Modernist Barcelona and Sitges

Our first almost free day in two weeks! And there is a lot to tell.

On this past Wednesday, we went to a flamenco dancing performance by Joaquin Cortes. It was good, but no one felt that he danced enough, and all in all it was a little disappointing. Still fun, though.

Friday was a walking tour of Modernist Barcelona. We went to Park Guell, a really cool park with gingerbread-like houses and strange rock formations and architecture. We didn’t stay long but I think I might go back there after the program ends; who knows.

After that we went to a hospital designed by Domenech i Montaner (I think that’s spelled right). It was a really pretty complex of buildings, and reminded me of a college campus. I wouldn’t mind getting sick there.

Then it was off to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, a grotesquely huge and ugly church that’s still in construction after all these years. It looks like a very large and strange sand castle. The religious statues on the outside are also definitely not typical…

Then we saw my favorite building — el Palau de la Musica Catalana. It was really amazing and the tour was very interesting. The website is here if you want to look at what it’s like — photographs weren’t allowed. The tourguide talked a lot about the organ and how it was very heavily damaged early on, but people would sponsor tubes and pay for their repair themselves. We also got to hear it played. There isn’t an actual person who can play it, but just a computer that blows air through particular tubes. We heard some Bach and it was pretty ridiculous.
We walked by a few modernist houses (Casa de los Punxes was one of them) before heading to Els Quatre Gats for lunch. Very good food and conversation. And wine.

After that we went to another Gaudi house and got to go inside it and on the roof. It was quite a house — very large, but no where I’d want to live.

We saw a few more houses from the outside, and called it a rather exhausting day.

The next day was a short trip to Sitges, a beach town about 30 minutes away. After sprinting through the train station we made it to our destination, and got to see some modernist and historical houses in Sitges (which were admittedly more modest than those in Barcelona, due to money concerns). We also had a tour of a small museum, which was very warm.

After lunch the professor took off and we students were left to fend for ourselves at the beach. Swimming in the sea was really wonderful — the salt content is very high so we just floated around for a while before getting out, lying down for a bit, and we left around 5 in the afternoon.

That’s about it for now — as always, here are pictures!

Modernist Barcelona