Spain Trips

Figueres - Dali Theatre-Museum

Steve Fulham

Spain

Figueres - Dali Theatre-Museum (Teatro-Museo Dali), Gala-Salvador Dalí Square, 5:

Duration: 3 hours (at least) in the museum and the exhibition. 5-6 hours for the transportaion and walks to/from the museum.

How to arrive: The best way to arrive from Barcelona to Figueres is by RENFE (Inter-city and long distance Trains)) train (almost 2 hours - every direction). For timetable: http://www.renfe.com/CA/viajeros/index.html

The main (perhaps only) reason for going to Figueres is to visit the Salvador Dali Museum. Figueres is quite far to go to 'just' see the Dali museum (even if it is an amazing one), The AVE (high-speed) train has made the travel times much shorter than they used to be.

  • With the regular (slower) RENFE train, from Sants or Passeig de Gracia - it takes 1 hour 45 minutes (every direction) and the price is 11.20 -15 €. Buy ticket at station on the day of travel. Round trip from Sants is 28 € / adult.
  • By new high-speed AVE or AVANT ONLY from Sants station to Figueres it takes 53 minutes, and costs circa 35 €. Buy online or at the station.

  • The train departs from Barcelona from Sants station, but you can pick it up at Passeig de Gracia (which is far more central than Sants). The closest Metro station to Sants RENFE station is Sants Metro station. It is ten-minutes walk from Plaça de Espanya. 
  • If we use Placa de Catalunya as our centre point - we connect to the Passeig de Gràcia RENFE station from the northern side of Placa de Catalunya. Turn left onto Passeig de Gràcia (Passeig de Gràcia is the boulevard running from Plaça Catalunya to Avinguda Diagonal) and walk 180 m. You see a square with fountains. You cross it and continue northward along Passeig de Gràcia another 400 m. Note :Passeig de Gràcia has a total of five different entrances. It is important to remember that these entrances also service the metro station. We are only using the over ground train station and do not need to use the metro, it is best to head to the Passeig de Gràcia station entrance that sits at the top of Passeig de Gràcia. There are four entrances to Passeig de Gràcia station at the top of the street. The easiest to find is the one that sits directly in front of Gaudí's famous building, Casa Batlló. There are only two toilets at Passeig de Gràcia train station: one men's and one women's. You will find them located directly opposite the ticket booths in the main station building. There is no disabled toilet.


How to arrive to Dali Museum: the Figueres Vilafant station is not close to the Museum, but there is a bus connecting the station with the city center (200 meters from the Museum) within less than ten minutes. The bus ticket costs 1,25 €, and there is a bus every 25-30 minutes. Taxis are also available at the Figueres Vilafant station. There are no lockers in Figueres Vilafan train station.

Prices: we recommend purchasing entry to the jewel exhibition, which is housed in a separate building less than 100m away.

12 €/adult ((including the separate jewellery exhibition).

REDUCED 9 € Dalí ( including Jewels exhibition): Students, pensioners and unemployed people with the appropriate documentation.

Opening hours:

01/11 - 28/02 From 10.30 to 18.00.
01/03 - 30/06 From 09.30 to 18.00.
01/07 - 30/09 From 09.00 to 20.00.
01/10 - 31/10 From 09.30 to 18.00.

General hints: The different collections managed by the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation include all kinds of works of art: painting, drawing, sculpture, engraving, installation, hologram, stereoscopy, photography, etc., up to a quantity of some 4,000 pieces. Of these, some 1,500 are on show in the Dalí Theatre-Museum Dalí of Figueres. The whole museum-gallery is more a maze-alike. A bit chaotic in layout but , it only adds to the atmosphere. The museum is a free-flowing kind of place with different routes that you can take. Many kinds of paintings, sculptures, murals, exhibitions, other types of media and objects - a feast for all your senses - but, not many explanations. Several rooms contained art that Dali collected - and not made by him. For Surrealism lovers.

  • No flash photography.
  • Large queues to get in but not overcrowded inside. There is plenty to see and lots of rooms to disperse into. Try to come before 09.30. DO NOT COME IN A BRIGHT, HOT DAY. One hour queue to get in at midday.

  • Unsuitable for teenagers or children.

We suggest staying in beautiful Girona one night at least. You can combine your visit in Figueres with 1-day in Girona.

From Figueres Vilafant station to the Dalí's birth house, Carrer Monturiol, 20 - it is a 1.7 km. walk: head southeast on Carrer de les Pedreres toward Polígon Ua3 Puig Grau, 350 m. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Carrer d'Avinyonet, 550 m. Continue onto Passeig Nou, 290 m. Turn left onto Av. de Salvador Dalí i Domenech/N-IIa
12 m. Turn right onto Carrer Pep Ventura, 130 m. Turn right onto Pujada del Castell, 70 m. Slight left onto La Rambla, 170 m (we'll return to the Rambla). Continue onto Carrer Monturiol, 140 m. At Carrer Monturiol, 20
 - is Dali's birth house.

​Salvador Dalí Domènech was born in Figueres on 11 May 1904 to a wealthy family. His father was a solicitor. The house is located at no. 20 Carrer de Monturiol, and is known as Cara Puig. It is a modernist building designed by a famous architect, Josep Azemar, the city's chief architect between 1899 and 1914. Figueres also boasts several other buildings designed by Azemar, including a number of houses on La Rambla. The painter's only sister, Anna María Dalí, was also born here. The house is currently closed to visitors due to an ongoing legal dispute. There are long-standing plans to convert this publicly owned property into a cultural centre showcasing personal items belonging to Dalí, but no public opening date has yet been set:

From Dalí's birth house, Carrer Monturiol, 20 to Dalí Theatre-Museum
Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5  -it is a 450-500 m. walk: head southwest on Carrer Monturiol toward Carrer Sant Rafael, 140 m. Continue onto La Rambla, 170 m:


La Rambla turns slightly right and becomes Pujada del Castell
160 m. On your right - Dalí Theatre-Museum, Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5.

Exterior: externally, the building itself is fantastic. The museum is surreal like Dali, very surprising and not like any museum you might have seen earlier. The building is in itself a huge Dali installation with the giant egg battlements and spiraling columns.

Fantastic figures adorn the south facade:

A big sculpture standing opposite the entrance:

Dali sculpture outside the artist's Museum in Figueres:

Interiors: an amazing range of artwork, sculptures, drawing, objects on display. All very well laid out. An easy to follow guide leaflet available free and in many languages. Aside from Salvador Dalí's works, there are works by other artists that the painter invited to be exhibited in his museum, such as Antoni Pitxot and Evarist Vallès, accompanied by other artist from the painter's own private collection, such as El Greco, Marià Fortuny, Modest Urgell, Ernest Meissonier, Marcel Duchamp, Gerard Dou and Bouguereau. In various galleries of the Theatre-Museum we can also find works by John de Andrea, Wolf Vostell, Meifrén and Ernst Fuchs. Since Salvador Dalí death in 1989, the crypt where he is buried can also be visited at the centre of the museum. This area was remodeled in 1997 to exhibit a collection of gold jewels designed by the artist.

Dalí Jewels: o​ne of the annexes to the Dalí Theatre-Museum houses a collection of 37 gold and precious stone jewels that Dalí produced between 1940 and 1970. Alongside the jewels, the exhibition also features the associated design drawings and paintings.

Smiling Venus (1921):

First days of Spring (1922):

Self-Portrait with l'Humanité (1923):

Port Alguer (1923-4):

Figures Lying on the Sand (1926):

The Spectre of Sex-Appeal (1932):

Portrait of Gala with Two Lamb Chops Balanced on Her Shoulder (1933):

Autumn Cannibalism, 1936. As with many artists, Dali was to depict war and conflict in several of his major works. Autumn Cannibalism was painted in the year the civil war began in Spain. The painting is an  interpretation of the horror and destruction of war, and also containts hints on the nature of sexual relationships:

Soft self-portrait with grilled bacon (1941):

Poetry of America / The Cosmic Athletes (1943). Dalí painted this oil painting in the United States. The landscape is a mixture of the Empurdá plain and Cap de Creus and of the vast American deserts. The skin shaped as Africa appears in the background, on the tower of time, with the clock marking the time and the athletes - American football players - with the vertical symbolism of the Coca-Cola bottle between them, and the black telephone, encrusted into the bottle, from which comes a huge black stain that falls onto a white cloth that is attached to the athletes. The black stain has been the object of different interpretations, one of which ponders with the idea that it is a representation of the American racial problem. For me - it symbolizes the racial tension in the USA:

