We continued to Kranj, and encountered some construction works along the way and had trouble finding a parking spot. We continued to Ljubljana, and I fell in love with the city at first sight. It was freezing cold outside with chilly winds. Not far from the university we entered a student’s café where I sipped some warm soup and a cappuccino. When we went outside again it was less chilly.
After lunch we skipped with the car to a parking lot closer to the old city and conquered it within 2 hours of walking. Carrera pedestrian mall, the market, the promenade, we loved it all. From there we continued in the direction of Poreč. On our way out from the city we got a bit lost after receiving the wrong directions.
On the way we took a turn through a tunnel called Limska Draga fjord. It didn't look like a fjord and after seeing the fjord formed by the Krka River we were disappointed. Poreč is located, like Rovinj, on a tongue of land inside a bay, but it’s less picturesque than Rovinj. We strolled in the narrow streets of the old city, and bought a handmade copper plate for a souvenier.
After a sweet nap we went to conquer the old city of Cavtat, which isn’t big but very lovely. When we saw that we have the strength we drove to Dubrovnik, and we could see the city’s beauty even from a distance. The plateau we arrived from was higher than the old city, which is easier to travel. When we saw all the stairs we will need to go down in – and later go up – we turned around and headed back to Cavtat, for a fish dinner on the water, with a view of the sunset.
We strolled around in the alleys of Stone and Mali Stone, and I wasn’t too impressed. We were too tired to climb the wall. We planned to take a cruise to Mljet island that day, but the cloudy weather, a two hour wait till the ferry arrived, and the fact that we hadn't booked a place for the night on the island led us, with much regret, to change our plans and to head on to Split. We admired the view along the shores and the view of each and every bay and inlet. On the way we passed by a beautiful nature reserve with lakes and islands named Baćinska jezera.
The Diocletian's Palace offered an impressive welcoming. We strolled the main pedestrian mall, entered an underground pathway with shopping carts selling glass souvenirs and more. We turned in the direction of the market and bought some magnets for our collection and knitted pillows with a pattern of lavender leaves, then we went back through the beautiful, narrow streets to the pedestrian mall and had a delicious pizza and salad for lunch. We were deeply impressed by the beauty of the city. Beside Dubrovnik, it was the most beautiful city we had ever seen.
Day 12 – A flat in a villa on the water
We returned from Lovran to Opatija and this time there was plenty of parking. We parked the car near the promenade and continued on foot in the direction of Villa Angelina. On the way we took pictures of the statue of the woman with a dove in her hand, and admired the building of Hotel Kvarner. Eventually we got to Vila Angelina and we were much disappointed – no flowers and the seedlings have yet to be planted. The gardeners were working hard and we had to settle for a statue of a piano player and some old trees. Some organized groups were arriving, and that was our cue to leave.
Around noon we reached Maria Worth, where we stopped, strolled around and had lunch. We continued to the beautiful city of Klagenfurt, where we visited 21 years ago with the girls when they were little. I remembered how to get to the dragon statue near the town’s hall. We recalled the route we took back then, only this time we stretched the visit a little longer, admiring the beautiful architecture of the buildings. Every building is like a work of art. We stopped at an excellent bakery shop for a birthday cake with blueberry and cheese, and licked the plates clean.
Day 6 – Spending the night at Adrian and Lucia’s
We had breakfast on the balcony with the view and left at 8:00 to Dubrovnik. It was early so we managed to find a parking space in the lower level of the city. The moment we got out of the car we absorbed the ambiance of the place. There was a man playing an instrument, another man performing his mime act, and lots of tourists everywhere. Later in the evening we learned actor, Roger Moore was in town, so maybe that was the reason for the public gathering. We were enchanted by the walls of the city.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital, Guinardó, Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167. 10-20 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia (if you are not tired or overflowing with emotions after the Basilica). This is an excellent sight to visit while in Barcelona and easily done in the same day as Sagrada Familia, which is visible from the southwest corner of the hospital, down Avenue Gaudi.
Duration: allow 3 hours for the visit. Queuing up will take 30-45 minutes in the busy summer mornings. Not overcrowded.
