Jul 16, 2013 - Musings    No Comments

Travel Experience: Gaudi’s Barcelona

Barcelona is full of interesting and varied buildings thanks to the relative age of the city. You can wander throughout the city and feel like you are in a completely different area than you had been a couple blocks ago. There is one consistent however, and that is the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. You can easily spot his work in Barcelona from both the lines as well as the general appearance of the buildings.

Many of Gaudi’s buildings are within walking distance from the other. Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia all are in the Eixample district. You can go inside each one and admire the amazing designs for all three, but it will end up costing you around 70 euros. Surprisingly, the cheapest entrance fee is for Sagrada Familia if you don’t plan on taking the elevator to the top.

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is both hideous and beautiful. From far away, the facade of the basilica looks as though the workmanship was poorly done. It is lumpy and overall unattractive. It isn’t until you get up close that you notice that these “lumps” are in fact intricate carvings in the building. There is hardly a surface on the building that does not have some kind of personal touch added to it. The biggest surprise, however, is when you walk inside.

You would expect that the interior of the Sagrada Familia would be more stone work and look almost cave like. It is the complete opposite. The walls are blindingly white allowing the colors of the stained glass window to reflect beautifully off of them. Large pillars stretch like trees upwards to the impossibly high and breathtaking ceiling. Every inch of the interior has some kind of detailing. It’s almost a little too overwhelming. With such ornate decorations and sculptures it’s no surprise that the basilica is not yet completed. It has been in construction since 1882 and will most likely not be completed until 2026.

Park Guell

Gingerbread houses greet you at the entrance of Park Guell

If you’re looking to save some money but still enjoy the work of Gaudi, you can head over to Park Guell. It is completely free to enter the park though you will have to a pay a small fee to enter the Gaudi museum. The entrance and main focal point of the park is the main terrace, which is surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. In the center of the terrace is the famous mosaic salamander. It’s a good idea to show up earlier in the day to avoid the crowds if you want to get a good picture of the salamander. Oh and let’s not forget the two “gingerbread” houses at the main pavilion. As you might have guessed, Gaudi designed these houses after the original gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel. He definitely did a good job. The textured facade and roof design almost make you want to take a bite. Try to resist that urge.

Even if you’re not a fan of architecture, it’s almost impossible not to admire Gaudi’s work. Whether you love it or hate it, his buildings are part of what makes Barcelona unique from any other city in the world.

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