Day #11,578 (Barcelona, Spain): Having fallen hopelessly in love with architect Antoni Gaudí the day before, I scrapped all plans for a diversified trip (sometimes it’s overrated, friends) and determined there to be but one way to spend my last few hours in the city of Barthaylona.
I hadn’t planned on visiting Casa Batlló, thinking that two Gaudí masterpieces (Casa Milà & La Sagrada Familia) would be enough to saturate my architectural attention span. But sometimes you gotta go where the travel winds blow.
Just like that, the whimsically enchanting facade of Casa Batlló instantly altered my travel plans. (The Passeig de Gràcia seems determined to peak your interest, at the very least… just next door from Casa Batlló is a stunning, oft-ignored house with an equally interesting story, told here by two of my most favorite travel bloggers, James & Terri!)
Not about to disappoint, the interior of Casa Batlló was a wonderland of nature immortalized in architectural form.
The curving lines, the undulating reflection of light off the blue & seafoam tiles… standing in the inner courtyard felt a bit like swimming underwater.
I turned unexpectedly to find myself looking into Gaudí’s courtyard through tempered glass:
Even elements that didn’t feel immediately organic held a profound sense of magic.
I don’t know if he himself considered it a strong suit, but Gaudí knew how to make one kick-ass roof. It’s not certain what his exact intents were in the design, but legend has it that the colorful rooftop of Casa Batlló was made to look like a dragon’s back, with the single cross turret meant to signify the sword wielded by the city’s patron saint, St George.
Although I could’ve allowed myself to get completely lost in the architectural wonderland, I was determined not to be the person who did nothing but “Gaudí” during my entire stay in Barcelona.
Mr. M suggested that our last Spanish adventure before leaving for Morocco be getting ourselves heartily lost in the labyrinthine alleyways of Barcelona’s old Barri Gòtic neighborhood.
We found ourselves in the midst of a Sunday Farmer’s Market…
… in front of a beautiful cathedral on the Plaça de la Seu…
… and wandering into a chocolate shop (or xocolata, as it’s termed in Catalan) for a sweet treat.
I’m guilty of over-planning many of our international trips. I can’t help wanting to maximize my time in travel, in adventure, and in life.
But whether wonderland consists of a serpentine maze of medieval alleyways or strangely enchanting architecture… it can be beautiful falling down a rabbit hole to surreal places previously unknown.
The world really is curiouser and curiouser.
Explore my previous day’s adventure finding “wow” in Gaudi’s most famous architecture!
Explore the second half of Day #11,578 discovering that Casablanca is vastly less exciting than Hollywood would have us believe.
You Can Do It, Too!
Even if the unique facade doesn’t catch your attention, the crowds in front of Casa Batlló (Passeig de Gràcia, 43) will. Prepare for a wait to buy your entrance tickets (which include a free audiotour), but know the wait is well worth it!
After visiting Casa Batllo, simply follow the Passeig de Gràcia down to the Barri Gòtic. Then throw your map away. It’s much more fun that way, and you can always follow fellow visitors back to the main Plaça de la Seu square.