Public transport: Metro: L5 (Blue Line) Sant Pau / Dos de Maig. Buses: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192. Opening hours: for for self-guided visit: November – March: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 16.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. April – October: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 18.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. Guided visits in English: MON - FRI: 10.30, SAT - SUN: 10.30, French: 11.00. Closing days: 1st and 6th January, 25th December. Prices: adult - Self-guided visit: 13 €, Guided visit: 19 €, Audio guide: 3 €. Guided tours start at the main Administration Pavilion and include visits to the network of underground tunnels connecting pavilions and to the gardens. Concessions: ages 12 to 29, over 65, Targeta Rosa Reduïda cardholders, people with a degree of disability: Self-guided visit: 9,10 €, Guided visit: 13,3 €. FREE admission: children under 12 (accompanied by an adult), unemployed, teachers, Targeta Rosa Gratuïta cardholders, people with a degree of disability and their companion. FREE entrance dates: 12th February, 23rd April, 24th September, first Sunday of the month (only self-guided visits). 20% off: BCN Card, Bus Turístic, City Tours, Carnet BCN Cultural. 50% off: Ruta del Modernisme / Barcelona Modernisme Route, Carnet Jove (only self-guided visit).
Introduction: The largest display of Art Nouveau anywhere on earth. It is organized as a "village" or collective group of buildings - each carrying out specialist medical responsibility, discipline and activities. Art Nouveau (known in Barcelona as Modernista or Modernisme) is characterized by the revival of Gothic forms with modern materials and the addition of natural/organic shapes. The buildings themselves are very colorful and built to be light and airy reflecting positive energy on the treated patients and the personnel and lifting their spirits. It is so far from the rather bland interiors of regular, modern hospital facilities. Very impressive Modernista buildings designed by the genius Lluis Domenech i Montaner (who designed also the Palau de la Musica) with lots of Art Nouveau details in the tiles, the sculptured figures, along the exteriors, the detailed ceilings, archways, flower-beds, grass spaces and trees. The gardens and brilliant decor were meant to be therapeutic for the hospital patients. You can take your picnic among the buildings. Only a handful of buildings are open for viewing the interior. There are interesting exhibits in a few of the buildings and tunnel areas. One exhibit shows old medical instruments. Another exhibit shows old photos of the area before it was developed. Exceptional, unique and amazing place. You will be blown away by the architecture. Like the Sagrada Familia - it leaves you breathless and astonished. In the SF the architecture goes hand-in-hand with the religion. Here, it goes hand-in-hand with the humanity and rehabilitation.
As practical information it is worth to indicate that the visitor has toilets in more than one pavilion, and various drinking fountains and benches in the courtyard of the Art Nouveau Site of Sant Pau.
History: The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau came into being in 1401 with the merging of six hospitals in the city of Barcelona at that time. Santa Creu, the Hospital of the Holy Cross, as it was called in those days, was right in the centre of the city, in what is now the Raval district, in one of the most important examples of Catalan Civil Gothic architecture. By the late 19th century, the old Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona's Raval neighbourhood needed to be relocated because it had become obsolete and too small. Thanks to the bequest of the Catalan banker Pau Gil, the first stone of the new hospital, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was laid on 15 January 1902. The last part of the hospital's name, "Sant Pau", was added in honour of the banker, Pau Gil. The new hospital had been built between 1910 (another version: 1905) and 1930.
An excellent designer, a devoted political leader and a respected teacher among other activities he carried during his life, Lluis Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) merged his values and convictions based on solid historical knowledge together all kinds of disciplines and a deep commitment with society during his career as an architect in his unique buildings.
Sant Pau is a hospital complex opened in 1910. It was a hospital from 1910 to 2009. Alfonso XIII, the king of Spain, opened the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in January 1930. The compound housed the ‘garden city Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (one of Europe's oldest healthcare centres) for more than eight decades. This ambitious project was, always, inspired by breakthroughs in health and hygiene at the time. It is important to remember that this institution had always been associated with charitable work, advanced inspiration, welfare and the latest discoveries in healthcare. In 2003, a new hospital building was established to the north of the Domènech i Montaner's Modernista site. Almost all the pavilions and departments were moved out. It was closed in 2009 and over the last few year was restored to it's full glory. It was opened as a museum and cultural center in late 2014. This is also Unesco World Heritage site from 1997.
