It was good we had a break in Menorca, because our next four days were extremely busy as we toured around Barcelona.
Day one was spent with Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish Catalan architect best known as a representative of Catalan Modernism.
After a morning at the Sagrada Familia, we moved on to Parc Guell. This was Gaudi’s main project at the beginning of the 20th century. Intended as a residential estate in the style of an English garden city, the project was unsuccessful. Of the 60 plots, only one sold. Despite this, the park entrances and service areas were built, displaying Gaudi’s architectural genius.
Steps lead to Hypostyle Hall, which was to have been the residents’ market, constructed with large Doric columns.
Our final stop was to Casa Milà. This was one of Gaudi’s major projects and his most admired work. It is better known as La Pedrera and was built between 1906-1910. He designed the two houses around two large curved courtyards with a structure of stone, brick and cast-iron columns steel beams. It has a total of five floors plus a loft (made entirely of arches) and the roof, as well as two large interior courtyards, one circular and one oval. Currently a museum, it’s worth a visit.
On the same street is Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi’s largest and most striking works, constructed between 1904- 1906. He was commissioned to renovate an existing building from 1875, so Gaudi focused mainly on the facade, main floor, patio, roof and built a fifth floor for the staff. He kept the rectangular shape of the balconies – with iron railings in the shape of masks.
To the left of Casa Batllo is Casa Amatller. Casa Amatller was designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. It was orginially designed as a residence for a chocolatier and was constructed by 1898 and 1900. Located right beside Casa Mila, these houses make up two of the three most important buildings in Barcelona’s “Block of Discord”.
Finally there’s Casa Lléo Morera. This is the third most important house on the same street. It was designed by Llus Domenech i Monner. It was originally constructed in 1864 but was renoveated in 1902. The first floor is now made up of high-end stores.
And to finish off our day of Gaudi, we ran into his first architectural design: streetlamps depicting Hermes.
It was definitely a change of pace from our time in Menorca, but with so much to see and do in Barcelona it’s hard to find time to take a break.