Day 4

Barcelona Day 4

This is the lovely footbridge that we walk over on the way to the metro station.DSC05990I think that I exercised the art of compromise very well today. Two amazing Gaudi buildings, in exchange for one.

We had planned to see the Casa Mila and the Casa Batllo today but due to cost and taking into account what my friend wanted to do we decided to go to the Palau Guell (and I have actually been to the other two before, so I thought this was a fair compromise).

DSC05995The building has a modest entrance but looking closely at the iron work all of the Gaudi detail is there.

Look at these amazing details.

The tour starts at the very bottom with the stables.DSC06017DSC06020DSC06006I’m not sure what I was expecting from this building. All that I previously knew of it was the roof top with the famously designed Gaudi chimneys. I can honestly say that I was surprised and blown away by the beauty of this building and the interiors, but then it does have the word palace in its title.dsc06041.jpgDSC06054DSC06060DSC06064

This bullding was Gaudi’s first commission from Guell. Gaudi collaborated with other craftsman and designers to complete this building.DSC06071This fireplace (along with a few others that look very similar to this one) was designed by Gaudi.

DSC06097After six Glorious floors, this is it! We are about to step outside onto the Wonderful roof of the Palau Guell. I cannot remember how long I have waited for this moment. Last time I was here I remember that the building was closed for some reason.DSC06207DSC06158DSC06152DSC06161DSC06227Wow! Is all I can say, definitely worth the wait.DSC06149 2This is definitely my Favourite chimneyDSC06162Some more great views of the city.

After the Palau Guell we needed a sit down and some food as we spent about two hours walking around the building and listening to the very informative audio guide.

A little unsure of what to do next, and fast running out of funds we decided to find the music hall, the Palau De La Music. After walking there we arrived twenty minutes too late for the last tour of the day. Unfortunately access to the inside of the building is by guided tour or by going to a performance only. But we did get some lovely exterior shots, and it does leave me with something to do on my next visit to Barcelona.DSC06280DSC06298

A little bit of art deco detailing  in this very nouveau city.DSC06321Just time for a few more pics along the way.DSC06242

DSC06250DSC06252dsc06253.jpgDSC06254So unfortunately for me that is pretty much it for this visit to Barcelona. Now there is only time, (and enough money) for a coffee and a quiet night in.

DSC06335Well almost it, I can never resist a photo opportunity.

Barcelona you’ve been utterly fabulous and even more amazing than I remembered. Farewell, until we meet  again!

Day 3

Barcelona  Day 3

Today’s itinerary is a change in the Gaudi schedule. We ventured a little further out of the city today to visit a building designed by one of my absolute favourite architects, Mies Van Der Rohe. The Barcelona/German pavilion is a building that I have never visited before however I have seen the scale model of it (which is housed in the Bauhaus Archive Museum, Berlin) three times! As you can imagine I am very excited to see the real thing. As we exit the metro station I am already very pleasantly surprised by what I can see. Here are some pictures from the surrounding area.dsc05629.jpgdsc05632.jpgdsc05634.jpgDSC05642DSC05648

                 I absolutely love the carvings of the sheep like creature on the pillar above.

Whilst walking around and enjoying the surroundings I am pleased that the Pavilion is not too far away and am very excited when I see it from the corner of my eye. It is not as I would have expected to find it. It is serenely tucked away in a corner of the square, which seems quite fitting. You have to stand and wait to be served by the attendant, who sits there in a Mies Van Der Rohe designed cantilever chair.

DSC05734As a lesser known attraction there weren’t many people around which was great, but I still had to wait ages to get the shots I wanted.DSC05675DSC05676DSC05695DSC05670DSC05711The Barcelona chair, (and stool) my personal favourite in chair design history. This chair was designed specifically for the pavilion in 1929 by Mies Van Der Rohe in collaboration with another designer, Lilly Reich.DSC05680DSC05732We spent longer than expected at the pavilion and in the shop! After we left we thought we might try and find the Olympic Telecommunications tower (or the white sculpture thingy as I had been referring to it). As we came out of the station I saw it on the skyline and it’s something that had previously caught my eye, not only that I was sure that I had seen it in the 1001 building book.

We walked further and further and further up the hill. As I finally saw it in full view I decided that it could not be that far away and I’d come this far… there was no going back now. I also hoped/dreamed that there would be a cafe up here. I was wrong!!!DSC05748We made it to the sculpture and we walked around the olympic park areaDSC05778DSC05806By the sweetest of coincidences we then found a shack with a few chairs so we were able to sit and have some water and an ice cream.DSC05810I found this bell (next to the ice cream shack) quite interesting.

