Fiesta forever here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqAvFx3NxUM
Yes, I know that is a Lionel Richie song, but it is fitting for so many reasons:
1. We literally went all night long in Barcelona to make sure we saw/experienced everything in Barcelona.
2. We may or may not have met Lionel Richie himself in a cava (champagne…pero no es champagne en España. Solo champagne en Champagne, France) bar. EN SERIO
So off the Barcelona we went for the weekend. This is what I knew before I went to Barcelona: it’s in Catalonia where they speak Catalan (great, another language I can’t speak), it has a large Picasso mueseum, and it is home to Gaudi (yet, no clue who Gaudi is…).
We all know who Picasso is (if not, google it.), and we know that Barcelona is in the Northeastern part of Spain. The providence of Catalonia is one of two that are wanting independence from the country of Spain. However, who is Gaudi?
Gaudí is known for his eccentric behavior and very modern designs. Nature inspired Gaudí to create buildings that literally have no straight lines. And that is because he felt that nature had no straight lines. He also used a lot of color to help add demension to his buildings. Also, every single piece of work he has made is completely unique, even on the same buildings no two balconies or windows are the same. So Gaudí was this marvelous modern architect, but he was also very moody. On our tour we learned how he would would stop at nothing to make his buildings perfect whether that meant re-building the same building 3 times (which he did) or spending three times the original budget (again he did on every project). He also had some emotional issues, but doesn’t every artist have those? How would he have been able to create these amazing buildings?
One interesting thing I learned about Gaudí and his work is that all of his work except for one piece was all private work. This was his only public work for the city of Barcelona:
One of Gaudí’s most famous pieces of work is the Sagrada Familia, a church that to this day is still not finished. Gaudí was hired on to design this in 1895 and it is still a work in progress. Although Gaudí is very much dead (keep reading…) construction is still going on this building. It is now funded by the public donations and the money from tourist tickets to view the building. The projected completion date is 2026 or 2028, a 100 some years after he began his work.
Some other works by Gaudí:
Want to know some more fun facts about Gaudí?
-Gaudí’s next biggest passion (other than his designs) was his faith. He would only stop working to go to Prayer and Mass. Ironically he died after he was hit by a tram on his way to Mass. And since Gaudí liked to dress like he was homeless (again, he is an artist!) and the police assumed he was just another bum.
-When Gaudí graduated in 1878 from Barcelona’s School of Architecture, its director announced: “Gentlemen, we are here today in the presence of either a genius or a madman.” (See below)
-Gaudí had a bad temper. He was known to drop clients if they didn’t give him complete artistic freedom. He also had a few temper tantrums here and there.
-Gaudí was a Catalan nationalist and was (briefly) arrested in 1924 for refusing to speak Spanish to a policeman on Diada des Catalanes (the day marking the Spanish conquest of Catalonia in 1714).
-People didn’t think Gaudí was all that great. After his death his works were neglected because many felt that his designs were ugly and “excessively imaginative (WTF?).” His hobbit house outside the Sagrada Familia was actually ransacked and many important plans and models were destroyed! It wasn’t until 1984 that most of his buildings were considered “World Heritage” sites.
BUT Barcelona isn’t just known for Gaudí, he is also known for these things:
Over all, this was a great (Yet BUSY) weekend trip. It was a good change to see a “European” city, but deep down I believe I’m becoming an Andalusian and deep down I love the people and the culture here.
One last thought from Mr. Lionel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ILDFp5DGA