Barcelona- the city where the Cheetah Girls strutted it like they meant it.
The weekend after the busiest weekend, I left for Barcelona with a trusty gang of friends. Bags in hand and airplane-ready, we got on the plane with sky-high (ha ha) hopes of a great weekend in a great city.
We got to the city, dropped our bags off at the hostel, and got ready to explore the town a little bit. Things we casually walked by in our exploratory night.
That’s the great thing about this country. Wherever you may be, there are peaceful plazas, Roman ruins, or numerous cathedrals that could be discovered at any nook of the city.
Barcelona was a city with a lot of mixture. Some parts of the city (like barrio gotic, for example) felt very Chicago, with its tall, old, neutral-colored buildings. Other parts of the city felt more modern and colorful (and even so, Gaudí’s buildings stood out like a sore thumb!). This blend was even more palpable with the diversity of the people I saw (there were actually other Asian people!) and diversity of restaurants (sushi restaurants, Ethiopian, vegetarian, etc), which were all things that are rarer to see in the Andalusian area. Of course there was the fact that a lot of people spoke Catalan there, which was a foreign experience.
After getting some drinks at an Irish bar and listening to people do karaoke we went to bed and woke up early to go to la Sagrada Familia, a grandiose Catholic Basilica dreamt up by the man himself, Antoni Gaudí. Giving up on the long line and failing to find a good time for the online ticket sales, however, we decided to come back the next day. Ignoring the itinerary we had made, we improvised, deciding to go to Park Guell, another great work of art by Gaudí. Of course, the park in itself was absolutely striking. But the anticipation I felt seeing Vicky Christina Barcelona the night before made seeing this park all the more fulfilling.
After taking a million photos and appreciating Gaudí’s genius, we continued our Gaudí walk, seeing various buildings he had constructed:
After seeing only the exterior of the first two houses, we decided to splurge on the interior tour of Casa Batlló. Everything I saw that day felt extremely surreal. After learning about these houses in my culture class at the centro, I was getting the chance to see them in person. In addition to being visually eclectic, the details in the audio tour guide put me in a state of disbelief. A sample of the pieces of information that make this place an artistic achievement of the ages:
- Much of the house is inspired by the sea and the animals that live in it. Therefore the “skull” balconies, bones, curves, colors, all follow this theme.
- Not only are the designs in this place imaginative, but they are also very functional. For example, the chimneys on the roof actually function, despite their curvy shape.
- The blue tiles that surround the staircase of the house go from light to dark blue, not only giving this “sea” a realistic gradation, but also deflecting the skylight at the appropriate parts.
- The glass window that covers the staircase area is meant to make you feel as if you were under the sea.