27.06.2015 - 13.07.2015 30 °C
Day 2 Sunday 28 June – Barcelona
Breakfast was once again a delicious start to the day. At 9.15 we walked up La Rambla to catch our coach. We headed towards the hills that we visited yesterday to Park Guell. What a surprise we were in for. Initially we saw dirt pathways and some century old viaducts created by Gaudi. He had a vision for this area that looked towards the sea but it was never completed. We moved along the paths to an open area covered in sand and surrounded by the signature ceramic tile seats. Our guide then took us down some stairs that led under this platform. What an amazing creation, believed to be what Gaudi intended to be the market place. The area was a mass of huge pillars with the ceiling covered in tiles. Steps led from this area to a lower level flanked by fountains. George the dragon lay quietly spouting water to the levels below, forming the lower part of Gaudi’s intricate water system. You have to see the waving lines of Gaudi’s structure. He was certainly “out there”.
Our next stop was Sagrada Familia Church, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. It’s difficult to say whether this is a “pretty” basilica. Architecture is certainly subjective. What we probably all would have to agree on is that this man, Gaudi, had a different way of looking at life. He was extremely religious and he worked on this church for 40 years before his death and still did not finish it. He died on 9 June 1926 from his injuries from being hit by a tram – obviously off with the fairies when crossing the road. At the time of his death he had many other projects underway. The intricate work on the exterior of the church is worth seeing. The inside is mind-blowing to say the least. All sides are enclosed with stained glass windows. The vaulted ceilings are beautiful. Admission fees to the church go towards the effort to complete the construction as no one, including the government, would sponsor its completion. They hope it might be finished for the anniversary of Gaudi’s death in 2026 but it is doubtful. He also provided a school for the children of his workers.
As it was Sunday, very few placed were open. We tried another tapas bar which proved to be quite nice for lunch. We had to meet the local guide so as to visit another of Gaudi designed homes. It turned out that we had looked at this home from the street the previous day. Casa Batllo’s façade is covered in ceramic tiles that represent fish scales and its roof is like the backbone of a dragon. Gaudi loved nature so once again you see his link with the sea. The interior is mindboggling. There is not one corner in the house – the entire walls, floor and ceiling flow in smooth curved lines. The timber work is simply amazing and the tiles feature throughout the house for various purposes. It is certainly not to my taste but the concepts have to be appreciated for what they are.
Once the tour was finished we headed back to the hotel to meet the group for our welcome dinner. The bus drove us back to the hill area to this lovely restaurant where we sampled a variety of tapas and some lovely wine.