Modernism in Barcelona

DETAILS:  Romper: Miss Selfridge (UK)  I  Shoes: Primark (UK)  I Bag: Primark (UK)  I  Bangles: Primark (UK)  I  Sunnies: Missoni    Earrings: Topshop (UK) 

Streets filled with colourful architecture, sorbet sunsets taking over the sky and the smell of Paella's sizzling on open fire take over the city, Barcelona is a magical city from morning to night. 
One of the main contributors to Barcelona's magic is the modern designs with unique details located around the city. 
A new perspective communicated through music, art, architecture, literature etc. arose in Europe during the 19th Century as the Modernism movement. It progressed with artists like Henry Matisse, Pierre Mondrian, architects Gustave Eiffel, Stephan Sauvestre and Antoni Gaudi demonstrating new forms of artistic experimentation. The connection between art and music, fashion, and architecture has always been prevalent in history, therefore we see the influences between all of these forms. 
This movement in Spain was heavily influenced by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. His most famous works in Barcelona are full of colour, organic shapes and Neo-Gothic details that were fresh for Spain and other areas in Europe. 

If you are visiting Barcelona, my number one Gaudi must see is the stunning Sagrada Familia. I spent three hours taking in the interior details, everywhere you look is loaded with unique details and the most vibrant light glowing through stained glass. The Geometric details mixed with Art Nouveau inspirations fill the Nave. To sit and take in as much as possible leads one to think; what was going through his head during his design process? As a master of Geometrics, each detail contributes to the structure, sound, lighting etc. It is all practical, not only for aesthetics ;). 
The support beams are a Modern take on trees in a forest, leaves and flowers creates a  forest canopy as the ceiling above the Nave. Snail shell looking staircases spiral down from  the top of each of tower. Speaking of the towers, viewing the Tower facades is a must! The view from the Passion Tower provides a stunning skyline view of Barcelona. 

My second suggestion is to spend half a day in Park Guell. After a hike up the hill in 4 inch heels I came across the detailed gate to what looked like a park out of a  Dr. Suess book.  Park Guell was created in the early 1900's, as a wealthy garden community, and instead was later sold to the city as a heritage site and park.  
A Gingerbread looking house topped with icing, gumdrops and all, is the first monument from the entrance. The interior of this Gingerbread looking house is quite unique with bold coloured ceilings and walls, and a great view of the staircase to the Hypostyle Room. 
The staircase is made from stone and decorated with smashed ceramic tiles and medallions. Don't miss the dragon on the way up! 
Eighty four massive columns greet you at the entrance of the dramatic Hypostyle Room. Don't forget to look up, as the ceiling is filled with interesting details. 
Moving through the garden, at the top of Nature Square is the most spectacular view of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Relax and enjoy the views from the curved mosaic covered bench lining the entire square. 
Take the time to walk through the Mediterranean plants, and bird filled gardens where Gaudi's resided.  
You can't miss the unique Casa Batllo building. This architectural gem is stunning in daylight and magical at night. The iridescent scale-like roof is representative of a animal or more specifically a Dragon's back. Take a time to absorb this building... You may feel like your are hallucinating! 

My fave chill out spot is Barceloneta Beach. I spent many hours of the day swimming the Mediterranean, sipping on cocktails while watching people paragliding across the sky. As the temperature in the summer months gets up to 40 Celsius, the beach is packed full. People selling Mojito's, water, blankets/scarves and even massages do beach rounds all day. It is a busy place, yet the crashing waves drown out the sounds of people, planes etc.
There are some great clubs and restaurants along the beach walking East along the boardwalk.  
Finish off your days with a delicious Spanish meal; Sip on Sangrias, start with tomato bread and Empanada's (cheese filled ones are amazing), share a large Paella and finish off with La crema Catalana and a coffee (you'll need it to explore Barcelona's nightlife, which goes until 5 am) or take a late night stroll to see the stunning architecture lit up.

If you're wondering what to pack:
Typical business/daywear is business casual. Everyone dresses up to go for dinner and out for the night. Dress code can be very strict at many clubs and restaurants; no shorts for men and no flip flops (even if is located on beach). Be sure to pack light coloured, loose fitting clothing, preferably in natural fabrics as it gets very humid and warm. There are so many places to explore, you do not want to be uncomfortable. 

Enjoy the beauty and culture Barcelona has to offer. 

1 I Try to speak basic Spanish Hello, Goodbye, Thank you etc. they appreciate the effort! 
2 I Explore Barceloneta Beach from one end to the other.
3 I Spend an (early) afternoon at the Sagrada Familia to take in the beautiful stained glass with the perfect light. 
4 I Take a stroll around Park Guell, highly recommend purchasing the Monument pass. 
5 I Try Spanish food and drinks - I have never had a bad Paella in Barcelona. Note - Many restaurants serve food to share & they love their Tapas! Dining out is a social experience. 


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