Antoni Gaudí Structures, Barcelona

Roof top of Gaudi's Casa Mila

Roof top of Gaudi’s Casa Mila

View from the roof top of Casa Mila

View from the roof top of Casa Mila

Barcelona is known for it’s architecture and one of the most famous architects,

Casa Mila

Casa Mila

Antoni Gaudí’s gothic style structures. They are very unique by design and interesting to tour inside. We were able to view a few of them during our one week stay in Barcelona. Sangrada Familia is probably the most recognized and visited structure by Gaudí and for this reason, I have created a separate post specifically about Sangrada Familia. So be sure to check out that page by clicking on the word “Sangrada Familia” on the right hand side of the page under “topics”.

Antoni Gaudí is from, Reus, which is a small town south of Barcelona.  A

Casa Mila roof top

Casa Mila roof top

‘Modernisme’ movement took place towards the end of the 19th century in Catalonia that extended from ca. 1880 to the First World War. This movement was similiar to other currents such as Naturalism, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. It was motivated by a return to traditions as an expression of national identity, as well as by the introduction of modern techniques and materials as part of progress. This Modernisme movement was very different from anything else as it pertained to cultural identity. The movement expressed literature and music, painting, sculpture, decorative arts and, of course,  architecture.

As we rode the Barcelona Bus Turístic around, we saw long lines in front of  Gaudí’s, Casa Milà. Later we found out that tickets are available for purchase on line in advance, thus avoiding the lines. The long lines indicated that this was a poppular Gaudí

Roof top of Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

Roof top of Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

straucture to tour and so we decided to take the kids and see for ourselves!! The best times to tour the bulding are before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., otherwise be prepared for crowds. Upon entereing the building you will walk through a downstairs area which has gorgeous glass window formations and indoor courtyards. Go up the elevator and walk around the roof top viewing the clay colored, head formations. The bulding displays what high end apartment life was like 100 years ago. Casa Milà is unlike any building I have ever toured or seen for that matter. I was a little nervous walking around the roof tops as it is very high and you walk up and down hilly, narrow pathways. Upon exiting the building there is a book store with unqiue gifts and souveniers.

Roof top of Casa Mila

Roof top of Casa Mila

Casa Milà  is also known as ‘La Pedrera’. It is a very unusual looking building, which was built between 1906 and 1912 by Gaudí (1852–1926).  La Pedrera is the headquarters of Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera and includes a cultural centre. This bulding is known for an array of activities which are organized, exhibitions and other events.

Price information to tour Casa Milà:
Adult: €16.50
Student: €14.85
Disabled: €14.85
Children (six and under): free
Children (seven to twelve): €8.25
Casa Batllo from bus

Casa Batllo from bus

Another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces is the Casa Batlló which opened in 1877 and is located in the heart of Barcelona. Casa Batlló is a remodel of a previously built house.

When riding the Barcelona Bus Turístic around you will see Casa Batlló which is located in the very heart of Passeig de Gràcia. Gaudí’ wanted this building to have marine inspiration, such as a dream world, which portrays nature with its earthy elements and bits of fantasy.
The house was originally the residence of the Batlló family. Then, Gaudí included a huge gallery which projects several meters out over Passeig de Gràcia for all to see! He also added large oval-shaped feature windows and inserted stone columns in the shape of bones, and balconies in the shape of masks or gothic figures. On the top of the building there is a spectacular roof which resembles a dragon’s back. In addition, there is a tower with a cross rising up with four arms pointing north, south, east and west.

Gaudí is known for his representations such as an animal’s spine on the roof terrace using tiles of different colors on one side and the use of trencadís mosaic technique on the other. The roof also displays four chimney stacks. Gaudí completed a full refurbishment of the building using innovative techniques and creativity.
Barcelona City Council selected the house as a candidate for the 1906 award for the best building.

