Friday, June 26, 2009

Casa Batllo

[warning: there are tons and tons of pictures for this post. you're not obligated to click on any of the collages unless you're a parent/grandparent] Tuesday morning we got out bright and early to see Casa Batllo, my number one priority. This is a house that Gaudi remodeled for some textile barons about the same time that my parents' house was built. The interior wasn't open to the public when I was on my mission, though we managed to see the stairwell once.
I love this house more than any other Gaudi, and I have a picture of it hanging in our hall at home. The patron saint of Catalunya is St. Jordi (St. George) and he slays a dragon. So if you look up on the right, the roofline is supposed to look like a dragon, with scales for tiles. The tower is the hilt of Jordi's sword. The balconies are like skulls of the dragon's victims. It's also been called the "house of bones" because of the skulls and the pillars in front. Or, it can also all be seen as having a sea theme, with sand and shells and water. These are all fun things for the kids to look for. That took them ninety seconds . . .
From the stairwells. We also all got audio guides, which were fun for the kids to listen to. Joss liked yanking my neck around and listening in on mine. There were cleaning ladies polishing and shining the banisters while we were there and making it all smell like a sea breeze.

This is from the "Noble Floor" or main public rooms. It was cool! What can I tell you? I loved even the little wooden vents underneath the front windows (Joss is looking in them above). I was surprised that among the regular study/drawing room/ dining room set up, that they also had a big beautiful sewing room on the main floor, but I guess they were textile people. Maybe it was good for business.
From the courtyard out in back. I let Joss run around out here so long as he didn't get interested in the ashtrays. You could see over to the other houses from back here, which was fun, because they're all famous as the Manzana de Discordia (means "Apple of Discord" like from mythology, but manzana also means a city block here -- they are all of such different architectural styles).

In the attic. The kids thought it was funny that there was a laundry room up here, but that's absolutely typical -- you hang your clothes outside on the rooftops in good weather (or on your balcony if that's all you have, and you hang a tarp over the top in case your neighbor above decides it's time to water the geranium) and in your attic in winter or rainy weather. There was also a big place right under the dragon's back where water was stored.

Out on the rooftop. Gaudi became known for his chimneys particularly, making something essential into something unique and decorative. We made our way down to the giftshop where I could tell the kids liked the house because they wanted to send postcards to friends. My wonderful husband bought me some earrings. I knew I was thrilled about the whole experience when I was excited to use the restrooms just because it was in the Casa Batllo!
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