Our first stop was his Casa Batllo. One of Antonio Gaudi's famous architectural buildings. If you look close below, (from the angle I took the picture it is hard to tell) but the balconies are made to be skulls while the columns are bones giving it the nickname, "House of Bones!" Just one of his unique buildings where he uses nature, water, and many angles to complete his work. It is well worth the price of 16.50 euros (if you do the hop on hop off you get a coupon bringing it down to 13.50 euros) The colorful Casa Batlló, a remodeled 19th century building, is one of Gaudí's many masterpieces in Barcelona. The building was orginally built between 1875 and 1877 but Gaudi redesigned the building, adding the attic and an upper floor between 1904 and 1906..
Below left you will see a photo taken of the orginal fireplace found in the house. While on the right is a photo of one of the ceilings and its whirlpool effect helps bring the nature of water alive.
As you go from floor to floor you will also see how the blue colors change from dark to light and the balconies go from small to large.
The rooftops are a unique design he has instilled. By taking the stairwells and chimneys and turning them into art. See below to know what I am talking about. It is said that the scale of the roof represents a reptile, the roof itself a dragon, the cross symbolizes the sword of St. George stuck into the dragon. The bones & skulls also represent the victims of the dragon.
As we continued our day in Barcelona, our next stop was Antonio Gaudi's most famous work. The Sagrada Familia Church which construction continues even today after being started in 1882. We spent the 11.00 euros to visit this place for over three hours. Part of that time was to take the lift (extra fee ofs 2.50 euros) to the top. What little did I know was the top was one tower that had a spiral staircase to walk back down. I don't suggest this to anyone who can't take close spaces or doesn't like heights. I couldn't stop shaking. But this structure has to be one of the most massive places I have seen with its unique design. The outside of the massive church has many sides that represent all about Christ from birth and on. Alot to see for sure. Of course, it is very hard to find a place to get a great picture of this entire church because it is so big and every side is different.
Below left is the main entrance that you go through to begin your tour (via head sets if you chose to rent them) On the right is another picture of the entrance as I tried to get all the way to the top of the building.
The columns shown in the photo on the left helps you get some visualization. These columns are designed to look like tree trunks and branches as they hold up the ceiling of the massive building. On the right is one area of the windows that are stain glass. Even the colors of the glass have a story of why the colors are the way they are.
After taking the "lift" to the drop off point, you can now see that we are up very close to the top.
And again, this is not for the faint at heart. Which meant ME!! In the left photo, you can see the torpedo shape unique building known as the Torre Agbcar in the distance. Since 2005 it has changed the skyline, with controversy, but now is a landmark office building. In the right photo you can get a feel of how high we are by seeing the huge yellow bus on the street.
And below you can see the staircase that you will walk all the way back down to the bottom. OK, do you see what I mean. Notice the windows. What about those small steps! You are all lucky I had the nerve to even take pictures.
And in the below photos you can see one of the side entrances to the church that was all hand carved by Gaudi. He didn't finish alot of the church before his accidental death but the details of what he did is unbelievable. The lower level of the church is a museum with forms, models, etc.. from the work he completed along with others that continue to finish his work. You will also find drawings of the project once final work is completed.
From the church it is back on the hop on hop off and to the Park. Read the sign below for a little history of Park Guell.
For a very unique place to visit, try the park built by Gaudi. This park originally was to be a subdivision and even Gaudi had a home built that he lived in from 1906 - 1926 at which time he died. He did not build his own home but was a huge part of building what is now called the Park Guell. When you see pictures or search the wide web for Park Guell, the mosaic lizard is the famous photo you will see. Gaudi used many mosaic works in his projects.The Guëll park is one of the most intriguing parks in the world. The pavilions and main staircase designed by Antoni Gaudí look like they belong in some fairy tale. As you walk through the park - you also see his real style of nature everywhere. As he said, he wanted the park to look as if it grew from its surroundings. I believe he accomplished that.
As you continue up the steps and past the lizard mosaic you enter the colonnade hall. You are now below the gathering spot called the Gran Placa Circular. The Serpentine Bench platform is supported by 86 huge columns, creating a hall beneath the plaza, known as the Sala Hipòstila. Many people just stand, look all around and up at the ceilings to take it all in.
