I’m not sure how many couples out there go travelling independent of one another but my husband and I every few years take separate vacations from time to time and I feel we are the better for it. Since I took two vacations this year without him, one to PEI and one to the Soo (Sault Ste Marie) with a good friend of mine, it is now his turn for adventure.
He is going to travel to London, England to visit with a good friend of his from New Zealand who he met in Vancouver where they worked together. He now lives in the U.K. with a lovely wife and three kids. My husband is also going to Barcelona, Spain for four days on his own to relax and check out different tourist places, and I have naturally been chosen to arrange it all which I don’t mind doing because I learn a lot; however, I am a bit jealous of his trip as I have only passed through Barcelona and have not really experienced the City. I have given him explicit instructions to take lots of photos.
Of course, one of the chief reasons tourists visit this City is for the Gaudi architecture, not to be confused with gaudy. Below is a little info on the man and his distinctive style.
Antoni Gaudí, (born June 25, 1852, Reus, Spain—died June 10, 1926, Barcelona) was a Catalan architect, whose distinctive style is characterized by freedom of form, voluptuous colour and texture, and organic unity.
At 73 years of age he was hit by a Barcelona tram on the street on Monday 7th June 1926. Gaudí died 3 days later in hospital suffering from broken ribs, a bruise on his right leg and severe internal bleeding
Below are some examples of his most notable works but there are plenty more to see if you have the time.
Casa Milá (La Pedrera)
Also referred to as “the stone quarry” due to its unusual rough-hewn appearance, Casa Milá is one of Barcelona’s most popular modernist buildings.
UNESCO recognized this building as World Heritage in 1984. Casa Mila (1906-1912) is Antoni Gaudi’s most iconic work of civic architecture due to both its constructional and functional innovations, as well as its ornamental and decorative solutions. It is a total work of art. «Man makes art for man and hence it must be rational.» Many people recommend that you see this at night to take in the light show.
Parc Güell (Park Güell)
It was built between 1900 and 1914 and today is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. This is a garden complex that houses a series of dynamically designed buildings, including Gaudí’s house. It is here where Gaudí perfected his personal style, which was greatly inspired by organic shapes (his naturalist phase)
Casa Batlló is the result of a total restoration in 1904 of an old conventional house built in 1877. Gaudí used for it typical constructive elements of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau movement) that include ceramics, stone, and forged iron.
Even though it was highly criticized by the city during construction due to its radical design which contravened all the bylaws of the city, in 1906 the Barcelona City Council awarded it the recognition of being one of the three best buildings of the year.
The building is so irregular that there are few straight lines in it and much of the façade is decorated with a colorful mosaic, known as trencadís, made of broken ceramic tiles.
La Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is the most famous of Gaudí’s works – his masterpiece. This church has been in construction since 1892, and it’s not expected to be finished until 2026 — to commemorate the centenary of Gaudí’s death.
Construction of Sagrada Familia started in 1882 under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, but by 1883 Villar resigned, giving Gaudí the opportunity to take over as chief architect.
If you decide you’d like to go to Spain, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go to Montserrat which is approximately 30 miles from Barcelona and can be reached by any manner of ways – train, car, bus, private tour, taxi, helicopter, etc. This was the problem as I couldn’t decide whether to book my husband on a structured tour and being rushed or let him make his own way to the Metro and get his own ticket when he wanted to go. So I am leaving this decision to him but I would go!
After driving through picturesque little villages, you arrive at the incomparable setting of the mountain of Montserrat, which rises majestically to 4,051 feet (1,236 meters).
Here you will find the Royal Basilica of Montserrat, which holds the famous 12th century Romanesque carving of Virgen Moreneta, the Black Madonna. Discover how pilgrims and visitors contributed to the spread of stories of miracles and wonders performed by the Virgin. Learn how the Royal Basilica has become and still remains one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain one thousand years after it was originally founded.
I know my husband will take photos of the architecture for me and he enjoys it but he is more of a sports nut so expect he will take in the FC Barcelona stadium or enjoy an exclusive experience at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the wheel of a GT. These emblematic, high-performance cars -Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini..- are what any motor sport fan would love to have and drive at least once in a lifetime; that is of course if I tell him about it.
He may just want to wander the different districts at his leisure and stop in for tapas and a beer in whatever establishment catches his fancy. Or possibly the world famous paella and cava. I will be home shoveling the snow and cranking the heat and wishing I were there but fair is fair! …boy that was hard to write… I hope he has a great time and can’t wait to see his photos!
Note: After his trip I will post where he stayed and what he found attractive about the City and where he found good food and beer or wine