Welcome to Barcelona!
Barcelona, a beach city in Spain that if you talk to those who’ve traveled to Europe say it’s a must see and I 100% agree. There is something for literally just about everyone. Futbol fans have Camp Nou, food lovers have hundreds of great restaurants from beach front chiringitos, to the posh patios lining La Rambla. Art lovers have countless galleries, street art and artist, the boardwalk, or maybe even the Picasso museum. To top it off surrounding all this some of the worlds most amazing architecture in places like Sagrada Familia, Palau de Congressos de Barcelona, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell. This city has it all and more! Yet there was one place for me that stuck out the most as a must see, Casa Batallo.
If the name Casa Batllo isn’t familiar maybe Casa Gaudi will give you an idea on why it’s a must. The building is an architectural masterpiece that started in 1903 when Gaudi was commissioned to refurbish the building. Starting the project in 1904 it was finished it in 1906. The building has many different names; the house of dragons, house of bones, house of masks, and the house of yawns. All these nicknames come from its peculiar facade which is truly spectacular!
Spotting the house will be easy because of the magnificent exterior. Looking up at it you can admire the mind boggling mosaic work as well as the architecture and technique used in this amazing building front. If you won’t have time to go in take special note of the huge front windows, with beautiful stained glass work that can still be appreciated from the street.
Full of excitement and marvel upon entering the house you’ll be given one of the most ingenious tour accompaniments, an audio and visual tour guide. This brilliant guide is essentially a smart phone but has the ability to bring Gaudis house to life. Your best advice given from the electronic guide is the way that Gaudi built the house touching it is encouraged. But don’t forget to put down the guide down and enjoy the visual buffet for your imagination of this house of pure wonderment.
As you make your way up the winding stairs the first eye dropping display is the stairwell. Now from the first floor it will appear pale blue yet as you continue up that will change. The stairwell seems to remain a constant blue even though the hues of blue change leaving you in awe of the detailed masterwork displayed. Now continue till you’ve reached the patio where you can bask in the warm glow of the Spanish sunshine and imagine the area in the past. Walking out you will feel the tranquility of the space. You can savor the breeze while you imagine the beautiful plants that once grew in the ornate planters on the far end of the patio. But don’t forget to admire the exterior of the back of the house which is almost as grandeur as the front.
The First Floor And First Sights In The House.
Heading back inside you will find some peculiar and intriguing rooms here. Take your first steps into what use to be the family room space where you’ll find a quaint seat by the fire place yet like everything else its far from typical. You will actually find two seats, one for a date, and the other for the chaperone inside a mushroom shaped nook. As your eyes travel around the room from the fire place, to the wood trim, to the chandelier make sure to take note of the stain glass. Where most stain glass is beautiful in itself this is particularly interesting glass because you will notice it changes colors from one room to the next. When in the next room you will notice the glass now illuminated and bright differing from the more muted tones in the last room but the same piece of glass.
In this front room, the old dining area, you will be gazing out to the boulevard through a massive undulating window that stretches almost the length of the room. Make sure to not only appreciate the movement of the window but the top which contains more stain glass that appears to resemble water droplets captured at the moment they have hit the water and rippled. But don’t look down yet because that window isn’t the only thing with something that has water-esc movements held in place. The ceiling has a peculiar whirl pool shaped light with a beautifully ornate fixture that can keep you wondering how was this kind of shape captured and built on a ceiling.
One of the most interesting floors is the top floor and the roof. The top floor has rooms set up in the same fashion as they would have been when Gaudi lived here. This floor also allows you to view the amazing ventilation system that creates a cool summer and warm winter. Also on this floor their are sights for the eyes and ears but I won’t ruin the surprises you’ll have to just see to find out. Now as you come to the peak of the house, the roof, there will be so much to see you should take a couple extra minutes here to take it all in. The dragons spine that started from the bottom steps now is protruding with an array of colors mosaicked in warm oranges, browns, and whites with green “scales.” The mosaic masterpiece doesn’t stop there either, there are two sets of towers all covered in different mosaic patterns.
Your last and final hoorah in the this house is stepping outside onto the balcony for your farewell photo. As you continue through the house to end of your journey here each person will have a different experience with Gaudi and his work, admire and appreciate it as you go. It might be the subtle things that catch your interest like the glass in the stairwells that makes it look like you’re underwater, or the lift with its ornate wooden doors, or even the mere size and effort the house must have needed in the building process. Believe me if nothing you will walk away with sheer fascination at the imagination and creativity within one house and how one mans idea and dream became a masterpiece that will be enjoyed for hundreds of years to come.
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