As you go through the columns, a connecting flight of stairs leads to the famous feature of the park: the Gran Placa Circular. Originally intended as a market place for the residents, this plaza is bordered by what is known as the largest bench in the world. The colorful ceramic serpentine bench. The sitting area around the square is uniquely built to fit your body and decorated with again, mosaics. In the below photos you will see that people come in to entertain only to make a few dollars while others meet up to enjoy the park. The view from the plaza is spectacular & you can see as far as the Mediterranean Sea.
Below in the left photo you will see the Christopher Columbus Statue, built in 1888 in honor of the renowned explorer and discoverer of America. The 197 ft high monument was placed at the spot that Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493 after his discovery of America. In the right photo is the colorful sculpture by Joan Miro , the painter, sculptor and ceramist. The sculpture is named "Woman and bird" and was made in 1982. It is located in the Joan Miro Park next to the Spain square and La Arenas de Barcelona.
Below is a photo of the Olympic Stadium. Its exterior dates from 1929 but the interior of the stadium was completely rebuilt for the Olympics. Take a look at the second photo to get a peek into the inside.
Below on the left you can take the funicular at the top of Monthuic. What an outstanding view you get of the city while on this skyride. In the right photo, you can see one of the many sculptures around Barcelona. This one is in the harbour and is a lobster.
On the left you can see a photo taken down on the water at Palau Del Mar. This area comes to life with exhibits, food, etc. Further down the waterfront and pass many lovely beaches you will find the Port Forum. (right photo) Another place that takes on a life of its own.
Now for the most famous known thing in Barcelona - The Las Ramblas (also pronounced Les Rambles, La Rambla). It is the most famous street in Barcelona. The wide boulevard connects the Placa de Cataluyna, a busy square, to the Christopher Columbus Column. You will find many vendors set up here selling anything from food, to souvenirs, to flowers to live animals. A little of everything. But you will also find many people there just trying to make a buck. Magicians, dancers, tumblers, acrobats, people made up as statues, you name it. On both sides of this wide median walkway, and past the two lanes of vehicle traffic on each side of the walkway, you find hotels, restaurants, stores of all kind and money exchanges. The goal is to have you stay here, eat here, and buy all you need right here. lol And you will spend some time just enjoying the surroundings. Take a look at the many things you will see.
I can not continue down Las Ramblas without elaborating on the St. Josephs Market. Just off to the left (if walking from the Christopher Columbus Column to the Cataluyna Square) you will find this market. Go in even if you are not hungry but just for the experience. It is filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, chocolates, eggs, meat of all kinds, etc.. It is so worth the visit. But in the next few pictures you will get a little feel of it. So stroll along with me.
And you can see in the next two photos below that there are some unique restaurants/stores trying to get your business. The lights on the floor made this restaurant appealing while hanging shirts from the ceiling for you to view was very unique. (Oh my neck)
And above, you can see we have finally come to the other end of the Las Ramblas. A busy plaza square is behind me and below that square you will find the hop on hop off offices. This Cataluyna Square/Plaza is also a great meeting place and very busy with the hop on hop off stops. It is a station for changing from blue to red line and is also were many protests can be seen. My legs feel like noodles and the bed is now calling me. How about you? But it will be an early morning tomorrow as we want to be the first in line for Gaudi's last building we will visit. (we tried it today but over 1 1/2 hour wait) It is a brisk walk from our hotel so up early, breakfast and over to the Casa Mila.
In the very top, attic floor , you will find this unique tool used in his architectural design. As you can see Gaudi designs his buildings upside down. The chains and weights help to make the form of the building and when looked at in a mirror on the floor you can see how the building will look. What a unique way of creating the look you want. In the below photos you can see the hanging design followed by a photo looking into the mirror on the floor.
Now onto the roof. The most fascinating design of his building to me. Again, as in the Casa Batllo, you see the chimneys and stair cases covered with unique design. This rooftop takes on the look of warriors protecting it. A little rain did not stop Bob and I or others from walking around and checking it all out.
Oh well, the trip was a wonderful time. The 14 day cruise prior to the 2 days in Barcelona, together made for a great time to relax and see the world. I hope you have enjoyed this trip with us even though many of you might not enjoy Barcelona's tour as we did it. There are many many many more things to do but seeing Gaudi's architectural places was definitely number one on our list. (The church and Park Guell are two of the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona) Again, thanks for taking this trip with us in pictures and words. Feel free to post any questions you might have and as always, click on any photos to make them bigger for a better view.