Travelogs & Reflections > Peter's Travelog > Spain and France



Spain reflection: Barcelona's architect son

In the late 1800s to early 1900s in Barcelona lived an architect named Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi graduated from an architectural and soon after started his designs. A decade later Gaudi designed Palau Guell on La Rambla, marking his first great building. In about 1905 Gaudi designed one of his most famous works, Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia. Designed for the Batllo family, Casa Batllo actually depicts the story of Saint George and the Dragon. During the same time as Casa Batllo, Gaudi made Casa Milo otherwise know as La Pedrera (The Rock). From 1900-1914 Gaudi worked on Park Guell, which turned into an unsuccessful housing site. Gaudi himself actually lived in Park Guell until he moved into La Sagrada Familia while he was working on it. His last project was he unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. The building was actually started in 1880s and has yet never finished. Work ended for a bit when Gaudi was hit by a tram and died in 1926; after some disputes among the architectural team, work once again proceeded without him.


Day 319; 5-26-06:

After an extremely long bus ride from Barcelona to Salamanca we finally arrived in the bus station. Heading into the center of town we found a nice hotel near the university area and also nearby the New Cathedral. Everybody was really tired so dad and grandma fell asleep in the hotel while mom, Paul, and I went to see the New Cathedral. Going inside the Cathedral felt like inside the Duomo because of the high vaulted ceilings and just the sheer giant of the place. Afterwards we headed back to Plaza Mayor and walked to Carrefour to get food for dinner. The next day I went roaming by myself around Salamanca, seeing different sights that the tourist office recommended. After seeing the university area and the New Cathedral again I walked to the memorial museum for the Spanish civil war. Then I headed over to the convent of San Sebastian. Coming back to the hotel area I finally met up with the rest of the group and then we ate dinner back at the hotel.


Days 316-318; 5-23/25-06:

When I woke up in the morning my mom had found a room in Placa Real that was a lot cheaper than the one we had been in the night before. After unloading our stuff we went out for breakfast at a small restaurant on the main shopping street, La Rambla. After breakfast we started to walk toward a house done by Antoni Gaudi, the most famous artist in Barcelona. The first house we saw was done in 1877 and was commissioned by the Batllo family, hence the name Casa Batllo. Since the price was too high we did not enter but still got an amazing view of Gaudi’s talent from the outside. Along the wall small tiles in multiple colors were sprinkled like fairy dust all over the wall. The roof was tiled like dragon scales, we later figured out that the house was supposed to represent the story of Saint George and the Dragon. At the top there is crucifix/pinecone designed chimney. Gaudi’s next house, Casa Mila, is famous for its three chimney pots which is the only things we could see because once again we did not go inside because of cost. Built in the early 1900s, Casa Mila appears like a great marble fortress on the corner of the block. All three pots are so simple yet intricate and make you wonder at the talent behind the pot. After seeing Casa Mila we continued on to a nice café to eat lunch, with a splendid view of La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia has actually never been finished since it was such a big project and Gaudi got run over by a tram in 1926. But La Sagrada Familia is easily one of the most unique churches in the world. Built in the Gaudi style, Gaudi also designed four towers (will become 12 in total when it’s finished) for the disciples, four more for the evangelists and one for Mary. The last and tallest will be for Jesus. After La Sagrada Familia we decided to call it quits and headed back to La Rambla to enjoy the remaining hours of daylight. The next day we took the metro over to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. We had decided to do the museum and see the stadium. Before we entered the museum a walkway had a bunch of cabinets staggered from the beginning to the end. They showed the jerseys, shorts, balls and cleats all the way through the history of FC Barcelona. The first couple looked kind of the same, and then we came to one that looked like a slight improvement. The next cabinet was empty, with the next one though the gap was evident and striking. Along had came Nike; Nike cleats, a Nike ball, Nike jersey, everything was a tremendous improvement from the last cabinet. The museum had a bunch of old trophies and stuff from when the club got started in 1899. At the end of the museum we came to a display that had the La Liga Champions Cup and the Champion’s League Cup from Paris. It was cool to see the Cups up-close instead of on the TV. From the museum we walked out in the middle seats and sat down to look at the stadium. The colors of the seats were layered in red and blue, except one side that had a giant BARCELONA spelled out by yellow seats. Exiting, we walked back out of the museum and walked into the Nike store, obviously too expensive but it was a cool store. Diving back into the depths we entered via the locker rooms, and walked out onto the side of the pitch. Although we couldn’t go onto the grass it was really cool just to be down there and imagine what it would be like to walk out there at the start of a game. After hanging out by the team’s benches we walked back through the main lobby and press conference rooms. Back at the top we were able to eat lunch in the press booths way at the top of the stadium looking over everything. Finally, after a great day in Camp Nou, we had to take the metro back to our hotel in Placa Real. Our second to last day in Barcelona I decided to go out for a walk so I went a nearby plaza that looked good, and then I visited the Gothic Cathedral. Afterwards I went down to the docks where Adidas had set up a giant Germany ball with a big screen TV in it. Soon I headed back and we went over and ate dinner at a place across the street. The last day in Barcelona Paul, mom, and I went over to Park Guell, another landmark designed by Gaudi. In this park was Gaudi’s actually home before he moved to La Sagrada Familia while he was working on it. From the hill that started the park we could see two of the main buildings. Here there was so many creative ideas by Gaudi that combined nature and the park atmosphere that it was just amazing. The park also included the famous tiled dragon in the center of the steps leading down from the Roman column area. 


Day 315; 5-22-06:

The day before we had boarded a train from Milano to Nice and last night at the last minute had gotten on a train from Nice to Port Bou, on the other side of the France-Spain boarder. Yet we woke up this morning to the train coming to a halt in Bordeaux, a famous wine-growing region and quite beautiful; the problem was that is was on the other side of the France. Apparently we had gotten on the right train in Nice but the car we were in had broken off from the group and headed to Bordeaux. So we checked into the information office and the officials there gave us complementary tickets to Barcelona. Since we had a three hour layover in Bordeaux we went to a local bakery to eat a much needed breakfast. Soon we were on the day long Bordeaux-Narbonne train in our first leg on the road to Barcelona. In Narbonne we once again had a long layover so we all ate lunch in the tables in front of la gare. For our last leg we got on the Narbonne-Barcelona express and finally were on our way to the elusive Barcelona. Since we arrived at 11pm we waited outside a café and then went out from there to find a room available. Eventually at 1am we found a suitable room and took it for one night, hoping the next morning we would be able to find a cheaper and better room.