Today Harry and Hannah booked what is by far the most popular tour in Barcelona: The architect Antoni Gaudí left his heritage in the city transforming forever our urban landscape with his touches of geniousness, colour and forward thinking.
They are spending a couple of days in town and they are planning to visit most of the sites on their own, but they wanted to get a good understanding of what Gaudí really is, acquainted with his masterpieces, hear about his life and personality, and get to discover the influence of nature in his exceptional command of engineering – all in an informative but fun way!
So I met them at their hotel, and since they were staying near Passeig de Gràcia, after quickly reviewing the plan for today, we set off to Casa Batlló. It is a colorful apartment building remodeled by Gaudí in 1905, and part of the Block of Disagreement (Passeig de Gràcia st., Eixample District). We saw it from outside, and we discussed the different interpretations of its façade, also connecting it with the other buildings in the Block of Disagreement.
Next we walked only 3 blocks to Casa Milà, a controversial apartment building also known as Pedrera, the last private project he accepted before devoting himself exclusively to the Sagrada Família Church. We admired the outside and I showed them where to get the best shots, then we skipped a relatively long line (with my official license we don’t do lines!), bought the tickets and visited inside.
Hannah took lots of pictures of the fascinating chimneys at the rooftop, and we all enjoyed the city views. Harry showed a lot of interest in my explanations of the models in the attic, where we started getting acquainted with Gaudí’s technique and outside-of-the-box ideas. We also enjoyed the visit of the apartment that is decorated with furniture from a hundred years ago and shows you how the local bourgeoisie lived in the early 1900’s.
After we exited La Pedrera, I asked them if you’d rather take the subway or a taxi to get to the Sagrada Familia Church. They thought that subway would be fun, and in just 2 stops we arrived to Gaudí’s Masterpiece, where he worked there the last 43 years of his life until his death in 1926. Still a work in process, it’s scheduled to be completed by 1926-30 approx. Yet the inside is the most breathtaking place you’ve ever seen!
My favorite time in any tour is when after explaining the symbolism of the Nativity façade I take my guests inside the church and as soon they they look up, their mouth drop and for a few minutes they are speechless, just taking in so much beauty. I always allow my guests for some time to get over the surprise, and when I feel they are ready to start listening again, I gently start again a conversation to introduce facts and curious stories. It is a magical moment that reminds me of the time when in 2010 the last scaffolding were removed to reveal the impressive vaults, and the many months that I had goose bumps every time I went in.
After we finished visiting the church, we took a taxi (subway this time would be too much time wasted) and headed to Park Guell. I always ask the drivers to take us to the top of the hill so we can walk down instead of up. This place is another unfinished project, this time commissioned by his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. A failed housing development has become the most fairy-taleish park in Barcelona.
Again, Hannah enjoyed taking pictures everywhere, specially of the mosaics of the undulating bench. It was a pleasure to walk outdoors and enjoy this lovely spring morning. We also saw the columns room and the spectacular main entrance with its famous dragon fountain. By the time we got to the bottom of the park, our time together was over. We quickly reviewed what we had done over a map, and I marked a couple of restaurant recommendations for the rest of their stay. Then I helped them getting a taxi back in town.
It had been another lovely morning in Barcelona!
Click here if you want to learn more about this Private Gaudí Tour.