The next city we visited was the Catalan city, Barcelona. I like to call it Gaudi's canvas because he painted the city with his magnificent masterpieces. Kara and I managed to see everything from the Sagrada Familia to Casa Batllo which were both surreal experiences. In fact, Sagrada Familiia caught us by surprise because it just casually stood behind us when we rode up metro escalator. You should've seen Kara's reaction...
Antoni Gaudi is known for his unique modernist design that expressed organic style through natural forms. Not only did he design architecture, he focused on every detail in his crafts such as ceramics, carpentry, and stain glass.
Barcelona was definitely not the smoothest experience. We learned MANY things; from keeping up with the details, to waking up on time for scheduled tickets.
And did I add that it was raining 80 percent of the time? Not really a great start to our Europe trip...
However, that did not stop us from seeing some amazing landmarks.
One of the greatest foods in Spain is the Paella. So naturally, we found a restaurant on the street near our Airbnb and they had a delicious portion for both of us to share. We also found multitudes of diners for tapas which are finger foods that mainly consist of seafood, cheese and vegetables on a slice of bread.
Also known as the La Pedrera, The Casa Mila was commissioned by Pere Mila and his wife Roser Segimon i Artells to Gaudi. The home has an undulated facade that evoked a moving yet stagnant style. Currently the Casa Mila is home of a few small business offices. Can you even imagine having your office in this beautiful building??
The tour inside includes a free headset where you learn all about Gaudi's methods and sources of inspiration. From the interior ceilings to the door knobs, Gaudi designed everything with the simple idea of nature in mind. Door knobs are molded to fit the owner's hand, and ribbed ceilings would emulate a whale's vertebrae; which I found fascinating. However, the highlight of the Casa Mila is the roof. Although there may seem like an endless number of stairs to get there, the view of the city does not disappoint. Once you arrive, you see bird-like chimneys that were used for ventilation. The white swirl-like objects were purposely decorated more than others because those were the only ones visible from below.
Also known as the Unfinished Building, The Sagrada Familia was commissioned over 130 years ago but due to Gaudi's sudden death, it stands unfinished. However through donations, Barcelona aims to finish this masterpiece by 2026. The facade of this Catholic church is so organic and detailed that its hard to imagine what the blue print must look like. You might think the facade is already amazing as it is,but the interior will take your breath away. Photos or videos do not do it justice. During the day, the walls of stain glass display a wide range of pigments of both warm and cool colors. The entire experience is immensely rewarding since you just think, How in the world did he think of such beautiful detail and how could the world stop him from finishing it?
We were only able to pass by Casa Batllo very quickly but I managed to take a moment and enjoy it's angelic and fairy-esque facade. The roof resembles a mermaid tail and it's balconies look almost Disney like. The owner, Josep Batllo bought the house because of its central location but wanted it to stand out from the rest. He gave Gaudi the full creative license because he did not want his home to resemble anything similar to the rest. The next time I visit, this will be my first stop.
Park Guell was a blur for the both of us because we missed our allotted time to see the view of the city. Watch our fails in our vlog. We were tight on time due to a mandatory early check out so I didn't even have much time to take photos. Fortunately, I got a good panorama on the way. Can you spot the Sagrada Familia?
Barcelona was honestly a bad start for our trip just because so many logistical issues occurred, both controllable and unavoidable. Thankfully, we managed to see most of what we wanted and the lessons learned were applied for the rest of our trip. Sometimes its important to accept what has happened and not dwell longer than necessary. I also learned that my style of traveling involves less scheduling and more spontaneity.
We finished our BCN journey at the Arc De Triomf and later that evening hopped on a bus to Madrid!
Until then, have a lovely first day of March!