I have since found out that not only is the telecommunications tower in the book but It was designed by a famous architect, Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava is an architect that I learnt about at university. I have seen many pictures and am very interested in his work.DSC05801What is also very interesting about his tower is its fan shaped white base.DSC05795DSC05797It didn’t occur to me at the time what its purpose was or why it was there. I have since found out from the book ‘1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die’ that Calatrava designed this base using the ‘Trencadis’ approach (a technique developed by Gaudi) with white mosaic tiles to pay homage to work of Gaudi.

I found this incredibly moving, what better way to reflect the city than with a beautiful contemporary monument but with the added tribute to the city’s architectural and Catalonian born master Antoni Gaudi.

On our way back down the hill after failing to flag a taxi down we followed signs to a metro station and came across an escalator….DSC05829DSC05830…. And anotherDSC05819Until we end up hereDSC05824Which is actually here!DSC05642DSC05855And there is another escalator (look to the right hand side, by the trees) right down to the bottom. why walk up a hill/ mountain (Mount Montjuic) when you can get an escalator! Hindsight is a Wonderful thing!

Some more pictures and details from this lovely area.

The rest of our afternoon was spent back in the Gothic Quarter.DSC05869DSC05870DSC05873DSC05889

A few more samples of what the gothic quarter has to offer.

We went back to our hotel early today to have a little rest before going out again this evening on a trip to another mountain.

This is it (as seen from near our hotel)IMG_1015We got a taxi up to Tibidabo, (which was surprisingly cheap). When we got up there there was snow on the ground, I know it’s high up but I didn’t realise it was that high up. It was a beautiful and hot sunny day in the city!

Although very chilly it was worth it to see the cathedral, (the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) and to get some great views of the city.DSC05939

          Another highly detailed, beautiful cathedral.

DSC05952Stunning view of the city.DSC05948Doesn’t look like such a big hill now!DSC05950I thought I could get to this observatory, looked quite close, I can see now it’s miles away.DSC05958And of course I can never resist the urge to take a picture of my fav!

Well that’s it for another day but I have to say I’m very impressed by what we have achieved. Two mountains and two buildings from the book. Great day.

Day 2

Barcelona Day 2

Very excited this morning to finally be returning to the Sagrada Familia. I’ve been planning to get back here for quite some time now, but have not made it until today. Straight away I wonder what on earth took me so long! This is what greets me as I exit the metro station.

DSC05365Words and photos could never do this place justice. If you have never been here then you need to go!


A bit of background on the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi took over the design and building of this cathedral in 1883 and spent the next 43 years of his life working on it. He even moved in to his study in later years and spent the last years of his life living there, devoting his life solely to its work.

The the construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882 (by a different Architect who left the project before Gaudi took over) and is still under construction today. The latest date for its completion is 2026 marking the 100th Anniversary of Gaudi’s death. I say this somewhat sceptically as the completion date has changed many times over the years and I can certainly remember that after one of my visits in the early 2000’s that completion was planned for 2012!

I wonder if I will ever get a shot of this building that doesn’t have a crane in it!

Anyway, the last time I came here it had no roof and you could roam about the space and watch workers carving some of the plaster pieces like the bowls of fruit to be added to the exterior.

DSC05394DSC05422Wow what a ceiling. There was definitely no glass in the windows last time I visited.

Again it saddens me to say that this building has also been Cordoned off and access is with military precision. Timed entry and bags checks are in place, and again I understand the need for this but find it so sad this is necessary at all. I can remmeber visiting (having to queue for ages) but the queue was so informal and close to the building that you could reach out and touch it, it was also a great chance to take photos while waiting.

Like most things the entry price has gone up significantly. When my Mum Brought my Brother and I all those years ago the modest entry price covered access to and around the building as well as museum entry and a lift to the top of the towers. Now the tickets are broken down into access to the building including school building and museum.  Guided tours which are sold separately and the all important tower access which seems to be sold as an add on and is really quite expensive.

However, having said all of that I feel that I am happy to pay what I have to, especially if the money goes towards the building and it means that I may see the Sagrada Familia finished in my lifetime.

On this occasion due to timings and cost my friend and I decided not to go for the tower access. I have done it twice before and I had to let my brain overrule my heart today which I have to say probably worked out for the best as we spent hours marvelling at the building itself that is now a proper enclosed building with a ceiling and windows. We also got to look around the school building (which I have never done before) and see the wonderful museum which contains a very poignant view into the closed off crypt of the building and of the tomb of Antoni Gaudi himself.

DSC05445DSC05455DSC05458The School building, set in the grounds of the Sagrada Familia, designed by Gaudi for local children and children of the cathedral’s workers.