Geopoliticus Child Watcing the Birth of the New Man, 1943. This painting depicts the large egg-shaped globe of the world out of which a man from North America is struggling to hatch. There is blood running out of the crack in the egg and the new man's hand has England firmly in its grasp. In the foreground two figures are watching; one an adult the other a small child. The adult, of indeterminate sex, is drawing the child's attention by pointing at the new man being birthed, which is seen as Baku, Azerbaijan. The child is standing as if afraid - both hiding behind and holding on to the adult's knees. The painting is thought to be the parody during World War II, which shows the man emerging from the egg is rising out of the "new" nation, United States, which was in the process of becoming a new world power. Africa and South America are both enlarged, representing the growing importance of the Third World, while Europe is being crushed by the man's hand, indicating its diminishing importance as an international power:

Galarina (1944-45). Gala was the love of Dali's life, his one and only Gala. Gala was not only his wife but his endless source of inspiration. Salvador Dali had a pure, raw, some would even say a spiritual passion for Gala, and it is reflected in much of his art:

The Basket of Bread (1945). There is another painting of Basket of Bread from 1926:

Leda Atomica (1949). Dali himself described “Leda Atomica” as a picture created “in accordance with the modern ‘nothing touches’ theory of intra – atomic Physics”. “Leda does not touch the swan; Leda does not touch the pedestal; the pedestal does not touch the base; the base does not touch the sea; the sea does not touch the shore . . .” he explains.  Thus, presenting a suspended world similar to the one of the atomic scale. The design of the composition is purely mathematical and carefully prepared as is revealed in a 1947 study of the artist. Leda (portrayed as his wife Gala) and the swan are inscribed in a regular pentagon, closely connected to the golden ratio. Dali conceived the design influenced by the Romanian polymath Prince Matila Costiesco Ghyka. The mathematical formula for the length of the pentagon’s side appears in the lower right side of the study:

Galatea of the Spheres (1952). A marvelous portrait of Dali's wife known as Gala. Gala was born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova (7 September 1894 – 10 June 1982) in Russia, to a family of intellectuals. As a young woman she graduated as a school-teacher in 1915 from a University in Moscow. Dali first met Gala in 1929 while working on the film Un Chien Andalou (the Andalusian Dog) by Luis Bunuel, Gala was the wife of another Surrealist Paul Eluard. Causing a rift in his family and tensions with other Surrealists Dali seduced Gala away from Eluard. In 1934 Dali and Gala were married in a civil ceremony in Paris and in 1958 the church permitted a Catholic ceremony (Gala's former husband died in 1952) and forever after she became known as Gala Éluard Dalí. Gala managed Dali's business affairs for their entire marriage a task to which the artist was unsuited. Dali considered Gala his world and his saviour and signed many of his works with her name. This amazing portrait is one of the many works in which Dali paints his feelings for Gala. This painting today sits in the Palace of the Wind Gallery:

Abstract paintings which seen from two metres as Three Lenines - changes into the Head of a Royal Tiger as seen from six metres, 1962:

Car Naval. Rainy taxi (1974-1985) in the central patio of the museum:

Queen Esther, by Dali's friend Ernest Fuchs - opposite the Rainy Car or Taxi:

Below is a painting in the great room that looks out to the Rainy car sculpture:

The central patio glass geodesic dome roof. You see this "Dome" also from the outside. It is one of the museum's landmarks:

The central Patio in the Museum - behind the Rainy Taxi:

Queen Esther opposite the Rainy Car or Taxi:

Face of Mae West Which Can Be Used as an Apartment (1974). In this installation at Dali Theatre-Museum, he created a reconstruction of a portrait he did of Mae West in the 1930s. The elements representing her lips, nose, eyes, are framed by platinum hair which isn’t shown in this photo, unfortunately. On the same level as the exhibit, they look like individual pieces, as shown below. But from a platform above, the full picture is visible...:

Gala Nude Looking at the Sea (1975)

which at 18 metres appears as President Lincoln.

The Pearl. After the Infanta Margarita and Las Meninas by Velázquez, 1981. Salvador Dalí's admiration for the character and work of Velázquez is well known:

Ceiling fresco in the Palace of the Wind. One of the ceiling paintings in a fairly large room packed with paintings and sculptures. Many people believe that the legs (in red) belong to Dali's wife - Gala. The opposite couple of legs, opposite, with the mustache - belong to Salvador Dali himself:

The connotation of limp clocks:

Michelangelo’s Moses – with octopus perched on top. The real Moses statue is in Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome (see Tipter "Christian Rome - Tour of Four Major Basilicas" blog:

Decorative skeleton:

Salvador Dali bedroom (his own design):

Although the work exhibited is basically by Dalí, there are also works by other artists who Dalí wanted to include: Antoni Pitxot, Evarist Vallès, the private collection of Salvador Dalí with works by El Greco, Marià Fortuny, Modest Urgell, Ernest Meissonier, Marcel Duchamp, Gerard Dou, etc. Similarly, in different galleries of the Theatre-Museum, works can be found by Bouguereau, John de Andrea, Wolf Vostell, Meifrén and Ernst Fuchs, among others.

Pitxot, Antoni - Sleeping Beach, 1974. One in a series of paintings comprised of "pebbles" and broken stones:

Pitxot, Antoni - Woman lying on red background, 1976:

Pitxot, Antoni - Giorgione's Maternity, 1977:

Pitxot, Antoni - The Allegory of the Memory, 1979:

More surrealistic paintings:

Pitxot, Antoni (?):

Dali's surrealistic sculptures:

There are several Kaliedescopes / prisms  with surrealistic optic-illusion sights:

Another one - Dali touches a dancer's leg:

Poster of Bulls Fight (Corrida de Toros) from the 1950s with the name of salvador Dali:

1968 Aliyah to Israel - the series of graphic work entitled "Aliyah" dates from 1968, and was an assignment to commemorate the twenty years anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Israel. Dalí created a series of 25 mixed media paintings including gouache, watercolors and Indian ink on paper. They were reproduced as photolithographs and published in a limited edition presented in a folder with a letter of introduction by David Ben-Gurion, a key figure in the history of Israel. In order to illustrate the various meanings of the Hebrew world "aliyah", which means literally "migration to the land of Israel", the artist took inspiration from the Old Testament as well as contemporary history. Dalí depicted the vessel "Eliahu Golomb", full of refugees from the concentration camps, setting sail to Israel in 1946, despite the prohibition imposed by Palestine under the British Mandate. He also portrays David Ben-Gurion reading the Declaration of Independence in 1948. As usual in Dalí's work, the pieces also contain elements from his own iconography. This is the case with two lithographs that contain references to a major painting of that period, Tuna Fishing, an oil painting inspired by the Mediterranean coastal fishing practice which dates back to antiquity:

Since the death of Salvador Dalí, in 1989, one can also visit the crypt with his grave, situated in the centre of the museum; a space which was remodelled in 1997 in order to exhibit there a collection of gold jewellery designed by the artist. Dali was attracted by the materials and not by the money concerned. Salvador Dali designed these jewels in the 1940's and 50's and the original pieces were made up by the silversmith Carlos Alemany under the close supervision of the artist himself. As well as designing the jewels, Dali personally selected all the materials and precious stones used in each one. They were chosen not only for their quality and value, but for the symbolic meanings of each. In 1958 the Dali Jewel Collection was purchased by the Owen Cheatham Foundation and exhibited to raise money for various charitable organizations in the United States. The original pieces now reside at the Figueres Museum. It’s dark there. Taking photographs is difficult:

The human eye - with the tear in the left bottom corner:

Look and stay breathless:

Leaf Veined Hands:

Peace Medal:

Dali's Tristan & Isolde Brooch:

Short history: Inaugurated in 1974, the Dalí Theatre-Museum rises on the remains of the former Municipal Theatre of Figueres and is considered to be the last great work of Salvador Dalí. Everything in it was conceived and designed by the artist so as to offer visitors a real experience and draw them into his unique and captivating world. At the beginning of the 1960s Ramon Guardiola, Mayor of Figueres at the time, asked Salvador Dalí to donate a work for the Museu de l'Empordà. Dalí's reply came quickly: he would donate to Figueres not just a single work, but an entire museum. From the 'seventies onwards, Dalí devoted his entire attention to the museum project, taking part in it and designing its tiniest details, until it became real with the official inauguration of the Dalí Theatre-Museum on 28 September 1974. Dali’s relationship with his place of birth is powerful, deep and intense. He rescued and restored the burned out theatre across from the church where he was baptized, and where he held his first exhibition as a painter. The museum is his personal design based on his own aesthetics. It holds the representative range of all his works created during his lifetime. One of the most noticeable features of the museum, the transparent reticular-shape like a geodesic dome that crowns the building, was entrusted by Salvador Dalí to the Murcian architect Emilio Pérez Piñero (1935-1972). That dome has now become the main icon of the Theatre-Museum and a great landmark for the city of Figueres.

