The tiles resembling a dragon's scales.
... one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From Montjuic Park to the Sagrada Familia, everything is amazing. I like the fact that it is located in Catalunya
, and that almost everyone there speaks Catalan, a local dialect. This city is one of Spain's main ports, and bustling with activity and movement. At the harbor, ships come and go, carrying goods from many parts of the world. The city is splendid! The Gothic Quarter, with its magnificent cathedral, impresses anyone. Also, one of the biggest markets in the city, called "La Boqueria", sells many different products, from fresh fish to cow tongues.
The Nativity scene (the old part).
.. Las Ramblas, a large avenue, is lined with shops and nice cafes. Since this was my second time here, I went to three very important sites, all created by the genius architect Antoni Gaudi. Even though I already visited some of them, I wanted to return, to experience the beauty and the whackiness of Gaudi's creations.
I also wanted to see more of Casa Batllo, since they opened the attic and the roof after I first visited it. As I got near the building, the whimsical balconies resembling masks truly put a smile on my face. I got off the taxi, and marveled at the grandeur of this apartment building, finished in 1907. The facade is adorned with the balconies, but also near the ground floor there are columns resembling bones; very interesting. The beautiful mix of colors seems to make the whole exterior alive.
At the top, the roof is covered with tiles resembling a dragon's scales. A four-pronged cross crowns the whole building. The inside was even more spectacular!! When I entered, two doors right in front of me were opened revealing a stairwell curved and shaped like vertebrae. To the right was one of two amazing lightwells. The stairs were in between these two lightwells. The tiles on the wells started out white near the ground floor, then progressed to a deep blue at the near top. The piano nobile, one of the main rooms here, used to be the apartment of the building's owners. A spiral-shaped light illuminated the room. I climbed the stairs until I reached the attic. This space looked surreal, since everything was covered in white plaster. At the top, on the roof, I saw the funny-looking chimneys, as well as the glass covering the top of the lightwells.
On La Pedrera's roof.
After enjoying this awesome site, I decided to visist La Pedrera.
La Pedrera, or Casa Mila, looks like a giant boulder in the middle of Passeig de Gracia (the avenue in which it is located). The undulated, grayish exterior looked like rock. The balconies were made of twisted iron, making the scene even more bizarre, in an awesome way. Once I entered the building, I was met by a huge open-air atrium that looked like a giant hole in a boulder. Since the premises is owned by La Caixa, a major Spanish bank, most of the inside is closed to visitors. The main attractions are in the attic and the roof. Once I took the elevator to the attic of the building, I started looking at the various plaster models of Gaudi's works, from Casa Batllo to Bellesguard. There was also a model made from tiny weights and strings, hanging upside down from the roof, a truly ingenious sight.
Looking down one of the lightwells at Casa Batllo.
After climbing a flight of stairs, I emerged on the rooftop. This is one of the best sights in Barcelona. The entire roof is filled with whimsical chimneys, some looking like soldiers, some just surreal. You could also see the two gigantic atriums. In the distance I could see La Sagrada Familia, one of the best known symbols of Barcelona. After my visit to La Pedrera, I decided to go to this magnificent church.
La Sagrada Familia was Gaudi's culminating point as an architect. After completing La Pedrera, he spent the last years of his life working on it. It is still under construction, making the sight feel as if it is growing every day. The inside is completely filled with scaffolding, but at the time I was visiting it, most of the columns were finished.
One of the balconies at La Pedrera.
This time I decided to go up through the old belltowers, a series of four of them. When the church is going to be finished, there will be 3 sets of 4 belltowers, 2 of which are already constructed. The only set missing is the main entrance. At the base of each set of belltowers there is a biblical scene portrayed. The old set portrays the Nativity, while the newer set displays the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. The future set portrays the glory, the coming of Christ. Also, the two main towers, one represeting Jesus Christ, and another the Virgin Mary, are still being constructed. When I climbed the old side (the one Gaudi was still alive to constrcut), I saw the huge evergreen tree, flanked by white doves. The words "Excelsius", "Santi", and others were written across the old set of belltowers.
The finished tree-like columns at the church.
I also saw exceptional views of the city below. After visiting the towers, I descended down these awesome spiral stairs to the bottom. From there I entered the crypt, where some of Gaudi's models of the church reside in, and where the great architect is actually buried. When I left the attraction, I looked back at all the beauty I had seen in this masterpiece. After seeing all three attractions, I bid farewell to Barcelona and all the amazing sights there.