Following on from my previous Barcelona post, where we took a little hike up the foothills of Mount Tibidago (I still get kicks saying that) we hopped back on the open top tour bus and ended up stopping at Avinguda Diagonal – the home of all the beautiful high end designers. I may have stared wistfully into the windows of Chanel and Dior but our intentions were not designer bags but for Gaudi’s masterpiece, Casa Batllo.
Tickets come with an audio guide and a mobile device which shows you virtual representations of fully furnished rooms. I think this really helped with understanding how the building looked as a family home, as it’s an empty shell of a building otherwise.
Gaudi was commissioned by the Batllo family in 1906 to redesign the building entirely – they liked the risky nature of Gaudi and quite remarkably, gave him free reign to design the building. Nicknamed, ‘Casa dels osseous’ or House of Bones, it has a skeletal appearance from the outside with the windows looking like jaws of strange creatures. With the skeletal details in mind and the furniture-less building, it felt like I was walking around a hollow, cavernous beast.
The crowning glory of the building is most certainly the roof – aka the dragon’s back. The brightly coloured mosaic roof is really beautiful. We were there at around 5/6pm so the light was really gorgeous too and I have hundreds of photos of the multicoloured tiles and so it was quite hard to choose ones for this blog.
As you walk back into the building from the roof, you walk through the attic areas which were once laundry rooms. They are really quite breathtaking – it’s like stepping into the structure of a whale, so it’s no surprise that the attic room is often referred to as the dragon’s ribcage. Amazingly, these rooms can also be hired for wedding ceremonies.
I loved Casa Batllo, it’s FULL of dreamy Art Nouveau curves with not a square corner in sight. Much like most of Gaudi’s work, it’s like stepping into a lucid dream. I find his work really fascinating – beautiful but equally strange and eerie. The buildings take on an almost nightmarish vibe at night, created by all those strange details and shadows. I definitely recommend spending at least one of your days hopping on a tour bus and choosing the places to explore further. I can’t wait to show you guys what we got up to next…the next Barcelona post is all about how I spent my birthday! Woo hoo!