Around Dali Museum:

Church of Sant Pere: while queuing-up to the museum cashier - the church is on your right (east). Figueres' largest church is where Dalí was baptised and where his family regularly attended mass. The site dates back to the year 1020, and it still houses some remains of its Roman past. However, the current building is mainly of Gothic construction, although it has undergone multiple extensions over the years. The baptismal font is the same one in which Dalí himself was baptised:

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Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part II

Steve Fulham

Spain

Barcelona - La Segrada Familia, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer, Casa de les Punxes, Casa Comalat, Palau del Baro de Quadras, C/ del Rosselló # 248 and # 279, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Bagues Joieria / Casa Amatller, Casa Lleó Morera, Passeig de Gracia other Modernista houses, Placa Catalonia - Part II.

(This itinerary is a continuation of Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part I.)

It is 500 m. walk from Sant Pau Hospital to the Sagrada Familia. We walk along Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret WESTWARD until it meets Avinguda de Gaudi. The intersection of these two roads is, exactly, in the most southern corner of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Look back and the view of the hospital from the Avinguda de Gaudi is breathtaking:

A wonderful semi-pedestrianised street that connects two magnificent landmarks, one by Domènech i Montaner and the other by Gaudí. We arrive to this avenue during the (most hot) afternoon hours - but the avenue is more admirable in the morning hours. This is a lively street which showcases a series of Modernista streetlamps that lend it an elegant touch and unique style. They were designed by Pere Falqués and placed along the Avinguda Gaudí in 1985, after being stored for many years in a warehouse. They originally stood at the crossroads between the Passeig de Gràcia and the Avinguda Diagonal but were removed from this site in 1957 because they were a obstacles to traffic:

In spite of the busy cross-streets, this artery features all the elements that give it the appearance of a boulevard: restricted vehicular access, bollards on either side, pavement cafés and a whole host of shops which delight lovers of typical neighborhood shops:

On our way south to Sagrada Familia - we cross the following bustling roads: C/ del Industria, c/ de Podilla, C/ de Corsega, c/ de Rosello, Carrer de Lepant - before arriving to the La Sagrada Familia - Gaudi (1852–1926)-designed landmark church. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica,[6][7][8] as distinct from a cathedral which must be the seat of a Bishop. Construction of the Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style and genius, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was completed. Sagrada Família's construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí's death...  The building is still under construction so be prepared to see a lot of work continuing when you visit. However this in itself is interesting, especially if you visit the museum inside the building. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding the Sagrada Familia it is a truly magnificent building and an absolute must-see when you visit Barcelona. The Basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona: over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudí's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí's death disregarded his design, and the recent proposal to build an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed rail link to France which could disturb its stability. Opening hours: October - March: 09.00 - 18.00, April - September: 09.00 - 20.00. 25 and 26 December, 01 January and 06 January: 09.00 - 14.00. Admission: Main entrance (Queuing): €14.80, Main entrance + towers (Queuing): €19.30. How to get there: Metro L2 and L5, stop Sagrada Família. Bus 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50 and 51. Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Sagrada Família.

We advise you to buy your tickets in advance for this Barcelona attraction. The Sagrada Familia is is the no.1 most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona with 3,000,000 visitors per year and is one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions. There are often very long queues to get into the attraction (between 1 to 2 hours) at entrances that deal with ticket purchases at the door. Bring water and hats.

Main nave and apse of Sagrada Familia:

Apse, Altar and Baldaquin of La Sagrada Familia:

Transept and Ceiling of Sagrada Familia:

Right aisle of Sagrada Familia Basilica:

Left Aisle of La Sagrada Familia:

Works in progress:

Typical Modernista curved handrails and stairs:

Tomb of Antoni Gaudí in the crypt of Sagrada Familia:

From the south side of Plaça de la Sagrada Família we walk along Carrer de Mallorca WESTWARD (with our back to the Basilica - we turn RIGHT). We cross Carrer de Nàpols and Carrer de Roger de Flor to arrive to Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer:

You cross a nice avenue, Passeig de Sant Joan, on your right and left and continue westward (in the same direction) along Avinguda Diagonal: one of Barcelona's broadest and most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally from east to west. Walking along the Diagonal westward - you cross: Carrer de Bailèn, Carrer de Bailèn and on the 3rd crossroad with Carrer del Bruc you arrive to (on your right) the Casa Terrades Casa de les Punxes. The “Casa de les Punxes” (House of Spikes) is really a residential block built in the shape of medieval castle which is one of the most recognizable Modernista landmarks on the Barcelona skyline. The Terrades sisters owned three buildings standing between the Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer Rosselló and Carrer Bruc. Josep Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned to redevelop the buildings and linked them together on one site behind a vast brick façade. His project, which was completed in 1905, resulted in an imposing triangular structure which rises up like a grand medieval castle with four turrets, one on each corner. The nickname, “Casa de les Punxes”, comes from the conical roofs, which end in a spike. The house is privately owned and not open to visitors, but the exterior delights anyone who goes to take a closer look. The brickwork on the façade blends with the wrought-iron on the balconies, designed by Manuel Ballarín, the neo-Gothic style sculptural reliefs by Alfons Juyol, and stained-glass windows by Eduard Amigó. The ceramic panels surmounting the façade refer to the patriotic symbols of Catalonia. Another example of the nationalism that often imbues Catalan Modernista/Modernisme:

Hereby, on the right side (north side) of the Diagonal at # 442 - you see Casa Comalat. Two distinct façades, both of them showing the influence of the curve redolent of Gaudi's work. The architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull worked on the Casa Comalat from 1909 to 1911, and was clearly influenced by Gaudi’s organic forms. Built in 1911. Not open to the public:

Move to the left, south side of the Diagonal. Turn/bend left from the Avinguda Diagonal to Carrer del Rosello. Continuing along Carrer del Rosello - you cross Carrer de Pau Claris (on your left). On your left, Avinguda Diagonal, 373 - you see the Palau del Baro de Quadras (formerly: Casa Asia) (Architect: Josep Puig i Cadafalch):

In the crossroad, you see, on your right, another Art-Deco house (# 279):

and Barcelona - C/ del Rosselló # 248:

Along Carrer del Rosello, in the second crossroad turn LEFT to Passeig de Garcia. Passeig de Gràcia was from the beginning designed to be Barcelona's Grand Avenue. It is Barcelona's most elegant avenue and one of the best architectural walks in the city with lots of Modernista buildings. The quality and quantity of Modernista buildings is un-rivalled. This avenue is one of the major streets for shopping in Barcelona. All national and international fashion houses have their boutique here. Among prestigious designers, you will find Adolfo Dominguez, Loewe, Chanel, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Hermès, Laurel. Foreign brands, such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Max Mara, Escada and Armand Bassi stand beside Spanish ones such as Purificación García, Camper and Loewe. There are also even more accessible brands like Zara, Mango, Globe, Benetton and Laura Ashley.

Stay on the LEFT (north) side of the avenue. Immediate on your left is La Pedrera / Casa Milà. The Casa Mila of architect Antoni Gaudi was built for Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà. The original design was not followed because the local government objected to some aspects of the project. They fined the owners for many infractions of regulations, ordered the demolition of aspects exceeding the height standard for the city. The original plan included also a huge sculpture atop the building, representing the goddess Gaia. It never was put there.The house is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Casa Milà got the nickname "La Pedrera", the quarry, because the stone facade made the building look like a steep rock with cave openings. The exciting architectural expression as demonstrated in Casa Milà is not a style which could be imitated or developed. Getting there: Bus: 7,16,17, 22, 24 and V17. Metro: lines 3 and 5, Diagonal. FGC: Provença-La Pedrera. FGC: Passeig de Gràcia. Opening hours: 3 March to 2 November. Monday to Sunday:
09.00 -  20.00 (last admission: 19.30). 3 November to 2 March. Monday to Sunday: 09.00 - 18.30 (last admission: 18.00). Closed: 25 December. Admission fees: Adult: €16.50, Student: €14.85, Disabled: €14.85, Children (six and under): free, Children (seven to twelve): €8.25. Buy your ticket through online ticket sites.

La Pedrera's curved facade:

Casa Mila Apartment:

Bathroom:

The attic and the roof:

Dali in the Casa Mila roof:

Now move to the right (south) side of the Passeig de Gracia bustling street. Along Passeig de Gracia, with your face to the south-east you cross: Carrer de Provença, Carrer de Mallorca, Carrer de Valencia, Carrer de Arago, passing the Passeig de Gracia Metro station and arriving to Casa Batlló.

