Couple of posts back, I talked about Sagrada Familia, a beautifully designed church by the famous Antoni Gaudí. Another architecture beauty designed by Gaudí is the Casa Batlló, and I was just as excited whilst visiting it. 

We visited the house in the day, but I much prefer its facade in the night

In my opinion, Casa Batlló isn't very big. It does look different from the buildings beside it, but not in an "in your face" way. Its subtle, but I swear its beautiful.
You have to go in. Just pay for the entrance fees, and take the tour.

Between Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, we chose to visit Casa Batlló because I preferred the facade of Casa Batlló and there was some sort of construction going on in Casa Milà. Observing the number of tourist and the queue at both houses, many seem to agree with me.

But don't worry about the queue - though it may look quite long, it sure moves fast!

Talking about the Facade of Casa Batlló, it's so cool that it has 3 different segments. Casa Batlló is sometimes termed as the skeleton building, because of the way it is designed. The design of the facade seems to resemble something halloween-esque. I can't even attempt to describe it, so i'll just let the picture do the talking.

Another reason to pay 18+ euros for the entrance fees is - The audio guide for the Casa Batlló is really good. It is detailed and interactive, plus they pose thought provoking questions throughout the tour. Which I really liked. 
Such little things made the whole tour a lot more entertaining and enjoyable. 
Unfortunately, my camera battery died half way through, so these photos are mostly from Jerald's camera.

Gaudi's inspiration for this house seem to be like the ocean or water, with all the curvy lines and wavy textures. It looked really dreamy, and evoked a calming sensation when you're walking around.
Once again, it's unfathomable, the amount of talent it took to design something like this. 

The ceilings, the stairs, the handrails for the stairs, the windows, the doors, the DOOR HANDLES  - yes, even the handles were ergonomically designed - were just designed to complement each other so seamlessly.

My favourite part was this central "channel" through the whole building. It is something like a light well and was designed to allow natural light into the house. An idea that only comes from a Brilliant Mind.
When you look up through the channel, you'll just be amazed at its design.

On the upper floors of the building, the hallways and stairs were all white. And I LOVE WHITE. So yes, I was very excited!

The audio guide said that the design of the hallway resembled something like a ribcage of a huge animal. And at that moment I thought "that is so true!!" 

I never liked paying for entrance fees into museums / buildings - yes I have been spoilt by all the free entrances I got during my time Paris. Nevertheless, If you're ever in Barcelona, there is no reason to not go into Casa Batlló. It IS worth it. I just wish the house was bigger so I could see more and hear more about the inspirations behind the talented mind of Gaudi.

On the highest floor of the building, you get to see the designs of the chimneys. The colourful  rooftop reminded me of a dragon tail. Haha! Maybe its just me and my imagination, but there is a slight resemblance.

Here's something funny - Whilst editing the photo above, I was thinking to myself "Damn why is that girl there, should I attempt to photoshop her away?" But, I don't really photoshop and alter my photos too much, so I left it as it is, and I  JUST realise, that girl is me.

I don't have a picture of the room labelled 16, but it was suppose to be for a water storage tank, and when you go in to the room,  you really do feel like you're IN a water tank. Like the mermaid living in the water tank in the show Aquamarine - don't know how that reference came about.
But it was so cool to hear the drops of water, and see how they designed the lighting in the room to mimic that of being underwater.
I'm not too sure if its just a touristy gimmick, but I liked the "hollow" feeling you get when you're in that room.

From the chunk of text and 9 pictures, you can tell that I WANT to live here. 
I wish modern day buildings have that much detail to them. I get that in this day and age everything needs to be sleek, clean and minimalistic. But sometimes I wish we could turn back time and have buildings designed like this.

Best of Architecture - Gaudí House, Casa Batlló

6 November 2014 Casa Batlló, Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

I'm a small-meal-many-meals kind of girl.

I hardly ever eat my money's worth at buffets and I can never finish a three course meal without skipping lunch.
Another thing is, I'm really fickle when it comes to food. Every time I open a menu, I feel like having 3 different things on it. Thats just because I want to try how different dishes taste like.

I've always had problems with finishing my food. Somehow, portions just come too big, and I have trouble stuffing my face without puking.
When I was in secondary school, I had friends who didn't like me because I couldn't finish my food and refused to hang out with me (?! till this day I don't get it.) From ages 5 to 9 whenever I couldn't finish the breakfast given to me - which was double of what my siblings had on their plate - I would have to sit at the front door with my plate and not be allowed into the house unless I finish every bit of food - thinking back, its pretty hilarious!
This is why, ever since I was young, I LOVE having huge chinese style dinners with my whole extended family because it means having the liberty to control how much food I want to eat, and stopping when I'm full.

