Today I dedicated myself to a leisurely walk as prescribed by Rick Steves, outside of the typical tourist area of Barcelona, and into the very upscale residential neighborhood of Eixample. I wish I had a fit bit, because I know I walked probably at least 15 miles! My feet were as sore at the end of today as they were when I was doing my Camino!
In 1854, Queen Isabella II allowed Barcelona to tear down its restrictive medieval wall and expand outside the “Old City”. The designs of streets, neighborhoods and dwellings were people friendly and also incorporated modernistic designs, construction techniques and materials – especially concrete, allowing for hard stone buildings with curves and ripples and further decorated with mosaic touches of colored glass and tile.
(The last picture is from the Delta inflight magazine I leafed through on my way home)
And as noted in my Rick Steves guidebook, “Modernisme was a response against the regimentation of the Industrial Age – but all those organic shapes were only made possible thanks to Eiffel Tower-like iron frames. The Eixample’s fanciful facades and colorful, leafy ornamentation were built at the same time as the first skyscrapers in Chicago and New York City.”
On my walk I saw a few Cathedrals and many of the Antoni Guadí buildings and parks. A big draw to tourists, myself included, was the “Block of Discord” with three crazy and outrageous buildings on one street – all massive and quite different from one another. “The three big names of Catalunya’s bold Art Nouveau architectural movement erected innovative facades along this one short stretch of Passeig de Gràcia. Although each of these architects has better works elsewhere in town, this is the most convenient place to see their sharply contrasting visions side by side.” (Rick Steves)
With all the mind blowing gothic and modernistic architecture that is practically beyond description, I have to say, among my favorite sights today were the food and flower markets!!
I had a wonderful dinner at a place scoped out for me by Bill, El Pintxo de Petritxol.
As I’m alone, getting myself walked and Touristed out (and I’m kind of a lightweight when it comes to late night activities anyway) I called it another early Buenas Noches!