Price Information to tour Casa Batlló:
Adult: €20.35
Student: €6.30
Children (six and under): free
$$ saving tips: Most of the Gaudí structures can be viewed from the Barcelona Bus Turístic. It gets expensive purchasing tickets for an entire family at each building. Some structures you really have to view from the inside, such as Sangrada Familia. However, other structures are shown very close up from the bus. The bus also provides information about the buildings and drives slow enough to take pictures. We were lucky as the bus came to a complete stop often times in front of the buildings due to traffic. Be sure to ride on the top deck to get the best view. The Sangrada Familia must be toured inside to see the various colors of gorgeous marble columns throughout. There are so many museums and building to see in Barcelona in addition to all of the Gaudí structures. The best way to save money is to ride the bus around first, take pictures of everything, and map out what you want to return to. Casa Milà was worth paying for the tour. You don’t need to pay for the guided tour with the head set. We did and then ended up just reading our way through and taking off the annoying head phones.
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Castle Montjuic, Barcelona

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Castle Montjuic

When researching Barcelona I saw Castle Montjuic pop up but it was relatively difficult to find information on in English. I read a review from a mom who said it was one of the things that her kids enjoyed most and that it was free! So I decided to find out as much information as I could, but it was bits and pieces here and there. I am hoping that this post will capture everything I was looking for about the castle in one place! This was a favorite spot in Barcelona for our family because there were so many different things to do in one place and everything is outside. The castle sits up high with gorgeous views of their gardens and the Mediterranean Sea.

Barcelona Bus Turístic

Barcelona Bus Turístic

Getting to the castle- we stayed in a hotel on La Rambla, but regardless of where you are

staying or if you are in Barcelona for a day, you can access the castle location from the double decker bus, Barcelona Bus Turistic. The bus has three routes: red, green and blue. There is a ticket which allows you to ride on all three routes or purchase a single route ticket. For more information on routes and ticket prices please visit the site http://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat/web/guest/informacio. When purchasing a ticket for the bus, it comes with earphones to listen to the tour in 10 different languages if you choose. Castle Montjuic is located on the red route, but prior to reaching the castle, you must take a ride on the cable car, Telefèric de Montjuïc, which transports passengers to the top of  Montjuic. The cable car holds up to 8 passengers.

Telefèric de Montjuïc

Telefèric de Montjuïc

There are fantastic views of Sangrada Familia and Torre Agbar. The Telefèric de Montjuïc hours of operation vary seasonally. Be sure to double check prior to planning your day at the castle at http://www.tmb.cat/en/teleferic-de-montjuic.

Lunch area at Castle Montjuic

Lunch area at Castle Montjuic

There is a lot of walking which involves going up stairs to get to the castle from the cable car. It is best to allow yourself a couple of hours to really explore. There are informational plaques throughout to read about the history, people, construction, etc. In addition, you can eat lunch there. We stopped off at La Boqueria (marketplace) on the way to the bus, purchased salami, cheese and Panini to bring to the castle for a picnic. They sell beverages, have tables and an open lawn to enjoy a nice lunch.

Coin operated telescopes

Coin operated telescopes

Stop off and take a peek through the numerous coin-operated telescopes at various points around the gardens. You will see great views of the beach, the Mediterranean sea and imagine what it was like to be on the look out for approaching ships. Be sure to bring coins!

History: Montjuïc Castle is a grand castle that controlled the city since 1640. The purpose of the castle was to repress the people during two centuries. Repression of the anarchists in the XIX century and prison for the political prisoners under Franco. The castle is famous for the execution of in 1940 Lluis Companys, the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Nowadays is the only place of the city where you can see a statue of Franco. In addition, the castle shelters a military museum.

http://www.barcelona.com/barcelona_directory/monuments/montjuic_castle

Shops at Castle Montjuic

Shops at Castle Montjuic

The castle has a few, little shops to browse through while walking around. I found a pair of mosaic goblets that I fell in love with and would have purchased without a second thought, but they looked as if they would not ship to Hawaii well. Browsing through the shops was fun and the kids each picked something small and inexpensive.

Slide at Castle Montjuic

Slide at Castle Montjuic

The castle has two, large slides which I had read about but had difficulty finding. Part of the difficulty was not knowing the Spanish word for “slide” and trying to act it out for the security workers. The Spanish word for slide is “toboggan” which may come in handy. The kids loved going down the slide and then climbing up all of the stairs to go right back down the slide again. The slides are located just below the castle.

