Sunday, May 3, 2015

Never Tacky, Just Gaudi

When my parents came to Europe, they didn't plan the entire trip; they played a lot of it by ear. This meant coming to Rome earlier than they imagined and they did not plan what they wanted to do after we finished with the Loyola group in Rome. Endless travel plans danced through our heads. Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Venice. This list was endless. We had the world at our feet. Our second to last night in Rome, we knew it was time to pick a new location. Somehow, we settled on sunny and warm Barcelona! A few clicks later, the arrangements were made.

In Barcelona, we spent quite a bit of time exploring the city which meant one thing: looking at the artwork of Gaudi. Antoni Gaudi is a Spanish artist responsible for the gorgeous Sagrada Familia. The detailing of Gaudi's work includes soft, curved lines, wrought iron, and splashy stained glass windows. The architecture is incredibly unique and once you see the style of Gaudi, it is simple to identify even more of his work. As luck would have it, much of Gaudi's work is scattered around Barcelona. The work of Gaudi has become symbolic of Barcelona and this unique style of architecture is certainly a sight to behold!

Our first Gaudi was La Pedrera during a long night walk in search of tapas. La Pedrera is a residential building and a UNSECO world heritage site as well! Very few architects have the style of Gaudi and it was stunning to see in person. Just down the street is another Guell masterpiece La Casa Batlo. It is another residential building with the gorgeous curved architecture and colors reminiscent of the other Gaudi buildings. Unfortunately, we were only able to see these two buildings at night, so I am sure that it is a different experience during the day. I found La Casa Batlo to be stunning at night, so I highly recommend checking it out at night when it is all lit up!
La Pedrera

Casa Batlo

The next morning, we climbed the Parc Guell. This park is at the top of a gigantic hill; so large, in fact, they have escalators to help people to the top. Needless to say, we needed all the help we could get in making it to the top.  As the name sounds, it is a gorgeous park where we hiked and saw amazing cacti and the natural foliage of Barcelona. Being so high above the city, it offers a breath-taking view of Barcelona; we could even see La Sagrada Familia from the hills. After wandering the natural side of the park, we stepped into Gaudi's masterpiece. So much of the park is full of gorgeous candy-colored mosaics, curved lines, and buildings reminiscent of gingerbread houses. In the sunshine, the buildings sparkled. After walking and hiking around this gorgeous park, we made our way to have a Spanish lunch!

The view from Parc Guell

Inside the Parc

A gorgeous mosaic

Gorgeous Gaudi

Our final Gaudi work came in arguably the most famous building in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia. It is a stunning church that I have seen over the internet and in other study abroad pictures, so I knew we must see it when we were there. Unfortunately, the façade was undergoing maintenance while we were there, so the view from the ground was less spectacular than it could have been had it not been covered in plastic and scaffolding. Either way, the steeple of the church reminded me of the piles of wet sand I used to drip onto sandcastles. (Due to the plastic on the façade, I chose not to take pictures and bought a postcard instead with the façade uncovered.)

When it comes to Barcelona, checking out the Gaudi architecture is highly recommended by me! WE had a wonderful time seeing buildings so typical of Barcelona. Seeing many of these buildings allowed us to compare one with another, which allowed us to notice the nuances in each building. If you get a chance, be sure to visit some of the Gaudi building in Barcelona! Stay tuned for upcoming posts!

Doesn't it look like a gingerbread house?

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