Casa Batlló (Casa dels Ossos) is rebuilt by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol in the years 1905–1907. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), which will be obvious when you have a good look at it. located at Passeig de Gràcia (Paseo de Gracia) in the Eixample district was built in 1877 and transformed from 1905-07 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) and Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949) for the industrialist Josep Battlló i Casanovas. Casa Batlló got the nickname "Casa dels ossos" (the House of Bones) because it contains skeletal-like design such as the street facade's balconies that are shaped as skulls. The first floor (beletage) contains irregular oval windows and sculptural masonry. The main part of the facade are decorated with mosaics made of broken tiles. The tiles' pattern is fixed with ceramic forms in varying sizes. The background colour consists of a light greyish tone and coloured mosaic squares form a part of it. The colour strength increases upwards, the blue colour is most visibly distinctive - the colour shifts from a light delicate blue into indigo. Other colour nuances are green blue, green, yellow, orange and golden brown. The colours of the facade can be compared with colours of the sea and the motion of the waves, a moving curtain or as if confetti was being sprinkled down the facade. The balconies are made of stone from Montjuïc and resemble skulls or masks. Getting there: Bus Numbers: 7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and 28. Barcelona Tourist Bus (North & South) - Casa Batlló – Fundació Antoni Tàpiesstop
City Tours (Barcelona Tours) (Español) Parada3 A, Passeig de Gràcia-Casa Batlló. Metro: Passeig de Gràcia: L2, L3 and L4. Train RENFE: (Español) Estación Passeig de Gràcia station. FGC: (Español) Estación Provença station.  Opening hours: open 365 days a year, from 09.00  to 21.00 (last entrance 20.00). Adult (+18) 21.5 €, Juniors (7-18) 18.5 €, Students (with card) 18.5 €, Seniors (+65) 18.5 €, Residents (Prov. BCN) 15 €, Children (-7) Free. Buy your ticket through online ticket sites.

The front facade of Casa Batlló:

The grand stair leading to the Batlló family apartment:

The living room:

Top floor apartment room:

The roof with the the dragon, tower and chimneys:

The rear facade of Casa Batlló:

Atrium window at Casa Batllo:

The building adjacent to Casa Batllo, Passeig de Gracia #41 is not the less interesting - Bagues Joieria (jewelery shop) - actually, in Casa Amatller. Bagués Masriera Jewelry is one of the oldest companies in Europe. With the unique craft of jewelry, its history goes back to 1766. Later it joined Masriera (created in 1839). But it was not until 1985 that Bagués (created in 1917) and Masriera jointly gave a boost to the world of Catalan jewel worldwide:

Enter inside this building. It is open free to the public. The building itself is Casa Amatller which is also a building in the Modernista style, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The building was originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and was constructed between 1898 and 1900:

The third building in this chain of adjacent buildings in Passeig de Garcia is Casa Mulleras, Passeig de Gràcia 37 designed by Enric Sagnier:

The next building (all last four ones are adjacent to each other) Casa Lleo Morera (1905) designed by Domènech i Montaner. Guided Tour in English: Monday to Saturday, at 11.00. Express Tours: Monday at 10.00, 10.30, 11.30, 12.:30, 13.00, 15.30, 16.00, 16.30, 18.00.

Stained glass gallery, first floor:

Second floor balcony:

Third floor gallery:

Top of the building:

The last four unique buildings, which have relationship in location, time and space, are nicknamed "la Manzana de la Discordia" (The Apple of Discord). The Spanish word Manzana means both apple and block of flats:

Casa Lleó-Morera
Passeig de Gràcia 35
designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner

Casa Mulleras
Passeig de Gràcia 37
designed by Enric Sagnier

Casa Amatller
Passeig de Gràcia 41
designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Casa Batlló
Passeig de Gràcia 43
designed by Antoni Gaudí

The Illa de la Discòrdia or Mansana de la Discòrdia - English: Block of Discord; Spanish: Manzana de la Discordia - is a city block on Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain. The block is noted for having buildings by four of Barcelona's most important Modernista architects, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier, all the four in close proximity. As the four architects' styles were very different, the buildings clash with each other and the neighboring buildings. They were all built in the early years of the 20th century.

But, in this street, Passeig de Gràcia - there are even more Modernista gems:

Passeig de Gràcia, 65 - Cases Jofre:

and Pg. de Gràcia 027: Casa Malagrida: Architect: Joaquim Codina i Matali:

Passeig de Gràcia #20, Cases Antoni Rocamora:

Passeig de Gracia 2-4, Cases Pons i Pasqual by Enric Sagnier (1891):

Two minutes walk further south and you are in Placa Catalonia:

Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part I.

Steve Fulham

Spain

Barcelona - Col·legi de les Teresianes, Park Guell, Sant Pau Hospital - Part I.

Barcelona - La Segrada Familia, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer, Casa de les Punxes, Casa Comalat, Palau del Baro de Quadras, C/ del Rosselló # 248 and # 279, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, Casa Lleó Morera, Passeig de Gracia Modernista houses, Palau Guell - Part II.

Duartion: 1 day. 15-16 km.

Weather: Never walk this itinerary in very hot or rainy days.

Tips:

1. Barclona hotels are expensive. Most of them are NOT a good value for your money.

2. Barcelona is easily walkable. Avoid using any kind of transportation - as possible. See next two comments...

3. Barcelona is concerned, sometimes, with steep hikes.

4. Take water with you to Park Guell, as the hike is worth it but you will be thirsty during the summer months! Do not make long walk if the temperature exceeds 28-29 degrees.

5. The admission fees to every kind of attraction ARE EXPENSIVE. Your daily budget for more than 3-4 sites can, easily, pass the 50 euros/person budget !

6. Plan in advance. Most sights seeing is involved with long queues of waiting. Long lines for the toilets too. It won't take time to book your tickets on internet and it will save you 2 hours.

Catalonia was marked by the so-called ‘Modernisme' (or Modernista) , a movement that extended from ca 1880 to the First World War, parallel to currents such as Naturalism, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. It was motivated by return to traditions as an expression of national identity, as well as by the introduction of modern techniques and materials as part of progress.
It found expression in literature and music, as well as in painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architecture. The best known Modernisme architects include Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The Modernisme movement was centred in the city of Barcelona, though it reached far beyond, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially in the work of Antoni Gaudí, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theatre and painting. Although it was part of a general trend that emerged in Europe around the turn of the 20th century, in Catalonia the style acquired its own unique personality. Its distinct name comes from its special relationship, primarily with Catalonia and Barcelona, which were intensifying their local characteristics for socio-ideological reasons after the revival of Catalan culture and in the context of spectacular urban and industrial development. It is equivalent to a number of other fin de siècle art movements going by the names of Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, Jugendstil in Germany, Sezession in Austria, Liberty style in Italy and Modern or Glasgow Style in Scotland, and was active from roughly 1888 (the First Barcelona World Fair) to 1911.

The earliest example of Modernista architecture is the café Castell dels tres Dragons designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the Parc de la Ciutadella for the 1888 Universal Exhibition. It is a search for a particular style for Catalonia drawing on Medieval and Arab styles. As well as combining a rich variety of historically-derived elements, it is characterized by the predominance of the curve over the straight line, by rich decoration and detail, by the frequent use of vegetal and other organic motifs, the taste for asymmetry, a refined aestheticism and dynamic shapes.

Antoni Gaudí is the best-known architect of this movement. Other influential architects were Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and later Josep Maria Jujol and Enrique Nieto.

There are about 30 Modernisme works spread around Barcelona. Only the main, the 10-11 most important are explored here. Mainly, due to their proximity and accessibility for a-pied walkers.

Part I:

Col·legi de les Teresianes - This isolated, elegant and sober building, which looks like an unassailable fortress, is the amazing convent school designed by Gaudí for a community of nuns from the Order of Saint Teresa of Jesus. This imposing building stands behind railings and among gardens, and has been used as a school ever since it opened.

Park Güell - A garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district, built in the years 1900 to 1914.

Hospital de Sant Pau - A complex built between 1901 and 1930. It was a fully functioning hospital until June 2009, since when it has been undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center. In 1913 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.

Part II:

Sagrada Família - An immense basilica that has been under construction since 1882 and will be under construction for the next 25 years. It is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions and considered Gaudi's masterpiece.

Casa de les Punxes - Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) or Casa Terrades is a building located on Avinguda Diagonal constructed in 1905, commissioned by the Terrades sisters. The house includes different ceramic panels illustrating patriotic motifs. The best known depicts Saint George and with the following legend: “Sant Patró de Catalunya, torneu-nos la llibertat” (“Holy Patron of Catalonia, give us back our freedom”).