The main building is dedicated to the hospital administration and the 27 pavilions are dedicated to the serve as clinics. All the different buildings are connected by underground galleries, prepared for transporting the patients.
The main entrance to the complex is made by the Administration Pavilion. The main entrance building has the most decorative and ornate works so make sure you have your camera ready while queuing-up or, immediately after entrance. The interior of the main building is stunning - ornate ceilings with beautiful windows and tile work. Make sure you check out the view of the Sagrada Familia from the stained glass windows upstairs.
The exterior of the building is adorned with statues depicting significant figures in the history of the hospital and Barcelona, including Isabel and Count Ramon Berenguer I, Saint Margaret, and Saint Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona.
Upon entering, we find a small room with panels explaining each of the buildings that make up the whole hospital. To better understand the space, we can see a small model right next to the panels that shows all buildings, towers and gardens in great detail. Before starting the visit, also take the time to stand a few minutes and watch the short video that is projected on one of the room's walls. The video helps understand the importance of the hospital for both Barcelona and for universal medical evolution:
Entrance Hall in Hospital de Sant Pau Administration Building:
Hallway in Administration Building:
Dome over the main staircase in the administration pavilion:
Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room – located in the Administration Building, this impressive chamber is decorated with large stained glass windows, ceramic tiles, mosaics, sculptures, stone balusters in the shape of Gothic letters, and a painting by Moderniste artist Aleix Clapés depicting the transfer of the remains of Saint Eulàlia:
Pau Gil Room – this room, also located in the Administration Building, features ornate columns and colorful ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:
There are six buildings and underground tunnels that are open to the public are certainly worth a visit. Each pavilion bearing the name of a saint or holy, includes his sculpture guarding the main facade. Very close to the Administration Pavilion doors there is map like a small model of the site, where you can see how the pavilions on the left are named after female saints while those on the right are male.
Sant Jordi Pavilion – this small pavilion adjacent to the Administration building, served as the hospital’s examination and observation ward; the tiled walls aided with disinfection efforts. The pavilion is now used for exhibitions. This is really worth exploring to understand each of the elements of ornamentation and the process of construction and rehabilitation during this period. Right at the end, we can also read a little more about the work and character of the architect to understand his great contribution to Catalan modernist heritage:
The Sant Salvador Pavilion takes you on a journey through the history of medicine in Barcelona and one of Europe's oldest healthcare institutions. With Sant Salvador Pavilion you start the recommended route around the outdoor spaces of this magnificent Art Nouveau site, that reproduces the garden city model, designed in the early 20th century.
You can also enter the Sant Rafael Pavilion and see its interior exactly as it was designed at the start of the 20th century. Sant Rafael Pavilion, built between 1914 and 1918 and designed as a space for traumatology, it retains its original essence today as it has not been renovated or redesigned. This originally had a row of beds for in-patients. Since this was funded by Rafael Rubel, there's an R denoted in the ceramic designs atop the windows. The walls of this room is fitted with ceramic tiles which is easy to clean, so hygiene is at a good standard. Its limited decor includes mosaics found on the walls and ceiling, as well as an original photograph of the building in its years of operation with more than forty beds inside:
Facade of the Operations Pavilion, built 1902-12, behind a Gothic style cross:
Surgery Pavilion of Hospital de Sant Pau:
Pavilion of Sant Manuel:
The Theatre Hall - Sala d'Actes. Its circular in shape and the observation deck for the interns was along the edge. It has no walls at all, just pillars & glass. So the whole place gets all the light from the nature!
The Hypostyle Hall provides access to the tunnel system, this chamber features stout columns and ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:
You can take the underground tunnels linking the various buildings and visit the most representative heritage spaces of the Administration Pavilion.
Patients Pavilllion: In the pavilion, you see a lot of green mosaics and tiles being used. We were told that since the hospital was a Catholic hospital and green colour in the wards symbolises ‘green for hope’ in Catholic, it was used to bring hope to the patients:
After or during your visit, relaxing in the courtyard is beautiful and peaceful. It seems far removed from busy Barcelona. The gardens behind the Hospital are beautiful and a nice place to sit on a sunny afternoon.
During SEP 2016 a temporary exhibition of INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS took place in Sant Rafael Pavilion:
Sant Pau at Night: