Thursday, May 17, 2012

... dan hatiku berbunga riang 2012

Spring has always been my favourite season.  As this year will most probably be my last spring in Bristol, I decided to go all out to capture its essence :)

Spring, Vivaldi and daffodils are so exhilarating! Enjoy the video! :)

Parc Guell, Barcelona

The last place that we visited in Barcelona was Parc Guell.  It was also one of Antoni Gaudi's legacy, proclaimed as a world heritage site.  However, unlike Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Casa Battlo, this park was free-of-charge :).

From Passeig de Gracia, we took metro Line 3 to Vallcarca.  From there we happily followed the road signs to the place until we saw something that made us stopped dead in our tracks.  The final sign pointed up a steep terrace...   Unbeknownst to us, we had actually accessed the side entrance to Parc Guell...

Ayoyo!  Masa ni, rasa malas je nak teruskan perjalanan!  With a heavy heart, we decided to push on.  Luckily there were escalators going up the hill.  However, we still had to walk uphill on some stretches and hubby grumbed loudly.  Lutut nak tercabutlah, bla,bla, bla :).  So, for those of you who wishes to go to Parc Guell, it is better to access the park via its main entrance in Carrer d'Olot.  It's less challenging and there are buses plying its hilly route.

Anyway, the spectacular view of Barcelona from this particular entrance of Parc Guell, do make up for  sore limbs :)

Torre Agbar, Sagrada Familia and the sea... from the top of Parc Guell

Parc Guell was named after Eusebi Guell, a Catalan industrialist who had commisioned Antoni Gaudi to design a residential complex. The park, spanning 15 hectares, was located on the slope of the rugged Pelada mountainside.

As we walked downhill, the uniqueness of Parc Guell unfolded...

The 'Washerwoman' portico with palm tree-shaped sculptures

... posing at the helicoidal columns

Gaudi's signature catenary archs
Through the portico and viaduct we walked, until we reached the large square.  Here, visitors sat and posed on the famous undulating serpentine bench decorated with Trencadis.  Really beautiful!:)

The main terrace decorated with Trencadis - a type of mosaic made up of broken shards of ceramic and tiles.

At the rear of the square, large palm trees were carved from the mountain, forming a rustic stone wall.

After resting for a while, we proceeded down to the 'Marketplace'.  Inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, the hall was made up of 86 columns which supported the square above it.  The ceiling was decorated with colourful trencadis rosettes.  Nak tergeliat leherku ambik gambar! Hehehe! :P

The marketplace

Out of the Marketplace, we found ourselves facing the entrance of the park.  Wah ...  the scene was like a picture from  a story book, to be precise; Hansel and Gretel :).

The administration (R) and caretaker's (L) lodge

Down the stairs, the sons posed near the iconic dragon of Parc Guell.  Looked more like a monitor lizard to me :P

.... in front of the main fountain
More pictures were taken in the courtyard...

It was already sunset when we exited Parc Guell.  We didn't go to Montjuic as planned, as the cable car station would have already closed.  The next day we were already booked for London.  So, Parc Guell was our final destination in Barcelona.

All in all, we managed to visit most of the attractions in Barcelona.  Alhamdulillah :)

Final Verdict:
I LOVE Barcelona!  Unique buildings, cheap seafood, excellent public transport (better than London... ahem :)) and PERFECT weather.  I would definitely visit again kalau ada rezeki, InsyaAllah.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Casa Battlo, Barcelona

Our next destination was Antoni Gaudi's Casa Battlo.  Similar to La Pedrera (Casa Mila), Casa Battlo was also an apartment, built by Gaudi for another wealthy Barcelona family, the Battlos.  From Palau Reial, we took Metro Line 3 to Passeig de Gracia station. Once there, it was not too difficult to catch the sight of the colourful building...

The exterior of Casa Battlo...
all bony and skeletony :)

"What?!  Another weird building??!!"
My son, Jon, couldn't hide his displeasure for having been dragged to see yet another Gaudi masterpiece. Hahaha!  So hubby volunteered to layan the sons, while the daughter and me toured the place.

Tickets were not too expensive, but I sure could have saved some Euros if I had my student card with me :(.  The price included audioguides.  Check the ticket price here.  You can buy the tickets online or on-site.  When I was there (in February), I didn't have to queue for tickets.  But I figured there would be a long queue during peak season.  The place is open 365 days (9.00 am to 9.00 pm) and will only be closed when there are functions.  

The windows of Casa Battlo on the first floor overlooking Passeig de Gracia

The modernist outdoor courtyard on the first floor...
Look at that tile work! :)

The interiors of Casa Battlo... marvellous ceramic tile work

Although we were able to visit most of the spaces, some were deemed restricted - probably these were private living spaces.  There was an antique lift going up and down, but I guessed this was private as well.  We visitors had to take the stairs.  

Gaudi's signature  catenary archs

The roof terrace was yet another proof of Gaudi's ingenuity:  the roof supposedly symbolized the backbone of the dragon killed by St. George.  As I let my imagination ran wild, I figured that the chimneys might be the swords and the crossed turret symbolized St. George?  Amacam?  Boleh ka?? :)

Can it be that this is a dragon's head (see those eyes??)
pierced by 4 swords? 

The supposed backbone of the dragon killed by St. George,
the mythical chimneys and four-armed cross

My verdict: a place that truly appeals to your mind and senses! Words can't say enough but hopefully my photos said it all :)