Casa Milà - Casa Milà or " La Pedrera" is a building located at Passeig de Gràcia Avenue, built during the years 1905–1910. It is probably Gaudi's second most popular building in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló - A slender building originally built between 1875 and 1877 and remodelled in 1904-1906 by Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol.

Casa Amatller - A building originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and constructed between 1898 and 1900.

Casa Lleó Morera - A building originally constructed in 1864 but renovated in 1902. In 1906 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.

Palau Güell - A mansion designed for the Catalan industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and constructed between years 1885-1900.

Excluded:

Palau de la Música Catalana - A concert hall in Barcelona built between 1905 and 1908 for the choral society Orfeó Català. In 1909 it received an award for the best building of the year from the Barcelona City Council.

Casa Bonaventura Ferrer, Passeig de Gràcia 103 - Build in 1906. Since 1979 it has been listed as an historical and artistic heritage of Barcelona. In 2010 the building was remodeled and converted into a luxury boutique hotel under the name of "El Palauet".

I stayed only one night in Barcelona. I stayed in Portugal for 3 weeks and returned to my country through Barcelona. It was far cheaper to fly from Barcelona (with Vueling) and the flight from Porto (Portugal) to Barca costed me just 80 USD with Ryanair (efficient, punctual and spartan) (100 USD including my 18 kg. backpack).

I'll start with my hotel choice. I booked a room in a last-minute process - one day before my arrival.. Hotels in Barcelona, especially in the centre - might be expensive. You can find good deals if reservation made several months before your booking date. Do not expect to find a double room with attached bath in a price less than 80 euros/night. In most of the hotels the noise, during the night, is inevitable. Staying out of tourist traps is highly recommended. The only hotel with a sound mind price was Hotel Catalonia Castellnou, C/ Castellnou 61, 08017 Barcelona. Reasonably priced. Good value for money. The hotel is clean, silent, respectable, very convenient and cozy. It is 3-5 min. walk from the Ferrocarrils Catalonia (FGC) stop (NOT METRO) Les Tres Torres. The ride to Placa Catalonia takes 15 minutes and costs 2.15 euros. There is a train every 10-15 minutes. The same price as the Metro. It is in an residential area. If you want to have nightlife around your hotel - it's not the right one. There are some bars and restaurants around (10-15 euros for dinner).  I booked a single room with a terrace (room 600) on the 5th + floor (45 euros). Double room will cost you 63 euros including breakfast. Breakfast was 9 (!) euros but worth every penny. It is a buffet style with a rich selection of pastries, fruits, juices and diary products. Taking a breakfast in a near bar, cafe or restaurant will cost you 6-7 euros at least. Internet connection, in the lobby, was working good. Good wifi. 12 - 13 minutes from supermarket on foot. A/C worked well. TV had English news channels (all in all 43 channels).

The view from the terrace:


Another important fact, from my experience: Barcelona is walkable. It is 45 minutes (3 km.) from my hotel to Park Guell. This the longest section in our daily route along the Modernista architectural sites. ALL OF THEM ARE NORTH TO Placa Catalonia.

The shortest route is (extracted from Google Maps): Head southeast on Carrer de Castellnou toward Carrer del Rosari, 77 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Rosari, 290 m. Slight right onto Via Augusta, 80 m. Turn left onto Ronda del General Mitre/Ronda General Mitre, 1.3 km. Slight left onto Carrer de Ballester, 550 m. Turn left onto Av. de Vallcarca, 150 m. Turn right onto Baixada de la Glòria, 350 m (the most difficult, inevitable section). Turn left onto Av. del Coll del Portell, 250 m. Turn right, 6 m - Park Güell.

I did a longer and a bit different way which should take about 60-70 minutes. The main point, in this route, is Jardins del Turó del Putget or Park Putget (Putxet). Every route chosen is involved with section of steep climb (especially, to Park Guell itself, via the Beixada de la Gloria stairs).  High above it all and nestled on Putget hill, these spacious and open gardens offer one of the most privileged viewing points of Barcelona. These gardens are much more accessible than they may initially seem, since there are more unobstructed paths than flights of stairs. Except for access to the highest part of the hill, the Park Putxet gardens can be crossed from one side to the other without stepping on a single stair.

From Hotel Catalonia Castellnou I headed north-east to the Plaça de Joaquim Pena and Carrer del Milanesat. Turn right to C/ Vergos and continue eastward along Via Augusta (where the Les Tres Torres FGC subway station is located). Turn LEFT to Ronda del General Mitre (a bustling, but, still, elegant street) and take its left pavement. On the first cross-road turn left to the Col-legi de les Teresianes, Ganduxer, 85-105.  In 1887, a community of nuns from the Order of Saint Teresa of Jesus decided to build a school in Sant Gervasi de Cassoles, a village in the north of Barcelona. An unknown architect had already laid the foundation stone and established the floor plan of the building when Gaudí took over the project. He altered the actual structure of the building and left his own highly personal imprint on the ensemble. Unlike his other projects, Gaudí had to work with a limited budget and this explains the use of austere materials, such as brick and reconstituted stone, or the plaster walls inside.

Return to Ronda General Mitre. Now walk on the right side (shaded) pavement and continue eastward. Here, starts our adventurous section. Turn left to  Carrer de Balmes. The Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) line runs under Carrer Balmes, where you'll find Plaça Molina, Padua and El Putxet FGC stations. Turn right and continue climbing on the LEFT LEG of Carrer de Bertran. Turn right (2nd turn) to Carrer del Pare Fidel Fita. Here you climb up approx. 100 stairs and turn left to Carrer Roca i Batlle (a steep climb uphill). Turn right to Carrer de Marmellà. On your right is the Centre Esportiu Municipal Putxet. We arrived to Jardins del Turó del Putget. El Putget - often written El Putxet - is a small peak between Vallcarca and Sant Gervasi, which was first documented as the site of a chapel in the 17th century but whose history only really dates back to around 1870 when, owing to the dreadful sanitary conditions in Ciutat Vella, bourgeois Barcelona families began to build summer homes there. At the time, El Putget was one of the three neighborhoods, along with La Bonanova and Lledó, that made up Sant Gervasi. With the arrival of the Sarrià railway in 1863, the metro in 1924 and the tram, the summer homes in El Putget gradually became permanent residences. Just like in Sarrià or La Salut above Gràcia, fine houses, many of them Modernista, were built around the hill and some can still be seen particularly along Carrer de Mulet or Carrer de Puigreig. Usually is a very quite park, with some cozy resting places, and it has a huge variety of plants. As it's located on a hill, some of its roads and stairs are quite stepped, but it's a lovely park with seating areas, smalls squares and even a playground.

The views from this park are really wonderful. BUT, I think the best scenery is during the afternoon hours when the sun shines from the west with Park Guell to the east of this park. So, don't expect to have the best views, from this park, at the first half of the day... In case you decide to climb to the top of Putxet Hill, through the park's stairs - it will consume another 15-20 minutes of your time. The park contains taps, rest rooms and picnic benches.

You leave the Jardins del Turó del Putget by following the signposts pointing to C/ Manacor. You exit the park, at one of its eastern exits, along Carrer de Manacor, You walk down along Carrer de Manacor and see, almost, immediately, the steep road leading to Park Guell. The road slopes down and changes its name to Carrer d'Agramunt. You cross three roads on your way down: Av. Argentina, C/ Bolivar and Av. Valcarca. At last you arrive to the famous stairs leading to Park Guell - Beixada de la Gloria. It is a series of escalators (and a bit of a manual climb in parts) that lead you to Guell Park. Although the buildings inside are pretty interesting to look at, it's worth the visit for the fantastic views across the city. You'll find benches around, to rest, before the ascent to Park Guell.

Before the SECOND series of escalators, you have a very steep section of climbing on foot:

When Park Güell began to be built in 1900, Barcelona was a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis whose economy was based on the strength of its industry and which had over half a million inhabitants. Its walls had been knocked down nearly half a century earlier and the new city, the Eixample planned by engineer Ildefons Cerdà, had grown spectacularly from 1860 onwards, in what was the largest 19th century city development project in Europe. From the 1860s, the construction of the Eixample gave Barcelona’s architects many professional openings for expression, endowing the city with one of the continent’s richest and fullest repertoires. The first attempts at Modernisme were brought into its wide spectrum of historicist and eclectic architecture at the end of the century. When art nouveau finally triumphed at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900 - the most significant architects within Modernisme, such as Domènech i Montaner and Gaudí, went very much further in their original interpretation of art nouveau, based on the paradox of having to be modern without renouncing tradition. The association between entrepreneur Eusebi Güell and architect Antoni Gaudí began when Güell saw a window display that Gaudí had planned for glove retailer Esteve Comella at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878. In 1886 Eusebi Güell entrusted Gaudí with building his new house, the Palau Güell in Nou de la Rambla street in the old quarter of the city. Later, in 1895 Gaudí built a winery in Garraf county in collaboration with Francesc Berenguer. In 1898 he planned the church for Colònia Güell, home to the workers at the large textile factory that the industrialist owned on the outskirts of Barcelona. And finally, in 1900, Gaudí was given the assignment of designing Park Güell. Güell understood better than any of his contemporaries the meaning of Gaudí’s architecture. The relationship between the two men was not simply that of an artist and his patron, but a real story of friendship. For many years the Güell family lived in the large family house (now a school) that stood on the land where the development was located, while Gaudí lived in one of the two houses that were built there. In the businessman’s own lifetime, the park was already considered to be one of Barcelona’s great tourist attractions, and the large square was often let for staging Catalan events, traditional Catalan Sardana dancing and other civic and social events. Gaudí planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 as infrastructure and facilities for an English-style garden suburb, planned to accommodate sixty single-family residences. The project was a financial failure and became city property in 1923. Although it was never fully completed, it is one of Gaudí's most colorful and playful works. Be sure to check every corner of this beautiful place for a multitude of architectural surprises. A highlight of Barcelona.

