13 Oct Barcelona: Casa Milà
Barcelona is the second stop of our European getaway. Checking out everything was smooth and easy in CitizenM and we had made it to the London Bridge train station by walk…phew~ (At that moment I was so glad I packed light this time). The train ride to Gatwick is quick (~25mins) and cheap (£9.20), so you don’t have to go for the expensive option (Gatwick express) if you stay close to one of the train stations that can take you to Gatwick.
The plane ride to Barcelona is approximately 2 hours long. If you travel from North America like us, you can always consider taking budget airlines (like Ryanair or Eastjet) connecting from major cities such as London or Paris. The fare might be significantly less than booking with the same airline you travel long haul. As there’s no direct flight to Barcelona from Vancouver, you can buy separate legs from different airlines to maximize savings. For our entire trip, flights were covered by the British Airways Avios with redemption of BA and Vueling flights.
Now back to the travel diary, I’ll be posting them by destination in no particular time sequence (day 1, day 2 etc). Please let me know if you need my itinerary that I can email you privately. We had 4D5N in Barcelona and our schedule was fairly loose. It gave me enough time to site see each attraction we picked and take pictures (of course). We enjoyed strolling our neighbourhood (L’Eixample) very much with so many cute little shops and restaurants around. Now let’s start with one of my must go places – Casa Milà which also locates in L’Eixample.
Why visit Casa Milà?
You can’t miss visiting a handful of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in Barcelona, one of them is the Casa Milà (La Pedrera). It’s the last civil architecture that Gaudi designed before he contributed all his effort and energy towards Sagrada Familia. Casa Mila is simply a work of art by just looking at its wavy facade. There’s no surprise of it being honoured in the UNESCO Heritage list in 1984. I was a bit disappointed to find out that exterior facade was under maintenance and it’s all covered during our visit. I can only show you the model picture for now, and the maintenance should be completed by 2015. Its unique undulating stone facade with fairly minimal decorative elements is very different from the signature heavily decorative approach to his other works.
Of course the most interesting part of Gaudi’s work is always the sculptural rooftop terrace, which has innovative design of skylights and alien (or helmeted warrior) looking like chimneys.
The curved building has a distinctive structure and form, reminiscent of a cliff landscape. Structurally the building has absence of load bearing inner walls, it’s perhaps the first open floor plan concept ever existed. Each unit has different size and unusual layout with no straight lines. The inner courtyard can also maximize and provide enough natural light to all apartment units.
You have to see it in person to appreciate how ambitious and extraordinary this building is. The admission is pricey (20.50€) indeed but I still strongly recommend that you should go check it out. Remember to book your tickets in advance and reserve a time slot to avoid long line up.