DSC05428DSC05430Comparisons in Gaudi’s sculptures can be made to other areas of his work – the helmets upon the above figures remind me very much of some of the chimneys designed for the Casa Mila (a private residence designed by Gaudi)DSC05431DSC05435These hard lined sculptures on the passion facade are very different to the shapes on the other facades. I found out in the museum that the passion facade is all about the crucifixion of Jesus. The blunt, harsh lines of all of the sculpture work on this facade was designed to depict the mourning and suffering caused by the crucifixion.dsc05481.jpgZoomed in view of the very top of the towers, stunning.DSC05477Here you can quite clearly see the multiple bowls of fruit that adorn the building.

What a morning. This has to be the best morning of the year so far. I know it’s only March but I will have to go a very long way to beat it.


Change of scenery this afternoon and after lunch we went to the Gothic quarter for a wander around.

DSC05584From one cathedral to another The Barri Gotic cathedral in the heart of the gothic part of the city.


I loved some of the wonderful details that I found whilst walking around this afternoon.


DSC05605These two buildings stand opposite each other in one of the city’s stunning squares

DSC05624DSC05626The amount of palm trees in this city really enrich its beauty especially in its square’s like the pictured above. The lamp posts are pretty spectacular as well.

dsc05616-e1522169912664.jpgI could not resist adding photos of these two very different, very beautiful windows.

My friend was very keen to visit the beach whilst in Barcelona and there was something else that I was very keen to see also near the beach so after a wander and coffee we got a rickshaw to the… ‘Fish Sculpture’

IMG_1698IMG_1701Designed by Frank Gehry, another of my favourite architects I was very happy to add this to my collection of Gehry buildings and sculptural installations.

IMG_1716I like the look of this building that I saw on the way back from the beach.

That is pretty much all we had time for today in terms of sight seeing. We sure did cover some ground. Now time for tapas!

Day 1

Barcelona Day 1

I arrived in Barcelona this morning to beautiful sunshine and I enjoyed a taxi ride taking in some of the sites of the city’s outskirts along the way. My friend arrived the day before so I was able to go straight to the room and prepare for the day ahead. We stayed in a hotel in the outer part of the city which was nice to get a different perspective of the city and to see some buildings that we would not otherwise have seen, oh and we were very close to the Park Guell!

It is at the Park Guell that our adventure begins. I cannot believe it has been 12 years since I last visited this place. Upon first glance the only thing I recognise is the main entrance, which is now closed off. As there is already a big queue we decided to explore the outer areas of the park and see the main park later. Here of some of the delights that you can expect to find in this wonderful parkland setting.


When we decided to go into the main park we bought tickets and had to wait an hour as the entry is now timed to allow only 400 people in the main park at any one time, as we later found out whilst queuing again to get in at 3.30pm. I asked one of the attendants when the entry fee and timed entry came into place and apparently this has been the case since 2013. On the one hand I do not mind spending money and helping towards the preservation and upkeep of such a Wonderfull place. On the other had I find it so sad that on the two previous occasions that I have visited (although busy) it was so much more relaxed as you could just wander in through the main entrance. Now the main entrance is the exit and you have to enter through one of the other designated entry points. I do however like the fact that the timed entry limits the number of people in the park at any one time. However nothing can deter from the stunning beauty of this place and the incredible attention to detail which is what makes this park truly magical.


The above buildings show the porters lodge (left) and the administration building (right)


DSC05326DSC05325Gaudi was commissioned by his good friend Eusebi Guell to design the park and the individual residences that were due to be built here.

The land was bought by Guell and his intention was to build a community for the wealthy of Barcelona in a natural setting outside of the city. Designs for the park were based upon the idea of the English garden cities, whereby people could escape the urban city life and live in a more natural environment. 60 plots were due to be built in this parkland setting. The development was eventually stopped by Guell in 1914 for a number of reasons, largely due to Guell’s strict restrictions on the site. The main being that he would not allow public transport into the park which made the park very difficult to access, and put people off buying plots on the site. The park remained as it is today and upon Guell’s death was bought by Barcelona council and opened up as a wonderful public space that is now a UNESCO World heritage site.

DSC05316The famous serpentine bench, designed by Gaudi was designed as a communal area for the park’s residents.

dsc05344.jpgThis building is where Guell and his family lived, (not designed by Gaudi) and is now a school.

Sadly, there is building work going on at the park at the moment (which I guess makes sense as it’s only March. They are doing the work now so the park will be looking its best for the popular summer months). Although disapoinnting it was actually quite interesting to see some uncovered areas of the park.

DSC05300In the above picture you can see the dome shapes in the ceiling whereas on the area above you have the gravelled path that is clearly flat and shows no evidence of the shape of this ceiling.

DSC05310DSC05308In these photos you can see the stripped back raw surface of the ceiling below and just how much gravel is used to create the lovely smooth surface that is usual in the park.IMG_0541In this picture you can see how flat the surface is usually

Building works also meant that you could not access all of the bench but no matter how many times I see this bench is does not fail to take my breath away with it’s sheer beauty.


And that was it for the day. What a great reintroduction to Barcelona.