While the entrance to the Park is free, there is an entrance fee to visit the monumental zone with the architectural sights, and a separate fee to visit Gaudi’s house, which contains the furniture he designed. Gaudí's house, "la Torre Rosa," — containing furniture that he designed — can be only visited for an another entrance fee. There is a reduced rate for those wishing to see both Gaudí's house and the Sagrada Família Church. Opening times: Autumn-Winter from 27 October to 23 March: from 08.30 to 18.00, Spring-Summer from 24 March to 30 April: from 08.00 to 20.00, from 1 May to 26 October: from 08.00 to 21.00. General ticket € 7 (on-line) or € 8 (ticket office on-site). In addition, consider that now a limit is set on visiting the park. Only 400 tickets go on sale every half an hour. When buying tickets online, you need to clearly state the date and the time of your visit, and most importantly, not to be late, because in this case the ticket will be canceled. Remember: A limit of 400 tickets per 30 minute increments has been set to control the crowds ! Slots are limited. Although this route is planned as a full-day one, from morning till evening - I recommend going to Parc Guell (the Catalan name) just before sunset so that you can watch the sky light up as the sun sets and begin to see the city lights twinkle. It is also often less crowded at this time so you don't have to deal with as many tourist crowds. Don't forget to take your camera! Park Güell is one of the best photo opportunities in Barcelona, and an absolute must see for those visiting the incredible city. Beautiful architecture and mosaics can be found hidden (and in plain sight) all throughout the park, creating a surreal and magical feeling, almost as if you have walked into a fairy tale world. I wandered through Park Guell for a few hours and felt like I could've stayed for a few more. I'd definitely recommend bringing a picnic and spending some time on one of the many beautiful mosaic benches and watching the world go by. Yes, it's a very touristy attraction, but also incredibly peaceful and relaxing. The views are simply unreal and the park is bustling with life.

Two metro stations, Vallcarca and Lesseps, are situated within 20 minutes of walk from the park. Consider that in order to get to the park you have to surmount quite a steep ascent. You can take the underground metro to the station Lesseps along L3 and follow the signs towards Park Güell. better way is to take the bus, as it drops you right outside the park. Bus 24 goes from Plaça de Catalunya (it goes through Universitat area towards La Rambla), straight through Passeig de Gracia towards the park. You can see many of the attractions along the way, and experience Gracia quarter on the bus. A bus No. 116 goes from the metro station Lesseps directly to the park – stop L’Olot.

The paths within the park wind round the hill, up towards the highest point where you can see a complete view of Barcelona and the bay in panorama. We come, first, to these two point, the Mirador Villarco and the Turó de les tres creus. These are two gathering points  that offer great views:

El Mirador - view to the west:

Las 3 cruces (Turó de les tres creus): This is the highest part of the park, from here you can see most of Barcelona. Currently there are three crosses on top of a hill of stone, named "Calvari". Two of them indicate the cardinal points (N-S-E-W), and the other pointing skyward.

From these two highest points we slope gently into the park having wonderful overview of the whole park:

We don't enter the park from its main entrance. The main entrance to Park Güell is on the south side, on Carrer d’Olot, from which visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the stairway (see later).

The navigation in the park is easy and, in every intersection - you see signposts directing you the various attractions. we shall refer to the main highlights in Park Guell.

Gaudí's multicolored mosaic salamander, popularly known as "El Drac" (The Dragon), at the main entrance, as restored after the vandalism of February 2007. This is the famous lizard, which is normally Confused with a dragon. Probably one of the most photographed, easily identified Gaudi pieces:

The Dragon Stairway: double flight of steps from front entrance up to the columns room. The stairs lead to a hall with 86 columns under an ornate ceiling. Besides supporting the huge terrace above, this area was intended to become the market of the complex. This is the most famous part of the park, has become a symbol of Barcelona as the "Sagrada familia", and other more modern constructions (Agbar Tower ...). Above the main entrance is a grand staircase leading to the Hipóstila room divided by a number of water sources:

wall leading up the stairs:

The Greek Theatre (or the Main Terrace): Right at the centre of the monumental zone of Park Güell is the large esplanade which the original plans called the Greek Theatre and which has more recently been rechristened as Plaça de la Natura (Nature Square). Following the stairs you go through a large porch that have eighty-six columns that supports a large square. The roof is covered with brittle and white uniform, but it is not plain, is sinking between column and column. In the middle there are fourteen brittle, spread unevenly. In spaces where there is no brittle medallions. The columns are also covered with white brittle at the bottom. Bird nests built by Gaudí in the terrace walls. The walls imitate the trees planted on them. A 100-meter-long unbroken bench, adorned with colorful mosaic, skirts the platform. Its shape resembles a twisting sea serpent that has got out of the deep in order to bask in the sun. Shady lanes and observation areas revealing the greater part of the Catalan Mediterranean seashore are situated throughout the park. Park Güell, which was intended as a commercial project, ended up being a real masterpiece of the landscape art.

Another name to this attraction is Hall of Hundred Columns. In spite of its name, the hall has only 86 columns of Doric Order. Its important element is the vaulted roof, on which rosettes symbolizing seasons, solar and moon cycles are situated. Thanks to its unusual structure the hall has wonderful acoustics. Musical concerts and performances are often organized here:

Hypostyle Room (columns room) - conceived as a covered space to be used as a market for the estate:

stairs leading to the Main Terrace or Greek Theatre (Nature Theater):

Serpentine bench the wraps around 3 sides of the esplanade:

No lack of decoration – multi-colored tiles make the Main Terrace a vibrant place:

The Main Terrace walls (with the "birds' nests"):

The Austria Gardens: What we now know as the Austria Gardens was one of the zones to be used as plots in the estate. When the Park Güell was turned into a public park, however, the zone was used as a municipal plant nursery. This part of the precinct has a completely different look to the rest of the park, and it got its name through a donation of trees from Austria in 1977. Most of the viaducts (photos - see below) are located, formally, in the Austria gardens. These areas were originally meant to be divided into residential plots but was instead a plant nursery. It was officially made into a public garden in the 1960s designed by Lluis Ruidor:

There are ceramics everywhere, even on the park's walls:

The Roadways, Paths and Viaducts: Outside the monumental zone of the central part of the park, running east towards the Carretera del Carmel exit, is the Pont de Baix, bridge, the first of the viaducts of the network of paths that help overcome the topography and connect the various parts of the park. Gaudí planned three viaducts with a width of five metres, snaking their way up the mountain, to lead carriages from the main entrance on Carrer d’Olot up to the high part of the estate, the Turó de Tres Creus (Three Crosses Hill). They are known as the Pont de Baix, the Pont del Mig and the Pont de Dalt (lower, middle and high bridges), names that already appeared on the first postcards of the park. They are suspended on a structure of sloping columns and vaults made from unhewn stones taken from the site itself. On their upper parts, the balustrades are crowned by plots with vegetation.

Mansion Salve:

The Museum: The house, designed by Francesc Berenguer i Mestres (Reus, 1848 - Barcelona, 1914) was built between 1904 and 1906. In 1906, Antoni Gaudí bought the house and became his residence. A few months before he died the year 1926, Gaudí left his residence To Park Guell. The Museum is the only thing that not really worth it in the park. While it gives you a deeper introspective to his works, it was still very small and honestly not worth the admission. OPENING TIMES: October-March: from 10.00 to 18.00, April-May: from 10.00 - 20.00, June-September: from 09.00  to 20.00. ADMISSION PRICES: 5.50 euros, reduced - 4.50 euros.

Same sculpture elements that adorns a portion of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia:

Gaudi often designed furniture to compliment his architectural work.

