Thursday, 1 January 2015

Too Much Gaudi*

We started the day with Gaudi and his blooming unfinished project. Okay, it's iconic but I don't quite get the fuss, particularly given it just looks like an intricate mud-drip castle.

Once we had done a detailed tour of the church and formulated our opinions we headed off into the sunshine. With it being winter, and the sunshine only hitting one side of the street, guess which side we were made to walk on.

Casa de les Punxes/Casa Terrades

Our goal was the top end of the Ramblas, Passeig de Garcia, where Gaudi succeeded in building a couple more future tourist attractions (Casa Mila and Casa Batllo) and throwing in a few street lamps and paving the pedestrian area with his quirky tiles. The tiles are rather delightful but at EUR10 per tile, replicating even a portion of the pattern would be costly.

As his Casas were some of the few things open in Barcelona that day, the queues were out the door. Thankfully we had no intention of going inside either. Casa Mila, also known as La Predera was our first stop (there was a bookshop underneath). Supposedly it's inspired by nature, a cavernous mountain with a snowy top, and looking at it now, it is slightly reminiscent of the honeycombed mountains of Meteora. Slightly.

With slight curiosity, we wandered into the foyer, but had no interest in proceeding further up onto the rooftop where there are supposedly a set of weird Gaudi-style chimneys, and so left.

After stopping for an interesting lunch of tapas/(mini sandwiches) we continued walking down the block in the direction of the other renown Gaudi creation; Casa Batllo. Again queues were out the door and having seen my sister's blog post of the interior we decided it was not really our cup of tea and we would be content enough with photos of the exterior. While it is pretty, it really isn't in my taste.


It's pretty and gives me hope that the Sagrada Familia (particularly the Passion Facade) could look as colourful when it is complete as opposed to the sharp skeletal appearance it has today.

In fact, the rest of the Manzana de la Discordia (Block of Discord) was more to my taste. Next door was Casa Amatller build by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, with medieval and baroque features including a healthy collection of little gargoyles. Perhaps a little unusual in its own right...

A little further down on the corner of the block was Casa Lleo-Morera, a building more in keeping with the normal architecture of the age, and with a pretty floral ceiling to its tower. Our liking of it, and following the flower theme, it was no surprise that it had been built by Lluis Domenech i Montaner, the guy behind the Hospital San Pau and Palau de la Musica Catalana.

Having visited the Sagrada Familia that morning, we decided that the perfect thing to visit in the afternoon was the Cathedral of Barcelona. After all, the Sagrada Familia is only a Basilica.
With some time to spare before the re-opening of the Cathedral, we wandered around the winding streets of the walled city, listening to the street musicians, and gazing skywards at the old architecture. There was even the faint remains of one of the Roman aqueducts that fed the city.


The Cathedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia is far more typical of a European city's main church. It's Gothic, with lace-like stone decorations, soaring arches, religious iconography, wrought-iron gates.

Surprisingly, the facade of this church was only constructed the same year that work on the Sagrada Familia began. It however has been constructed in the historic style, in keeping with the rest of the building.

I'm not sure it was as memorable as the Sagrada Familia but then it had a familiarity to it which was alien to the Sagrada Familia. I suppose I'm just more used to the components that usually make up a European cathedral than I am to the newer concepts of Gaudi's work.


*to fully appreciate my bitching, this post is best read directly after Sagrada Familia - an analysis

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