Barcelona: An Aesthetic City

September 6, 2015
Is Cambridge Worth it?
November 23, 2015

If you still remember the well-known fairy tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’, you will definitely remember the ‘Candy House’. My feeling towards Barcelona was like Hansel and Gretel seeing a cottage built of gingerbread and cakes, with window panes of candies. The architecture of the famous buildings in Barcelona is enchanting. With the astonishing view from the cable car, outstanding architecture, appetizing seafood paella, it was absolutely a thrilling adventure.

“Day after day, life goes on once the gates of the market in La Rambla have opened.” – Neus Vidal Pons, Trader at La Boqueria

Boqueria Market

I never had a good impression of the market. For me, market stinks. I am not a fan of having the dirty wet floor greeted my toes and shouts among traders luring the customers to their stalls.  Thus, I remained sceptical about Barcelona’s famous local market – Boqueria Market.

There was no harm to pay a visit as our hotel was just a throw stone away. Stepping into Boqueria Market, I immediately understood why people love this market. It’s not like any other markets which I had in mind. If you like a market, I think you will definitely love this. The entrance to Boqueria Market is free. Thus, you can stay as long as you want.

The market is indeed a place to start gastronomic adventures. It displays all phases of the food chain, from fishes to fruits, from candies to wine. The market slowly filled up with the customers echoing from one corner to the next. Everyone was vying and straining to see the latest offers.

We were pretty hungry in the morning without having our breakfast. And, with the aroma of pastries and cakes emitting from the bakery, it really tickled all my taste buds. We followed the smell of the greasy, fatty burgers and sizzling bacon which led us to a small cafeteria. It was amazing to sit in the middle of the busiest market, looking at the customers bargaining for the best deals with the traders.  It was fun to walk in Boqueria Market, enjoying the best showcase of the ingredient in the city.

Casa Batllo

Have you ever lived in a shell?  Casa Batllo looks like one, at least for me. Personally, I love Gaudi’s work, his masterpieces are always full of surprises. Casa Batllo stands out from the other shops. It has a roof which is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. Since Casa Batllo is a famous tourist spot, the entrance is definitely not free of charge. However, if you’re a student, you will get a better deal.

The general ticket for:

Adult (+18) = 21.50EURO
Juniors (7-18) =18.50EURO
Students (with card) = 18.50EURO
Seniors (+65) = 18.50EURO
Residents  (Prov. BCN) = 15EURO
Children (-7) = Free

After making the payment, we were given technologies which combine augmented reality and virtual elements to offer a better cultural visit concept. Casa Batllo has a local name – Case deis ossos, which means House of Bones. It makes sense as if you watch this building from far, it seems like it was formed by a skeleton.

Each part of the building is labelled with a number. By following the number, we first arrived at the Noble floor which has skylights resembling tortoise shells. It has the stained-glass windows fit perfectly into the vaulted walls in curving shapes. With the sunlight shining through the window, the windows with different shades of blue help to soften the daylight, producing colour turquoise. In colour psychology, turquoise heals emotions creating stability. Thus, you can feel the calm and tranquillity in Noble Floor. We followed the crowd and came to The Atrium, which Gaudi managed to expand the central well of the building to let in light. It was decorated with blue and green mosaic.

Following the stairway, we reached the loft. The loft has a completely different design. The colour of the wall is white rather than blue and it was designed to represent the ribcage of an animal. There are people believe that Gaudi used the idea of “ribcage” to reflect the dragon’s spine which matches the design of the roof. Reaching the top, we saw four colourful chimney stacks on the roof, decorated with ceramic tiles. I like the chimney the most, it has shown the boundless imagination of Gaudi in designing a building. The architecture of his masterpieces can never be boring.

Casa Batlló

The Sagrada Familia

“It is not a disappointment that I will not be able to finish the temple. I will grow old, but others will come after me. What must be always preserved in the spirit of the work; its life will depend on the generations that transmit this spirit and bring it to life.” —— A. Gaudí I have been to a couple of churches but this – Sagrada Familia is beyond astonishment.

We took a Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus in Barcelona City to Sagrada Familia which cost us around £18 each. Click here to view the route. Since Sagrada Familia wasn’t our first stop, we reached Sagrada Familia around lunch time.

The queue was long and we estimated it could take us 1 to 2 hours just to buy the ticket. Instead of queuing up like the other tourists, we popped into a café nearby so that we could use its wifi and buy our tickets online. So, it ended up to be a great idea as with our online tickets, we skipped the queue and entered the expiatory temple.

As we have heard about it before, Sagrada Familia is well-known for the form and expressivity of its architecture. We couldn’t believe that Antoni Gaudi, the famous architect in Barcelona had worked for 43 years on this temple. Gaudi had used the concept of natural elements to express his Christian belief.

Every single part of the temple represents something. We walked around the temple and we were being told that this temple was still under construction. It took more than 100 years to complete the construction as this temple was built based on donation. For Christian, Sagrada Familia is an extraordinary place of worship. For architects, it could be an inspiring lesson to understand the design of this masterpiece. As for us, it’s a place we see peace and wonder.

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