Barcelona, Spain – September 2015

Camp Nou Stadium, Gaudi Landmarks: Casa Calvet, Casa Battlo, Casa Mila, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell / Travel Photography

Barcelona, Spain - September 2015 / Travel Diary

Barcelona, which can be talked about and thought of for hours, revealed itself to us in many ways: beautiful and sunny, fresh and invigorating, rainy and romantic, delicious and exhilarating.

An essential part of the itinerary was visiting Camp Nou stadium – the largest stadium in Europe and Spain, and also the home ground of FC Barcelona, a club that has long become a symbol and pride of Catalonia. My first experience of watching a football match at the stadium turned out to be very captivating: with trembling hands in critical moments and goosebumps with every excitement on the field.

After the match, it was great to simply wander around the old town, without following any specific route, meandering through narrow historic streets, periodically returning to the Gothic Quarter, as if drawn by a magnet. The old city is filled with vintage shops, designer stores, tapas bars, and other interesting places that seemed to beckon me to enter intuitively; you pass by some, you step into others, linger somewhere for a cup of tea or some tapas. Sometimes, in travels, it’s enjoyable not to stick to a strict plan but to freely let go and move intuitively.

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The next day, we dedicated ourselves entirely to Gaudi and his creations.

Only one city in the world can offer travelers the opportunity to visually explore the work of an architect whose creations evoke both delight and magnetism, amazement and contradictions. In his approach to building and design, he managed to surprise spectators and provide builders with a plethora of unconventional technological techniques. That city is Barcelona. And the architect’s name is Antonio Gaudi.

Places on the itinerary: Casa Calvet, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Park Guell.

To avoid any confusion, the central point of Barcelona is not only precisely defined but also neatly drawn on Plaça de Catalunya. Feeling the firm ground beneath our feet as a reference point makes it much easier to navigate the area. Starting the stroll from this square, the heart of Barcelona, sets the beginning for numerous tourist routes.

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Casa Calvet

Casa Calvet is made of bright stone with lace-like wrought iron balcony railings. Antonio Gaudi built this masterpiece in just two years. Currently, Casa Calvet is a residential building, so only the external facades are accessible for viewing, but there is still much to admire: the smooth roof lines, atypical for “later” Gaudi, elongated windows, and magnificent elements adorning the bay window.

Address: Carrer de Casp, 48

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló, formerly a house built in 1875, underwent a complete transformation in 1904 by the ingenious architect Antonio Gaudí, at the request of the textile industrialist Josep Batlló i Casanovas. Only the side walls of the old structure were preserved. As for the external appearance of Casa Batlló, it underwent radical changes. Two entirely new facades were erected, astonishing with their extraordinary design and relief. The residents of Barcelona gave Casa Batlló another name — House of Bones, as its exterior at first glance resembles a skeleton, with balconies resembling skulls, and columns resembling bones. Thanks to Gaudí’s boundless imagination, botanical and animal forms came together, manifested in stone. The abundance of decorative details complements the unique image of Casa Batlló.

Address: Passeig de Gracia, 43

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Casa Milà

Casa Milà – Continuing three blocks up Passeig de Gracia street, on the opposite side of the street, we see another masterpiece by the great Master – Casa Milà, which is the architect’s last commission. Built on the request of Pere Milà, the structure was intended to be a profitable house. Nowadays, Casa Milà is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited places in Spain. Thanks to Gaudí’s unique style, the house turned out to be truly exceptional. Milà wanted to have an extraordinary stone house, unlike any other, and that is exactly how Casa Milà was born – a stone structure that is at the same time light and airy.

Address: Passeig de Gracia 92.

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Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família is perhaps the most famous and visited landmark in Barcelona. The construction of one of the most extraordinary buildings in Europe began back in 1882 and is still not completed. The first architect working on the appearance of Sagrada Família was Francisco del Villar. However, already in 1883, the work was taken over by Antoni Gaudí. Building the Sagrada Família became the work of his life. In his creative process, he declared war on straight lines, which he considered unnatural. Therefore, a completely unique style was developed for Sagrada Família.

The cathedral was intended to have the shape of a Latin cross. 18 towers were meant to crown the building, and all the decorative elements were to symbolize the Gospels and church rituals.

It is advisable to plan a visit to the cathedral and Park Güell in advance, as tickets are sold for specific time slots. The most convenient way to purchase tickets is on the official website, as online tickets are cheaper, and it helps the government manage the queues and organize the flow of tourists.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona.

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Park Güell

Park Güell – a masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí, with magical “gingerbread houses” and winding benches covered in colorful mosaic. This work is the forerunner of the Sagrada Família cathedral, for the construction of which the architect dedicated the last 40 years of his life – be prepared to be impressed by this experience.

Address: Carrer d’Olot, 7.

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