Tag Archive: Gaudi

Gaudi and Ciutat Vella

My nieta said she can live here. She had her entire face nearly pressed on the window as we trained into Barcelona Sants Station, then hopped on the metro for Liceu Station in La Rambla. A short walk to our hotel….. and La Boqueria. We knew we won’t grow hungry in this part of town.

It was reassuring to find many policemen and patrol cars every so many meters in this part of town. We felt safe walking out of our hotel right into La Rambla. We made trips to La Boqueria for breakfast and lunch, only to find that the resto beside our hotel serves very good paella negra. I kid you not. Just don’t order the sangria which is exhorbitantly priced! We were happy with our meal till we asked for “la cuenta”. And so we justified that bill by saying we got a good discount from Museu Picasso, viewed/stepped on a Joan Miró artwork for free, and discovered the pleasure of strolling past Barri Gotic and enjoying La Ribera and El Born. Swell.

La Rambla is a strip that joins Placa Catalunya at one end with La Rambla del Mar on the other end. If you care for fountains and doves or need to get on a hop on/ hop off sightseeing bus, walk towards Placa Catalunya. If you want the sea breeze and errr, more doves, proceed towards the waters. Along the strip itself, you have La Boqueria, Liceu Theatre, and Palau Güell Museum on one side and on the other side, Barri Gotic which includes the Placa Real, and Barcelona Cathedral.

Farther on, you reach the La Ribera and the less touristy El Born neighborhood. Still part of the charming Ciutat Vella, without the hordes of tourists. Having spent time in this area, enjoying quiet dinners, one is inclined to think 80% of the tourists are either in Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, La Rambla, La Boqueria, Casa Batllo or La Pedrera.

After all, Barcelona is largely all about Gaudi. Many on every tourist’s list are creations of Antoni Gaudi. No one takes the blame here — the man’s a genius! My nieta can’t have enough of him.

From The Archives:

So Much To Thank Gaudi For

A perfect day. Gaudi surrounds. Gaudi abounds in the city. You see it. You smell it. You almost taste it. Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia. There’s more. A Gaudi overload.




Rooftop. Casa Batllo. Barcelona.


Parc Guell. Barcelona.



It should have been a perfect day for my girls. Barcelona does not disappoint. Gaudi overwhelms, but you can break the sensory overload with a visit to the Black Madonna. Such a trip to Montserrat is both a pilgrimage and a bonus adventure.




Interior Shot. Montserrat Basilica.





My girls must have been so carried away with the “serrated” (thus MontSERRAT) mountain scene that they’ve lost track of time. The line to see the Black Madonna up close, the aisle view from the top, the lighted candles in varied colors, the cold breeze — all these add to the spirituality of the shrine.




The Black Madonna.




Lost in time. Wrapped in their thermals. The last funicular just left and my girls must be lighting more candles, whispering their prayers.




Twilight in Montserrat.




Just one option left to return to the city. A downhill hike. An hour in the cold with only the serrated mountains as company. Stony buddies.








Well, they got back well before dinner. Huffing and Puffing. And darn COLD. 🙂

Gaudi. When he graduated from Architecture School, the school director said he’s either a fool or a genius. We all know now how he turned out.





Sagrada Familia is in everyone’s list when visiting Barcelona. Gaudi’s spirituality, religiosity and love for the environment manifest in all his works. His understanding of nature and how he integrated it into his art or his architecture is simply beyond imagination. Unfortunately, Gaudi never taught nor left any written documents of his work.





Inside the Sagrada Familia, one senses Gaudi’s religiosity most profoundly. While his work remains unfinished to this day, this genius spent over 40 years on the Sagrada Familia until his tragic death in 1926. From a well-groomed “man-about-town” given to gourmet tastes, Gaudi’s last few years were marked by frugality. When he was accidentally hit by a tram while crossing a street and lost consciousness, he was mistaken for a beggar and was not given immediate medical attention. Such a sad ending for a man whose works now give Barcelona unparalleled pride.






And the details. All of 18 towers representing the 12 apostles, 4 evangelists, Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. The Nativity facade and all its statues. Inspired by the organic shapes of nature, the interiors integrated Gaudi’s architecture with other crafts where he gained skills like ceramics and stained glass. This modernist style also finds expression in Casa Battló, La Pedrera and Park Guell, to name a few.







Gaudi’s style is so distinct, so seemingly unrestricted to a point of flamboyance. You don’t need a tour guide to spot a Gaudi when walking the streets of Barcelona. Casa Batlló is a prime example of Gaudi’s art. The “wavy” structures, ceramic-filled towers, stained glass windows framed by intricately-designed ironworks.. For sure, Gaudi raised a lot of eyebrows during his time!







And then there’s Park Güell. Like a fantasy land with all those vibrant colors! My only regret when I visited the park was that I didn’t go much earlier. The crowd was so thick it diminishes one’s delight over this lovely park. Nearly all benches were taken. The grand staircase is so thick with tourists snapping photos of the dragon which has since become a Barcelona landmark.






There’s so much more of Gaudi in Barcelona. But be warned. There are long lines. I strongly advise you go early to the Park one morning. Line up early for either Casa Battlló or La Pedrera the next morn. You can fill up the remainder of each day with “non-Gaudi” activities such as Las Ramblas, La Boqueria, Port Véll, Fundacio Joan Miro, Olympic Site, etc.