The main entrance to Park Güell and the porter's lodge pavillions: it is formed by an iron gate, and two pavilions, a warehouse, a shelter for the carriages, and a main staircase. It covers an area of 400 sqm. Currently one of the pavilions and the warehouse is business tours, gift shop (Casa del Guardia) and bar. The main entrance is in C/ OLot.

The two pavilions at the main entrance of the park:

the interior of the porter's lodge:

View from the main entrance in C/ Olot:

There are many musical gathering points around Guell Park:

You exit Park Guell from its eastern entrance in Carretera del Carmel. With your face out - turn RIGHT to a narrow road/path - C/cottolengo del padre alegre sloping down to the east. On your right a house for sick poor people (Cottolengo del Padre Alegre) and on your left a green wall. Along the asphalted path there are proverbs of Antoni Gaudi like: "Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature.", "Nothing is art if it does not come from nature". In the end of the descent - turn LEFT (on your right and left - tennis courts) - Riera de Can Toda. You descend in this road and cross Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut. On your left a Chinese restaurant Ta - Tung. Turn left onto Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 28 m. Turn right onto Carrer del Secretari Coloma, 54 m. Turn left onto Ronda del Guinardó, 200 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sardenya. On your right is Sardenya Centre Esportiu Municipal and Holmes Place sport hall. Here, you can find (on your right) a simple, straight-forward bar/restaurant with filling lunch at 9-10 euros (Menu'-del-dia). DO NOT continue with Car. de Sardenya. Take the most left street - Ronda del Guinardo and walk along this road, on your left Parc de les Aigües (A green island that audibly and visually separates part of the homes of the Baix Guinardó district from the intense traffic from Alfons X el Savi square) and, later, crossing C/ de Padilla:

 

Ronda del Guinardo # 49:

Here starts a nice avenue of palm trees (on your left). You cross Carrer de los Castillejos. Continue walking 2-3 minutes and the Hospital de Sant Pau is on your right. The formal entrance is further east along the bustling street. I recommend turning right and finding a way to enter the hospital from its back. Hospital de Sant Pau is actually two distinct sites. This site can be accessed FREE without security controls if you come from the back of the hospital. Sant Pau is still a working hospital, but the original Modernista buildings at the front (west) have been converted into a museum, The more western complex of hospital buildings is already a tourist site with admission fees of 8-14 euros. The largest, and in many ways the most impressive, of the Modernist sites in Barcelona, indeed in all of Catalonia, is probably also one of the least known and visited. The appearance is stunning to see and the impressive architecture is very interesting. A visit to this hospital is a pleasant activity. Make a visit and be amazed.

Sant Pau, is the world's largest Art Nouveau site. It is a complex built between 1901 and 1930, designed by the Catalan modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In 1401, six hospitals in the city of Barcelona merged to form the Hospital de la Santa Creu, a fine example of civilian gothic architecture. With the growth of the city and the advances in medicine in the 19th century, the centre was unable to meet the demands of the time and construction of a new building was proposed. Thanks to the legacy of Pau Gil, a banker, the first stone of the new building was laid on January 15th, 1902. "Sant Pau" was added to the old name of "la Santa Creu" to honour the wishes of its benefactor. The architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner was commissioned with the project. Over the years, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau became the most significant public building in Catalan modernista/Modernisme. The architectural complex of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau is an unmistakable landmark in the culture and heritage of Barcelona city in particular and in Catalonia in general. Its architectural and patrimonial value extends beyond its urban location and the site has won European and international acclaim. In 1997, together with the Palau de la Música Catalana (one of the world's leading concert halls), the Hospital was declared World Heritage by UNESCO for its singular architectural and artistic beauty. It was a fully functioning hospital until June 2009, it is currently undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center. As of July 2014 there are still tours of the hospital being given several times a day (in the western part of the complex). In 2003 a new hospital building was erected to the north of the Domènech i Montaner's Modernista pavilions.

First, we take the FREE section of Sant Pau hospital and spend here 15-20 minutes taking photos of the fantastic buildings around:

The west site of Sant Pau hospital cannot be accessed free of charge. Opening time: November – March: Monday to Saturday, 10.00 to 16.30. Sundays and holidays, 10.00 to 14.30, April – October: Monday to Saturday, 10.00 to 18.30, Sundays and holidays, 10.00 to 14.30. January 1st and 6th, December 25th and 26th, closed. Guided Visits: Monday to Saturday: Catalan, 11.30 and 12.30. Spanish: 10.30 and 13.30. English: 12.00, 13.00 and 16.00. French: 11.00.  Sundays and holidays: Catalan, 11.30 and 12.30. Spanish: 10.30a and 13.30. English: 10.00, 12.00 and 13.00. French: 11.00. Admission fees: Self-guided visit: 8€, Guided visit: 14€. Concession ticket: aged 16 to 29, over 65, disabled, Self-guided visit: 5.60€, Guided visit: 9.80€. A bit pricey considering that most of the buildings are not restored or, if restored, not open to visitors. 11 stunning building, 4 of which you can enter. Others are still under renovation. Allow a good hour and a half, two hours, as the details and the place are just amazing. The Sant pau is so much quieter than the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and you can really take your time and appreciate the beauty of the hospital.

This visit begins at the Administration Pavilion, in the exhibition space, where a video, an interactive touch table and other elements introduce you to the monumental and artistic heritage and its significance, the historical evolution of the institution and its contribution to medicine.  Undoubtedly, the entrance will be not indifferent to the visitor.

Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Entrance Hall:

Trencadís (broken tile shards) is a widely used technique in the Catalan Art Nouveau architecture, which can be found again and again in the old Sant Pau Hospital and particularly clearly in the Main Terrace in Park Güell. The tour continues with steps leading to a hallway with large windows and the Art Nouveau ceiling so beautiful and so worked, which confirm that the visit has been worthwhile:

Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Chapel:

In order to get to the other buildings you head down into the basement and then along part of the network of underground passageways that unite all the separate parts of the original hospital. You can’t explore all of these as the pavilions that are out in the garden are either used by different organisations or have yet to be restored. Nonetheless you do get an idea of what Domènech i Montaner was aiming for, keeping all the servicing of the hospital’s requirements underground and creating the ability to get to all the pavilions without having to pass through or disturb any of the others. Following the route indicated by this pavilion you will pass by different chambers, all with stunning Art Nouveau details. In some rooms there are monitors projecting information about the restoration of the old Hospital de Sant Pau and its transformation into the new Art Nouveau Site. Once traversed the halls of the Administration Pavilion that are truly amazing, if the official route is followed, you will go down stairs leading to the tunnels of the old hospital, through which workers moved and carried the stretchers. The route through the tunnel leads to the modernist courtyard of the site, from which you can visit the rest of the pavilions. Each of these pavilions had its particular function in the old hospital. The largest, the Administrative Pavilion, as said before, is also part of the tour. Its facade glows with mosaic murals telling the history of hospital care, and inside the building there are beautiful columns with floral capitals and a luxurious, dusty pink tiled ceiling:

Walking on through this superb setting you come to the Sant Rafael Pavilion, whose lovingly restored interiors are once again as they were conceived at the start of the twentieth century. You can also visit the Main Hall of the Administration Pavilion, the Pau Gil Room and the Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room, one of the main spaces of the building. The recommended tour finishes in the Sant Jordi Pavilion, a completely refurbished space that hosts temporary exhibitions. At the moment only eight of the buildings have been fully renovated. The initial plan, for which a budget of €100 million has been allocated, takes in 12 buildings and they are those around the central building of the garden as well as the administration building itself:

Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Main Stairwell:

If Art Nouveau interiors of the Sant Pau Site are awesome, the facades of the different pavilions composing the old hospital are equally astonishing. The site is still under restoration (Summer 2014) and it is easy to find fencing surrounding the areas that are not visitable. There are toilets and running water in the visiting areas:

Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau – Pau Gil i Serra:

In Part II of this blog - we continue to La Sagrada Familia and other Modernista monuments - north of Placa de Catalonia.

Northern Spain - Sample Trip

Frank Gore

Spain

Barcelona Gothic Quarter and Ribera. One Day Walk (One Day Tour - ODT).
Start: Place de Catalunya.
End: Place de Catalunya.
Orientation: Circular tour. 7-8 km walk.
Weather: no rain.
Main Attractions: Placa de Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, Parque de la Ciudadela, Museu de Zoologia, Zoo, Mercat del Born, Ribera Quarter, Iglesia Sant Maria del Mar, Museu Picasso, Clothing and Textile Museum, Placa de Ramon Berenguer El Gran, the Old Walls, Gothic Quarter, Museu Frederic Mares, Museo de Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA), Placa del Rei, Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona Cathedral, Claustro, Palau de la Musica, Placa de Catalunya.

