I spent most of my Sunday hanging out in Costa, a coffee shop by campus, writing essays and being moderately productive. We had off from school this past week for “reading week”, and it’s finally living up to its name!
Tuesday was our second day in Barcelona and Shiva, Hayley, and I spent the majority of the day Gaudi site-hopping! We started the morning off with breakfast at Paul’s (a bakery near the hostel), where I got a delicious apple tart and a coffee for just two Euros.
Our first stop of the day was La Sagrada Familia, a huge Roman Catholic Church in the center of the city. Construction began in 1882 and it’s still not done! The outside was bizarrely intricate and absolutely covered in stone carvings.
The inside of La Sagrada Familia was by far my favorite part of the church: there were huge white stone columns everywhere, gorgeous, bright stained glass, and there was a beautiful symmetry to the whole structure.
After walking around the bottom we headed up to the top of one of the towers via a small elevator. The views from the top were amazing! You could see the entire city, with the beach and the mountains in the background. I definitely recommend paying the extra three Euros to go to the top.
From the church we walked to L’illa de Gracia, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant with a lot of traditional Catalan foods. I ended up getting a delicious whole wheat crêpe smothered in a local cheese sauce and mushrooms and a lemon mouse for dessert. Yum!
Once we finished lunch we left the restaurant to head down the Passeig de Gracia, a major road in the city that also happens to house some of Gaudi’s famous Casas.
Our first major sight was Casa Fuster, a swanky five star hotel/historic building tucked among the upscale shops on the road.
Our next stop was Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera), built by Gaudi. Wiki describes the façade as “undulating”, but trippy might be a better descriptor. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go inside, but it was fun to see it from the outside!
Our final stop on the Passeig de Gracia was Casa Batllo, also designed by—you guessed it!—Gaudi. I think we should get bonus points, because the building was right next to Casa Amateller, a pretty building covered in mosaics. Casa Batllo is another of Gaudi’s famous, beautiful, and gaudy (Gaudi. Gaudy. Get it? Get it?) works. For the price of two meals (14 Euros; Barcelona needs to take a cue from London and start making art free) we got to go on a tour of the house, complete with awkward audio set.
If you thought the outside was weird, it pales in comparison to the interior of Casa Batllo. Mushroom shaped fireplaces, twisted walls, and insane asylum style white hallways made for an interesting hour and a half spent touring the building. My favorite parts were the roof (full of weirdly curving mosaic structures) and the light well, a sort of enclosed courtyard full of blue tiles and, shockingly enough, light.
It was getting dark by the time we left Casa Batllo so we headed off the main street to find a grocery store for dinner and see a few more sites. We wandered around a pretty church, got churros (I will forever regret only getting one; I think I could live off those things), and saw Casa Comalat, also by Gaudi. If you’re looking to drop a few million Euros, it’s currently for sale!
We finished the day up by walking back to the hostel, loaded with dinner supplies and tired feet. We got to see La Sagrada Familia at night, ooked dinner in our hostel kitchen (whole wheat pasta with pesto, broccoli, and onions, and a baguette), and promptly fell asleep.