Read, Write, Run, Roam

Gaudi, not Gaudy


Gaudi once said, “copiers have no collaborators.” Well, I didn’t want to be a collaborator. I copied the route for a Gaudi tour from our guidebook and a tour pamphlet, and planned our first day in Barcelona to see the Sagrada Familia (enough of that building, RHOB!) and other works by the famed architect.

The first stop on our tour was along the Passeig de Gracia, a broad street flanked by orange trees and posh shops. Muz couldn’t join me-he has to “work to support this family,”-sigh- so I was traveling with a friend. She was looking across the street when we got to the Casa Batllo, so I was able to dramatically spin her and say “look!” I watched her mouth drop at this sight:


Gaudi was largely unappreciated in his time.

Casa Batllo is also known as the House of Bones, due to the skeletal patterns tracing the balconies and the roofline. The building is a combination of pretty and creepy-the trellis of mosaic patterns on the walls look like flowers all year round, while the balconies resemble faceless masks looking over the street. According to one observer, the drooping curved lines resemble folds of skin. Personally, I thought that was gross. But I loved the building.

We next walked to the slightly less dramatic, but no less interesting, Casa Mila.

The Betty to Batllo's Veronica

If Casa Battlo is the dramatic, flamboyant sister, Casa Mila is the deep, introspective one. Both are curvy ladies that attract the eye, but Mila’s most interesting features aren’t visible at first glance. Mila was designed to allow almost every part of the house to get sunlight. It’s constructed entirely of neutral stone, to let you appreciate the bare aesthetic. Mila’s best feature-rooftop chimneys and ventilation shafts that look like statues-isn’t visible to passerby. To our dismay, we couldn’t get in the building at that time. I guess that just leaves something for my next visit.

Gaudi invented the Storm Trooper hat too?!?!


ventilation shaft/sandcastle. Naturally.

Finally, we took the metro and rode outdoor escalators up extremely steep stairs to get to Parc Guell.

Central staircase

It was getting late in the day, so we scampered around, trying to observe all the details of the park before sunset. By the time we got to the famed terrace, it was getting dark, so I skipped taking photos to appreciate the beauty of it all: impossible shapes and colors, musicians playing, parakeets flying through the park, and the scent of trees and dirt. Parc Guell isn’t exactly a Basilica, but it’s a spiritual place nonetheless.

Park entrance at sunset


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