A year ago, I was just getting started on my prance through Europe. The journey began in Spain, in Barcelona.
It was my first time back in Europe since my last life crisis. It had been a minute since my last foray in Europe (almost exactly 3 years since my stint in Croatia, when I was fresh out of college trying to run away from the 2016 elections and adult life). And let me tell you, the first day is always magical.
It’s disorienting at first, not quite knowing if you’re in a foreign country or in Vegas or in Santa Barbara or on Rodeo Drive. But once it sinks in, once you realize that you’re on Passeig de Gràcia and not Rodeo Drive, everything becomes golden.
The hotel we were staying at was in Gràcia, so I emerged from the trains in the heart of Passeig de Gràcia, among all the tourists out shopping on a sunny day. But I didn’t even mind.
I mean, with façades like these to drool over, it’s easy to overlook the crowds.
Barcelona is an architecturally gorgeous city. It’s also a city that is so uniquely shaped by an artist, so tied to his vision, and so closely associated with such a strange personality. One doesn’t ever visit Barcelona without also visiting Gaudí’s Barcelona. While (of course) one of the core landmarks, Casa Batlló, was under construction, we did manage to visit three of his other iconic works.
gaudí part one: park güell
A fairytale brought to life, a whimsical fantasy neighborhood that has become a playground for tourists around the world. Perched high above the city, Park Güell more than delivers on the views.
Even with the time limits, the main area does get crowded, but wandering off deeper into the park, it does start to feel oddly residential.
The colorful tile detailing is 😍 to say the least.
the city looks great at street level, but truly breathtaking from above
gaudí part two: casa milà
This one happened to just be a hop and a skip away from our hotel, which made it an easy stop by. And easy to wait for lines to get shorter. It was probably the first of many pages from my AP Art History book that I visited on this trip, and I gotta say, it’s a lot cooler in person. Like it’s fine on paper, you get the gist of it. But in person when you realize how big this strangely shaped building is, it’s a bit more impressive.
Also, it has a killer roof with great views of the grand boulevard. And your girl loves a good rooftop view.
gaudí part three: la sagrada família
Ah the familiar sights of construction. This *obligatory* visit and *obligatory* tower climb was, to be honest, slightly underwhelming. I think because of the construction. But not because it was under construction, rather, because it is in the process of being created so it looks brand spanking new. Which is somehow so strangely off-putting when you are used to seeing grand architectures that capture a different time, a different world.
This church just felt so new. So glossy. So colorful. Also the tower climb was hardly a climb (you take the elevator up), but a lengthy spiral down, catching glimpses of the city through narrow holes here and there. But when you do zoom in and admire the detail of the architectural embellishments, that’s when it feels like more than an endless project, but a feat waiting to be completed, stuck in purgatory, forced to be in a constant preshow.
It’ll be incredible once it’s finished.
and some other architectural drooling
What can I say? This is a pretty damn well designed city. Just 👏🏼 look 👏🏼 at 👏🏼 these 👏🏼 façades.
Look 👏🏼 at 👏🏼 these 👏🏼 details.
Like, why can’t the whole world have these?
Ok. Ok ok, I’m done (for now). Promise part 2 will be a little more than just chasing façades.
[ Last Edited: May 2020 | Last Visited: May 2019 ]