Sunday, May 13, 2007

Barcelona Day 4

This day was all about Antoni Gaudi. We hopped on the Bus Touristic again and got off at Casa Mila, or also known as La Pedrena (the Stone Quarry). Built between 1906 - 10 and was his last work before devoting himself entirely to the Sagrada Familia. On one floor they have decorated the rooms similar to the period and even though the building itself seems so futuristic somehow it just all works. Lots of natural light and no hard lines, the rooms really flow. Then up to the attic where they have an exhibition on Gaudi complete with models and explanations of his work.

But the best part to me was going up on the roof. The ducts and chimneys are like sculptures. Some find then a bit scary looking and have nick-named them Espanta-bruixes, or witch scarers. I took far too many pictures up there. So many that my battery died so then I started taking pics with my Dad's Nikon D-70 (very nice camera, perhaps I'll upgrade in the next year). Mom didn't come up as she's got a thing about heights.

When we were done the house then we needed to grab some lunch. This too was a bit of an adventure. We had a coupon for a sandwich place that Dad wanted to use. But ordering was a bit of a challenge without knowing the language (again, wishing I had my phrase book back in Canada) but with pointing at the pictures on the menu I was successful in getting my baguette with boccaccini & tomato and a salad. Mom & Dad I think didn't know what they were getting until they opened up the sandwich wrapper. But it was all good.

Next door was Casa Batllo. Unlike Gaudi's other works, this block of flats, commissioned by Josep Batllo i Casanovas was a conversion of an existing building. They had the architectural models in the previous museum display showing the before and after, very cool. The building even to this day looks very convention-defying, hard to believe that it was done in 1906. The building has been said to symbolise the legend of St George killing the dragon, whose scaly back arches above the main facade.

The interiors are quite remarkable as well. Again, no straight lines but the attention to even the tiniest details have the masters touch from the feel of a door handle to incorporating ventilators incorporated into the doors and windows to facilitate the flow of air. This time I managed to drain the battery in my Mom's camera (I have a problem, I admit that). In reviewing what I did take I realize I never took a picture of the front of the building. Oh well.

After this we hop back on the bus again, but this time take the blue southern route which takes us down towards the water and also up towards the Olympic stadium. We don't get off the bus anymore as we are all fighting to keep our eyes open. I get off when we hit the gothic quarter as I recognize some of the buildings so can see we are close to our apartment. Mom & Dad will take the bus to the end as they need to hit the business centre to order their shuttle bus for when the arrive at Beauvais airport. When I get back to the apartment I have a much needed siesta (which is why it's taken me until now to post this entry).

After we've all had our naps we go off in search of a restaurant for dinner. I had seen a place on-line that didn't look too far away from where we were and the menu looked good. Finding it was another story. When addresses are numbered you sort of assume that the numbers go up in one direction, and down in another. I found the street OK, but do you think I could find #42? We kept going back to this one restaurant and chatting with a nice waiter (he sounded Auzzie) and he advised us that normally only the residences have numbers, not buildings. Had that place not been an oyster bar (ick) we would have been quite happy to eat there. But one more try and eventually we found it. The place was called Troubadour and specialized in Catalonian Grill. Very yummy, but I shouldn't have had dessert as I was just way to full at the end. But it was tasty.

Another great day.

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