Sunday, February 21, 2010


Gaudi's Casa Batllo, one of the strangest residential buildings in the world. This house is probably the best known and most characteristic work of Gaudi in Barcelona.
It was restored and remodeled according to the plans of Gaudi and of Josep Maria Jujol between 1905-1907 for the middle-class family Battlo originally. Gaudi has developed the facades and the roof into sculpture; on the building there is not only a straight line either, windows, the frames are almost reminiscent of a dinosaur's bones.

Looking at the house from Passeig de Gracia, it immediately pops out with it's strange wavy and colorful facade. The moment you step foot into it, it is like you are in an enchanted house that exists in a fairy tale land.

The wooden modernistic door on the 1st floor is reflected in style throughout this level.

The windows which bring light and color in the room are of the same curvy form.

The center of the building is hollow and houses a circular stairway and an elevator which looks out on the interesting while and blue tiled core.

The upper floor decorated with tiled pillars leads out onto a patio,

With decorative tiles and a small pool.

The Attic houses the laundry & drying rooms. The hallways have the same elliptical shape as Gaudi used in many of his constructions.

The colorful scaled roof recalls a reptile skin. According to some authorities on Gaudí architecture, the roof represents a dragon; the small turret with a cross would symbolize the sword of St. George stuck into the dragon. The bones and skulls on the facade represent all the dragon's victims.

Even the Chimney stacks are concealed in unusual decorative forms.


The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, whom the park was named after. It has since been converted into a municipal garden. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

The gate house to the park resembles a gingerbread house with this tiled roof.

The main entrance to the park is this divided curved stairway bordered by tiled walls in the shape of a dragon

Leading to this tile dragon fountain at the top.

These unusual looking columns are made of stone and support a pathway that lead over the top of them,

The Pathway on top.


From the market, the waterfront and old city are a pleasant walk. Barcelona, fronting on the Mediterranean, received a complete face lift in preparation for the 1992 Olympics.

The Ramblas, one of the oldest and most famous boulevards in the world, is the spine that connects the water to the city. Its broad 40-foot wide pedestrian strip down the middle, lined with trees and commercial activity, always has it humming with people and makes for a great entrée to Porta Vell (the “Old Port”), a new harbor development of restaurants, night clubs, parks, and other activities. Porta Vell connects to the Ramblas via a pedestrian bridge that crosses a marina. The marina is home to this beautiful 3 master and many smaller sailing and power vessels.

The marina itself is pedestrian friendly with bridges of all varieties crossing the main highway.

And whimsical sculptures overhead.

And bicycles available for transportation.

The Old Town Gothic Quarter is a treasure to explore with its Gothic Cathedrals,

And portions of the old City Wall.


One thing that is a must while in Barcelona is to visit the city market. It is a easy walk from the center of town and a place to meet people and see why the food in Spain is so excellent.

Mercat de Sant Josep/ La Boqueria is probably Barcelona’s best-known market, ideally situated just off La Rambla this market is a must. It´s an assault on the senses with smells coming from the fish to fruit.

One can purchase fruit and fruit drinks of every variety, or just enjoy the sight.

Fish and shell fish fresh from the sea.

Vegetables in every color make a beautiful sight.

Sweets and nuts to tempt the most disciplined palate.

Berries of every description.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The Temple of th Sagrada Familia was begun in 1882 by public subscription and is still under construction today. Gaudi considered it the most important work of his life, and he directed it for more than 40 years, living in a studio on the site.

The Facade of the Nativity, seen here, was completed first. The three portals of this facade are related to the Christian themes of faith, hope, and charity.

The main portal is dedicated to faith.

The interior of the church is white, with the exception of the glass windows which bring in color.

The interior stairway to the balcony & choir loft, still under construction hang freely without support.

The basement is devoted to displays of Gaudi's designs including this large example of his construction model.

This facade, one of three will likely be the last to be completed. The plan is to finish the church by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.


Barcelona, which we visited as an extension with the VBT bicycling trip is a city of contrasts. It is also the city of Antoni Gaudi, the world renown architect of a century ago.

Our hotel, the Olivia Plaza Hotel in the center of the city was ultra modern.

La Pedera, an apartment complex, created by Gaudi between 1906 and 1910, and recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, is almost indescribable for its beauty and ingenuity. Greatly influenced by nature, Gaudi designed his structure without a straight line. It is more of a sculpture than a building.

Visiting one of the apartments which acts as a museum of Gaudi's genius, one can appreciate his beautifully designed furniture, as the bed in this room.

The attic, open to the public, consists of a series of stone arches, which act as support for the structure.

There one can see models of the building and learn a bit of Gaudi's design methods.

Working before computers, Gaudi used small packets of lead weights hanging from string to figure structural strength. These he hung upside down and used mirrors to view the results.

The roof is an exuberant fantasy, the chimneys designing vanguard shapes remember warriors in a forest of surprising figures.

From on high one can see into the interior of the structure which is hollow allowing each of the apartments to enjoy daylight.

The stairway on the bottom floors is a path of beauty.


Leaving Alhambra, we walked down the hill and through the wall gate in to a street full of small shops.

I could not resist taking a photo of a poster with a view of the castle in the reflected sunset and snow on the mountains beyond.

While eating tapas in an outside restaurant in town I spied the "shopping cabs".

Walking back to our hotel, the streets were decorated for a festival.

Along the river this church was reflected in the clear water,

As were the tree lined sstreet of the town.


Arriving at Granada as the bus climbed the mountain we caught our first glimpse of the magnificent Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO site.

The Alhambra palace was home first to Moorish kings, then Christian, resulting in a striking mixture of architectural and artistic styles.

We entered through one of the many gates into a gardens with a view of one of the 22 towers of the original fortress, many of which are still intact.

Looking up one could admire beautiful ceiling of wood in intricate patterns.

And Moorish plaster decorations in a variety of colors.

Between buildings were many clear pools,

Framed by pillars supporting carved arches.

Passing from building to building and room to room one could only marvel at the beauty of the ceilings,

And the windows looking out of the towns and mountain.

We passed through gardens with perfectly trimmed hedges and trees.
And gardens with trees in the beginning of their fall colors reflected in pools,

And gardens with passageways cut through tall walls of green.

Arriving at the Palace of Generalife we were treated with more pools and fountains,

Flowers framing a view of the old Moorish fortress on the adjacent hill,

And a walk under a shaded green archway.

Leaving Alhambra we passed one of the towers,

With a key hole carved into the rock.