This past weekend I visited Barcelona with one of my architecture professors and fourteen other students from CYA. We arrived Friday morning around 10:30 am and drove directly to the Joan Miro Museum on top of Montjuic Hill where many of the 1992 Olympic Games structures were built including the main stadium. The museum houses a wonderful collection of this Barcelona native and I enjoyed seeing his sketches and works that I had seen in my Modern Art class at Wellesley. The museum itself was a wonderful space with a rooftop view of downtown Barcelona where I caught my first glimpse of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The museum was well designed space to meander around with different shaped rooms and white brick ceilings and red floors that gave a mediterranean feel. After a brief stop that looked out over the city, we drove to our hotel which was right across the street from the water. With our two hour break after check in we immediately went to track down some sangria. It was not difficult and we were able to find a restaurant in an attractive square and a classical pianist performing for those sitting around eating their tapas and sipping drinks in the sun. As expected, the sangria was delicious. Afterwards we walked around our neighborhood with Professor Babasikas before visiting the MACBA (Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona). While the exhibits were…interesting…the building itself was impressively laid out with a large open central space that let in an abundant amount of light to the space.
With the evening free, me and two friends walked to Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. Walking down the Passeig de Gracia, you could see the ornamented facade lit up a block away. We debated paying the discounted fee that our ICOMOS card gave us as it was higher than we expected, but ultimately made the decision to tour the interior. We were all glad that we made the decision. The tour came with an audio/visual guide that showed furniture and other originally elements in each of the rooms so that it looked similar to when it was in use. The extent of detail in the interior is amazing. I assumed the facade did most of the talking, but after seeing all the rooms, grand staircase, and rooftop garden, I think that the interior is even more impressive. The way Gaudi represents nature through his architecture fascinated all of us as the whole house seemed to feel like a mix of an aquarium with Disney World. I only wished that we could have gone during the day so that we could see how much the skylights and large windows with stained glass fills the apartments with light.
At this point it was about 9:00 pm and we were starving. We walked ourselves all the way back to the pedestrian road of Les Rambles that was close to our hotel in order to find some dinner. We opted for one of the outdoor restaurants that was situated on the street, probably not the best choice since it was in the heart of Barcelona’s tourist district, but we were starving. After splitting a seafood paella and a sangria we wrapped up the evening with some gelato. I got the Crema Catalonia flavor, yum.