Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Gaudi Weekend in Barcelona

Le Pedrera

I’ve been to Barcelona a few times and each time I go, I try to see a different area – or a different aspect of what the city has to offer. I’ve already exhausted the Rambles and Gothic Quarter. And I’ve done the whole shopping thing. What I hadn’t done yet was see all the amazing Gaudi architecture.

Close up of the ironwork on Le Pedrera.

When my girlfriend said her parents were visiting and asked if I was free for the weekend, I had to say “yes.” I’ve been wanting to meet her parents for a while and hanging out with them during the their first visit to Spain would be a blast. 

This time instead of staying in a hotel, I chose to rent a room through AirBnB that was located in the Paseo de Gracia area (this is the listing link). This is Barcelona’s biggest shopping street and has all the designer shops. There are also a bunch of great caf├ęs and restaurants along the side streets, which make it fantastic location for those who want to be in the heart of the city without being a whole load of tourists.

However, I didn't know any of this. I booked this spot because it was beside the Casa Mila (aka Le Pedrera) - one of my favorite Antoni Gaudi buildings.

This unique wavy building was designed by Gaudi between 1906 to 1912 and is still as surreal today as it most likely was over a 100 years ago.  I had studied this building during my art degrees, but nothing comes close to seeing it in real life.

When I was searching for my AirBnB room, and saw it, it was seeing a celebrity.  You think you know it, but you never really think it would be that amazing in real life.

outside the Sagrada Familia

This was the beginning of my Gaudi Weekend – and a bonus Gaudi addition to the agenda.

 Once I met up with my girlfriend and her family, we started our true adventure into his architecture beginning with la Sagrada Familia - another architecture celebrity wonder.

Inside the church. Does it not look like a futuristic forest?

Construction started on this basilica in 1882 and when Gaudi died in 1926 (he was hit by a truck), it was only a quarter complete. Construction has continued slowly throughout the years, but with Spain not exactly bursting with money, even today it’s still not finished.

So full of light and color - amazing.

The Sagrada Familia really needs to be seen to be appreciated. The outside has Gaudi’s unique style to it, but inside, it will blow you away. It’s highly futuristic and when you consider it was designed in the 1880s, you will be in awe of his creativity and vision.

It's like it should be in a Doctor Who episode or scifi flick.  It's not like any cathedral you have ever seen. And when you consider that Baroque was the rage in the rest of the world, this church would have been highly risky.

I didn't comprehend why he had these leaves until I was inside and realized he was trying to convey a heavenly forest canopy.

What amazed me was how he wanted the inside to be like a forest leading up to the heavens and when you look at the structure of the columns and the designs within, you do feel like you are in a type of forest.

Park Guell - another dreamland of Gaudi's mind

From there, our weekend of Gaudi continued as we took a taxi to Park Guell.

House in Park Guell

Park Guell's construction began in 1900 and like the basilica it was never completed.  It was designed to be a neighborhood for the affluent in the area, but again money ran out.

The one home that was built is incredible and looks like something from a Dr. Suess book. I think the Who's of Whoville would approve.

Flamenco show in Barcelona

There are more Gaudi buildings, but on our one day tour that's all we could squeeze in.

Could this mean I need to go back to Barcelona? Maybe. Never can say "no" to Sangria and tapas!