Aida Zabidi

Unfortunately it rained in Barcelona when we arrived – but that didn’t stop us from getting up and about!
Barcelona really is the home of Gaudi, and it seemed fitting that we spend our first day in Spain seeing some of his works. We stayed at an Air B&B apartment nearby a train stop, so it was pretty convenient for us to get around.
Our first stop was Casa Battlo, a remodel of a previously built house; built in an Art Noveau style. I initially wasn’t certain that it would be worth the visit (I mean, it was just a house).

I ate my words – it wasn’t just any house.

It was interesting enough on the outside, all curves and colourful mosaics making up the walls, but the inside was gorgeous. The curves were apparently inspired by the sea, and it became prominent to see how much inspiration Gaudi had plucked from nature itself, from the blue hues of the wall, to the shell-like lights and mosaics, to the supposed dragon on the wall!

The house itself had about four floors, including the roof, and you could borrow an audio guide that would give you some insight to the madness. Even more interesting was the SmartGuide, which used video technology that combined augmented reality to bring the scene to life – you could hold the screen up and the fireplace would suddenly spew mushrooms and smoke, for instance. With the surrealism of the house itself, it added a nice touch to exploring the building.

Cheesy tourist photo
Tickets were EU22.5 (or EU27.5 for the smart pass) – but we just walked past to see how long the liens were and just bought it online on the spot!

Our next spot was the Sagrada Familia, which was about ten minutes away on public transport or a twenty minute walk if you’re keen. It was my second time in Barcelona, but I actually didn’t manage to see the Sagrada the first time round because they had run out of tickets!

We were lucky enough that it was rainy and we managed to book tickets after a half hour wait in line but I would otherwise definitely book in advance. They only allow a certain number of visitors in at half hour intervals, so we had to leave and walk around first while waiting for our allotted slot.

The Sagrada itself looks impressive on the outside. It definitely is nothing like any church or cathedral you’ve seen before – try and spot the brightly painted fruits on the turrets of the outside. The ongoing construction just makes you wonder what else there it to come.

Can you see the fruits on the turrets?
The inside is nothing short of stunning, with the amounts of light and colour, and the sloping ceilings - Gaudi definitely was a man of vision, and there is something definitely very reverential about the building, even with the masses of people walking through. It was one of those places which didn’t feel too packed despite the number of people who were walking through the doors, and it was lovely to walk past and admire the stained glass windows, or try and make sense of the columns reaching up to the ceilings in no particular order; as with much of Gaudi’s work, there was a lot of fluidity in the design.

Definitely something that shouldn’t be missed - I think it's one of those buildings that is just so different to anything else that's been built, and the most interesting part is the fact that it's still a building under construction based on the late Gaudi's design from over a hundred years ago - a legacy that is still ongoing even today.

You can get a ticket here for EU15 without a guide, or EU22 with an audio guide.

I have to say that I really enjoyed these two attractions, and it's nice to be able to take your time and admire the architecture and the mad genius of Gaudi, as I like to call it. It really is like falling down the rabbit hole!

Last but not least, Barcelona wouldn't be complete without a stroll in Park Guell! I'll find some time to write a little bit more about it, because I really do think Park Guell deserves a bit more attention!

UPDATE: Finally got around to writing about Park Guell - you can find it here!

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