Thanks to Riccardo and Marina, I arrived at the Nice airport in time for my flight to Barcelona. Riccardo was going to escort me on the train, but the train we planned to take was cancelled. So they drove me to the airport instead. Without their kind hospitality, I surely would have missed my plane! They are very lovely people.
I love Barcelona. It's a vibrant and beautiful city that attracts a very healthy tourist trade, even at this time of year. I got a nice, reasonably priced hotel in a great location with a balcony and this view.
But I think nothing tops the highly imaginative designs of Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), who left his creative imprint all over this city. I'm here for only five days, and I'm sure I could devote all that time to just seeing his work. But I chose just two of his most notable structures to tour. The first is the amazing Casa Batllo'.
The house was originally built by one of Gaudi's teachers; then Gaudi was commissioned to refurbish it by the new owners, the Batllo family, who wanted a showcase home on the prestigious Passeig di Gracias.
Gaudi's designs are all about geometric shapes patterned after nature, light, color, texture and ergonomics. I picked a few of the many photos I took to show you examples of his unique design style.
This is a fireplace--there is a single seat on one side and a double on the other, said to be designed for seating a couple and their chaperone.
These are the windows in the second floor living room that allowed the family to view the street traffic.
This is the ceiling light in the living room. Here and throughout this house, you can see shapes and colors that evoke images of the sea.
There is a central well that brings outside light into every room. This well is tiled in blue, and from top to bottom the blue is shaded from darker to lighter to account for the varying intensity of the light.
This is the section of the laundry room where "intimates" were hung to dry behind sheets of sheer drapery.
Gaudi's use of ceramic and glass are displayed in these colorful wall flower pots on the terrace.
A close-up of one of the wall flower pots. The use of pieces of broken ceramic and glass is a Gaudi innovation.
The terrace is a showplace for Gaudi's ceramic and grillwork designs.
Even the chimneys have a unique design and colorful flair.
An example of Gaudi's attention to ergonomics is this door handle, designed to perfectly fit the hand.