Barcelona is a city with style. Everywhere you go, there are buildings with beautiful design features, people dressed to the nines (no pajama bottoms and slippers to go to the market here), intriguing Gothic Quarter, and some avenues that would rival the Champs Elysees in Paris. Of course, being a large province with 5.7 million people, there are other aspects of Barcelona that are part of any large city. There’s definitely an urban side. Overall, its’ many areas make for an exciting place to visit.
You cannot come to Barcelona and not talk about Antoní Gaudí. His work is prominently present in this city and no other architect has come close to Gaudí in long lasting impact or as highly celebrated.
Gaudí was a sickly child so his parents decided to keep him home rather than send him to school while young. This decision proved to be instrumental in the development of his creativity. As an architect and furniture designer, he created not only works of art but also thought of how home spaces should be built to consider everyone living there, even the help. His designs are a combination of his passion for architecture, nature, and religion.
What stood out for me most is how he thought of home conveniences that are very much a part of our current residential landscape. Gaudí believed there should be an open space that connects the dining and living areas. He believed kitchens should be big enough so that staff could work comfortably and in harmony. He created sliding pocket doors to close and open spaces depending on the need. In addition, he thought it was important for home owners to have a master ensuite. The furniture, stair banisters, and door knobs which he designed were ergonomically made for human’s bodies. All of his design work also brings the outside indoors. He was ahead of his time and as Jim says, “Gaudí was a super genius.”
Within Barcelona, there are 14 masterpieces and that does not include those outside the city. We only visited four, but I could have spent the whole time visiting every one of the 14 plus structures. Here are some highlights of Park Grüell, Casa Mila/La Pedrera, La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. Enjoy!
In addition to visiting Gaudi’s wonders, we also had a chance to walk through the Gothic Quarter within the Old City. It contains many Roman and Medieval landmarks. The narrow streets which are within this area transport you to a time where walking was the mode of transportation. It is stunning! My favorite part was this bridge as you begin to enter the center of the Old City.
Much like Madrid, Barcelona is steeped in deep history and yet it feels very modern. It is a city to be visited many times over because there is so much to explore. As they say in Catalan, fins la próxima vegada Barcelona!
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