Getting my Gaudi Fix in Barcelona

The next- very brief- stop on my travels was Barcelona. It was a bit of a theme in my trip, returning to places I had previously been, including Split, Slovakia (again briefly),and Prague. Despite having spent three days in Barcelona at the end of 2012, I didn't manage to fit in all the Gaudi site's I'd wanted to, so I decided that I'd spend my afternoon in the city exploring La Pedrera.

Outside La Pedrera in November 2012

I arrived at Barna Sants around 1,30pm & had given myself an hour to get from the station to La Pedrera. From Barna Sants you need to take either the green or blue line to Diagonal where, if you leave at the right exit you will come out by Starbucks on Passeig de Gracia (more or less opposite La Pedrera). I, of course, managed to come out at the wrong exit! Not all was lost, though, there was a lovely (& cheap) bakery and it was lunch time so I grabbed a bocadillo & walked in the direction I thought Passeig de Gracia would be in. I was, surprisingly, headed in the right direction only a block or so down from where I thought I should be.

Although I had been forewarned, it still shocked me to see La Pedrera under a huge white sheet. There is maintenance being done on the outside of the building, currently, to keep the fabulous tourist destination we all want to visit (hence me using the external pictures I took 18 months previously) the way we expect to find it. I still can't wrap my head around why they're doing the work during peak tourist season, though.

Me outside La Pedrera in November 2012

Having previously been to the city in the winter, it was so much busier than I expected. Not in a crazy way, but I just remember the streets being so much emptier last time. I'd sort of decided to book my ticket for La Pedrera just in case it was crowded, and I was so glad I did when I saw the crowd wrapped around the building (thanks Caitlyn, for pushing me to do that).

La Pedrera, also known as Casa Milá was built for Pere Milá. He was so impressed by the work Gaudí had done on Casa Batlló that he decided to entrust him with the project of rebuilding the three storey house he bought on Passeig de Gracia. It is architecturally innovative as it has a structure of columns and floors free of load bearing walls. The front of the building, being made from limestone, is also self- supporting. It is also where it gets it's nickname of La Pedrera, meaning "the quarry" in Catalan because of the stone appearance at the front. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

A model of La Pedrera inside the museum
The plan was that the main floor would be occupied by the Milá family and the rest would be for let. Well ahead of his time, Gaudi designed the basement to be used to house cars, it would be one of the first with this design in Barcelona. Above this, the ground floor was used for inner courtyards and entrance ways. Gaudi designed the building in a figure 8 shape, with two buildings structured around two courtyards. Always using nature, he designed them this way to let light into the nine levels through the courtyards. The next five floors were apartments to let, with the first on the main floor being that of Pere Milá and his family.

The roof terrace is particularly spectacular, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans and chimneys. All of these elements were constructed with timbrel, coated with limestone, broken glass or marble. They have a specific architectural function but Gaudí designed them to be integrated into the building and they look like incredible sculptures. It is said that one of the chimney's topped with glass pieces was finished by Gaudí the day after the building's inauguration. He is said to have taken the champagne bottles left over from the party and used the bottom's to cover the chimney.

Looking over the roof terrace

La Pedrera wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It is more of a museum than Casa Batlló is. For example, Casa Batlló is all about the architecture, which I found absolutely fascinating. La Pedrera, on the other hand, has exhibits throughout of all of Gaudí's architecture not just La Pedrera. The exhibits explain how he built things and even how he planned them, including an upside down chain version of La Sagrada Familia. Inside there is also a mock up of what an apartment there would have looked like, too.

I want one these in my house today!

Not only were there exhibits about places we all know about, like Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, there are exihibits about his other works that I hadn't even heard of! I thought visiting La Pedrera would be the end of my Gaudí obsession in Barcelona, but it turns out that it's just the start. Now I'm looking for an excuse to go back and visit Casa Vicens, Palau Guell and Casa Calvet!

Our bucket lists never get shorter.

Have you visited any of the new locations I want to see? Tell me about them in the comments!




Liked this post? Follow me on social media!

     

Comments

  1. Ah I just love Barcelona! It has everything, great sights, delicious food and wine, lovely beach, and awesome shopping! :) Did you visit the Parc Guell? Love that park, especially the beautiful mosaic salamander.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I visited Parc Guell the first time I went in November. You're so right, Barcelona is such a great city!

      Delete
  2. I go to Barcelona every year and stay about a two blocks from there. Gaudi's masterpieces are my favorite part of the city! Great Sunday Traveler! :) - Heather, Life of a Traveling Navy Wife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! And wow, you lucky thing, is that through the navy that you end up there?

      Delete
  3. I saw the Sagrada Familia when I was in Barcelona, but sadly that was all we had time for. Those Ryanair flights from London for the weekend don't leave much time for too much exploring when you arrive late at night and leave before the crack of dawn! I love Gaudi's work though - his creativity is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try EasyJet next time, I flew with them from Bristol & my flights were pretty decent times :) or have a look for any Vueling flights ;)
      Gaudí is incredible, a friend said to me a few days ago how we look at his work now and think of how innovative it is when, actually, most of this stuff has been built for over 100 years-- can you imagine what people must've thought when he started building things like that! Crazy!

      Delete
  4. I want to go to Barcelona so bad to see all the Gaudi sites!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gaudi was definitely one of my favorite parts of BCN. Unfortunately I did not go to the top of La Pedrera the last time I was in the city, so hopefully the next time I return the restoration will be complete and I will also go to the top :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so! I, like you, only visited this place on my second visit :)

      Delete
  6. Ohhh I wanna go here. DO you think Barcelona with a toddler is a good or bad idea?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think it would depend what you did. Like Mount Tibidabo (which I have yet to do) would be perfect with Vlad, and Barceloneta beach is pretty- even to Aussie's, I think. I think if you went peak season then things like Passeig de Gracia (where Casa Batlló & Casa Mila are) would be too crowded, and maybe even Las Ramblas, tho' I didn't spend a massive amount of time there.... There were definitely families wandering around whilst I was there.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Discovering the Golden Circle with Time Tours Iceland

Fuerteventura Facts, Introducing the Island I lived On

Packing List: Iceland