Hey guys! I’m off to Los Angeles this morning for a long weekend at the Vogue Knitting Live convention in Los Angeles! Hope you have a great weekend, and I promise I’ll share any cool info/photos from the trip! In the meantime, I’ve queued up a few more Barcelona posts. Enjoy! xoxo danielle
For better or worse, we aren’t particularly museum-y people when we travel to a new city. We prefer instead to wander the neighborhoods to get a better sense of the city and its people.
Barcelona is the perfect city for this approach, as it’s filled with architectural masterpieces and major topographical changes that invite you to walk, walk, walk. Seeing the modernist buildings of Antoni Gaudi, one of Barcelona’s most famous architects from the late 19th / early 20th century, was a principal force for our visit to Barcelona, and we hit three of the most famous sites, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, the Casa Mila (or “La Pedrera”), and Parc Guell.
I’m not a cathedral aficinado, per se, but Sagrada Familia (“Holy Family”) is the most breathtaking cathedral I’ve ever seen. Not only is its modern exterior and interior the exception rather than the rule, the sense of airiness and lightness that you get inside the space is almost impossible to capture on film. The light-filled interior is even more amazing when you consider how hulking and stonily massive the exterior appears. Despite the fact that the cathedral is not slated to be finished for several more years, there is still plenty to gaze upon and marvel at (and Andrew was in fine form with the camera on this day).
First up, the imposing (and even a little spooky) exterior:
As for the interior, I’m not sure I could accurately describe it sufficiently to do it justice, so I’ll just share some of the best pictures. The stained glass windows behind the altar were especially gorgeous, in part I think because many of the windows had large blocks of one color as opposed to being composed of thousands of shards of an entire rainbow of colors.
In contrast to Sagrada Familia being intended for the entire city of Barcelona, Gaudi created Casa Mila for an individual family and its tenants as an apartment building. Most of the building is closed to the public, but the roof terrace that affords 360 degree views of Barcelona is worth the price of admission alone. You can even see Sagrada Familia in the distance from one position on the roof, as if Gaudi put his fingerprints all over the skyline of Barcelona. Casa Mila was pejoratively nicknamed “La Pedrera” or “The Quarry” for its ugly, stony appearance when it was built, but it’s now considered one of the finest examples of modernist architecture. We were able to wander through one apartment on one of the floors, and the lack of square walls created a neat sense of flow throughout the space (although it did make choosing furniture a smidge harder haha). Apart from the gorgeous old fashioned kitchen, my favorite room was the sewing room that had a huuuuuge window for natural light to stream in over the vintage Singer sewing machine.
Finally, we saw the Parc Guell, a gigantic outdoor park that Gaudi was commissioned to design as a kind of “garden city” by Count Guell, but was never finished due to lack of funding. Only a few Gaudi buildings were ever completed, even though Gaudi lived in a house on the grounds for many years. What we’ll remember about this stunning park, though, was the WALK haha. We decided to walk to the park one afternoon after a restful snack at a local bar, and we soon realized that the entire walk would be uphill. Parc Guell rests on a high spot north of most of the city, and if you persist in trekking uphill for more than an hour, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Barcelona and the sea beyond. Sometimes the biggest highlights of a trip are the ones you weren’t expecting!
PS: We also got a chance to see the exterior of Casa Batllo, another Gaudi-designed residence. We didn’t go inside, but we did love that the exterior of the building was meant to resemble a dragon, with its “scales” on its face and its “spine” along the roof line!