The land of dreaming
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
September 18th, 2009 – by: Pearl510
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,.
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.
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