Eating out in European countries has not always been pleasant. I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend how people can finish a starter, a main plus a drink, and a basket of bread, all by themselves. When Jerald and I eat out in various european countries, and when we met up with my friends in Belgium, we faced a certain kind of judgement from waiters taking our orders when we don't order "enough". For a guy, Jerald does not have a big appetite, neither does he have the habit of finishing others' food (my younger brother does that for me a lot) because he's the only child. So most of the time, we share a main course and 1 or 2 side dishes. Whenever we order 2 main course dishes, We end up leaving 1/4 of mine behind because the portion is too big, which is such a waste.

Can I just digress and say - THE CHURROS WERE AWESOME.

Sharing main courses doesn't seem like a norm in to the places i've been to - say Paris and Brussels. People don't say anything to your face, but you know you're being marginalised/seen as less affluent/judged by the "insufficient" quantity of food you order, or for sharing a main course with another person. On more than one occasion, it led to very unpleasant meals, and dampened our day.

I seldom eat with people who don't have the ability to share food. Not to be rude, but I think food taste ALOT better when its being shared. This is probably due to upbringing. A huge part of my childhood was spent hanging around my siblings and my cousins, so food was always being shared.

Besides, it's not my fault I get full after half of such a big portion. And, what if I want to save some space in my stomach for dessert! :(

The great thing about our experience in Barcelona was, we could go to a restaurant or a café and just order 3 Tapas and 1 Paella, and there would be NO FORM OF JUDGEMENT. Nothing.
The waiters will not questioned if you want more food after you say "That's all!" They just get right on serving you, and asking if you had a great meal, or if the food was to your liking.
Since Tapas come in smaller portions, there was once Jerald and I had 10 different tapas dishes for dinner - It was AWESOME.

I love Paella as well, but after eating it for  few meals, I get bored. Plus the portion for Paella is huge - like any other european food portion to my small asian tummy - it nice to be able to share!

I absolutely love the concept of Tapas. I enjoyed EVERY SINGLE ONE of my meals in Barcelona! I really liked how I could sample different dishes and keep going without feeling like I'm about to burst my tummy. It kind of reminded me a little bit about Dim Sum. Every time Jerald asked "What do you want to eat?" I just went "TAPAS!" it was always Tapas. And I was not tired of it because there were so many options!

I think all restaurants should serve food in small portion size - Tapas style. Its such a genius idea. I reckon restaurants will earn lot more from this, and it also makes it easier to achieve a healthy balance diet for each meal.

Food in order of appearance - in case any one wants to know - Bread and Hummus // Pulled Chicken Burger // Mussels and Fries // Spanish Omelette - I love! // Churros with Hot Chocolate and a Slice of Lemon Curd Tart //  Mushroom Risotto with Cheese // Bacon with Paprika // Fried Baby Squid - so so good especially with lemon! // Amazing Pistachio Flaky Goodness I don’t know the name of // Chicken and Seafood Paella // Chicken and Sausage Noodles Paella // Potato salad with Salmon // Lemon Pound Cake // Apple Tarte Tartin.

My favourite of all would be the toasted bread with hummus. I don't think its traditionally spanish, but the bar  did an amazing job with the hummus! I generally don't like chickpeas, but I finished every last bit of that hummus. My food experience in Barcelona was not shot of amazing - I felt really good and happy after every meal!!


4 November 2014 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

If you've ever talked to me about sports, you'll know that my only form of exercise comes from dance. Or walking. I don't run or play sports, I've never enjoyed playing ball games, or made any form of effort to visit the gym/go for a hike. The only time I climb the stairs when I'm on a holiday, is to get up to the highest level of a building to get a good view. 

Basically, I'm just quite lazy. If there is an escalator, i'd take the escalator.

The last evening in Barcelona, we took a little walk to Parc Güell. If I'm not wrong, it's the biggest park in Barcelona. We were walking from the train station and some how came face to face with a steep inclined hill, accompanied buy what seemed like 80 steps. We climbed up mid way and I questioned if we were heading in the right direction. 

We approached a local, and she said yes, we were, and that we just had to go on straight, turn right, continue on straight, turn left, continue on ahead and we'd arrive at Parc Güell.
Well, that was when we realised every turning involved climbing more steps. 

After finally reaching what seemed to be the park entrance, to my dismay, we saw a stretch of escalators leading up to it. On the account that my throat was sore, and my nose was blocked/ I was feeling really lethargic - that was pretty much a hike up a hill.  The plus side to climbing up is you do get to enjoy really good views along the way, and stop to take photos. You can't exactly stop on an escalator.

