Bold Barcelona

Compared to all the history I have seen in Europe that dates back hundreds of years to BC, this trip to Barcelona was all about the last one hundred years.  In the early 20th century, the wealthy Catalan bourgeoisie funded modernista architects like Antoni Gaudí and Domenech i Montaner to create new nationalist showpieces.

As our guide said yesterday, it was ‘trendy’ then to promote a separate Catalan culture. Last night my hotel staff did not recommend going near the Parliament where there was a large crowd outside the session where rhe separatist leader was going to declare independence (well, he almost did). Glad to be leaving Barcelona before any more strikes that cancel trains!

My first afternoon here I walked down Passeig de Garcia, a boulevard lined with fantastic buildings from 1900.  The most famous would be Gaudí’s Casa Batlló from 1904.

Just beside it is Casa Amatller built by Josef Puig i Cadafalah.

Down a few blocks is Gaudí’s La Pedrera (Casa Mila), built between 1906 and 1912.  The street posts and seats are from 1906.

In 1902, Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to create a garden estate, where wealthy clients could purchase land and build houses with stunning views, chapel, and a marketplace. It failed to attract investors and eventually the city bought the land for a public park. There is now also a public school on the property. It definitely a whimsical place, and fun because I love mosaics!

The last I saw of Gaudí’s was Sagrada Família, which he worked on from 1882 to his death in 1926. It is still under construction, with a completion date of 2026.

I also went to the ‘Palau de la Music’ or Music Palace which was designed by Domenech i Montaner, another great Catalan modernist. It was an ‘infill’ in an old dark neighbourhood, and our guide described the constraints as important for creativity.  He created a ‘box of light’ which has over 300 concerts a year. Love the little ticket window!

Well, that was a brutal post because the internet kept giving me problems.  It is saying some photos did it load, and I was going to give more details but just want to post before it disappears!! Check back in few days so I can fix it up.

I left Barcelona at noon today. Had a 1hr 40 min fast train to Zaragoza. Only a day here so did the super tourist again. I’ll be ready for my break!

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