On days like this, when it’s cloudy and cold, I wish I had a magic Genie that could grant me three wishes. I don’t even need all three, I really just want one. Take me back to Barcelona, Spain. I traveled throughout Europe last summer, and Barcelona was one of my favorite cities. For one, I speak the language, well at least Spanglish, and two it’s the perfect mixture of an urban city and seaside town. I live right outside of Washington, D.C. so that description can technically describe my area as well, but what makes Barcelona completely different is its atmosphere. The culture is so unbelievably rich, filled with music, theatre, and some of the most beautiful architecture I’ve ever seen.
In fact, I dedicated an entire day, I named it my Gaudí Day, to the work of one of, if not the most influential Architects in Barcelona, Antoni Gaudí. His work is so amazingly detailed that I could barely capture the beauty of his art in one single shot.
I started my day at la Casa Batlló, a house situated on the famous Passeig de Gràcia, constructed for the Batlló family. As I walked through the house I couldn’t help but notice all of its intricate detail, like for instance the beautiful blue walls that led up to the roof. He framed the glass barriers around the stairs, so that at any given point it would give the appearance of moving water. I still cannot believe that a family lived in this house, as it is like stepping into a fantasy world.
I wasted no time on my Gaudí day, and arranged a tour of his most famous work, La Sagrada Familia. We walked over to the church, which could not be seen until we were about a block away. Once we arrived it was as if all the buildings and trees spread like a parting sea, just for this giant structure.
Luckily, we had already arranged a tour, because the wait to enter the Basilica was well over an hour. Once we entered the gates of the Church, I again found it difficult to capture each of the individual stories, carved throughout the exterior of the building.
There was so much emotion, on each face, I felt as if I was looking at a painting, rather than sculptures made out of stone. If the exterior of the church looked like this, I could only imagine what the interior looked like.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the church, was the stained glass windows. Gaudí strategically designed, and the windows placed, so that they would receive optimum lighting from the sun to illuminate the entire church. Which when complete will be 95m long, by 60m wide, with a height of 170m. In other words, it’s HUGE. When you stand in front of some of the larger windows, it’s like standing inside a rainbow. Your entire body is covered in color.
However, the most memorable moment for me, is the reaction of the people visiting the church. Although the Basilica had hundreds of visitors, constantly coming in and out, the church was almost completely silent. Everyone was taken aback by its beauty. I was fortunate enough to go up the lift and explore the Passion and Nativity towers. Although, I have a tiny fear of confined spaces, and constantly worry about falling down stairs, I knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I’m glad I ventured out of my comfort zone, because the view of the city was spectacular. After spending over two hours at the Sagrada Familia, it was time to leave, on to my next adventure on Gaudí Day.
I’ve written about Parque Guell before, and this is where I ended my day. I was very excited to see another charming example of Gaudí’s work. It was a particularly hot day in Barcelona, which became evident on the climb to the garden. Once we reached the top of the hill, and inside the park, I paid no attention to the heat. Only to the colorful and bright mosaics scattered throughout the landscaping.
The views of the city were again breathtaking. Although, there were many people in the park, I felt as if we were all alone. Engulfed in landscaping and plant life that I did not see while in the hustle and bustle of the city down below. I again conquered my fear of stairs and climbed to the top of the cross structure at the parks highest point, because it offers a complete panoramic view of Barcelona. I’m glad I did because the city is really spectacular. What a perfect way to end my Gaudí Day.
So, in his honor, I toast to his beautiful artwork with a Clara, as I reminisce and look back at some of my favorite photos, taken on my unforgettable trip to Barcelona. Cheers.
A Clara is a mixed drink very popular in Spain. It mixes beer and lemon soda, to make a wonderfully refreshing drink.
1 Tall Glass – I used a pilsner, which to make even colder, dipped in water, and placed in the freezer until ready to use.
1 Can of Lemon Soda – I prefer Fanta Limón, but I cannot find it in the US, so I settle for Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Lemonade, which I found at Whole Foods.
1 Can of Your Favorite Beer – I enjoy a good Heineken.
This is super simple pour half of each (or all the contents of both the beer and the lemonade) into your tall glass. Enjoy.