Two of my favorite things, Rock & Roll and great architecture were satisfied in Barcelona. My new hostel took care of the first, and the great Antoni Gaudí made the whole trip a complete success. Follow me as we tour some of Gaudí’s great works, but before we do that let me show you around my cool hostel.
ST. JORDI ROCK & ROLL HOSTEL
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin on the Mega Video Screen at Reception
No Introductions Needed
The now defunct CBGB’s – May it rest in peace
If you’ve ever wondered what OMFUG stands for, it is “Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.”
The Whiskey is still going strong on the Sunset Strip
La Pedrera – My first taste of Gaudí! – I’m a believer.
La Pedrera is nature turned into a building, a great petrified wave that is an ensemble of organic forms. Gaudí designed this building at the height of his career at age 54, and Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site in 1984.
Inner Courtyard – Originally apartments for the wealthy and the family who built it.
More beautiful hardware designed by the architect himself. He truly was a visionary of total art.
Rooftop Chimney & Ventilation Extravaganza
This otherworldly undulating landscape of functional artworks must have blown the minds of the general public back in 1912. I’m kind of out there, and it was a surprise to me. Just imagine how completely out of this world it must have seemed to them in terms of architecture. Ironically, taking his cue from nature, Gaudí was creating something actually more of this world than the majority of buildings that exist.
There is also a nighttime tour of the rooftop which must be enchanting.
Note the Sagrada Familia in the distance frame in the archway.
La Pedrera model in the attic – Note how the wonderful archways jazz up the space.
This Attic is formed by 270 catenary brick arches all of different dimensions.
Apartment in La Pedrera
Floral motifs decorate the main staircase in the inner courtyard.
Yet more compelling ironwork.
Café de la Pedrera
Dig that ceiling! – The ceviche was epic – One of the most beautiful drop ceilings in Gaudí’s universe. Such a privilege to dine in a space like this.
Gaudí redesigned this private home for the Battlo family between 1904-1906. Yes folks this is one of the world’s greatest remodels. He persuaded the owner not to tear it down and transformed it into one of his greatest accomplishments. He added an extra floor and altered all of the right angles indoors. Note the dragon’s back rooftop.
Check out the bones
This home was often affectionately referred to as the house of bones, and the skull-like balconies were often considered to be the victims of the dragon on the roof.
Spinal Column Staircase
Much of the interior of this room harkens the mood and aesthetic of the sea as Gaudí was known for his fusing of nature with his designs. This is the reason for the organic nature of his designs and the absence of straight lines. He was known to design everything down to the light fixtures, door handles, and any other hardware to make for a complete design as Frank Lloyd Wright was known to do.
This exquisite stove enclosure was designed to be used by a couple and chaperone.
What you see here is an interior courtyard in the house that looks as though the tile color is the same all the way up. In fact, it is not. The color up top is a much deeper blue since Gaudí knew the brighter sunlight up top would balance things out if had the tiles become gradually darker as you went up. As you can see it worked beautifully. Also, this shaft let light in to brighten the rooms of the house. You can see the windows at the top are smaller than the lower windows to balance the light allowed on all of the floors.
A nearby building was being power washed, and I couldn’t hear a blessed thing so I have none of the commentary on the early history of Barcelona. However, I did pick up that Barcelona for a period of about 150 years, was a city trapped inside of the most hated wall in history since the infamous Berlin Wall of the Cold War. Can you imagine people living their whole lives inside a small walled-in sector, just a small portion of what is now Barcelona? It took an outbreak of Cholera to provoke people to break down the walls for good.
This is a tiny Synagogue that was lost for centuries due to having a bunch of apartments built on top of it. You might ask how do you lose a Synagogue? Well, the Christians at the time insisted that it not be larger than any Christian church. Speaking of oppressed Jews, around the time of the Black Death in Barcelona, the regular population of the city was suffering around 70-80% casualties to the disease while the Jews were doing pretty well. The reason being that it was a Jewish religious practice to wash before and after eating, and other forms of personal hygiene were prescribed. Well, you know how this story goes. Instead of blaming their Middle Ages filth on their rate of mortality or their own sinfulness, they blamed the Jews and kicked them out of Barcelona making sure they killed a few for good measure.
Picasso Friese – Representing a Festival
The two giant people depicted are actually representations of giant people that are paraded around at the festival. In between the two giants are some people stacked up upon one another. This is a practice at this festival of creating towers of people as high as possible. People have died doing this. They top the tower with a four-year-old child. Just recently they required the child to wear a helmet.
Now you’ll see how crazy this human tower thing really is. This sculpture is the same height as the tallest human tower so far.
Sagrada Familia – 70% Completed – Pretty much done inside
Unfortunately, Gaudí was struck down by a tram in 1926 at age 73. During his life, only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. Fortunately, all of the plans had been completed, and there have been eight architects working on the completion which is due on the 100 year anniversary of his death. There is also talk of a sainthood from Rome.
Three Wise Men
Detail shot of the iron door at the entrance of the cathedral.
Etherial play of light through the stained glass.
Holy places honored in the circular panes.
If they could switch out a parachute harness for that oppressive cross….
A Forest of Stone
More Mind-Blowing Etherial Effects
Details on another large door.
PARK GUELL – Another tour de force by Gaudi.
Even the curved seating surrounding the area is very ergonomically designed.
This iguana, a figurehead of the park, is probably the most iconic souvenir of Barcelona.
Hospital San Pau
Another modernist structure in Barcelona designed by Lluis Domenech.
Some good jazz to finish up a great trip to Barcelona.