Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Barcelona, city of Gaudi (part 1)

Winter is definetly not my season! Spring and autumn, early summermornings are the best times of the year for me. Back in September I already foresaw the long grey and dreary winter months of Holland and decided that we needed to break this winter up with a little trip to the south of Europe. It did not matter which country it was, as long as it was south!
I found a cheap flight on the internet - 2 tickets to Girona (near Barcelona) in Spain, two ways for 76 euroos. Just what I needed!

We did some research on the web about the city and bought a city guide and decided that we first wanted to see the works of Antoni Gaudi. Well, although I have seen images of his work before - seeing them in real life was quite another experience.

Spain did live up to its expectations: warm and sunny in February! What a difference with home.
On our first day we went to Park Güel, which is famous for the long winding benches filled with mosaics. We enjoyed the palms, sun and parrots up there. But the part I liked most was the space underneath the court.
Dozens of tall columns supporting the large space (including the benches) above it. With on the outer side, the columns placed a bit out of line, which fooled the eyes and created a strange illusion.
The ceiling was covered in mosaics and so here and there were large discs attached to it with swirly motives - big splashes of colour against the white broken tiles.

The sun was shining and the warm light created a beautiful atmosphere between the columns. Then add some guitar music, the sounds of little colourful parrots to it and the idyl is just perfect. I just wandered around these columns, and lost my sense of direction because I also kept looking up, admiring the ceiling.

The houses that stand next to the gate of the park look almost like houses from a fairy tale. Nothing on it is conventional - when you walk around them you are in for a surprise every time you turn a corner or look up.
Gaudi has been fascinated by the geometry of nature form an early age, and it definitly shows in his work. Also he was one of the first designers that saw architecture as a complete art form, and extended his creativity to all the elements of his work. Not just the walls and roofs, but the windows, doors, chimneys, up to the doorknobs got his attention.

Gaudi worked from 1878 till 1926, but his work is so modern, different, organic and most of all inspiring. It seems like he was years ahead in his approach to not just buildings, but also environments like Park Güel.
And instead of building impressive buildings, he designed them to invite you to come closer and discover the strange and funny details.
So after being in the Park, I could not wait to see 'La Pedrera'...

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