Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Modernisme Monday

We spent most of Monday exploring the Eixample district of Barcelona where a large number of Antoni Gaudi designed structures are located. Gaudi was the most famous of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) artists, although other Modernisme architects are also well represented in Barcelona.
We began at the Block of Discord, a one block long stretch of houses designed by these architects in a type of architectural competition. Included in this block is Gaudi's Casa Batllo which is open to the public. We opted to visit the larger Casa Mila (also by Gaudi) a few blocks away. Here we saw the lovely entrance courtyard, the rooftop with the Modernisme chimneys, and the attic formed by a series of arches used to support the roof.
Next we boarded the Bus Turistic for a short ride to our next stop, Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's most famous work. Construction on this very massive, ornate, and over the top church began in 1883 and remains unfinished today. Since my last visit in 1992, I have noticed a lot of progress.  Gaudi was killed when he was run over by a tram on his way home from the construction site in 1926, and many of his drawings and plans were destroyed by bombs during the Second World War.  New architects and craftsmen are adding their own mark to this amazing structure while keeping Gaudi's original concept in mind.
Returning to our hop-on hop-off bus, we toured more of L'Eixample and some of the surrounding neighborhoods including the University district, the Royal Palace, and the 100,000 person capacity FC (football club) Barcelona stadium (soccer to us).
For dinner we ate at Qu Qu, a close to the hotel tapas bar and restaurant recommended by Paul and Libby. The tapas were very good, but the main courses less so. Go for the tapas.
This was a busy day filled with some of the most unusual architecture we have ever seen.

Travel tip: When visiting Barcelona and if you have any interest in art, purchase the Articket, which gives you admission to 6 museums, including the Picasso, Casa Mila, and the Joan Miro museum. All three had long lines to buy tickets, but the Articket allows you to skip the lines. Nice, I say.    

1 comment:

Paul said...

I didn't even know Qu Qu had main courses. :-)

BTW, I ate at Jaleo (thought of you guys while munching on my tapas) and Art & Soul (Art Smith's place in DC) this week. Both were very good... though my heart was more into the tapas.