As a new day dawned in Barcelona, it was time to hit the streets again and go make new discoveries. This day was full of leisure, though I did end up in the city from 10 in the morning when we left the hotel, to 9 in the evening when we returned. After a somewhat rainy third day we had a great Monday morning in the city. It was Labour day in Barcelona and most of the places were closed, which left us roaming and exploring the many wonderful sights on the outside.
In this fourth part of our Barcelona travel series we will visit two famous buildings (after the Sagarda Familia, which you saw in part one) from the architect Gaudi, which are Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, then our journey will take us to the city park Ciutadella.
This is only a part of a 5-part travel series to Barcelona:
Part 1: Sagrada Familia
Part 2: La Rambla, Old Town and Park Guell
Part 3: Montjuic Castle and Port Olimpic
Part 4: Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and Park Ciutadella
Part 5: Sunset on Barceloneta Beach
Casa MilaCasa Mila is popularly known as La Pedrera or "open quarry", a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance. It's located on a busy street and you can actually walk by without noticing it (even though that sounds unplausible given how strange the building is). It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1910.
Casa BatlloWhen you walk the same street where Casa Mila is located on, further south, you will come across Casa Batllo. Next to Casa Batllo are more unique looking buildings, but I'm sure one can say that Casa Batllo is the most unusual one. It is considered to be one of architect Gaudi's masterpieces.
Like everything Gaudi designed, it is only identifiable as modernist or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. There are few straight lines, most of the building is curved, and much of the facade is decorated with a colorful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of center, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí's home), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.
Walking around BarcelonaAt this point I have to say how much we enjoyed simply walking through the city. Especially on a sunny day it's very relaxing. There is a lot of greenery, places to rest and many things to see. The city is best explored by foot, though you will rely on the metro to get you to places as well, since it's a huge city.
Arc de TriomfBefore you enter the Park Ciutadella from the north entrance you will come across the Arc de Triomf. It was built, by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. The arch crosses over the wide central promenade of the Passeig de Lluís Companys, leading to the Ciutadella Park that now occupies the site of the world fair. It is located at the northern end of the promenade.
Park CiutadellaFor decades following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was the city's only green space. The 70-acre (280,000 m2) grounds include the city zoo, the Parliament of Catalonia, a small lake, museums, and a large fountain designed by Josep Fontsere (with possible contributions by the young Antoni Gaudi). It's a beautiful place to explore and rest in.
I hope you enjoyed the sights in this forth part of the travel series. Next up is the final part and we are going to the beach! It's going to be a sunset-filled finale.
End of Part Four
To be continued...