As mentioned before, Mr Stitches and I made a brief visit to Barcelona last month. I always feel nervous about visiting somewhere of which I have heard nothing but glowing praise. Will it really be as good as everyone says it is?
I am pleased to say Barcelona far exceeded our expectations….and a little more.
Mid November proved to be a great time to visit. It was warm but not excessively hot. We enjoyed blue skies and fantastic sunlight. Whilst the city was busy, we didn’t have to contend with crowds or long queues.
As expected, the architecture was breath-taking.
Being situated by the sea, Barcelona offers a little bit of everything. It was relatively easy to find a moment of peace despite being in the heart of the city.
Having lived in Italy for more than a year now, we have become connoisseurs of pastries, brioche and other sweets. However, and I am saying is quietly so my Italian friends can’t hear, I think the pastries we had in Barcelona were some of the best I have ever tasted.
Barcelona is such an inviting place to wander around. There are all of these intriguing walkways you just have to follow until you get lost.
We took the cable car ride to take in views of the city. We enjoyed it, but given the limited time we had, we wished we had spent more time taking in details of Barcelona close up. In our opinion that is the true charm of the city.
This was illustrated by what I considered to be the highlight of our visit: La Padrera.
It is an apartment block designed by Gaudi. Apparently, was the last commercial project he completed before his time was absorbed by the Sagrada Familia. According to the guide book, the curved exterior was inspired by a mountain in Monserrat.
The first part of the tour takes you straight to the roof. The guide explained that Gaudi felt that many buildings were ruined by ugly rooftops. He tried to make everything beautiful but functional. These elegant, unusual structures are actually chimneys.
I think it is probably the very best illustration of Gaudi’s belief that architecture should echo nature and no contain sharp lines or corners.
Going inside, the flowing curves continued. Even the apartments were built to resemble caves hewn from rock.
The foyer area had a similar natural feel. Like you were sitting in a park.
It was hard to believe that this was an entirely commercial venture. Wealthy families would buy land and have an apartment block built. This would give them somewhere to live and also an income from renting the other units.
Since this trip, I have wanted to learn more about Gaudi and his work. I probably should have bought a book whilst I was there but I have an aversion to those gift shops that all visitors seem to be funnelled through. So, if you have a book you can recommend, please do let me know.
Apologies for the long, picture heavy post! Barcelona and particularly La Padrera has left lasting pictures in my mind. If you have ever visited I would love to hear your impressions.