Tim Burton Meets Hansel and Gretel Meets Walt Disney
The Spanish have quite a sense of whimsy and humor. Think Salvador Dali and his melting watches,and the car outside his museum where it rains inside the car. You have not seen Barcelona unless you have visited Antoni Gaudi’s Guell Park, several of his buildings, and ultimately the fascinating (and still incomplete) La Sagrada Familia, the cathedral he designed.
Briefly, the Guell Park was sponsored by Gaudi’s frequent patron Eusebi Guell. Imagine Tim Burton meeting Hansel and Gretel and you get a glimmer of what this park is like. Originally, the design was to be a planned community. Sitting at the top of a hill overlooking Barcelona and the Mediterranean, the view is spectacular. Bring a lunch or buy one at the cafe and sit on the curvilinear bench which surrounds the park. It’s made of Gaudi’s signature tiny, colorful mosaics. There are sea themes throughout the park; another one of his trademarks. Still another is his willingness to forgo corners. He uses no straight lines.
My favorite building to visit is Casa Batllo, although many disagree. His Casa Mila is more well-known and some say a better design. I don’t think so. The best view of Casa Batllo is from across the street. The facade is completely made of wrought iron and mosaics that glitter and change throughout the day as the pieces catch the different lights and shadows. That view is free. But pay the small fee and take the tour to go inside. The rooftop alone is worth the price of admission. Walt Disney must have visited here and been inspired. There is a dragon’s back made of sparking tile and ceramics. There is a ceramic cross that shines and glints in the sun. Chimneys are made of more ceramics and tiny colored pieces form abstracts that seem to dance in the light.
Inside, sea themes predominate, as do archways, parabolas, and curves, curves, curves. It’s an easy walk from here to Casa Mila. They are both worth seeing.