The land of dreaming

Barcelona Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
Placa Universitat
After waking up and having breakfast, I headed to the Passeig de Gracia today. I was really forward to all the things I had on schedule: the modernista buildings in the avenue, the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guëll.

The sun was shining brightly again as I walked out the hostel doors and when arriving on the Passeig the Gracia I immediately loved it. The whole area is very different from the old Barcelona, with lots of space and lots of cars, but also with big sidewalks, the Rambla de Catalunya, sweet benches at every crossroad, fashionable shops and eateries, ánd lovely architecture. There is something about the area that makes it a lot nicer to hang around at, then one would initially expect of such a big street.
Placa Universitat in the morning


Soon I arrived at the Manzana de la discordia. I immediately loved these buildings, even just from the outside. I'm a big fan of Art Nouveau architecture, and I had been really excited about getting to admire the Spanish variant, Modernisme. To me, it is the ultimate highlight of Art Nouveau style, the very balance between dazzling imagination, perfect functionality and the strong love for nature, color and material. Everything in the Modernista buildings is there for a reason, has a purpous, and is often much more than you'd expect it to be. But at the same time, these buildings are not about the "Form follows function" Bauhaus concept. It is the combinations of both, equally important, and strongly enforcing each other. It is the search for functional solutions in an aesthetic and natural way, and the discovery of how an organic design can be a perfect solution for material questions.
La Rambla de Catalunya
Yet I can simply not understand how people like Gaudi could come up with these mind-spinning designs, let alone integrating so many features in it and creating such a brilliant concept. It is the work of a genius, clearly, moving you in an intelectual and emotional way. I adore it!

I was blown away by Casa Battlo, there were two guest books to sign inside, and I wrote something in both of them, lol. I very soon found out how these people can afford to charge over 16 EUR entrance fee. I was lucky however to be granted student reduction. Still, this place is worth every penny, every euro, every whatever. Now I've been in there I know, even if they would have charged 30 EUR, I would have payed it. I had never seen anything like this, not this perfect.
Casa Amatller
Call me a freak, but this building has been the highlight of the day and definitely on of the things I will remember most of this trip as well.

It had started to rain by the time I looked over the courtyard/garden of the casa Battlo, and later when I visited the rooftop. But by the end of the audio guided tour it was slowly clearing up again. When I bought my ticket it was early morning and the house had just opened. Now, as I walked out, there was a huge queue of rain soaked people waiting to get in. So I recommend you to go early, when the rooms are less crowded :) I glanced around the beautiful patio of the Casa Amatller and moved on to La Pedrera after that. I liked this building as well, but yet I was not so blown away as I was in Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo
The roof is of course very famous, the exhibition about the furniture and building was interesting, but what I liked most was the fact that the apartment is still furnished. That is nice because in Casa Batllo, most of the rooms are empty now. But as Modernista buildings are always a unity, a complex whole of different aspects, it is nice to see it with the furniture in it. From every lamp, door handle, to every chair to the kitchen counters... Everything is made for the one house. People who could afford a modernista house where also people who could afford tailored designed furniture. And luckily so because it would be very hard to fit an IKEA designed kitchen against such curving modernista walls. That's what, for me, made La Pedrera worth visiting. You can see the old seats and sofas and get a more detailed image of the time it was build.
Casa Batllo
Casa Battlo sometimes maybe feels (I hardly dare to write) like Dinsyland. Very surreal. In La Pedrera, because of the furniture, there is a better link with the actual way of life in those days.

By the time I visited all these buildings it was time for lunch, which I had at Mauri, a bakery shop you can not walk out without trying at least on thing from there menu. All these little cookies and pastries look soooo lovely!

After, I walked on to Gracia. There isn't much spectacular to see in this district, but I wanted to see some of it anyway, so I planned for the Lonely Planet walk through it. That passes lots of little squares and some markets as well, yet non of them match the Mercat de la Boqueria.
Casa Batllo
Gracia is very Spanish. I mean, yes, just that. Very Spanish. It is the "normal" type of Spain, maybe. Not the Sagrada Familia Spain, or the Alhambra Spain, just... regular.

