One of the things all the guidebooks tell you not to miss when you visit Barcelona is the various buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí, so on Sunday afternoon, before the (ultimately disappointing) men’s French Open final, we took the subway up to Sagrada Familia and then over to L’Eixample to see Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.
Obviously, Sagrada Familia has been under construction for forever now (they say it will be completely in 30 years, don’t hold your breath), but I was still surprised to see the sheer number of cranes surrounding the church. That, and the fact that several tour buses were parked out front, really takes away from the ambiance, but the architecture is truly unique and still worth a visit.
We didn’t go inside, but based on the facade work, I imagine that the interior is pretty amazing.
Casa Milà, nicknamed La Pedrera or ‘The Quarry’, stands on the corner of Passeig de Gracia and C/Provenca. It’s a huge building composed of wavy walls and highly detailed iron balcony work. It looks like the building is melting, I think.
The next stop on our list was Casa Batlló, otherwise known as the ‘Dragon House’. While it’s impossible to see all of Gaudí’s vision from the street, you can see bits and pieces such as the bone details on the windows and the colorful scale-like mosaic.
On the last day of our trip we took the #24 bus north of town to see Parc Guell. Although it was raining for most of the day, we still walked around the entire grounds and greatly enjoyed the panoramic views of Barcelona. As for the park itself, we were a little disappointed. The mosaic benches were lovely, but the dragon, though colorful, was smaller than I thought it would be.
Another issue was that of restoration again, the first sculpture at the main entrance was completely shrouded and none of the fountains were running, so the overall effect was ultimately lost. I found out later that the dragon was severely damaged by vandals last year, so I guess we’re lucky to see it at all.
Gaudí’s work is seen in many places throughout Barcelona, but there were many other talented architects at work here too, and all you have to do to enjoy it is walk around and pay attention.