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Barcelona. A is for Architecture. B is for Batllo’

C is probably for the Casa part of Casa Batllo?

In English we have the word ‘gaudy’:¬†extravagantly showy, bright, tasteless.

In Spain, they have Gaudi’ (try to rhyme the first syllable with cow): definitley extravagant, definitely showy and bright, and undoubtably not to everyone’s taste.

 

For those of you not yet in the loop, Antoni Gaudi is a Catalan architect who was alive from 1852 to 1926, and who managed in that time to make a rather splendid impression on the city of Barcelona (and the world), with his unique style of what I’m going to call ‘Art Nouveau Nouveau’.

Casa Batllo’ is one of his more famous works- originally an actual house for a presumably-fairly-wealthy family, now open as some kind of a museum designed to celebrate its own grandeur.

The building and its contents are as an enthusiastic salute to the beauty of nature: lots of curvy undulating lines, natural light, and shifting colours.

Some of the design features are quite direct in this ‘symbolic’ imitation: windows looked like turtle shells, fireplaces were shaped like mushrooms….

 

These images are from the ‘videoguide’, that you can hire for I think 4 euros extra or so. As you move the screen around, it matches your current view to a virtual world, where original furniture graces the rooms, and art revitalises, to become the life it imitates.

Above, you can see part of an animation where the fireplace becomes a mushroom, that then collapses in on itself in a puff of smoke/spores.

 

 

 

 

I quite like the tessalated floor tiles…

.. and blue tiles are always good- although I have a feeling that the Turkish do it better

 

 

But the best view is on the roof. And not only from the roof…

 

… but the actual roof itself

 

It has something of a sandcastle element to it don’t you think it?

 

 

(By the way, look at those blue skies! Current me – dealing with a sun that sets just after 4 pm- is a little jealous of past me).

Here’s the front of the house again with masks/a dragon/a dinosaur depending on your interpretation (and imagination!)

We ended up staying at the Casa for only about an hour or so, because we had a ‘date’ to keep with the Walking Tour people for the afternoon.

 

I’m going to be honest with you, the tour was pretty bad.

We bought the Barcelona Card- which gave us the tour as ‘free’ as part of it. But I think that perhaps city-organised tours don’t have the same ‘capitalist push’ to be interesting- especially compared to something like the Free Walking Tour system, where the guide is trying to maximise his tips (his only form of payment!).

This guide kept making jokes about ‘only having to listen to him for another ‘x’ minutes. Which was pretty awkward, given that we literally were¬†counting the minutes.

 

 

At one point, Andy and I managed to get lost, and then- aided by only a rough ‘tour map’ and the relative crackle of our short-distance radio, found our way back to the group.

Sadly- the most exciting part of the tour.

Luckily, being Barcelona, it was a lovely day, and the architecture was amazing.

 

 

 

Andy- he’s never found a book he hasn’t tried to read.

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure that this guy is Ferdinand the Bull. If you don’t know who that is, you probably should go and read this- right now.

Above- abstract art in the style of Play School (There’s a Chair In There)

And, we arrived back at the beginning:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My horizons are crooked again, but let us all just pretend that the building is basking in the lingering sunlight shall we?

 

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