10 July 2013

Barcelona: Ciutat De Gaudí

Is Barcelona the city of Gaudí? Barcelona is home to a collection of architectural wonders, all of which were created by Antoni Gaudí. I traveled to Barcelona, Spain in July 2013 to see what all the fuss was about. So, what's so special about the Sagrada Família or Parc Güell? What's the furore about a stately home called Casa Batlló?! Què té d'especial l'obra de Gaudí?

Standing before me was a truly remarkable sight, a cathedral that towered above me from where I stood. It's like with anything that attracts attention its going to be busy, a huge queue of fellow travelers were waiting to see inside this marvel of architecture. I had only a short time in Barcelona so I decided to take my time to focus on the top three Gaudí landmarks, taking the views from outside in I aimed to come back to this sight the following day. It's crazy to think that construction of this cathedral started in 1882, Gaudí had an immense task on his hands that he never saw to be completed. 2028 is the anticipated date of completion, now that's some project to manage! Les aparences poden ser enganyoses, però ella és una bellesa! Sí!

I returned the next day to see what all the fuss was about the previous day. Getting in line early is what needs to be done, visiting this landmark doesn't have to break the bank because it only cost me 18 Euros. The inside of this basilica blew me away, I took some time to walk around to take in the shear beauty of the high ceilings. Taking some time for reflection is something that has to be done, this wonder needs to be visually appreciated. Visiting the Sagrada Família took my breath away, its advisable to be respectful with your camera as there are certain zones that aren't meant for photos to be taken. I can wholeheartedly say that visiting the Sagrada Família was a once in a lifetime moment, a bit like when you catch a glimpse of the Cinderella castle at Disney World, USA!

Sat on the top of Barcelona's hectic cityscape is Parc Güell, a Gaudi infused park with breathtaking views of Spain's alternative city. Reaching Parc Güell was an interesting experience, I took several sets of escalators to reach the gates of this majestic park. Built on the hill of El Carmel in the Garcia district of Barcelona from 1900 to 1914, time has tested this park but it looked so beautiful to me on that hot July afternoon. Like with every popular landmark that I have been to the masses of tourists didn't phase me, you just have to push through and make sure you see what you want to see. I saw everything that I wanted to see at Parc Güell that day. How I got there I'm not too sure because the Metro station was in an awkward location, but I quickly found the ascending escalators that took me near the top. The weather was beautiful with a constant beam of heat that warmed the breeze. Oh life!

Parc Güell has the most endearing features, from the winding paths that twist up and around the main park area. The panoramic view that can be seen from the very top is just like being in a postcard, it's truly amazing! The cave like structures were something else, located below the mosaic viewpoint of the park stands the cool and dark area that takes the heat away from the midday sun! Now, I did mention that there was a lot of people at the park when I visited but it didn't take anything away from the truly exceptional architecture that I saw all around the park. To make everything even better there's no admission fee to access the ground that make up Parc Güell! The best things in life are free! Right from the entrance to the top of the viewpoint the attention to detail was effortless! Parc Güell showed me that Barcelona has a rich past that will satisfy many more visitors into the future! Parc Güell, em va impressionar molt! A view better than a postcard!

My final crusade in the city of Gaudi was to Casa Batlló, a former stately home to Barcelona's most richest family. Located in the heart of Barcelona stands this formidable building that boasts some clever designs that date back to 1877. I'm not one to venture inside museum type places but I jumped at the chance to experience the grandeur of the Casa Batlló. Listening to the audio trail that took me back to the heyday of this mystifying work of art was out-of-this-world. I learnt that Antoni Gaudi never had a firm construction plan for this project. The Casa Batlló made its way into the genre of Art Nouveau, a design type that I would have no problem to be associated with. When I saw that house I wanted that fine piece of real estate! Boig!

Barcelona had shown me the Sagrada Família and Parc Güell, but was the Casa Batlló the best Gaudi orientated sight I saw during my Barcelona trip? I must admit that the Sagrada was amazing and that Parc Güell took me to new heights, but the Casa Batlló gave the opportunity to tread the boards of a former Barcelona stately home that was built in such a fashion I still can't believe how amazing it looked to me. I do wonder if a building of such stature and design would be able to be built today? From the artsy opening mechanism of the windows to the intricate tiles that reflect the different shades of light I was blown away by the surprises that this house showed me! Not bad for a house made of bones?! Barcelona got lucky with such a genius, so thank you Antoni Gaudí for your craft!

Antoni Gaudí, un veritable geni de Barcelona! 

Joseph Harrison

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