Ridley: I was in Barcelona for the bank holiday weekend. It was three days away, but it felt like a full week. Sometimes what you really need is to get away from the drone of your everyday existence and see new, distant lands! You come back all the better for it. And also sunburnt, in my case!
While I love the sun, my pasty Irish skin might as well belong to a vampire it burns so easily. My arms, neck and chest looked like I’d dumped a bucketful of pink blusher powder on them. Thankfully it didn’t hurt, the holiday snaps are just a bit dire.
Also on this trip, apart from the cooking of my skin, I took the always worthwhile open-top red bus tour, ate loads of ice cream (blue bubble gum flavour from a sprawling market place, yummy!) and faced one of my fears: heights!
We went up along the side of the mountain to the fortress of Montjuic via a gondola box thing that trundled along a rope and swayed with the breeze. Once at the top, I got these lovely photographs of the view. Worth it? Perhaps…. 😛
Throughout the trip, I took quite a number of pictures of all the artistic elements of Barcelona. I thought I’d share some of them with you.
I travelled with people who were more interested in the city’s fine cuisine and shopping opportunities than the art it holds. Despite this, they were good enough to let me drag them round to one or two places I wanted to visit. I, unfortunately, didn’t insist on visiting the various museums though, one glance at their bored faces was enough of a deterrent! I’m certain they thought I was strange taking pictures of the graffiti on the walls, but I thought the pictures were unbelievable.
Another strange picture I took was of my empty coffee cup-guess who probably won’t be invited on any further holidays!! Haha.
Here’s where I was asked to give my name in Starbucks so they’d know it was my order. Though I’ve never had to do this at home, not that I minded but I think it confused matters. When he kept saying my ‘name’ with the cup in his hand. I kept telling him ‘No no, I ordered a frappuccino café, not a Reg-whatever.’ Eventually we battered down the language barrier between us and I realised it was my order. And he was repeating some weird version of my name. Oops.
Now while I know there is a Picasso museum in Barcelona, for me the one man that really represents Barcelona and kept reappearing during our time there in all sorts of places was Antoni Gaudi.
He was a Catalan architect and artist in his own way. He seems to have had the most influence on the buildings, parks and even the lampposts of Barcelona. He drew a lot of his ideas and designs from nature to create beautiful organic pieces.
One of the buildings he designed and built, that we saw, was Casa Batlló. It is located on a main street, Passeig de Gracia. It was absolutely magnificent and really arresting. There were flowing lines and vibrant colours throughout the building, he took a lot of inspiration from the ocean.
The roof alone is beautiful, the glossy colourful tiles covering it are meant to represent the scales of a dragon.
Nothing is conventional or boring about the house, there’s something unusual to see everywhere- in the windows, doors, handrails and the ceilings.
Even it’s roof space-the loft or attic- whatever you want to call it, was also different. With the whole house filled with colour, it’s a surprise to reach the top room and find it’s completely white and sparse. The joists jut out, enclosing the small space. They are meant to represent the bones, possibly the ribcage, of a large animal.
Their website is here, you’ll be able to see better pictures then mine.
He also designed many of lamp posts that line the street. He was commissioned in 1878 by the city to create them. They are really quite stunning; though sometimes street lights are so a part of the background, they can go unnoticed. It would be a shame to miss them, don’t let them hide in plain sight if you ever visit Barcelona!
The Park Guell
The other major attraction we visited was The Park Guell. It was originally meant to have 60 luxurious houses build on the large expansive land for the rich to live in and enjoy the amazing views over the city. In the end only two houses were built and Gaudi lived in one of them with his family.
Gaudi’s work fills the park with all the mosaics and ceramic work lining the walls. There’s even a beautiful green mosaic dragon fountain, where we had to wait a good ten minutes to be able to take a picture of it. The place was swamped with other tourists.
The two buildings at the entrance to the park really reminded me of a gingerbread house, like something straight out of a fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers. They were really different.
There were also numerous colonnaded pathways in the park. They supported the road above with sloping columns, many of which were designed to look like pine trees. Really unique. It was the attention to detail that was so impressive.
Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família
The other place that Gaudi designed was the magnificent Basilica. It’s construction was started in 1882 and it’s still ongoing.Gaudi devoted his last years to it, when he died it was only a quarter of the way to completion. Now donations and the visitor entrance fees are what are used to build it.
I’m ashamed to say we ran out of time for visiting here. I would have loved to go inside, but we left it too late. I saw the façade at least and it was impressive. It was almost like something out of Mordor or Isengard really!
Anyone else been to Barcelona recently? I’m sure I missed out on a few fantastic places. The ones I did see though were pretty spectacular, so I’m not complaining! I also, of course, had to get the picture of this giant book on my camera:
I wish I had a giant book in my garden…..*sigh*