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Barcelona – It’s a Gaudi World

June 6, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Barcelona, Spain’s true cosmopolitan city from the sea to the mountains. This exciting big city, often packed with people for more reasons than it’s summertime beach fun, La Ramblas bar scene, and fabulous cuisine. This city has been breaking ground for art, architecture, and style since the 19th century. Architecture from the amazing Gaudi and the intriguing art found at the Picasso museum are just bits of pieces of what this incredible city has to offer.

La Ramblas, where the city of Barcelona begins. A walk down this famous street with two narrow one-way traffic roads running on either side of a large pedestrian walkway is a must when visiting Barcelona, so we made it our first stop! Packed with street side cafes, local artists, and mimes galore, this fun street gives a little bit of entertainment for everyone. Toward the beginning of the street you will find a popular food market, where small booths sell their speciality olives, cheese, Iberian ham, pastries, and more. You will also find little barstool restaurants packed with people waiting to taste the fresh foods of the day. At the end of the road you reach the beautiful port, filled with boats and alfresco dining galore. A walk down the street might take an hour, but if you want to do it right it should take all day!

For a little site seeing Tyler and I decided to rent one of the popular little GoCars, which as you can see in the pictures is a tiny little yellow car that whips you around the city and talks to you along the way about all the popular sites of Barcelona. If this didn’t make sightseeing fun I don’t know what would, we had a blast! This tiny little car took us through the old gothic quarter, by the beautiful port, to the Olympic stadium, and to the famous works of Gaudi around the city.

Antoni Gaudi, a well known Catalonia architect, most famous work is showcased in Barcelona, Spain. Gaudi’s work is something even those barely interested architecture find it to be incredible. Gaudi, a devout Catholic, spent the majority of his career designing churches and estate homes. His work was greatly inspired by the forms of nature and often imitated it’s curves and colors in his work. Today Gaudi is still regarded as one of the most unique architects who ever lived. The Sagrada Famila, a large Roman Catholic church, is undoubtedly Gaudi’s most famous attraction. The tall waxed looking towers represent an apostle, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. However, though Gaudi devoted his final years to this project his death in 1926 left it incomplete. The projects completion was soon after interrupted by the Spanish Civil War and only resumed progress in the 1950’s. This work in progress is anticipating the completion date of 2026.

Another one of Antoni Gaudi’s famous works is the Casa Batllo, which happens to be my favorite of all. Built in 1877 this Art Nouveau style estate sits on the prestigious Passeig de Gracia. It’s local name Casa des Ossos, meaning house of bones, gives a little bit of clarity to this skeletal looking home. The goal Gaudi had when constructing the Casa Batllo was to avoid straight lines completely, and with much of the facade decorated as a mosaic, the tiles were all broken to fit exactly as they should on the curves. The flowing sculpted stone home, with irregular oval windows is astonishing from every aspect of the arched roof representing a dragon to the outside colorings ranging from golden orange into greenish blue. It is truly a magnificent piece of work.

Another interesting thing we did in Barcelona was attend a bull fight in the famous Plaza de Toros. While this was something we both anticipated seeing once in our life, it turned out to be quite a barbaric event. The gruesome fights were very difficult to watch, but it has been a huge part of the Spanish culture for a very long time. The bull fighting origins in Spain trace back to 711 A.D. This is when the first bullfight took place in the celebration for the crowning of King Alfonso VIII. It was originally a sport for the aristocracy and to place solely on horseback. King Felipe V took action and banned the aristocracy from taking any part, since they could no longer afford the horses being involved. This led to the practice of dodging the bulls on foot. While we don’t regret seeing this event once, we are glad to see it is being banned in Barcelona beginning 2012. In southern Spain, fights will continue.

Barcelona was a such a neat place to spend some time in learning about the unique architecture Spain has to offer. We very much enjoyed taking our time to learn about each of these different famous structures, riding around all day in the talking GoCar, and seeing a Spanish bullfight! Barcelona was filled with amazing experiences, and now were off to Valencia to discover more.


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