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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Barcelona, Day 5 [20051128|14:02]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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We spent the entire day visiting three buildings by Barcelona's most famous architect, Antoni Gaudí. We stopped at La Pedrera first, a building that functioned both as an office and a residence. In addition to the ground floor courtyard, visitors are allowed into the uppermost apartment, the attic that houses a museum containing scale models of his work, and the roof, which is probably the best part.

Standing in the courtyard, looking up

Foyer mirrorAttic

The roof

Chimney detail

My favorite building, Casa Batlló (Pronounced baht-LEE-oh. Sort of.) is located just down the street from La Pedrera on the Passeig de Grácia. And now I will shut up and let the pictures do the talking.

Interior detail: stained glass paneling

Light fixture

Interior windowStaircase

Ceiling decoration (nippular)

Terrace fencepostRear wall of terrace

Terrace tiles

Fourth floor hallwayInterior stairwell, inner courtyard view

Interior staircase

They'll never find me hereRoof

Roof view from central platformDetail of the front cross

Chimney detail

We paid our final visit, with about an hour of daylight left, to La Sagrada Familia. This behemoth church would likely have been Gaudí's seminal work, had he not been run over by a tram. (Oh, the tasteless jokes one could make about his status as "God's Architect.") He built much of the Nativity Façade, shown in the first image below, with his own hands as he slowly ran out of funding when the project consumed far more money and time than its investors expected. A different architect designed the incomplete Passion Façade on the other side. He didn't attempt to recreate Gaudí's vision for the church. Most of the original plans were destroyed when anarchists trashed his workshop in 1936. I find the Passion Façade less appealing.

La Sagrada Familia from across the streetDetail of the Nativity Façade

Although an elevator to the 60 m mark inside one of the towers of the Nativity Façade is available, we opted to climb the narrow, winding, badly lit stairs instead. On the way down we couldn't even see the steps in the upper portion of the tower because there is no lighting other than what sun the openings allow in. I'm terrified of heights so the experience drained me, but the views afforded by the tiny platforms punctuating the staircase made it worthwhile.

From inside the tower

Higher up: Barcelona's very own Gherkin

At the 60 m mark: Construction of the central cathedral

We descended slowly to find that the museum was closing in half an hour. We hurried through it, admiring the drawings and models on display.

Replica of Gaudí's workshop

We had grand plans for the following morning. We were going to get up at 7, go to the market and pick up fresh fruit, veg and chocolates for the evening's dinner and grab a few souvenirs for other people. Instead, we slept until 9:30 and very nearly missed our flight. We didn't panic, though. You could speculate that we were too relaxed from the holiday to be worried, but I wouldn't discount the celebratory birthday cava (champagne) either.

Thirty is sexy, baby

[User Picture]From: prosicated
2005-12-02 14:44 (UTC)
swooning and drooling, oh my.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-02 19:50 (UTC)
The buildings are so curvy and strokable. They made my mouth water.
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[User Picture]From: prosicated
2005-12-02 21:05 (UTC)
Yeah, my undergrad advisor (another urban anthropologist, hmm) did most of his fieldwork in Barcelona and had a bizarre love-hate relationship with Gaudi's work, but he always agreed that it was the most tactile form of building ever. =)
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[User Picture]From: enn
2005-12-02 15:21 (UTC)
o goodness! o, it makes me so happy that you went there!
& it makes me a little sad: i miss spain! i fell in love with that silly country to be sure.
the greasy mullets are everywhere;; but they wear it so well; much better than the thin-haired nokinkorwave norte-americanos!
those stairs (sagrada familia) are just dizzying; did you walk across one of the 'bridges' between the tips?
& casa batllo is so so so gorgeous! i fell in love with that house (i kind of fall in love a lot it seems); i was running my hand along the walls & the banisters; so almost like flesh it felt like;;
o, i am just rambling on about my time there..
i just get so nostalgic about it you see?

thank you for sharing your photos! i was so looking forward to seeing them & , as always, your narratives are always swell & like you are just standing next to me saying 'o! & this this this.' which is really all a girl can ask for!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-02 20:07 (UTC)
Yes, we walked across the bridge. The one that has a sign reading "Do not stand here," and where everybody stands anyway because they're so busy looking saucer-eyed at everything. I liked La Pedrera but it just seemed a bit stiffer? More buttoned-up and stuffy? than Casa Batlló, which was loose and free and roamed about with its colors bleeding into one another and its rooms melding. It was organic, fleshy, even the walls were skin-colored in places and the wood framing and floors looked like they'd be warm to the touch. I see why you get nostalgic; I am right now!

Haha, you know I do that all the time when I'm there. Pointing and saying "Look there! and that! Oh, I have to stop and take a picture. Ooh, look at that!" For instance, I gave up on trying to listen to the audioguide for Casa Batlló after about five minutes. Too busy looking, too busy being engaged with the house itself.
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[User Picture]From: scanner_darkly
2005-12-02 15:51 (UTC)

My parents went to spain and fell in love with Gaudi's stuff, but the photos I saw never really gave it justice. Wow.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-12-02 20:33 (UTC)
I was so glad I took zillions of photos (okay, 800, but I've only been through just over 750 because I still need to get the film from the Lomo developed). Some of that stuff was freaking difficult to photograph, because there aren't a lot of electric lights in Gaudí's buildings. Most of the lighting comes from natural/external sources. While it creates a wonderful soft glow inside the rooms, it's tough to take photos, especially without a tripod. There were a couple that didn't turn out (out of focus, blurry) and it made me really mad because I spent time composing the shot. Whoa, I ramble. Anyway, let me conclude with what I should have started with: Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-02 20:34 (UTC)
Grah. LJ randomly logged me out. That was me.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2005-12-02 16:50 (UTC)
really great pictures
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-02 20:39 (UTC)
Thank you!
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From: tdj
2005-12-03 06:08 (UTC)
(1) These are gorgeous, though I've no idea what they are.

(2) I have to experience absinthe someday.

(3) Wish Marco a happy three-oh from me!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-03 12:33 (UTC)
(1) Crazy houses built by a madman.

(2) BEWARE. Remember, minimum 45% alcohol, maximum 85%. And doesn't taste like it at all.

(3) Done. He says thank you, happily. Three glorious decades! Wahey!
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[User Picture]From: omniana
2005-12-03 14:55 (UTC)
Gorgeous. If I lived in a place like Casa Batllo, I would be happier from the beauty. There's got to be a house design that pays homage to Gaudi and is environmentally friendly...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-03 21:54 (UTC)
Heh, that was one of my thoughts too. The other was, I'm glad I don't live here because I can't imagine having to keep the place clean. Can you imagine dusting those rooms? No, it's better not to try. What a nightmare.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2005-12-03 20:53 (UTC)
*blink* *gog* *sputter* *stare, slack-jawed*

Other than to tell you that I'm extremely jealous of these photos, I'm speechless.



Did I mention, extremely?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-03 21:52 (UTC)
It is my mission to tempt you with visions like these until you can't resist any more and you hop on a plane and fly over here.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2005-12-03 22:57 (UTC)
You're doing a fabulous job. =)
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From: capitalflash
2005-12-06 16:55 (UTC)
yummy yummy yummy photos. i have to go back. we went on this stupid package tour that our holiday operators put on. have to go back.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-12-07 13:51 (UTC)
Yes! And spend more than a day, because a day is nowhere near enough.
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