From Placa de Catalunya - head north. Arrive to the Catalunya Metro station. Turn right onto Ronda Sant Pere. Turn right onto Passe de Sant Joan. Cross: Via Laitana, Carrer de les Jonqures, (the Urqinanoa Metro is on your left), Carrer del Bruc, Carrer de Girona. At the roundabout , take the 2nd exit. The Arc de Triomf is on the left in the palm-tree-lined Passeig Lluis Companys.

The arch is located between Passeig de Lluís Companys and Passeig de Sant Joan. Behind the triumphal arch starts a wide promenade connecting leading to the Park of the Ciutadella. The Passeig de Lluís Companys is an attractive avenue lined with palm trees and nice lanterns:

Cross the Parque de la Ciudadela. The Park of the Citadel is on the site of a fort built by Felipe V in the 18th century. The fort was demolished to make way for the Universal Exhibition in 1888. The Catalan Parliament, Museum of Modern Art (TUE-SAT 10.00-17.00, SUN 10.00-14.30) and the Cascada Monumental are on your left in the park. The Castell dels Tres Dragons and the Museu Geología are on your right.

The gardens are wonderful with their old and new statues, trees and fountains. The Zoology Museum (Museu de Zoologia), resembling a fortress, stands in the end of the park. Open TUE-SUN 10.00-14.00.

Inside the Catalan Parliament:

The zoo, in the end of the park is quite interesting and large-scale. The main attraction, Snowflake, the Albino Gorilla had been dead in 2003. From the exit gate of the park, turn right to the Carrer Distillers and, later, on Avinguda Marques de l'Argentera. Dine: Kiosko Gourmet Burger, Marques de L_Argentera 1. Cross Passeig de Picaso. On the left - the Estacio de Franca, wonderfully train station. Turn right to the Carrer de Commerc. Cross Carrer de Ribera. On your right – Mercat del Born: a local food market that had been transformed to an Exhibition Centre. Opposite the market – Passeig del Born – the heart of the Ribera quarter. Walk along Passeig del Born, crossing Carrrer del Rec.

Opposite the 3rd turn to the left – Iglesia Sant Maria del Mar. One of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Catalonia. Don't be fooled by its exterior. Its interior is spectacular and gives an impression of light and spaciousness. Some interesting stained-glass windows have survived from various periods. Built between 1329 and 1383. The construction of Santa Maria del Mar is the background for the best-selling novel La Catedral del Mar, by Ildefonso Falcones (2006).

Walk back in Passeig del Born and turn immediately left to the Placeta de Montcada and continue along Carrer de Montcada. The street is full with old mansions transformed into variety of museums and art galleries. One of them is Museu Picasso (Montcada 15-23) with admirably renovated rooms and halls. Inside you see many works, representative, mainly, of the early period of Picasso in Paris and Barcelona. Open TUE-SAT 10.00-15.00.

At the same road (No. 12) stands the Museu Textil I d'Indumentaia – Clothing and Textile Museum with interesting display of period-costume display. Open TUE-SAT 10.00-17.00, SUN 10.00-14.00. Dine: El Xampanyet, Carrer de Montcada, 22, next to the Museu Picasso. Continue walking till the end of the Montcada road (north-west) and turn LEFT to the Carrer de la Princesa. Walk until Via Laietana and turn right (opposite is Jaume I Metro station). On your left Placa de Ramon Berenguer El Gran.

Pass the old walls and walk into the twisting Tapineria road. Continue with the Tapineria (Ferreteria Americana and Art Picasso to your right). Turn left (south-west) into the narrower Baixada de la Canonja toward Placa de la Seu. You are now in the Gothic Quarter.

Here stands the Barcelona Cathedral. The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona (Not to be confused with Sagrada Família). We shall return to the Cathedral later. Follow the Cathedral walls and walk along Carrer del Comtes until you arrive to Museu Frederic Mares (Plaça de Sant Iu, 5). Open TUE-SAT 10.00-19.00, SUN – 11.00 – 20.00. Don't miss the internal patio with ists delightful fountain and fishpond. It houses the collection of the sculptor Frederic Mares.

Continue in the same direction until the end of the Carrer del Comtes and turn left to the Baixada de Santa Clara. The Museo de Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA) is on your left. Open: TUE.-SAT 10.00-19.00, SUN 10.00-15.00. For special interest in the museum are the subterranean excavations of the old roman Barcelona.

Turn left to the impressive Placa del Rei (King's Square). Rather small, but, beautiful square surrounded by Gothic architecture buildings.

Retrace your steps from the square and continue with the Carrer del Vaguer (south-east) until its end. Turn right and continue with the Carrer de Libreteria until you arrive to Placa de Sant Jaume. On your left – the Town Hall and on your right – the Palau de la Generalitat. The construction of the Generalitat Palace began during the reign of Jaume II in the 15th century. It was complted in the 17th century. It is now the residence of the Catalunyan government. It is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe that still functions as a seat of government. Open: 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month from 10 to 13:30. In case it is open - you must visit the Chapel of Sant Jordi and the patio staircase.

A covered bridge connects the Generalitat to the Carrer del Bisbe. Walk in the Bisbe and turn right onto Carrer de Santa Llúcia to face, again, the Barcelona Cathedral. Open: Weekdays: 8.00-12.45 (Cloister: 8.30-12.30) Free entry, 13.00-17.00 Entry with donation, 17.15-19.30 (Cloister: 17.15-19.00) Free entry. Sundays and Holidays: 8.00-13.45 (Cloister: 8.30-13.00) Free entry, 14.00-17.00 Entry with donation, 17.15-19.30 (Cloister: 17.15-19.00) Free entry. Free to visit, and only 3 euros to go to the top of the towers. The Gothic Cathedral we have today was built on the foundations of the primitive Christian basilica and the subsequent Romanesque Cathedral. Construction commenced on 1 May 1298 during the the reign of King James II of Aragon, and was virtually completed by the mid-15th century, under the rule of King Alfonso V of Aragon. Three distinct periods can be defined: the first, the building was planned and the apse and radial chapels were built, as were the presbytery - with its altar and crypt- and the pseudo transept; afterward, the three naves, with their respective lateral chapels, were extended back to the choir; finally, construction of the basilica continued to the façade, which was later closed with a simple wall (1417). The Cloister was finished in 1448. At the end of the 19th century, the Barcelona industrialist Manuel Girona offered to undertake the work on the façade and on the two side towers, in keeping with the plans drawn up by the architect Josep O. Mestres and inspired by the initial 15th-century project. Mr Girona's children finalized their father's work in 1913. Beautiful, serene, and a quiet oasis away from the crowd of tourist. The beauty is both on the inside and the outside. Magnificent architecture and craftsmanship reflected in the building.

The real beauty here is at the top. Taking an old lift ride , you are presented with fantastic views over the city and of the bell tower and spires.

There are many small chapels inside of the church. Lots of statues and and stained glass windows. You enter the Cathedral Cloister (Claustro). It has more character than most. With pleaseant garden in the centre and many chapels around. Note the small fountain and Saint Jordi statue near the Cathedral entrance.

Exit by way of the main door and cross Placa de la Seu. Turn right to Avenida de la Catedral and left into Carrer del Dr. Joaquim Pou. Walk several hundreds of metres until you see on your left the Jefatura Superior de Policía de Cataluña. Turn to the right (diagonally) to Sant Pere Mes Alt road. Dine: Arabia, Sant Pere Mes Alt 18.

After the first turn to the left stands the Palau de la Musica. A modernist, Art-Deco masterpiece attributed to Domenech Montaner and built in 1908. It is a masterpiece of colorful tile and glass.

Go back (right) to Via Laietana and walk until Placa Urquinaona. Continue a while and turn left to Carrer de Fontanella. Walk until you arrive to our final (and first) destination of Placa de Catalunya.

Europe's Summer Music Festivals

Tipter Editor

United Kingdom

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

26-30 of June

The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place near Pilton, Somerset, England. It features live music as well as dance, comedy, theatre, and other arts. The first festival in 1970 was organized by Michael Eavis, a farmer in Somerset Valley, after he attended an open air Led Zeppelin concert. The festival has taken place almost every year since, and today is attended by around 150,000 people.

Madrid

Tipter Editor

Spain

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city with a unique cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history. A huge city with several district articles, Madrid offers spectacular sights, excellent restaurants, and a one of the liveliest nightlifes in the world.

My Madrid Trip

Ginger

Spain

The following trip was written as a reccomendation to a friend on 2010. It includes my few tips on madrid. I gathered all the stuff I remember from the time I lived there. I also found something over the internet that is more of a walking tour and may be useful.