Talked about the Sagrada Familia, after Gracia, that would be the next stop. It was some walk from Placa de Joan Carles I, through Gracia (Placa de Cal.la Placidia, Placa de la Llibertat, Placa de Rius i Taulet, Placa del Sol, Placa de la Revolució de Setembre de 1868,...) to the Sagrada Familia, but not thát far. It felt really far. I was feeling an awful lot better already, no more fever and far less headache. But still I got tired pretty quickly. And my feet were hurting as well. Pathetic me :) So walking up there was, I had to think to myself, just a little pilgrimage.
Casa Amattler
That may sound stupid, but it felt that way. To see that first tower appear from around the corner, above the trees... Finally, there she was! The Sagrada Familia!

What must I write about this church? My first impression was very good. I didn't expect it to look so nice. From the pictures I had seen, I didn't imagine it to be impressive on first sight. But it was though. Even with the construction going on around it and the crowded dirty park in front of it, it still looked nice. So did the facades. The Roman guards where like the chimneys on the La Pedrera roof, which was funny, but overall the sculptures were fascinating. The style of the building, the forms, and the statues with there strange forms and expressions are all so different from any other church you will ever see.
Casa Batllo
This is different, no doubt. And it's Modernista. I spend most of the visit outside, I must admit, to look at the architecture. The inside, well, am I allowed to even write this? I was not so impressed... Of course I liked it, and I am very glad to have seen it, but it was not thát great. I liked the one window that already had stained glass in it, and the columns. But apart from that, much to see yet. And the atmosphere that usually makes a church a church, warm and impressive, was not there. It was a construction yard basically. A very modernista and fancy construction yard... but still :) Of course, one can not visit a church that is under construction every day, so that has a special flair about it as well. I just really have to come back here when it's finished. I want to see what the inside will look like.
Casa Batllo
If it's going to be the way Gaudi would have wanted it, it will have the most creative tailored furniture in it, and a beautiful floor!

So after the Sagrada Familia I thought it was time to be lazy and just hang around in Parc Guëll. I took the metro up to the Vallcarca, because I knew there were escalators uphill :) And I was glad they were there because the road to the entrance is pretty steep, but very much worth the climb. To my surprise the route to the park is signposted as well. Very easy to find. After arriving, the first thing I did was taking a seat on that lovely bench that makes Parc Guell so famous, with a view over Barcelona and warm sunshine on my face. It was though very crowded here. Maybe a little to crowded, so after a while I moved to a patch of grass and laid down to people watch.
Casa Batllo
I checked out some of the buildings on my way there, but basically spend the afternoon just lying down. At around 6pm dark clouds appeared, and I took that as a cue to get back to the center. I didn't want to rush down that hill again while raining. After all, however, it didn't rain. But it definitely looked like it would!

I went back to the Passeig de Gracia because I wanted to see my beloved Modernista mansions enlightened at night, and I thought it would be a nice place to have dinner/tapas as well. I ate at a bar called Cerveseria d'Or. It was not an extraordinary place but I loved it there. I had a very great meal there consisting mainly of tapas. The tapas were very simply and not typically the bite sized snacks. More like medium sized portions of patatas bravas, salads, fish dishes,.
Casa Batllo
.. I LOVE patatas bravas :) I would have had a nice cervesa as well, if it wasn't for the stupid antibiotics...

So after diner I did as planned and went to sit on the bench in front of Casa Battlo, just to gaze up. It looks even more like Disneyland at night, but so lovely. All these sweet little colors, and especially the roof is very nice. So is the Passeig the Gracia. To end the day I had another portion of people watching at the Placa Universitat, that I went to call "my square". It is not a special square at all, but it was the end of every day and the first stop every morning, when a new day started.
Jeroenadmiraal says:
I will be there tomorrow!!! Awesome.
Posted on: Jun 08, 2010
Pearl510 says:
Don't worry baby my condition is perfect again :) Let's go to Barcelona!
Posted on: Oct 21, 2009
aiohdmg says:
hahaha...i missed La Pedrera last time..i alway missed the hightlight hahaha..
So i think i should set a trip with u next time, then i will not miss any place hehehe...but you should have a good condition na ;P
Posted on: Oct 18, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Placa Universitat
Placa Universitat
Placa Universitat in the morning
Placa Universitat in the morning
La Rambla de Catalunya
La Rambla de Catalunya
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Amattler
Casa Amattler
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
View from the Casa Batllo patio
View from the Casa Batllo patio
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo - roof
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
Casa Amatller
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
Passeig de Gracia
Passeig de Gracia
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
Yummy lunch
Yummy lunch
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
Walking through Gracia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Way to Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Parc Guell
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Passeig de Gracia
Passeig de Gracia
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
La Pedrera
La Pedrera
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm