June 6th we woke to thunder and rain. So much for the beach! Oh well, there’s so much to do in this city we can’t do it all anyway. It’s an excellent day for some indoor touring.
The Front of the Palace del la Musica
We had a tour set up for the Palace de la Musica, an ornate Modernisme concert hall. Before the tour we both wondered if it would be anything like the Fox Threatre, St. Louis’s over-the-top art deco palace (click here for a look at pictures of the Fox), but as it turns out its nothing like the Fox at all. It’s smaller, beautifully ornate, older (closer to the turn of the 19th century) and more thematic. I loved the stained glass “bell” in the center of the ceiling, and I loved the stage. On one side of the stage stands the founder of the Catalan tradition of choral music. A tree grows behind him (in stone I mean) and various musical ladies adorn the tree. On the other side of the stage two Greek columns rise. A bust of Beethoven supports the columns and from their top flies the Wagnerian Valkeries on their horses. Somehow the whole thing is joined together and forms a beautiful whole. They won't let you take pictures inside the concert hall, but you can see pictures of the stage at their website.
Ticket Window in a Column at the Palace de la Musica
The entire building and the columns within the music hall are covered in mosaic designs and stained glass. The building itself is set into a small corner of the Barri Gotic, with buildings close by on all sides. It’s hard to take pictures because the buildings are so close, but I tried!
After a snack we went over to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s incredible cathedral. Gaudi had it partially finished when he died in an accident in the mid-1930’s. Then the Spanish Civil War broke out. The cathedral was attacked and his designs for its completion were destroyed and the plaster models wrecked. Ever since then they have been painstakingly trying to put the models back together so that the cathedral can be finished the way Gaudi envisioned it.
This building is just overwhelming. It’s so big that it’s hard to put it into perspective. We stood in line in the rain to get to go inside it. There’s an elevator you can take to the top but because of the rain it was closed. Instead we walked around the inside craning our necks upward and trying to take it all in. It looks like someone took a mountainside and carved it out with fantastical shapes and windows from the inside. I’m really kind of at a loss for words to describe it. I guess you’ll just have to go see it for yourself!
I tried to make sure that I took some good pictures of the Casa Mila before we left Barcelona. I think a few pictures of this building is a good place to end this blog entry. We toured it and it really is more of a work of art than a practical place to live. From the outside the curvy lines of the walls and the elaborate balconies are really beautiful but inside the rooms seem totally impractical for comfortable living. Its obvious that comfort wasn’t Gaudi’s focus! But beauty, oh yes, beauty….Casa Mila is a feast for the eyes, from the intricate sidewalk tiles to the charmingly weird rooftop sculptures. So what if your apartment’s rooms jut oddly off of a twisting hallway; you’re living in a work of art!
From the Roof of the Casa Mila.....
...To the Beautiful Street Tiles on the Sidewalks Outside...