Stunning city and not just because of Gaudi (pronounced Gaudeee in Catalan). The city prides itself on having one tree per 17 people – large avenues of beautiful buildings very reminiscent of Venice with their ornate balconies that people used to parade themselves on. The more ornate the balcony, the richer the owner of the building – apparently. The shops in the city centre are definitely a stark contrast to the shanty town you see from the train.. Prada, YSL, Tiffany etc. Not as many armed police officers though Barcelona is apparently well known for pick pockets. We did mysteriously lose my cash card, which Antony was probably quite happy about!
Casa Battlo – one of Gaudi’s best known houses, tells the story of St George and his battle with the dragon – the roof shows the scales of the dragon and the tower with the cross handle is the sword handle.
Casa Mila – or La Pedrera (the quarry) is the other ‘domestic’ house that was built to provide an income as well as the most beautiful building for Barcelona. It is still rented out though the tenants have to put up with tonnes of tourists nosing about. Interestingly, both wives of Mr Battlo and Mr Mila were resentful of the large amounts of money spent on these buildings and Mrs Mila ripped out the interior of their apartment, the moment Gaudi was buried.
Gaudi died as he was hit by a tram on his way to La Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia - wow. Just wow. I’m not really a huge church fan (mostly due to the large riches of the church in stark contrast to the people they are supposed to protect as well as the corruption and power hungry clerics etc...!) – but this is just beautiful. The colours of the stained glass windows and the huge columns inside… will definitely come back to see it when it’s finished.