Canons at Castle Montjuic

Canons at Castle Montjuic

There are canons at the castle which the kids can stand and climb all over. This was quite fun for them as they read about the castle and how it was placed on the top of the hill to protect Barcelona from ships on the Mediterranean. They climbed right up and started the reenactments. It is a great photo opportunity as well, since these are real canons.

$$ saving tips: Purchase the Barcelona Bus ticket on line and save 10% on the ticket. Bring your own food into the castle and have a picnic lunch there. The views are absolutely breathtaking and it is as if you are eating in a park overlooking the Mediterranean. The castle has tables and a large, open lawn to sit down and relax. The restaurant at Europe - 20 Castle Montjuicthe castle is pricey and most of there business is on catering for large groups.  Take pictures of the signs and the history rather than purchasing the brochures and post cards. That way if your child chooses to write a report on the castle later, you will have all of the information for free.

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The Marketplace- Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria-

Mercat

Pinotxo Tapas Bar

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Salami and Jamón

Food, Food, Food!!!!! By far one of the most memorable things about Barcelona is the marketplace.

Fresh baked bread at market

Fresh baked bread at market

It is an exploration of food for the whole family and offers an array of pastry, meats, cheeses, olives, seafood and drink. The marketplace is accessible from the main drag of Barcelona- Las Ramblas. Our hotel happened to be on Las Ramblas and once we discovered La Boqueria, we explored daily. My son was in awe of all the seafood brought in fresh daily on ice. My daughter, very picky, even found a candy section of the marketplace!

I woke up every morning craving their coffee and fresh made chocolate croissants. I was surprised to find counters to sit at and eat meals right in the marketplace. One of the restaurants, Pinotxo Bar, was featured on the Cooking Channel show, From Spain With Love. The owner, Pinotxo (Pinnochio) has been in the marketplace for 70 years and our kids were fortunate enough to meet him. Restaurants serve different items daily so be sure to go more than once!! My daughter even ate a quiche, Tortilla Espagnole, for breakfast that had escargot in it. Check out the Pintxo Bar at http://pinotxobar.com/

Pintxo Bar

Pintxo Bar

Great memories were created for our kids. We gave them their own euro’s, they picked out fruits and had smoothies made daily for 2€. We did not assist them with the communication barrier, they were on their own and did really well.

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Assorted nuts

$$ saving tips: When exploring the marketplace, be sure to browse multiple stands prior to purchasing as many of the vendors will sell similar items at different prices. For example we found Jamón (ham) Panini’s for 3€ each and then found a stand which sold them 2 for 5€. Before taking off on your excursions or double decker bus ride, stop off at the marketplace and grab salami, cheese, wine, Panini’s or whatever you would like to bring for a picnic. We picked up food almost daily. The market place is conveniently located on the same street as the double decker bus transfer at Las Ramblas about a 4 or 5 block walk.

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Candy bar

History:
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə βu.kəˈɾi.ə]), is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and one of the city’s foremost tourist landmarks, with an entrance from La Rambla, not far from the Liceu, Barcelona’s opera house. The market has a very diverse selection of goods.

The first mention of the Boqueria market in Barcelona dates from 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470 onwards, a pig market was held at this site; at this time it was known as Mercat Bornet. Later, until 1794, it was known simply as Mercat de la Palla, or straw market. In the beginning, the market was not enclosed and had no official status, being regarded simply as an extension of the Plaça Nova market, which extended to the Plaça del Pi.

Family at La Mercat

Family at La Mercat

Later, the authorities decided to construct a separate market on La Rambla, housing mainly fishmongers and butchers.

St. Joseph La Boqueria

St. Joseph La Boqueria

It was not until 1826 that the market was legally recognized, and a convention held in 1835 decided to build an official structure. Construction began on March 19, 1840 under the direction of the architect Mas Vilà. The market officially opened in the same year, but the plans for the building were modified many times. The inauguration of the structure finally took place in 1853. A new fish market opened in 1911, and the metal roof that still exists today was constructed in 1914.

Fresh baked chocolate croissant

Fresh baked chocolate croissant

There is even a Culinary School within the market!!! The courses are taught by chefs and sommeliers as renowned professional, and by young artists.

http://www.boqueria.info/