 2002 and it seems from his recollection there has been a concerted effort to complete the internal spaces as it is now nothing like he remembered and this is borne out by virtue of the fact that it was not consecrated until November 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI who proclaimed it a minor basilica. The construction of Sagrada Família started in 1882 under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, when Villar resigned, Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt. (Unfortunately you can not go into the crypt but there is a viewing platform in the museum.) At the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, when he was run down by a tram, less than a quarter of the project was complete.
Each façade has a different theme. The nativity façade was the first to be completed and stands to the east.
The passion façade faces to the west.
The glory façade was only started in 2002 and is yet to be finished. The glory façade will be the largest and most striking.
It is such an interesting building externally that we both agreed it was worth spending the 15 euros each to go inside. (see day 2).
We could carry on writing the whole blog on this awe inspiring structure, but we will let you do your own research if you are interested. Even still book a mini break and go and see it- its well worth it! Don’t expect to see this master piece finished though until 2026!
Casa Batlló – Like everything Gaudí designed, it is only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. There are few straight lines, and much of the façade is decorated with a colourful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís). The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí’s home), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.
Casa Milà – Also known as La Pedrera, a 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. 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.
Park Güell – Its a little bit awkward to get to but well worth it. We caught the number 29 bus from Piazza Catalunya which took about 30 minutes.
The views over Barcelona were just stunning.
In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style and that would culminate in the creation of the Sagrada Familia. We spent a couple of hours here as there is so much to see.
We hardly stopped for a drink, it was a hectic day and thoroughly enjoyable.