lørdag 21. juni 2014

Barcelona, day 10!

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9

So our plans for Thursday included Casa Batlló and Museu Egipci. We started with Gaudí.

Yes, yes.. I bought a memorial coin.
Let's start off with a picture that's better than any of mine to let you know how the house looks like from the front (you know the drill, click it to see it in full size - goes for all the pics in my posts):

Thank you, Wikipedia, although those colors are a bit off.
As you can see, it's a special kind of building. Gaudí was hired to remodel a pre-existing house in 1904 for the Batlló family, who wanted a house in the prime location that Passeig de Gràcia is, but felt that the house they'd bought was too normal. In 1906 the building was completely refurbished with a few added floors as well. The family lived on the Noble Floor, which is the 1st floor (2nd floor for us Norwegians), where they could sit and look down on the people passing by on the street below through their big living room window. To get there, you go through a entrance hall on the ground floor which separates the Batlló family's living quarters from all the others (the rest of the building houses several apartments). This entrance hall is now home to the audio guide and video guide counters, so I didn't take a picture.

The first room you enter isn't that big, but it sets off your imagination at once. The walls aren't straight, but wavy, and as you can see in the pic below, they're covered in a pattern that reminds you of scales of some sort. In addition, the staircase looks like the spine of some animal.

Then you get upstairs and see this cozy little mushroom-shaped nook:

Which has two small bench seats and a fire place.

Gaudí built this to be a meeting place for young lovers, with the other bench meant for their chaperone. This way, the couple got some privacy while still being observed, and none of them would be cold.

In the corner next to this nook, there's a door with the stained-glass pattern that's repeated all throughout the house. Above it, though, is a small light shaft. Gaudí was obsessed with the lighting in the house and wanted it to be as natural as possible. Therefore, he added small light shafts here and there in addition to the large one we'll see later.

Stained-glass patterns and light shaft.
Gaudí also wanted the air to be able to flow freely throughout the house, so many of the doors and windows have these small channels that can be slid open or shut:

When you enter the living room, you can see this beautiful lamp and the ceiling that reminds you of something from the sea.

Which is, of course, what Gaudí was going for. From what the audio guide told us, he took inspiration from the world of Jules Verne. That's also obvious when you start thinking about it and looking closer everywhere.

Here are the main windows towards the street below. They can all be opened - lifted straight up, actually - at the same time to give the owners an undisturbed view. All the windows have counterweights, and if you look carefully you can see the strings running down the stained-glass windows above.

Just so you can see the colors.
This door can be closed to shut off the main living room from the side room, because the door is sectioned.

The side room also has a nice window with the same system of counterweights.
And a very nice chandelier, of course.
Here's another example of the wavy walls with the scale-like pattern, and a lamp that can resemble a shell.
We continued on to a small office that I think was used for fabric stuff (Josep Batlló was big in the textile industry), which has a window into the huge light well in the middle of the building. Here you can also see the air vents that can be opened and closed - both big ones and smaller ones at the bottom.

In this room, there was a guest book on a table for everyone to write in, if they wanted to. Irene did, and funnily enough, the person who wrote in it before her was from Iceland, and the couple after her were from Denmark. We also heard a couple of Swedes talking somewhere. If they'd only written in the book, we could truly say that Scandinavia was represented - and if we'd have some Finns as well, the Nordic countries would all be included. That would've been awesome, but I still think it's a funny coincidence that Iceland, Norway and Denmark managed to show up on the same page. :D

Here's another example of the fact that Gaudí took inspiration from the sea:

And more of the scales on the columns in front of the terrace doors - this time in colors:

Colors! Right outside the windows in the room leading to the terrace. Also what I think is another light well at the bottom there, as they've secured it so well.

Out on the terrace, Gaudí built these flower pots into the wall, and the lady of the house used them as long as they lived there.

Here's the back facade of the house, looking out on the terrace and the garden:

The floor of the terrace.
And a little side door to the terrace, which also shows you the cast-iron fence that looks kinda like some organic thing on top (like ribs or something, that's the first thing I thought of at least).

And now for some pics of the main light shaft, that you move along when you climb the stairs (there's also an elevator in the middle):

And they had small balconies in there, so cute.

It's not very visible in the first pic here, but in the second you can see that the colors of the tiles darken the further up you go. Gaudí did this so that the bottom would seem brighter, I think.

And the view down from the floor below the top floor:

When you get to the very top floor, which is what we today would call the pent house and cherish like no other, you've reached the servants' quarters. Yeah. Here was where the laundry was taken care of and the servants lived. I watched a documentary not long ago, and if I remember correctly, the top floor was considered too hot to live in or something, which is why it went to those on the lower rung of society.
What we're amazed at now are those lovely parabolic arches that makes the corridors seem wider - and even here, Gaudí has included air vents (that can be seen along the sides).

The stairs to the roof. So cute!

And when you get to the roof, you see the strange chimneys that Gaudí grouped together..

..the strange banister towards the back of the building..

..and the back of the front facade, of course.
Now, if you remember the first picture (you can scroll back up and look at it again if you don't), the front part of this roof section looks like a scaley back of some sort of dragon or other creature.

Even here, Gaudí has included his Christian faith with a cross.

Even the wallpaper in some parts of the house looks like iridescent scales.

Now a look at the facade again:

The small columns in front of the main windows kinda look like bones, which has led to the house being called "The Bone House" by locals. Add to that the fact that the balconies look like masks or parts of faces:

And you can get to the conclusion many others have come to: The dragon has eaten people (the balconies represent these people), and the bones are in its stomach.
There are many other theories about what it all means, and if you Google it a bit you can read all about it.

Casa Batlló can be found along Passeig de Gràcia, in what is called "The Block of Discord" (Illa de la Discordia). It is so called because on the same block there are several houses by several of Barcelona's main Modernista architects - all with very different styles that completely clash with each other.
This is demonstrated here by Casa Amatller, that is right next door to Casa Batlló:

So after our visit to Casa Batlló we sat for a while, admiring the facades of both buildings, before wandering back down towards Plaça Catalunya to get some essentials (Irene wanted a frappuccino, and I needed to pop by Sephora - also it was hot, so ice cream was in order). After we'd been by El Triangle to take care of that, we walked over to the Plaça and sat down on a bench, watching these guy blow huge soap bubbles. All the kids within 100 meters where promptly there to play with the bubbles, of course.

We also had a nice chat with an older man who seemed dodgy at first, but who was actually pretty nice. He advised us to go see Sagrada Familia at night, when the pretty lights are on. Will do, older man!
Afterwards we went by the tourism offices to buy our Arqueotickets (which is 13 euros and gives access to Museu Egipci, all the locations of Museu d'Història de Barcelona, Museum Marítim and Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya. We then set off for Museu Egipci.

Museu Egipci has a rather small, but still interesting enough collection of various things from OLD to not so old. I didn't think to take pictures of all the explanations of things, sorry about that! I'll just let you look at all the pictures.

This I do remember, though - it's Sekhmet.
After Museu Egipci we were both pretty much done for the day, so we hopped on the Metro and went back home to the hotel to relax and stuff.

Later in the evening, it was time for dinner. First, a nice sunset.


And afterwards, we saw this limo.

That was that for Thursday, really. Time to edit the pics from Friday! (Hey, at least I'm catching up, it's only Saturday xD)

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar