It's rare to visit Barcelona without seeing Antoni Gaudi's amazing buildings. Known as Catalan Mondernism they are visible throughout the city.
Both of these (above and below) are a few blocks away from our Airbnb apartment (which was an absolute delight in itself. We felt immediately at home and had everything we could need or want. Thank you, Lourdes!)
The pinnacle of Gaudi's work is La Familia Sagrada, also within walking distance of our apartment.
A work in progress, construction of the church began in 1882 and is expected to be completed in 2016. The main entrance to the basilica is still under construction.
For this reason after purchasing our tickets we were directed to walk around the block to enter via the back.The intricate detail of the exterior is overwhelming and one's ability to focus on a single statue is next to impossible.
Except for some of the stained glass windows the interior is almost complete. It offers a more tranquil experience for the visitor, yet even still it's a conundrum of what to focus on. Each detail boggles the mind!
Gaudi wanted these interior columns to be natural in shape - like trees in a forest.
A close up view of the alter.
What I admired most about the stained window design was that one side of the basilica utilized mainly cool colours while the other focused on warmer hues.
Below the main level is a museum that explains Gaudi's design process, including his experiments to ensure his designs were physically feasible. A contained workshop allows current architects and builders to follow Gaudi's specific designs to the letter. Besides using miniatures as Gaudi did they incorporate computer programs to stay true to his vision.
Next stop was Parc Guell. Talk about a whimsical place. It reminded me of gingerbread and marshmallow topped delights for children of every age. Originally planned as a residential development it failed. Only two of the sixty planned buildings were completed. Still, I find it difficult to view this as a failure...having tried is all that counts...and I'm certain the thousands of visitors who visit the park each year will agree.
Gaudi's house is also on the premises. He lived here for nearly 20 years.
The park itself is inviting for a number of reasons. Wild flocks of parrots chatting high in the palm trees for one....
Plus the absolute visual delight of the benches that curve and wave around the main square seating area. Every spot provides a different vista as well as a unique tile colour and pattern.
Tourists from around the world posed for photos and selfies, and who could blame them? Gaudi and Barcelona are synonymous as one. Directly beneath this seating area is an array of columns that support the structure. Even it is not utilitarian in design.
The ceiling reveals intricate designs and patterns that echo and compliment the bench and tiles above.
With the city in the background the seating area provides an incredible view as shown in the header. Looking the opposite way, however, provides an equally spectacular view.
These nature-inspired columns and walkways surround the park and offer visitors numerous places to stay cool in the shade or savour the sound of classical guitar music.
Young and old alike found these walkways intriguing and welcoming.
The highlight for many is the lizard.
He sits centre stage halfway up the stairs and almost everyone (except us!) stopped to pose next to him.
Standing next to him provided this incredible shot...
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