Europe Trip 2024: Day 9 in Barcelona

May 21, 2024

I was excited about our last day in Barcelona. We had a 10:00 am tour of Casa Batlló. I was looking forward to experiencing this residence by Antonio Gaudi. We arrived about 10 minutes early and got in line. I took a few pictures of the exterior before it was time to go inside.

Casa Batlló

I have never experienced a building like this one. The tour encouraged you to touch the stairs and feel the curves and the shapes in the wood. The ceilings looked like a skin. The space felt very organic. I loved the way Gaudi brought light into the spaces in a variety of different ways. There were a lot of curved shapes in the walls and the ceilings.

There is an obvious nautical theme that runs through the building. The colors, shapes, and other details all support this theme.

The ceiling has a skin-like feel. You could imagine being inside a fish or sea creature.
I love the organic feel of the fireplace and the benches around it.
I loved this swirl detail with the chandelier. Details like this make the house feel like it is a living organism.
The porch is being renovated. I loved the mosaic tile work of this piece.
One of the interesting features of the house is the central enclosed courtyard. The tile color becomes darker the further up you go.
I loved all the different doors in the house. They also have a very organic feel to them.
I love the structure of this interior hallway. It is a stark contrast to the rest of the house.

Gaudi enjoyed decorating the roofs of his buildings. The vents become works of sculpture. The mosaic tile carries the skin theme to this part of the building.

Gaudi celebrates the Catalan legend of St. George and the dragon with the cross representing the sword and the structure representing the dragon.
The building next door has a very ornate facade.

I enjoyed the tour. Much like the Sagrada Familia, I did not feel rushed through the house and felt the freedom to linger as long as I wanted. I would have been interested to see the more private areas of the house to see how Gaudi created those spaces but our tickets did not include that.

This was an architecture to be experienced and I am glad I could enjoy it for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.

A tour of Barcelona’s architecture

After our tour of Casa Batlló, we planned to see the exterior of two more of Gaudi’s works and other works of ‘Modernisme’, a distinctive Catalan modern style. My son had done a tour with one of his classes and I benefitted from what he learned.

I enjoyed strolling the streets of Barcelona and the visual feast of the different buildings. It was interesting to see the different ironworks on each balcony. We walked through a street fair and I enjoyed people-watching as we walked along. I had so much fun seeing a part of Barcelona that tourists don’t visit. We also saw a film crew shooting a street scene for a movie. We saw a woman ride a scooter up the street.

Casa Mila is an apartment building Gaudi designed. Phil Rosenthal visited this building in his show, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, a precursor to his Netflix show. We had considered touring this one but I am glad we chose Casa Batlló.
Hotel Casa Fuster, one of the earliest Modernisme buildings in Barcelona
Casa Vicens is one of Gaudi’s creations. It has a Middle Eastern influence and is different from the other works that I had a chance to see.
Casa Comalat. This facade has a very organic feeling much like Gaudi.
Casa Comalat
Casa Comalat
This is also Casa Comalat. It has twin facades. My son told me that when he toured with his class, one of the residents of the building let them inside the ornate lobby.
Casa de les Punxes. I liked this castle-like architecture. Some of the other facades felt more like religious architecture.
Casa de les Punxes
Casa de les Punxes

The Bunkers

After grabbing lunch some empanadas for lunch at Tio Bigotes Eixample, we made our way to the Bunkers overlooking Barcelona. We used a combination of the subway and a bus. We had to walk up several inclines after that to reach the top. My son told me he was getting me back for our adventure to the Citadella in Budapest. I was so glad when we made it to the top. I was beginning to get winded and the muscles in my leg were burning.

But it was so worth it. The view of Barcelona was awesome. It was great to see the Sagrada Familia in the context of the rest of the city. My son was glad we made the journey. He had been up here once but enjoyed coming back. This was a great way for him to experience Barcelona on his last day.

Sagrada Familia is in the center of the picture.

Mercat dels Encants (Barcelona Flea Market)

After the architectural tour, I got to experience Mercat dels Encants, a large flea market. There was lots of clothing, books, electronics, toys, and things I would consider junk that would be someone else’s treasure. There was even a stand selling chainsaws. My son bought an antique camera here for one of his school projects. We enjoyed strolling through the different stalls.

Barcelona Design Museum

Right next to the flea market is the Design Museum of Barcelona. My son had wanted to visit this collection but it did not work out for his class on the day they had planned to visit. We took advantage of free admission because it was the first Saturday of the month. We started with the product design exhibition. I enjoyed observing my son get excited to see products discussed in his furniture design class. He would see one, get excited, take a picture, and tell me a bit about it. And then the process kept repeating as we made our way around the exhibit.

I took a lot of pictures of a lot of different chairs. There were several objects from the 1992 Olympics that Barcelona hosted including one of the torches from the relay. The last part of the exhibit focused on creative solutions to use recycled materials and solutions to make the world more inclusive including adding texture to sidewalks to signal to blind people that a street crossing was ahead. Once again, I thought about the book, User Friendly, and learning about making products more useful to people.

This filters water from the sink and reuses it for the toilet.

We moved on to another floor and another exhibit about graphic design in Catalonia. The exhibit included a lot of different artifacts–posters, magazines, packaging, album covers, and other physical objects. There was even a section on digital. We enjoyed making our way through this floor through our shared interest in graphic design.

We also enjoyed an exhibit about how fashion “shapes” a body. They had examples of different approaches that exaggerate the body shape, lengthen the body shape, articulate the body shape, and others that I cannot remember. I think my youngest would have enjoyed the exhibit.


We ended our day on the hunt for some churros and hot chocolate. The chocolate is not to drink but to dip the churros. We found a stand on the street on the subway line we needed to take back to our hotel in the Clot neighborhood. They were probably not the best churros you can get in Barcelona but they hit the spot.

After enjoying our churros on a park bench, we boarded the subway and went to our hotel. We were exhausted after a long day of walking. We decided to buy some things from the grocery store for dinner. We packed our bags and chilled out. I went down and asked the front desk if they could arrange a taxi to take us to the airport the next morning. We had a full day and were ready to go home the next day.

Comment on this post