Spain Trip Recap
November 11th – 20th, 2014
Bella España – Beautiful Spain!


November 16th

I was headed to Barcelona now. My flight was quick and once at the arrivals area got on the Aerobus and took it to Catalunya Plaza where I took a cab to my hotel. So easy and convenient. I was here for three nights…

November 17th

Gaudí's works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.

Gaudí's work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. Gaudí considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces. Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Casa Mila or La Pedrera was built as an apartment building by Gaudi for Pere Mila Camps. Now all that is open to the public is the roof, attic and one of the apartments so you can get an idea of what it looked like. Started in 1906 and completed in 1912 but Gaudi did not finish it because of the differences he had with the owners....everything has a meaning in his work....for instance the staircase is painted to look like an underwater cave, everything seems to move and have life because of their shapes and forms...amazing. The loft with its 270 curved arches is artwork in itself. The loft was where the laundry was hung to dry. Chimneys take on an almost alien form. The entrance foyer to the apartment looks quite sedate compared to the rest of the building. Huge apartments with all the latest in convenience.

Caso Batllo was my next visit. It was a renovation of an existing building built in 1877 and renovated between 1904 and 1907. Can you just imagine what the neighbours thought? Batllo had his own entrance to his first floor home with other tenants having another. Gaudi built everything including furniture, doors, flooring tiles, door handles, knockers, grating...and again it all has meaning. The façade of the building is covered with ceramic disks and coloured glass windows. There is a courtyard as well and the last photo shows the planting boxes he made for that. His work was not for the faint of heart!

After that visit I then took photos of the Block of Discord - it is noted for having buildings by four of Barcelona's most important Modernista architects. All different, they clash with each other (and thus the discord) and were all built in the early 20th century. Casa Mulleras, Casa Amatler, Casa Leon Morera and Casa Batllo I ended my day with Afternoon Tea at the Mandarin Oriental...and I so needed a cup of tea it was crazy. One of the few hotels that has their own gardens to relax in during the warmer months (not warm when I was there)...the food was delicious and so flavourful. I sat there with a little table lamp reading my Gaudi book in complete bliss....two pots of tea later, I was feeling much better. Instead of scones, they had muffins and sliced with strawberry jam and vanilla crème fraiche - they were great. Service was just so attentive....I think I might plan on this one for my tour as well so we can sit outside and enjoy our tea in June.

After tea I was ready to visit another casa that I had seen earlier...Casa Lleo I Morera, or Mulberry and yes it was one of the Houses of Discord. Why did the citizens of Barcelona give this block the name Mansana de la Discòrdia? They intended to make a comparison with an episode from Greek mythology: The Apple of Discord. It tells the story of the wedding of Thetis and Peleus. All the gods were invited, except Eris, the goddess of discord. Very angry, she showed up at the ...banquet, leaving on the gift table a Golden Apple with the inscription "Kallisti" (for the most beautiful). The apple was claimed by Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. To avoid an argument, Zeus proposed a trial to be presided over by Paris, the Prince of Troy, to decide who would get the golden apple. The three goddesses tried to convince him, and finally Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite, after she promised him the most beautiful woman in the world: Helena, wife of the King of Sparta. And this is what brought about the Trojan War.

Anyway, You will see a lot of mulberries as you go through...An explosion of modernism is found in the interior, which is one of the best preserved in the city: stained-glass windows, mosaics, ceramics, sculpture, wood, marble, sgraffito...

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