Saturday, October 13, 2012

Entering the Dream World of Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona Part 3

      During the afternoon on our second day in Barcelona, we explored the northern side of Barcelona with a trip to 3 of Gaudi’s amazing works: The Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, and Casa Battlo. When you walk by one of these buildings you can’t help but stop in awe and gaze at the sheer size and enormity of these buildings. Even in its uncompleted form, the Sagrada Familia is incredibly impressive. As you sit and stare at it, you continue to find new details everywhere you look.

Then, to the apartment buildings, sandwiched between normal buildings, these colorful and crazy additions to Barcelona are startling. You have to go to the other side of the street to really appreciate them, then you can move closer and look at the details. We didn’t go inside any of these buildings due to the exorbitantly high entrance price, nearly $25 for Casa Battlo, but we still saw a lot from the outside.

 On our final morning, we decided to go to Parc Guell, my favorite of Gaudi´s works. We walked down to the metro and waited. And waited. Then, we noticed on the screen above that there was a strike in the metro system and so all services were minimal. We didn´t know what to do. Should we leave and try to walk the very long way? Should we try to take a bus? We walked up to the top station, ready to look for a different means of transportation when a woman came out and told us, “2 minutes. It will be here in 2 minutes”. So, we rushed back down and caught the metro to get us close to Parc Guell. Finally, about an hour later we had completed what should have been a half hour journey at most. However, the payoff was huge. As my eyes fell on the amazing wall of Parc Guell, I knew the whole trip was worth it.



         Like stepping into a dream, we wandered through the entrance gate and into the giant park. The buildings look like something out of a Hansel and Gretel movie set with bright colors and candy motifs. Then, as you push past the hundreds of people, you make your way by the Gaudi Lizard and then into the main area with the many mosaics on the ceiling. Past that, you can walk through a tunnel of rock that was built to look like a wave flowing over you. It was absolutely incredible. We kept climbing up and up past stairs and ramps, through carefully designed tunnels and archways. And then we were at the summit where we could look out over all of Barcelona. We could even see the Sagrada Familia and the giant cranes working on it way off in the distance. Wow! What a view!

 After exploring all that we felt we had time for given the metro delays, we headed back to our room to check out. We only took one metro ride and chose to walk the rest of the way since waiting for the trains was the biggest delay. It ended up being a wise choice because at our stop, the metro began to smoke and the whole train was evacuated. Wow! We packed up our stuff and moved on to the bus station, wearing our most touristy outfits, Barcelona t-shirts. And finally, after the 8 hour bus ride, we were back in Alcala safe and sound, and tired.


  1. I heard the people of Catalonia have never felt that they were "Spainish citizens" and want to create their own country.

    I always thought only the Basques felt that way.

  2. We have heard a lot about that actually!

    In our Civilization and Culture of Spain Class, we learned that when Felipe V centralized the government in the 18th century he let Pais Vasco and Navarro keep their "fueros" which are the local laws and customs. However, he took them away from Catalonia. So, for that reason Pais Vasco and Navarro feel special, like they are separate because they have different customs. At the same time, this is why Catalonia is mad and they don't feel totally Spanish because their customs were taken away. At the Madrid-Barcelona soccer game they erupted into cheers at 17:14 because it was in 1714 that their customs were taken away.

    We saw a lot of Catalunia flags while we were in Barcelona. And we saw a lot of Catalan! It is totally different! They use a lot of Xs and the words don't have the same type of endings.

    Between the sheer number of tourists and the fact that most Spaniards there prefer to speak Catalan instead of Spanish, we were never sure whether to speak in Spanish or English. So, sometimes we just tried one and judged the expression on the other person's face to gauge if we guessed correctly! Haha!