Episode 6: Barcelona on my mind

After leaving Park Guell, I knew that I had to find myself back to the city center. The last thing to check off my list of things to see in the city would be Casa Bastillo which is another one of Gaudi’s main buildings in Barcelona. When I was introduced to Gaudi, my friend told me that you would walk down the streets and see a house that looked like a dark humor version of Dr. Seuss buildings. That is exactly what it looked like. The strange shapes, curves of the buildings and the close resemblance to things like skulls is really an interesting touch to a building. I trekked in the direction I thought I needed to go to eventually end up at a metro station so that I could get my bearings. I ended up at the Lesseps station (somehow) hopped on the train and made my way into the city. I gotta off at Diagonal and popped up next to Le Peddeira which is another Gaudi building I didn’t quite realize existed. After that I wandered around aimlessly trying to decide between finding food and finding the Gaudi house. I settled for food when I found a quaint little restaurant that had paella for one.

I had my vegetarian paella and sat at a tiny table in the front window. It was like the restaurant wanted to show they had customers and decided I needed to be put on display for them to gain people. Not sure if it worked but it was slightly uncomfortable. That being said the paella was delicious and I’m glad I got to eat some before heading off to my next city.

After my paella, fighting the urge to pass out from too much food, I finally made my way back out into the world to find the last Gaudi house. I thought I knew which direction I needed to be going. I was 110% wrong. I went about 15 blocks in the wrong direction and had to back track. The road that I needed (Passeig de Gracia) was a block from where I had just consumed my paella.

Finally, when I had an idea of where I was, I began walking in the direction of the last landmark on my list. It’s really not hard to miss. Not just because it is architecture that doesn’t quite fit in with the buildings around it, but rather there are hoards of people standing in front of it. This building is actually a museum you can pay to go in and see more about the furnishings and how it’s decorated. I opted out because lines are really a deterrent for my impatient self. Standing in front of the building though is really quite an experience. It looks like something that came directly out of Pans Labryinth or potentially a dark humor Alice in Wonderland. It’s brightly colored and full of intricate designs, like you would expect from Gaudi. But the balconies on every floor look like skulls or rather just the bottom half of the skulls. It’s interesting because I would be curious as to how Gaudi got away with having this designed and built. I feel like artists or the creative minds are never quite appreciated as well as they should be during their time. And looking at the European cities I’ve visited, there’s definitely different buildings from different eras that are apparent but it’s nothing like Gaudi’s work. His work doesn’t look like it comes out of any era (maybe a little like it came from neo-gothic) but with its intricate and gothic tendencies it is way too bright to be fully gothic. It’s awesome but I’d love to really understand the history and the magic behind how he got away with having these building built. It would make sense if there were full neighborhoods of similar buildings but it’s so sporadic around the city that it’s like a nice little surprise. Just when you get used to the beautiful, classic architecture… BAM! Gaudi.

When I was done staring at the building with a look of wonderment and probably my mouth wide open in awe, I wandered to Zara.

Here’s a confession: for every city I have gone to that has a Zara, I somehow find myself nearby and do everything in my power to stop by. So far, Vienna and Salzburg are the two cities where I stood in front of a Zara and couldn’t go in because it was closed. Literally terrible timing for the two days I was there.

So when I found myself in front of this Zara right before you hit Catalunya, I knew it was a sign. Plus it was 330PM and I didn’t want to have my awkward run in with the cleaning crew at the hotel again…

So I stopped by Zara and Zara Home. The one thing about these stores is that it takes as much self control that I have in every inch of my body to not purchase something. I guess traveling in a school backpack is the best way to avoid spending money on things I don’t need. I quite literally have no way to bring it home. Three weeks packed into a backpack really requires every inch of space to be carefully packed.

Finally, I was over walking around and being tempted so I hopped on the train and headed back. When I say hopped, I mean I shoved a guy because he was walking too slow and I was sandwiched in the doors. I know that I shouldn’t have done it but I was so close and felt the incessant need to be ‘that girl.’ But realistically, I had hit that point of no return and by the time the doors started beeping I was in the doorway. The guy in front of me just stopped. I should have stepped off and waiting but I had come this far, I wasn’t going to let it stop me….oops.

I got off at the Sagrada Familia, found a nice little restaurant to order food to go and wandered back to my room where I collapsed and stayed there until I felt sleep taking over which was actually around 9PM. Jet lag has still bested me and I’m only sleeping about 4 hours a night. And that ended my journey in Barcelona, now off to the airport to go to Brussels!

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