After our wedding high, we packed up our things and headed off to Barcelona in search of Gaudi!
We went with Mr TUQ’s sisters who had kindly been granted us a pass to come on this leg of their trip without their partners and kiddies. And no, they weren’t crashing our honeymoon… technically we were crashing their holiday. It sounded so good that we couldn’t resist tagging along!
I’ve always wanted to see Gaudi’s works and so the trip was definitely a Gaudi extravaganza. Unfortunately we only had a few days so our little legs couldn’t possibly take us to see all the Gaudi buildings. That just means there is a very good reason to come back, doesn’t it?!
With all that walking, you also work up an appetite of course! Mr TUQ’s sisters are also massive foodies so I had to jot down some of the places we stopped in at for some delicious Catalan food!
Some crazy #fambam time!
We got up early one morning and used our basic Spanish to get a taxi up to Park Guell.
Parc Guell is actually named after the entrepreneur Eusebi Guell. Apparently he and Gaudi were chums, having worked on many projects before. In the 1900s Guell commissioned Gaudi to design a local park for some houses that were going to be dotted around the site. Unfortunately only two houses were ever built on the site but their ‘local park’ has turned into an UNESCO heritage site.
And thank goodness for that! The first thing we spotted were the two cute little gingerbread houses that sat at the front of the gate. The colours, the cute gingerbread houses, the viewing platform – oh me, oh my!
If Parc Guell was a fairy tale, it would definitely be Hansel and Gretel… Minus the scary woods and witch!
Without seeing a witch in sight, we headed up to the viewing platform which has the snake looking balcony covered in bright mosaic tiles. You could literally spend hours inspecting all the tiles and shapes.
Half the viewing platform was under construction but it was still a magnificent sight! It just meant that it was a bit squishy since everyone was competing for a glorious selfie!
Since we had skipped breakfast, our bellies were rumbling and so we opted to hunting for some brunch instead of walking around the rest of the gardens. I’d love to go back when the viewing platform has been restored and also visit Gaudi house in the gardens too – something to keep on the bucket list!
La Sagrada Familia
For the sheer size, effort and architectural craziness, this had to be my favourite Gaudi building. The building wasn’t made for the ‘Sagrada’ family as I ignorantly thought! The temple is actually a dedication to the Holy Family.
When Gaudi died in 1926, it was less than a quarter complete. And no, it’s not finished yet! This year was the 135th anniversary since the first stone was laid – that should give you a good indication of the scale and detail involved in this masterpiece. Apparently it’s going to be ‘finished’ in 2026 which is the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
Because we hadn’t done enough walking (we were clocking 25,000 steps a day!), we decided to go up to the tower on the Nativity facade. Luckily there was a lift that shot us straight up to the tip of the tower. When the doors opened and we were right onto a tiny little footpath that led us from one part of the tower to the other.
We got some glimpses of the city, the sea and the construction going on around the building.
Then it was basically 350 stairs single file in a circle all the way down. Probably not an enjoyable experience if you’re scared of heights or if you’re knees are not in good order!
Once we’d stopped feeling dizzy, we went for a walk around the Basilica. Gaudi said that colour was the expression of life and it certainly did feel almost angelic! The sun was streaming through the huge stained glass windows and almost dancing around the floor.
A truly beautiful sight which had me fluttering around in the light!
La Pedrera – Casa Mila
Casa Mila is another Gaudi masterpiece that we were lucky enough to see. It’s nick name is La Pedrera which translates as stone quarry – take a look below and you’ll see why!
La Pedrera was commissioned by the Roser Segimon and her husband Pere Milà (hence the name). They lived in a lavish main floor and rented out the rest of the building to wealthy tenants. Today people actually rent out majority of the apartments as offices – pretty lucky workers I’d say!
Of course, this wasn’t any ordinary apartment block. The middle of the building is actually hollow, allowing light and air to come through to all the apartment blocks.
It may not be as colourful as other Gaudi buildings but you can see Gaudi’s touch throughout. The undulating shape of the building is similar to the snake at Parc Guell and the sculptures on the roof are tiled with broken glass, marble and lime. Oh did I mention it’s free from load bearing walls on all floors? It’s a renovators delight! 🙂
The most outstanding part of Casa Mila was definitely the rooftop. Not only do you get amazing views of the city but you also get glimpses of the other Gaudi buildings. The roof feels like a dessert but tiles shimmer in the sunshine and the sun moves throughout the sculptures as the sun sets. Nothing is just for show either. The sculptures on the roof are ventilation towers and chimneys. No air-con required!
#kissesontherooftop #honeymooners 😉
Where we ate:
Ciudad Condal (or Cuitat Contal): A fabulous tapas restaurant recommended by our friends as the best tapas they had in Barcelona. We had to line up for over an hour and didn’t sit down until 9:30pm by which time my stomach was about to eat itself… BUT trust me it was definitely worth the wait. Definitely try the crab on toast and the hot chips with oozy egg and iberica ham!
7 Portes: Another excellent recommendation for a seafood paella. We also had the cannelloni with truffles which were simple divine. Washing down with a bottle or rose and we were in heaven!
Satan’s Coffee: Good coffee is usually hard to come past in Europe so we were very happy to stumble across this gem! The coffee is strong,
La Luna: Right by the Cathedral, this is a great restaurants that serves hearty meals. We had delicious seafood soup, lamb chops and fried calamari.
El Nacional: This is a great place to have a drink with its Gatsby x British Colonial architecture style. I’d refrain from eating here though as our meal at the seafood restaurant was expensive and not very nice.
Chök: Great for donuts, cronuts and chocolate. Don’t go if you’re diabetec… if you do go, you might end up diabetec… but let me tell you it was worth it!
Xuerria Banys Nouse: I’m not usually into desserts but these dulce de leche donuts were out of this world!
Bubo: More cakes for the cake queen (Damien’s sister in law)! I don’t have any recommendations because all the cakes are amazing here! And we did a pretty good job at trying most of them!
Now I hope I’ve convinced you that you should go on a Gaudi trip to Barcelona! Book your ticket and go immerse yourself in these beautiful sights!