We decided to sit down at one of the wooden tables and benches before attempting to find the place with the Monuments. When we were about to sit down, we saw the same old lady we met on our short "hike" up to the park. She was just chillin' at one of the other benches, as if her climb up was effortless.

And here's me post climb, standing there staring towards the sun looking very tired, refusing to move my feet. As 2 supposedly fit and healthy young adults, Jerald and I felt really ashamed for taking so long to get up there and yet, feeling quite tired from the climb.

Parc Güell has more of an organic feel to it, unlike the usual pretty well groomed and clean parks i'm so used to visiting in big cities. It felt more like a forest/jungle - really tall trees covering the sunlight, slightly muddy, and narrow trails. Well, I have never been to a forest or a jungle, but you get what I mean.

After a 5 min rest and taking my medication, we headed towards the monuments in Parc Güell. This part of the park seems to be a lot more populated. 

As I wasn't feeling too well that day, we initially thought of heading back early and giving the park a miss. But, I insisted (and convinced my body - mind over body!!) that I was well enough to continue  with the day's plan and I was glad we ended up going to Parc Güell!

The part of the park with the monuments was more touristy, plus you have to pay to get in. That being said, it was nice to take a look at different parts of the park. After climbing all the way up, we might as well pay to go in since it wasn't that expensive. It was an interesting place to explore and watch the sun set. Unlike the other areas of the park, this area around the monuments felt more resort like. I don't remember if there were student offers, but if you do decide to go into the paid area of the park, ask anyway.

The thing about Barcelona is, sometimes, they don't display the student prices or announce that they have discounts/offers for students even though they do have them. So just double check to be sure you're not over paying.

Thinking back, I'm quite glad Jerald and I took a longer route up to the park. The climb up was nice and quiet. There were houses on top and along each slope, and its so cool how the people living there are so used to the "work out". An elderly man just walked right past us and he was not panting one bit! 
I think everyone should climb up to Parc Güell instead of taking the escalator. It isn't that much of a climb really - compared to 300+ steps up various towers in Europe. If I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed the climb so much more had I not been sniffling the whole time. 

"Hiking" in Barcelona

2 November 2014 Park Güell, Carrer d'Olot, s/n, 08024 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Prior to going to Barcelona, Jerald told me "We HAVE to go to the church." Barcelona has many pretty churches, but I knew the church he was referring to, was THE Sagrada Familia. There was no question about it.  
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, everyone who visits Barcelona will make sure that this gothic architecture wonder created by Gaudi is on their travel itinerary. 

It's best to pre-book your tickets before going to the venue that way, you get to skip the long queues! Plus tickets get snapped up pretty quickly, so remember to at least book 2-3 days in advance if you have a fully packed itinerary.

Walking towards La Sagrada Familia, you first notice that the building is in the midst of being constructed. It will officially be done in 2026 - an excuse to go back! I would say from afar, the exterior of it was not as impressive as I expected (partly because its not done yet! I can just imagine how marvellous it would be when it is) But when you get closer to the church, the details are FREAKING AMAZING. 

I'm not very well-versed in architecture, but I just love how intricate the carvings are and how so much thought is placed into designing - where each statue goes, the different curves and textures.  Maybe that's why I love looking at gothic style buildings. Never fails to leave me wondering "omg, what... where... how do people do this!!!"

The interior of the church is absolutely beautiful. The way light leaks through the stain glass windows, the way the stain glasses were designed and put together. It was ethereal. I kept taking photos again and again, and deleting some of them, because it was so hard to capture an image that does justice to the place. 

I was fascinated by the design of everything. This includes the stairwells - which sadly we couldn't climb up due to the construction - and the ceiling. I walked into so many people because I was just looking up towards the ceiling most of the time.

Purchasing the ticket to visit the main building of the Sagrada Familia also gives you access to one of the Towers - we went to the Passion Tower. You can choose your entrance timing to the tower  when you purchase your tickets online depending on how long you think you'll spend in the main sanctuary of the church / admiring the exterior.

I'd say give yourself an hour in the main sanctuary before going up. You're still allowed to hang around the area as long as you want after coming down from the tower!

Going up the tower lets you get a closer look at the details of the building. Plus you get an awesome view of Barcelona from the top! Its a place everyone should visit. Despite it being a touristy place, I'd say its not as crowded as other famous tourist attractions in Europe, and it is definitely not to be missed!

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

31 October 2014 La Sagrada Familia, Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

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