Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Barcelona - Una Ciudad Interesante

Estaba en Barcelona la semana pasada. Había ido allí para trabajo, pero tuve algún tiempo libre en mano para explorar la ciudad. Yo me enamoré de la ciudad, especialmente su arquitectura.

Well, enough Spanish! Let me continue in a language I know…

I was in Barcelona last week. I had gone there on work, but had some spare time on hand to explore the city. I fell in love with the city, particularly its architecture.

At one level, the architecture of the city is so diverse that it almost gives it a confused character. That's what my first impression also was. But as I explored the city more, I realized that it is the diversity of its architecture that gives the city its unique character. From Medieval to Renaissance to Modernisme/Art Nouveau to contemporary – the city has it all.

I was particularly impressed by Antoni Gaudi's work. Whether it was the surrealistic and seemingly 'deformed' Casa Mila or the extremely ornate and colorful Casa Batllo, or his magnum opus – La Sagrada Familia, one couldn’t help but get awestruck by the magnificence and brilliance of his work. His style is very different from anything I’ve ever seen. It breaks every single convention of architecture that I know of. What you finally get is not a building but a piece of Art. The two facades of Sagrada Familia are a study in contrast. While the Passion façade is characterized by strong angular images (very uncharacteristic of Gaudi's style), the Nativity façade is very typical of Gaudi – heavily inspired by nature and its undefined forms.

I find it strange that the Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1884 and is not expected to be completed before Gaudi's death centenary in 2026. Now that's one helluva slow work! I'm sure there is a strong reason for this delay, but I fail to comprehend it.

The other thing I loved about Barcelona was the food. From usual stuff like prawns and fish to more exotic octopus and mussels, and even rabbit – I tried everything I got there. And of course, how could I forget the sea food Paella? No Spanish meal is complete without the paella. I loved it but after having paella for six consecutive meals, it just about started getting on my nerves.

I was in Barcelona during the world cup fever, and it was unfortunate that the match I saw in a pub with the Spanish people was the one where Spain lost. But the excitement in the air got me hooked on to the match, even though I know very little about football.