Barcelona (aka where Stacey learnt to love Expressionist architecture)

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October 27th 2009
Published: November 5th 2009
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Me on my 'throne'Me on my 'throne'Me on my 'throne'

And thoroughly enjoying a blues busker nearby
Barcelona is known for its night life but also for its fabulous Gaudi architecture (and still incomplete cathedral designed by him). Now Im someone whos always loved more traditional styles but Im officially a convert. Whilst La Segrada Familia (the aforementioned work in progress) was a total waste of money to enter, it was awesome from the outside. Its nice to finally see a cathedral which doesnt mirror all the others. Park Guell is also famous because of this brilliant man (and its free!). Originally intended as a private garden for the rich, things didnt quite go according to plan with the associated housing estate (because no one wanted to live there!). Eventually the park was opened to the public and is a bit of a tourist spot. There are the inevitable salespeople selling a thousand and one scarves and fans etc. But its still an unusual spot and there are a few great buskers around. (Come to think of it I havent heard a bad busker in Spain yet! And they all seem to sing in english more often than not.) He uses mosaics in a brilliantly colourful and cheerful way. And there are tao small houses at the entrance to the park which remind me of gingerbread houses.

And just before I drive you mental with Gaudi talk, Casa Batllo was the best example of his work that Iv seen (despite its €16.50 entrance fee). They say its from the Expressionist movement and was inspired by the ocean. The rooms inside are full of sinuous curves and tiles in different shades of blue. The outside looks like its covered in weird skulls or bones. What struck me as really strange was a photo of the original family who lived in the house. They were (of course) wearing clothes from the beginning of the 1900s which looked very refined. This totally clashed with what appears to me to be a much more modern building. Then again I guess thats what makes people like Gaudi geniuses. Theyre ahead of their time.

(P;S; Sorry there are no apostrophies in this text. I cant find the button on this French keyboard which is already doing my head in because things are in the wrong places!)

Apart from lots of Gaudi related stuff Barcelona is home to the most delectable produce market iv ever been to, La Boqueria. Everything looked amazingly fresh and delicious and there was so much of it! Made me want to be a chef and have an excuse to buy lots of stuff (things which I wouldnt have a clue how to cook at the moment). If youre ever there youve got to try one of the freshly squeezed fruit juices. (Just dont buy it from the stall facing the street for €2. You can buy them from about 3 other stalls inside for only €1!) Gorgeous.

The market is on La Rambla which my little guide book listed as a hot spot to visit. Unless youre enamoured of human statues then dont bother with it. Though iv got to say that iv never seen so many unusual human statues so close together. They were literally 4 steps apart from each other all the way down the street. The street itself is just full of trashy tourist stalls and florests so its nothing special.

Apart from those few highlights Iv got to say that Barcelona really doesnt do it for me. Its facinating because its unusual and more modern which makes a nice change, but it lacks atmosphere. Its basically just a big city. I
La Boqueria Market Lollies!La Boqueria Market Lollies!La Boqueria Market Lollies!

Love the coloursª
prefered Madrid (and have met some who agree with me and others who feel the total opposite).

The photos Iv published with this blog I took on day number one. I havent uploaded any from day two yet. Ill try to add some Casa Batllo pics soon.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


La Boqueria Market nutsLa Boqueria Market nuts
La Boqueria Market nuts

So nicely arranged!
Blues and GaudiBlues and Gaudi
Blues and Gaudi

A fabulous mix. In Park Guell.
Park GuellPark Guell
Park Guell

Gaudi's work.
Through the mistThrough the mist
Through the mist

La Sagrada Familia from Park Guell.
Mosaic detailMosaic detail
Mosaic detail

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo
The roof!The roof!
The roof!

Casa Batllo

9th November 2009

I really loved Gaudi, too, although we didn't get chance to see the Park. I really wanted to but no time. I'm surprised you didn't like the inside of La Sagrada Familia. It was different, although the outside is definitely the highlight. Dad didn't like any of it! The market was amazing, wasn't it? Did you get chance to eat at the little stall we mentioned about halfway down on the left hand side of the market? DELICIOUS! I'm one of those who thinks opposite to you regarding Madrid and Barcelona. I found Madrid to be just a big city and thought Barcelona had a lot more character. Funny how things can strike you differently, isn't it? It can even be what is happening on the day.
9th November 2009

The photos of the Sagrada Familia 50 years ago showed me more of the inside than I was able to see with my own eyes! I totally forgot all about the part of the market you mentioned so no I didn't eat anything there. Just had the smoothy.

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