Bewildering Barcelona


gaudiI probably forgot more about Antoni Gaudi since 1967 than I remembered. How familiar are you with him? Look at the projects below. Aren’t they confounding? I’m not sure what I think of him. I admire his creativity but don’t really understand where his foundation and principles come from. The best explanations were  at the church Sagrada Familia. I write about it in the first paragraph. Besides that room with presentations about math and nature, the area below the church (the crypt) also had extensive material with original models about the construction. I did happen upon a guide giving a good demonstration. I respect Gaudi for his design originality but wonder what it would be like to live with. I keep comparing it to Disney but with Disney, at least, I understand the references. Gaudi’s work seems surreal. Even psychedelic. Yet he appears to have been a very conventional man, unlike his fellow Catalonian, Salvador Dali.

Let’s talk about my education concerning Catalonia. One word: anemic.  There was just so much that I learned on this trip, things I probably should have known but didn’t. I want to do more traveling. I love Barcelona but I don’t plan to go back there. I want to go to Istanbul. Berlin. I doubt I will ever be ready for China or Japan. Maybe Bali. Life is short.

Casa Batlló

Tourism is a big industry in Barcelona and they are well prepared. My first exploration was on their Hop On/ Hop Off bus. They claim it makes 44 stops. I got on the Blue Line (see map left) at 11 AM and made only three stops–all Gaudi. (Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Parc Guell) My day ended at sunset, culminating with a 45 minute last leg that gave me a good overview of the extended city.

The first stop was Casa Batllo. The lines to get in were very long so I just walked around the block which has four of five other excellent examples of Modernisme design. The next night, I was told by some others who did go in that day, that it was uncomfortably crowded inside, claustrophobic. They felt there should have been timed tickets– as at Casa Mila, Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia. A friend had told me to go to the second floor of the hardware store around the block; there I had a private view of the back of the building and its courtyard.


The roof is arched and likened to the back of a dragon. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of center, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.
You can read more about Casa Batllo here: