No visit to the City of Barcelona is complete without a visit to Casa Batlló. The Antoni Gaudi Modernist Museum.
My short solo stay in the city meant some meticulous planning was in order, to situate me in the location I wanted to be, for the duration of my visit. One of the main reasons for this was my desire to explore the influence and architecture of Antoni Gaudi on a visit to Casa Batlló, somewhere I have wanted to go for years and with the flights from Southend Airport available on a regular basis – a location within easy reach for a mini-break.
Enthralled by the beauty of the building in photographs, as I turned the corner into the wide Passeig de Gracia, a smile rose on my face, as if meeting a familiar friend-the shimmering facade reminding me of the Paua shells of New Zealand – my most favourite place in the world. The building did not disapoint.
Casa Maca Guesthouse, my place to stay for the duration, only a ten minute walk away from this magical, colourful building and four stops on the train from the airport, making it quick and easy to spend the evening here.
Casa Batlló’s undulating & inspiring architecture drew me in ever deeper, as the underwater gardens and tropical fish encountered on my dives in Koh Tao back in 2007 (Although the building was built much earlier, between 1904 – 1906.) floated their way to the forefront of my mind, as I listened with interest to the educational audio, guiding me like a ballroom dancer from room to room, pointing out details not necessarily noticed, if without.
But only in the past decade or so have we begun to understand how wavelengths of light (and therefore color) appear at different depths and how various marine creatures’ eyes perceive this light and see each other—far differently than humans see them. National Geographic.
Did Antoni Gaudi have an understanding of this, way before the Scientists studying the reefs?
The history behind the house began to come alive with the commentary. I found myself staring at the colours and the shapes, draping my hand round the stair rails to try and personally embrace the history and beauty unfolding before my eyes.
The museum was busy but not so busy that I didn’t have space and time to reflect quietly alone, the magic and feel of the texture, its contours and the way that light played with your eyes, both inside and outside the building.
From the outside, the windows appeared as if wearing Masquerade Ball Masks and the undersea world seemed to have influenced the architect greatly and once I’d visited, it became quite easy to notice the Gaudi touch as I wandered the city alone on my last day.
The building is crowned with a spectacular roof which, being composed of large scales, looks like a dragon’s back. It also has a tower, and rising from this is a cross with four arms pointing north, south, east and west.
I stayed to experience the joy of listening to the sounds of the Magic Night – sitting outside in the warmth of a balmy late summer evening – being serenaded along with many others by live music and enjoying a freshly made nutella crepe to fill my rumbling belly.
As I was alone I stayed to one side near the rear of the event. Contented and making friends with the female Crepe Maker and knowing my walk home – although later in the evening in an unknown city, was only ten minutes away. My confidence had steadily been growing as I’d wandered the Catalan city streets. I felt at home, it felt familiar. That feeling and reason becoming clear before my departure, something I will share with you in another post.
There are many places to visit in Barcelona to experience the work of Gaudi, but for me it has always been fantastical Casa Batlló which has fascinated and due to its location and my wonderful find in the Casa Maca Guesthouse close by, I felt able to absorb and enjoy the moments spent there.