|On the roof of Casa Milà|
To see for ourselves what all the hoopla is about, we devoted our final full day in Barcelona to a tour of some of his most famous works — most of which are situated in the busy Eixample (pronounced eye-sham-plah) neighborhood. We started at the guidebook-recommended Casa Milà, an eccentric apartment building that was built between 1905 and 1912. The tour included a peek into one of the large, tastefully decorated apartments, cave-like attic and peculiar rooftop decorated with what appears to be Stormtrooper heads on spikes and huge dollops of soft serve. What we learned along the way, though, was that Gaudi drew his inspiration from nature – particularly things from the sea like conch shells and sand dollars. It was tacky as all get out, but fascinating, nonetheless.
|Sagrada Familia's sanctuary|
Already won over by Gaudi's genius, we decided to cap the day off in Parc Güell, a 30-acre garden that he envisioned to be an otherworldly gated community for Barcelona's elite. And while the upscale housing project was never fully recognized, the hilly landscape is still speckled with ceramic fountains and benches, intriguing pathways of jagged stone columns and houses that look like they were made out of gingerbread. It's a grassy wonderland that reminds me of a magical version of San Francisco's Twin Peaks. Feeling adventurous, we hiked to the park's highest point where we watched the sun set behind the best views of Barcelona we've seen so far.
Senses overloaded and feet achy, we bussed back to our hood for dinner. We stopped in a vegan cafe called Cat Bar where we munched on homemade veggie burgers while finalizing plans for the next leg of our trip — a five-day road trip to Granada!
See you along the way, amigos.